Angles in Seoul


Angles one can find in Seoul…

…on a cold night by the Banpo-Hangang bridge…

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..in the palaces of Chandeokgung..

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…and in the sturdy World Peace Monument.

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Angular Photos at Daily Post.

Achievements


2014 has been a remarkable  year so far. I have been able to cross out a lot of things in my bucket list. Here are some of them:

1. Fire a real gun. I got lessons from the son of a general when I was in Guimaras last May!

Bang!

Bang!

2. Have my passport stamped. I did not just get a stamp. I also had my first visa! My South Korea trip was so memorable because it’s my first overseas travel, and well…it’s South Korea and it was autumn! 🙂

<3.

<3.

3. Conquer my fear of water….slowly. I love beaches but I don’t snorkel, dive or do any sort of water activity that requires me to put my head under water. But when I was in Balicasag Island in Bohol last August, the life under the water was simply too beautiful to pass. I dipped my head in the the shallower parts of the sea just to witness what the fuss was all about. And boy, I am glad I did! 🙂

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(Seoul Diaries) Sawa dee Krap


You might find that there’s a disconnect in the title of this post. It’s related to my travel to Seoul but talks about the Thai way of saying “hello”. You see, I had very interesting tales associated with this greeting when I was in Seoul last October.

Upon arrival in Seoul, I and my friend Me-an immediately braved the cold streets of Myeong-dong to look for food, the best dollar to won exchange rates, and cardigans to augment our cold weaponry. I was in  awe  not just of  the number of people in the area but the variety of things that can be bought. Myeong-dong truly lives up to its name of being one of Seoul’s premiere shopping destination!

Myeong-dong for you!

Myeong-dong for you!

After happily walking out of a small stall, my spirit was blown out of my body when a man selling bags greeted us  a with a very loud, “Sawa dee Krap!”. We just laughed  so the man smiled back. Perhaps he was thinking “I got this in the bag”. Too bad just we laughed out of shock and the hilariousness of being mistaken as Thais.

On our 2nd night, we ventured to the more artsy street of Insadong where I found out street performances and magic shows are just ordinary happenings.

Yeah. Figure it out.

Yeah. Figure it out.

Paintings for sale at Insadong.

Paintings for sale at Insadong.

While quietly checking out the stalls, we were surprised again when someone shouted at us, “Sawa dee Krap!”. By that time I figure out I really probably looked like a Thai.

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Photo Essay: Baler (Part 1)


I am trying to catch up with my travel diaries  but since my work and graduate school activities also involve a lot of writing, I barely have time to write for this blog. My backlog has now totaled to four travels and this does not even include my  unfinished Ilocos travel series. So, I thought of a roundabout solution about my dilemma and I realized photo essay is the way to go!

First stop is Baler, a town in the Aurora province of the Philippines. It can be reached through five-six hour bus trip from Manila. I went there around the end of January this year. It was an unplanned trip. A friend called me  up to ask if I want to go to Baler on a long weekend. Being the wanderer that I am, I accepted her invitation.

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Rocky cliffs of Baler.

 

It was very cold  and a bit rainy when we went there. It was the peak of the northeast monsoon int he Philippines so temperatures were around 12-18 degrees Celsius.

A falls by the highway! Yup! Just beside the highway!

A falls by the highway! Yup! Just beside the highway!

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(Travel Diary) The Ilocos Adventure Part 3: Burgos and Bangui


August 10 of 2013 ( I know, so late!) which was a Saturday was spent travelling to the northernmost towns of Ilocos Norte. These places are among the most popular tourists destinations and you will see later why. These three towns have some of the most beautiful natural attractions I’ve seen in the Philippines!

We started the day the very early. Before going to Ilocos, I already contacted a tour operator, Kuya Bhoy, to pick us at La Eliana at around 6 AM. We were already up as early as 4:30 AM which allowed us to witness this very beautiful sunrise from our hotel room:

Laoag sunrise.

Laoag sunrise.

