Thursday, December 29, 2011

Santa Skis At The National Harbor

One of the things we did during the Christmas weekend is watch the water ski stunts at the National Harbor. What's intriguing is that the skiers were in Christmas costumes. It was so chili that day that Kepi got sick the next day. Obviously, the water is cold at this time of year and I was impressed how the skiers took the waters and went on with their show anyway.

The National Harbor Christmas Tree. This is the area where the water skiers performed.

A dog elf.

Frosty the snowman on a boat.

The water skiing reindeers.

A flying elf.

An elf sky skiing.

This is the Grinch, who couldn't get his jet ski started.

Of course - water skiing Santa.

Santa did well skiing. My only comment is that this is one fit Santa.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Christmas Morning

I woke up real early on Christmas Day and tiptoed to the kitchen to make myself a warm cup of cocoa.

Everyone was still asleep as we had a late night on Christmas Eve.  After the Midnight Festive Mass, we came home at around 1 AM and proceeded to open our presents; it was Christmas morning after all. It was a wonderful, warm feeling to see family light up with smiles as they each opened their wrapped presents. Pieces of wrappers and ribbons fell down like rain, as Dizzy, the house cat, pawed and playfully chewed the ribbons and perched on every discarded wrapper. At this time of year, it is about family, home and of course - the cat.

It's not about the presents at all. Christmas morning was made beautiful with thoughts that: a Savior's birth is celebrated; my family is tucked safely at home sleeping; thankful that my health is improving; my job is going well; love abounds at home; and blessings never stop pouring.

After the presents have been unwrapped and the shouts of excitement dissipated, it was nice to wake up to a quiet, peaceful morning. A Christmas morning made special with a cup of cocoa and the warm company of a cat.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Dear All,

Merry Christmas from our home to yours.

Thank you for everything.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Denmark's Frederiksborg Castle

From Copenhagen, we hopped on a train to Hillerod. It was a thirty minute ride along Denmark's green country side. When we got to Hillerod, we had to figure out which direction was the castle; there were no signs at the train station and there was no customer service to ask for information. Coincidentally, there was a couple from California who were also looking for the castle and we all decided to just walk and ask the locals. In a matter of minutes, we were able to figure out where we're supposed to be heading.

I was in awe when I saw the castle across the lake. Kepi and I bid goodbye to the California couple as they kept walking while we decided to stop for photos.

It was a good 15 minute walk until we finally reached the front of the castle.

A fountain in front of the castle.

This is the main entry to the castle after crossing the moat.

More of Frederiksborg Castle to come.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Postcard From Denmark

Frederiksborg Castle is one of my favorite castles in Denmark. The location, the castle itself and the gardens are simply spectacular.

Frederiksborg Castle is situated in the centre of Hillerod on three islets in the Castle Lake surrounded by Frederiksborg Castle Gardens.

Frederiksborg Castle Gardens consist of a romantic landscaped garden and a baroque garden, recreated in 1996 according to studies of J.C. Krieger's gardens from 1725. (Source)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Little Mermaid Of Copenhagen

After the Gefion Fountain, we took the bus to see the Little Mermaid. What I had in my mind was the Ariel in Disney movies - you know, red flowing hair, fair skinned and beautiful voice.  Well, the sculpture is very simple but very iconic.

 The Little Mermaid symbolizes the fairy tale by Danish author and poet Hans Christian Andersen, the story of a young mermaid who fell in love with a prince who lived on land, and often came up to the edge of the water to look for her love. (Source)

The story of The Little Mermaid is not a very happy one - she visits a witch and agrees to give the witch her tongue, in exchange for legs to replace her fish tail, so she can live on land with her love, the prince she's seen from her visits to the shore. And every step she takes on her new legs hurt like she is walking on swords. To be with her love she chooses to become a mute and to be in pain with every step she takes. Yet despite all her dreams and sacrifices she never gets to be with him. (Source)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Copenhagen's Gefion Fountain

After the Rosenberg Castle, we took the bus to the Gefion Fountain. Copenhagen is real easy to get around with Copenhagen's efficient train and bus system, everything is accessible.  Also, we stayed at a hotel walking distance to one of the metro stops, so it was easy for us to just hop on the train wherever we wanted to go. Fortunately, it was perfect walking weather when we were in Copenhagen so we made the most of it and spent most of our days outdoors.

