Friday, December 28, 2012

Skywatch#127 Last Full Moon Of The Year

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The full moon the other night was obstructed by clouds and I was already itching with the camera. Thankfully, the clouds cleared momentarily tonight allowing for a few shots. The next full moon will be happening next year.

 

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Skywatch#126

IMG_3950_zps5adae0c1Photo taken at Hyde Park, London, UK.

We communicate to God through prayers (sometimes they become solicitation of favor/s) but one way of giving back what is due Him and appreciating of what He did for us is to appreciate nature. To stop for a moment in a day to see, to feel, to smell the wondrous thousands of colors a day could evoke, from sunrise to sunset. I dare say, God will feel really appreciated for that.


 

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Skywatch#125 It's More Fun In Davao

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Department of Tourism's present slogan is "It's More Fun In the Philippines!". For me, Davao's got a lot of share of that fun. Surrounded by mountains and facing the sea, we got the best of both worlds. Ziplining, scuba diving and mountain climbing are just some of the activities Davao City offers. I've done most of those activities and I am not finished yet hahaha!



In the meantime, the photos were taken during a Worldwide photowalk last October 13. There were three photowalks happening in the city on that day but I chose Sta. Ana Wharf. The photos were of the newly made statues at the entrance of the old wharf. The eagle is city's iconic symbol while the statue of the family is of the indigenous tribe carrying their produce. The backlight was of the sun rising on that day.


 

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Skywatch#124 Sunset At Airport

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Fly in, fly out. That's what we did this week in Manila. While on the way to the airport (NAIA 3), I saw the sunset peeping thru the trees and just had to take a photo. Thankfully, the traffic lightened for a second for me to steal this one.

 

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Skywatch#123 Sta. Ana Wharf..For Now



Plans are underfoot for the improvement of the old Sta. Ana Wharf. It used to be teeming with people, commercial, fishing and passenger ships when I was just a child. But things changed, the old port looks dilapidated and only a few small ships use it nowadays. Passenger boats plying to and from Samal Island still dock on the port.

While waiting for the improvement plans to happen, life goes on. The port is still a favorite among the locals for an early morning walk like the old man was doing. 

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 Neighborhood families still bath in its waters although I think it could pose danger to their health.
 
Water taxis are already available for island hopping adventure tours at the Sta. Ana Wharf.
And tourists, locals and foreign, wait for their boats for Samal Island while ambulant vendors ply their wares to them.  The port has also become one of the favorite locations for photoshoots. Life goes on at the Sta. Ana Wharf.

 

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Kadayawan Backdrops

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They were used as backdrops and fence/cover for the participants. They are commonly colorful, with intricate designs, made of light materials mostly wood, cartoon, sometimes foam, plastic, or even cloth.


 

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Skywatch#122 Kadayawan Floral Float Part 2

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With the sky blue background and some green colors from the tree leaves, this floral float participant for the Kadayawan Festival floral float parade was one of my favorites.

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 Its most prominent feature is the Child Jesus and the Philippine eagle.
  

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Skywatch#121 Kadayawan Floral Float Sky

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The rains kept coming in the afternoons and in the evenings consistently for weeks now. Heavy and sudden, they flooded the streets almost immediately. So, the blue skies during the Kadayawan Float festival (Pamulak sa Kadalanan) last August 19, 2012 was a real gift. And oh boy, did the people come out! in droves!

This float by Kisan Lu Lands is this year's Best Floral Float. They truly deserve it with dancers garbed in tribal costumes high up the ground.

 

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Explaining the allure of last minute cruises

You would be forgiven for thinking that the phenomena of the last minute holiday bargain are only to be found in the world of sun-drenched seaside getaways but you would be mistaken and it is time you knew the truth. Yes indeed, you can pick up some eye-watering discounts on quite superb family holidays that will take you and your party from one amazing destination to another day after day. And you can see it all from the comfort of your sun-lounger or as you gaze out from the side of what is always likely to be a quite magnificent vessel.  