Kuya Bhoy arrived late at around 6:30 AM because he had to drive all the way from Pagudpud which was about two (2) hours away! We were already very hungry by the time he arrived so we dropped by a Jollibee drive thru before embarking  on a road trip. Just a little after a hour on the road, we already reached our first destination the Cape Borjeador lighthouse in the town of Burgos.

Cape Borjeador Lighthouse

Forgive the sun.

Forgive the sun.

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Playing with Silhouettes


I love silhouette shots. I love them more especially if they are taken during the golden hours (sunrise or sunset). At such circumstances, one need not be professional photographers to create beautiful shots. I hope I did the silhouette theme some justice. I have accumulated  them (again) from my various trips  in the Philippines.

Somewhere in the roads of Bohol.

Somewhere in the roads of Bohol.

Playing in the islands of Caramoan.

Playing in the islands of Caramoan.

Sunset by the Iloilo river esplanade.

Sunset by the Iloilo river esplanade.

More Silhouette shots at Daily Post.

Philippines: In Textures


The Philippines is such a good subject for photography. One can get every imaginable texture because we have every landscape imaginable…volcanoes, waterfalls, limestone cliffs, etc. Who knows there is also a distinct advantage in being located in the Pacific Ring of Fire and in being in the path of typhoons? The only thing we probably don’t have is glaciers because obviously we are a tropical country. Here are some interesting “textures” I have come across for the past 2.5 years since I have started exploring the Philippines:

(Clockwise from L: (1) The rocky beach in Diguisit, Baler, (2) rocky cliff in Caramoan, Camrines Sur, (3) smooth limestone structure in Kapurpurawan, Ilocos Norte, and (4) punctured cliffs in Talicud Island, Samal.

 

More take on Texture at Daily Post.

Extra, Extra


I already talked about my adventures in the Ilocos provinces in previous posts. I haven’t come to sharing about Kapurpurawan Rock Formations yet though I will do so in my next travel post… hopefully. The way to the rock formations are surrounded by shallow bodies of water. I don’t know how they come about but they form some of the most beautiful natural attractions I have seen in the Philippines.

Unforgivable Extra!

Unforgivable Extra!

As seen in photo above, the scenery provide such an amazing backdrop.  I have one qualm though…the locals decided to put a stature/monument of a crocodile! When I saw it, I almost shouted, “WHHHHHHHHHHHHHHYYYY?”. I think the status is totally and unnecessary and just destroys the whole  feel of the place. Sorry Ilocos Norte government. I just feel that some natural attractions are better off untouched.

Check out the entries for this week’s photo challenge “Extra, Extra” at Daily Post.

 

(Travel Diary) The Ilocos Adventure Part 2: Laoag City


In the first part of Ilocos Adventure post, I shared about the places I visited in the towns of Batac and Paoay, Ilocos Norte. For this  part, I will share about my quick stop in Laoag City. I and my co-workers just stayed in the city for a half a day but I can say every second we spent in Laoag was worthwhile. The city proper was smaller and less urbanized then I expected but I was surprised that it was this fact that made me love it even more. So onto my Laoag hullabaloos…

Seat of power in Ilocos Norte

Seat of power in Ilocos Norte

Laoag City

On August 9, during the last day of the conference, most of officemates went back to Manila already while I and four co-workers (Ate Kate, Shei, Sab and Io) decided stay to visit the rest of the Ilocos provinces. We were also later joined by Ate Kate’s husband, Kuya Vince who flew all the way from Manila.

La Preciosa Restaurant

 After checking out of Plaza Del Norte, we proceeded to the city proper of Laoag. We then checked in at La Eliana Hotel, a budget accommodation. We agreed to just stay there for the night since we will be leaving for early in the morning anyway. After resting for a bit, we went out to start to our half day tour of Laoag. Our first stop was the the La Preciosa Restaurant, which was situated just across La Eliana Hotel. They are famous for their cakes and a poqui-poqui, an eggplant dish. La Preciosa seems to be an old Spanish house converted to a restaurant. The interior is reminiscent of old antique houses and is very homey.

La Preciosa Restaurant.

La Preciosa Restaurant.