 The Gefion Fountain is the largest monument in Copenhagen. The fountain is to Copenhagen what the Fontana di Trevi is to Rome, a wishing-well. The goddess Gefion is the fountain’s main figure.(Source)

Even if the main attraction is the fountain, if you find yourself here, I suggest you walk around the park.

 English Church - St. Alban's Church (1885-87)

I love the water lilies. I found this area very relaxing.

St. Alban's Church taken at the entrance to the Kastellet.

This is definitely one of the places I enjoyed visiting in Copenhagen.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Copenhagen's Rosenberg Castle

After our Baltic tour, we stayed in Copenhagen for four days to rest before we head home to the US.  Copenhagen is clean, friendly and it's an easy city to navigate.  We loved walking around the city, eating bread and pastries on their cafes, exploring the tourist spots and most of all - their beautiful castles.  I really enjoyed Copenhagen; there's just something about this city that makes me feel at home.  Anyway, one of our first stops is the Rosenberg Castle.

Rosenborg Castle stands today, with its tall towers and its red masonry with sandstone ornaments, as a distinguished example of Christian IV's many building projects, perfect despite many changes during its construction history. The Castle is built in the special Dutch Renaissance style which became typical of Danish buildings during this period. A couple of architects, Bertel Lange and Hans van Steenwinckel, are associated with the Castle. Christian IV's own effort is often discussed but there is no doubt that he came up with many of the ideas. (Source)

The castle is located close to the Royal Garden, where we spent a lot of our time relaxing, watching people and just sitting on their vast grassy lawn.

This is the view from The Royal Garden.

This window is from the entrance gate to the castle.

There's more of Denmark to come. I apologize for being absent in the blogging world as life has caught up with me. Also, I've been trying to finish my two final papers for my first semester in grad school, while preparing for the holidays.

Life is good. I hope that you're all doing well. Thank you for always visiting.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!

My dearest Mom,

I wish you a wonderful birthday.
Thank you for the unending love and support you have given.

You were there when I was born.
You are here in my trying times.

I would not have made it without you.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Christmas Wish List

This is for my online gift exchange buddies. Have fun shopping! I know I'll have a great time hunting presents for all of you.

 Here's my Christmas Wish List:
  • Something you can use everyday: scented pens or 2012 small monthly organizer
  • Something cute: any Sanrio stuff
  • Something light or small: cute earphones
  • Something fancy: bracelet or necklace
  • Something sweet: milk chocolate, any Filipino sweets
  • Favorite colors: pink and lavender
  • Something you really need: knitted scarf or mittens, any winter stuff to keep me warm
  • Something you collect: Filipiniana themed paper products (papelmelroti), fridge magnets, Christmas ornaments
  • If you have one wish, what would it be: to have my full health back

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Maryland Getaway

We often speak, write and brag about vacations of faraway, forgetting that right where we are is a near destination absolutely beautiful worth exploring.

For Kepi's birthday, I took him to the town of Oxford for a weekend getaway. Oxford is about two hours drive from the Metro DC area, but the atmosphere there is contrast to the bustling city life in DC. Oxford is tucked quietly on the shores of the Chesapeake. Interestingly, Oxford has only one gas station and about five restaurants, that serves good food I may say. But the highlight of our getaway is Sandaway, the bed and breakfast we stayed in perched perfectly on a private beach and THE place to watch the sun set over the Chesapeake.

The Chesapeake

Home away from home.

Waiting for the sun to set.