These days in fact, last minute cruises are an increasingly common feature of the holidaymaking picture, with families, individuals and groups of friends all taking a chance to see the world in style and at seriously discounted prices. As we know by now, booking last minute can mean making significant savings but if you're considering the option you would do well to be flexible about the kind of trip you take and the places you line up to visit. But being flexible on these points can work out beautifully in a way because you are relieved of the tough choices most cruise holidaymakers must make and it all adds to a sense of genuine adventure.

You might be surprised about the scale of discounts that even the most reputable holiday companies are ready to offer on quality cruise holidays as the relevant departure date approaches. Clearly, it is in no one's interest for rooms aboard the great sea-going entertainment and relaxation paradises that now cruise the oceans to be going unused at any point and the savviest among us have been quick to take advantage. In fact, a little homework and decisive action could soon see you and yours setting off on a truly amazing journey and perhaps even the holiday of a lifetime.  

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Skywatch#120 View From The Plane

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The plan was to take photos of San Pablo City's seven lakes from the plane. So, with fingers crossed that I could get some clear view of Laguna Province I held on to my camera waiting for the opportunity.

IMG_0097  It seemed though that the clouds could won over so I just took some shots. And lo! a glimpse of the lakes suddenly came into view. I took several shots but the plane was too fast for me to get some good shots without the plane's  wings. Here is the only shot that did not include the unwanted plane wings... IMG_0098  

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Skywatch#119 Entrance To the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery

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This is the entrance to the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery, Nagcarlan, Laguna.  Both the church and the cemetery are now considered part of the national  historical sites of the Philippines.





 

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Visitor’s Guide to Florence

Florence is considered as one of the most important cities of Europe. The city is the birthplace of the opera, the Italian renaissance and also the neo-classical architecture. Florence was also a major cultural and political hotbed in its time and this makes it one of the must-visit places for anyone visiting Italy. Below is a brief visitor’s guide to Florence.


Ideal Time to Visit
Florence falls in the Tuscan region which gets pretty hot during the summer’s peak. This causes most of the local people to retreat to the coastal areas in the period between June and August. As a tourist, the ideal time would be to visit either before or after the summer season passes. April, May, September and October are quite warm and sunny without being too hot.

Notable Attractions
The cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore is the star attraction of Florence. It is a beautiful piece of architecture that dominates the city and is a must-visit. Giotto’s Tower, adjacent to the above cathedral, offers viewers an excellent view of the city that is worth appreciating.

There are also plenty of places to visit in case you want to combine history with leisure shopping. The Ponte Vecchio (literal meaning is ‘Old Bridge’) is home to many shops. The place is also known to be the traditional jewelry buying destination for Florentines.

You can also visit the tombs of great medieval personalities like Michelangelo, Dante, Galileo and Machiavelli.

Exquisite Cuisine
Italians love their food and Florentines are no different when it comes to their palates. Although both meat and fish dishes are dominant in the region, the cuisine is mostly seasonal. There are also many places that serve up inexpensive and yet tasty stuff. Wine lovers can also have a drink in Florence.
While it’s only a brief guide to Florence, most of these places will ensure that you experience the heart of Florentine culture.

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Skywatch#118 Quezon Memorial Circle

I took a chance to explore Quezon Memorial Circle on my first weekend of my study-training. We had rainy days previous to that weekend and it was just such a relief when Saturday promised to be a sunny day. While my roommates were busy lounging inside our hotel room, I explored the circle where the former Philippine president Manuel L. Quezon and his wife are buried.

I got off at the Philcoa Building and walked through the underpass to get to the circle's gate. The park was clean, green and spacious. Families were walking around and there were some brave souls who jogged under the scorching sun.  Security guards were seen around patrolling the area and to my surprise, the park has a lot of interesting nooks for people from all walks of life to enjoy in.


 
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This monument is located at the center of the circle. Underneath it is a museum housing the memorabilia of President Quezon and also his sarcophagus. His First Lady, Dona Aurora Quezon, is also buried here. The museum is being managed by one of the daughters.