Since it was just around 2 PM, we decided to try the cakes and reserve poqui-poqui for dinner. We ordered three flavors: carrot cake, toblerone cake, and blueberry cheesecake. All the cakes were good but my personal favorite would have to be the carrot cake!

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Work of Art


I went  to the provinces of Negros Occidental, Iloilo and Guimaras just a few weeks ago. One thing that stood out during that trip was these provinces has all kinds of churches  imaginable. In fact, I was able to visit a total of eight (8) churches including the Miag-ao Church, a UNESCO World Hertige Site. The strongest points of these churches vary–old age, architecture, sculptures inside the church, etc.  Setting Miag-ao Church aside, the church that stood out  for me the most was the Bacolod City Cathedral, aka the San Sebastain Cathedral. Its’s interiors is a sight to behold, especially at night time. There also seemed to be a synergy in all the elements of the church–the lighting, the altar, the arcs. Truly a work of art.

 

San Sebastian Cathedral, Bacolod City

San Sebastian Cathedral, Bacolod City

 

 

This post is my entry to Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme Work of Art.

(Travel Diary) The Ilocos Adventure Part 1: Batac and Paoay


I’ve been dreaming of visiting the provinces of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur for the longest time. I’ve heard and read about the beauty of the provinces so I feel disappointed every time a travel plan to go there does not push through. In August last year, I finally got of a taste of the best things Ilocos has to offer. We had an work-related event from August 7-9 in Laoag City last year, so I and a few co-workers decided to stay until the 11th so we can also visit the nearby towns.

Plaza Del Norte at dusk.

Plaza Del Norte at dusk.

During our first three (3) days in Laoag, we weren’t able to go around that much in city since the event activities run until nighttime.  On Day 1 though, we had a meeting at the Mariano Marcos State University so I was able to get a quick glimpse of Batac. The school served us a sumptuous lunch consisting of Ilocos bagnet and pinakbet.  Bagnet is just…superb. It looks like the standard lechon kawali but it is more superior because it is already tasty on its own. No need for soy sauce or lechon sauce like Mang Tomas!

Fat? What fat?

Fat? What fat?

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On Top


I thought being on school break means more free time. I guess not. I am loaded with work more then even so I am hardly alive these days. Anyway, for a breather I am sharing these two photos for this week’s challenge with the theme “On Top”. These actually do not exude the “on top” perspective discussed by the challenge, but rather a “to the top” and “at the top” feeling. Nonetheless, hope you like them!

The way to the top of the hill.

The way to the top of the hill.

The view from the top of the hill!

The view from the top of the hill!

Belated Happy Easter everyone and I hope I have the time to post something tomorrow for my special day. 🙂

Recalling Laiya


One year in the making yet I haven’t still talked about our office’s team building last year. It  was a two-day activity  held in Blue Coral Beach Resort in Laiya, Batangas. I could barely remember what happened except for the fact that our team won the games! Ha!

Blue Coral's beach front.

Blue Coral’s beach front.

 

Having a pool works to the resort's advantage.

Having a pool works to the resort’s advantage.

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My Treasures


“Take nothing but pictures.

Leave nothing but footprints.

Kill nothing but time.”

– From Nothing But Lyrics by John Kay

 

I am a firm believer of the above-mentioned saying and it is something I always remind myself of when I visit a place.  The saying captures the very essence of respect that travelers should practice—to leave a place in the same form as it is when we arrived.  The saying has also influenced my dislike for souvenirs—rocks, shells and even food. The only souvenirs I take from my travels are pictures and my memories.  This is the reason why I treasure my photos a lot and why I am very sensitive when others don’t ask my permission prior to using them. I just don’t take pictures for the sake of being able to say I have been to a place.  To me, they are the embodiment of a memory and a reminder of what it means to be in that place.

This post is my entry to Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme Treasure.

Find Me!


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Nope! That’s not me! That is my beautiful cousin Aya. 🙂 But I am somewhere in that photograph taking a picture of well…myself!

Have a blessed week ahead everyone!

This post is my entry to Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme Selfie.