With cups of cocoa and tea to warm our hands, we ended the day watching the painted sky right from our bedroom window.

Happy Birthday, Kepi!

Monday, November 28, 2011

To My Christmas Exchange Gift Partners

I have three Christmas exchange gift partners so far, I'll play Santa to Kate, Photo Cache, Amelia, and they'll be Santas to me. To my gift partners, please post your Christmas wish list by December 2nd, so that I can start shopping for all of you. I'll be sending packages by December 10th.

Image Source

Christmas Wish List Guide
  • Something you can use everyday:
  • Something cute:
  • Something light or small:
  • Something fancy:
  • Something sweet:
  • Favorite colors:
  • Something you really need:
  • Something you collect:
  • If you have one wish, what would it be:
Please note that this list is just a guideline. It's Christmas and whatever you put into that box will surely make me happy as long as it's packed with cheer and kindness.

    Sunday, November 27, 2011

    Christmas Tree And Black Friday

    After spending a wonderful Thanksgiving with Mom and Kepi, it was time to put up the tree and light up the house with the Christmas spirit. This tree is so beautiful to look at especially when it's all lit up at night.

     Every year, we buy an ornament that represents what our year was like. This year, we added a faberge egg ornament we got in St. Petersburg, Russia.

    I already feel Christmas in my heart.

    Of course, we hit the stores on Black Friday and here's our loot. I think we did well on the shopping this year especially that we got DVD and Blu Ray movies as cheap as $1.99 to $3.99. Majority of our purchases were 50% off. We also got free Tin Tin ornaments and movie tickets this year. The lines weren't bad, and I think that's because some stores were open at 9 pm and 12 am Thanksgiving Day.

    Just wondering, anyone want to do an exchange gift with me? Nothing fancy or expensive but just something to look forward to on the mail. Let me know.

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Milan And The Mal Educata Filipinas

    I visited Milan in 2010, but I never got around to posting these photos until now.

    Kepi and I spent most of our time in Venice, but we decided to hop on the train to Milan to visit an old friend and high school classmate, Vids. It was an emotional meeting as it's been ten years since I last saw her. After the unending hugs at the train station, we took the hop-on and hop-off bus to explore Milan.

    We spent most of the bus ride just chatting. There were so many things to say. After all, stories and gossips repressed for years must come out. There were so many updates to be said - about former classmates, friends of old and who married who. We were busily chatting when an Italian lady told us sternly to shut-up. Okay, so Vids and I lowered our voice to a whisper and kept on talking anyway. The bus is a tourist bus filled with all sorts of people talking and laughing, but it bothers me that she singled us out. Also, her companion and herself were also loud in the bus. After a few minutes, the Italian lady stood up and started shouting, "Mal educata, Filippino!" (Bad mannered, Filipino!)

    I was in total shock.

    Vids got up and started a word fight with the woman. It's a good thing Vids is well-versed in Italian. I was shaking with anger and shock because no one has ever treated me that way. It was a good three minutes of word fight. When we reached our next stop, Vids, Kepi and I decided to get off the bus.

    That's my story of Milan and the mal educata Filipinas. I think this is one reason why it took me longer to post my Milan adventure, as I was waiting for my shock and anger to subside. I've been trying to forget about that Milan incident and although it has given me a taste of how some people can be racist, that won't stop me from seeing my friend again and of course enjoying beautiful Milan.

    Caffe Latte from Milan's McDonalds

    Inside Duomo di Milano

    One of the most beautiful cathedrals I've seen - Duomo di Milano

    We took the elevators to check out the top of the Duomo. It's really beautiful up there.

    An interesting statue I saw at the Duomo.

    Gargoyle and on the bottom right is the Madonnina.

    The top is filled with spires and I found it hard to photograph.

    The roof is known for its pinnacles and spires, set upon delicate flying buttresses.

    And yes, we watched the sunset on the roof.  A wonderful way to experience Milan.