 

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Three of the Best Short Haul Holiday Hot Spots


Are you hoping to travel abroad in 2012? The current economic climate has meant that fewer holidaymakers are venturing abroad for stints in the sun. With cheap Tenerife holidays and bargain holidays in Cyprus on offer online, why settle for a staycation this summer?

1.       Cyprus
Holidays in Cyprus offer the most varied resorts and most sensational climate in the Mediterranean. Whatever your travel tastes, the birth place of Aphrodite caters for love birds, families and party rockers alike.
Limassol’s shallow waters are superb for young families, while Paphos is a great all round resort for couples, culture lovers and families with plenty of sightseeing opportunities as well as a local waterpark. Ayia Napa is the place to be if you are looking to hit the clubs on the island.

2.       Rhodes
Rhodes is officially the driest island in the Mediterranean with over 300 days of sunshine every year. Whenever you choose to stay from mid-May to October, you are guaranteed to experience gorgeous weather.
The striking resort of Lindos is home to the Acropolis of Lindos, one of the most visited landmarks on the island. A favourite spot for couples tying the knot, Lindos boasts some of the more elite hotels in Rhodes.
The tip of the island is reserved for those who want to experience the best of both worlds – Rhodes Town is an eclectic mix of old and new, with the ancient walled town standing adjacent to the cosmopolitan centre.

3.       Tenerife
Cheap Tenerife holidays are excellent for those travelling on a budget. As part of the Canary Islands, just off the coast of Africa, Tenerife benefits from sensational summers with highs reaching 30 degrees C. 
Once of the livelier Canarian destinations, Tenerife resorts are active with plenty of watersports lining their 16 blue flag beaches.

Wherever you choose to stay, search online to discover some of the best prices on holidays in Cyprus, Rhodes and Tenerife.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Skywatch#117 State House Of South Carolina

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The State House of South Carolina at dusk. The State House is located at the intersection of Senate and Main Streets of Columbia City. The photo was taken from the back of the building.

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Overbooked Flights Being Banned

Sometime ago, I read through a bloggers’ horrific experience with one of the budget airlines in the country. She may have had fun with her Boracay vacation with her friends, even raved about their Boracay hotel but her experience with the budget airlines was the extreme opposite of her pleasant experience at the island-paradise.

They were bumped off the overbooked flights and worried that they might not make it on time to report for work on the next day, they begged to be accommodated. However, they were not the only ones begging to get accommodated. What also exacerbated their situation was that the ground crew were aloof, arrogant and unresponsive to their plight. At the end of her post, she promised that she and her friends might pursue a legal case against the budget airline.

This nightmarish experience is not uncommon among budget airlines. Trying to recover the revenues lost from their promos, overbooking the flight somehow helps but the travelers unwittingly suffer because of this. Fortunately, the country’s aviation regulator is banning the overbooking of flights effective June 15. I hope this will prosper, for the sake of the travelers.

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Skywatch#116 Sunset Rays At Times Beach

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While we waited for the Earth Hour at Times Beach last March 2012, I took photos of clouds.

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Same clouds but with different setting in a span of a few seconds.


 This is my entry for:

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Skywatch#115 Summer In D' Leonor Inland Resort and Wave Pool

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Summer is almost at its end now. Nights are cooler, even rains are becoming frequent. Still, the days are just sweltering like any summer days should be and maybe even more. No thanks to global warming. One good way to cool off is to head off the waters, the beach or the pool. Since the beach has been the frequent destination for our office summer outing. The pool was chosen as the new alternative and the D' Leonor Inland Resort and Wave Pool just fits the bill. Located at Barangay Communal and just about 30 to 40 minutes from downtown, the new resort has zoo, wave pool, kid's pool, cottages and a zipline.

This is my entry for:

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

London’s Best Kept Secret: Battersea Park

At just a few miles south of Marble Arch, Battersea Park has to be one of London’s best kept secrets. Its inner-city location belies the stunning beauty of this vast park, and if you’re in London then it can provide fantastic respite from the busy capital.

Whether you’re in the city for business or pleasure, why not find a cheap hotel near Battersea Park and enjoy a stroll around this great green space after a hectic day of work or sightseeing?

This park is so vast and varied that you won’t want to miss a thing. Here’s what you need to tick off your must do list:

The Old English Garden
This garden is a wonderfully calm and peaceful place to sit after a stressful day. Relax on a bench surrounded by trees and flowers, while the trickling water of the pond fountain takes you away from the strain of the day.

Get On Your Bike
You can hire a bicycle from the London Recumbents in the park, and take the air and some exercise in a most pleasant way. It certainly beats the gym.

Have an Adventure in the Playground
Those who are in London with the kids should give them respite from the overwhelming sights and sounds of the city, and let them run off some steam in the playgrounds at Battersea Park.

An amazing adventure playground awaits older adventurers, as well as a well-equipped junior and toddler playgrounds. There’s fun to be had here for all ages.

Enjoy Sports
Many budget London hotels don’t have fitness facilities, so why not head to the Millennium Arena at Battersea Park instead? This fantastic sports facility, located in the park, boasts a running track, tennis courts, multi-purpose playing surfaces and a fitness centre.

Don’t let the beauty of Battersea Park pass you by if you’re in the capital. It’s an amazing inner-city green space that’s just the ticket if you need a breather from city life.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Skywatch#114 Quirino Grandstand, Luneta

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Quirino Grandstand is the traditional location of the swearing-in of the newly-elected President of the Philippines. It is  part of the Rizal Park or as most locals call it, Luneta Park. 


The grandstand is a favorite location for major religious, political, cultural and social events since it was built in 1949. 
But in ordinary days like this one, common people hang out in the grand stand to escape from the summer heat while some brave ones, fly these colorful kites.
 
  This is my entry for:

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Italian Lakes Holidays: Experience Beautiful Natural Italy


Italy boasts some of the world’s most beautiful natural landscapes. Vast, twinkling lakes flanked by majestic mountains await, surrounded by charming villages and traditional towns.

Italian lakes holidays have so much to offer every holidaymaker, but they make a particularly romantic break for couples. Image strolling down a lakeside promenade hand in hand, stopping to share a gelato or a bottle of chianti, and drink in the stunning scenery. The lakes and mountains destinations in Italy really do offer holidays that are like a breath of fresh air.

Lake Maggiore is a truly beautiful choice of destination in the Italian Lake District. The second largest lake in the country, it straddles the Italy/Switzerland border and is flanked by lush, pine clad hills.

Stresa is one of the most popular resorts on the lake, noted for some stunning examples of architecture such as the 19th century Villa Pallivicino stately home. This beautiful lakeside resort is located at the foot of Mount Mottarone, which offers endless opportunity for exploration.

You can take a cable car to the mountain’s summit, or alight half way and make the rest of the journey on foot. While the trek may be hard work, it’ll be more than worth it when you see the spectacular view, which takes in seven lakes and a ring of mountains. It really is truly breathtaking.

The Alpinia botanical gardens are also located half way up Mount Mottarone, so be sure to make the most of your trek up the mountain and take in this wonderful natural attraction as you go.

For those travelling to lake and mountain destinations in Europe walking holidays are a great idea. You can enjoy exploring the stunning surroundings with a guided group, or set off on a pre-planned route for a romantic walk that you’ll remember for a lifetime.

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Skywatch#113 Villa Escudero, Tiaong, Quezon

One of several cottages inside the Villa Escudero, Tiaong, Quezon. The plantation resort is about 30 minutes ride away from San Pablo City.

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The plantation resort has a lot to offer for every one. Carabao (water buffalo) cart rides, bamboo rafting, buffet lunch at the waterfalls restaurant, Philippine native dance show and a whole lot more. For me, the one day trip is not enough to explore and enjoy the place.

To get there from Manila, ride one of the buses traveling to Lucena that ply the EDSA (Epifanio delos Santos Ave.) road or get to the JAC bus terminal in Taft Avenue. Travel time is about two to three hours. Tell the conductor to let you down right after the arch boundary of Quezon Province. The gate of the plantation resort is right after the arch on the left side of the highway.

This is my entry for:

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Skyway#112 Mt. Apo In Hiding

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I waited to take a photo of Mt. Apo while we were in D' Leonor Inland Resort but the clouds stayed on and the tallest mountain of our country remained hidden all throughout the afternoon.

This is my entry for:

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Picking a Package in Spain

Whether you’re looking for the perfect place to spend your annual summer holiday or you’re trying to squeeze in your fifth break of the year, there are more than a few good reasons to spend your next escape in Spain.

On the mainland you’ve got prime city break territory with the likes of fast-paced Madrid, the architectural delights of Barcelona or the chic waterside cafes of Valencia. Then there’s the ever-popular golden Costas which are scattered along the South and South-East coastlines - from the lively Costa Del Sol and boisterous Costa Blanca, to the more authentic and traditional ambience of Costa de la Luz.

Moored just off the coastline are the glorious Balearic Islands of Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca. If a quiet pace with some serious rest and relaxation are on the agenda, you can’t go wrong with Menorca package holidays. Here you’ll find pine-clad hills flanking golden sandy beaches, calm azure shores and cloudless blue skies, perfect for leisurely strolls, hiking and enjoying a refreshing break at any one of the low-key cafes or restaurants dotted along the coastline.

Spain package holidays are generally geared around the beach, but there are always plenty of other things to see and do. Thanks to their popularity with British and European tourists - which brings many visitors flocking back to these sunny shores year after year - there are plenty of activities on offer to suit every age and ability. Kids will love the numerous water parks with their death-defying flumes, families will appreciate the boat trips and glass-bottomed tours which gives great views of sea life, while energetic types can get their fix by jet skiing, wind surfing or mountain biking.

Spain is a diverse destination with more than enough holiday experiences to suit even the most particular of tastes, and it’s no surprise that so many visitors choose to come back here year after year.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Skywatch#111 Philippine Churches#11 San Geronimo Church In The Morning Light

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After doing our first station of the Way of the Cross inside Iglesia de San Geronimo (St. Jerome's Church), we made our way to the parking area which was at the back of the church. There was a shorter route by the stairway at the back of the church but we went around the area before reaching our tourist bus. En route to the parking lot, I saw this baclighted view of the church's facade. This is my entry for:

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Getting Ready For Another Vacation

Initial preparations are already underway for our planned long vacation later this year. I have been saving for it and  meetings with my travel friends have been ongoing. We decided to delegate our travel tasks to make things easier. Two of us are tasked to do the research on our travel packages and accommodations. I already found some very good prospects through the information below.

Staycations vs Cheap Holidays Abroad Infographic - Thomas Cook
The website is quite useful and informative that I have been recommending it to my friends.

"Provided by ThomasCook"

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Skywatch#110 Philippine Churches#10 San Geronimo Parish Church, Morong, Rizal

I thank God for the blessings He has given me and I just feel lucky and blessed that inspite of the hardships, I could work hard and save enough to travel. I usually learn a lot from traveling especially in my travels across my country.

I have been eyeing the Visita Iglesia travel package being offered by Illuminati tours for more than two years now but could not get synchronized with my schedule. A blessing in disguise perhaps because this year's Holy Week, I not only did the Visita Iglesia in Laguna but I also took my mother and my niece along. Aside from that, we did a sidetrip to Pagsanjan Falls but that's another story.

To start off our Laguna Visita Iglesia, we visited San Geronimo Parish Church at Morong, Rizal.


The baroque architecture style of the church is quite obvious in the lines of its three-story facade and its octagonal-shaped bell tower.

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 San Geronimo (St. Jerome) Parish Church is the oldest church in the town of Morong, Rizal. Chinese craftsmen helped build the church which is why it has two Chinese lion sculptures at the entrance. I read somewhere that it is one of the most photographed churches in Laguna.

This is my entry for:

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