Friday, February 25, 2011

Panagbenga Theme Song Acoustic Version

As the drums, gongs and flowers reclaim the streets of Baguio once again, here I am wishing I was there.  The Panagbenga Festival is in full bloom.

The 16th Baguio Flower Festival's theme is "The Environment and Community in Harmony." 

More power to you Baguio City, one of my favorite cities in the world.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

LP: Kaunti (Few)

Kaunting araw na lang at magbubukang lubusan ang globe thistle flower na ito.

A few more days and this globe thistle flower will be in full bloom.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What To Do On A Snow Day

I woke up to six inches of snow today, so since roads were unplowed and I didn't want to risk my car getting stuck in sludge, ice and snow, I decided to telecommute. At 6 a.m., I was already out shoveling snow, clearing out the sidewalks and scraping ice on my car; I did hurt my shoulders and back in the process.

The rest of my day looks like this:
  • signed on and monitored work e-mail
  • make coffee and toast for breakfast
  • iced my sore shoulders and back
  • cleaned house
  • organized living room furnitures
  • arranged books into bookshelf
  • laundry - washed, dried and folded
  • checked work e-mail
  • lunch - adobo and rice
  • wrote and edited article for submission
  • watched "Bridget Jone's Diary" on cable
  • called Mom
  • checked work e-mail again
  • shoveled snow again
  • wrapped my hands around my hot tea for warmth - my fingers felt numbed
  • in flip-flops, I walked, actually ran, to the mailbox to pick up mail - Mom sent me some Filipino movies
  • signed off from work e-mail
  • dinner - adobe leftover with rice and tea
With thick socks, a knitted hat, sweater, hand warmers, another cup of tea, and my Filipino movies in tow, I'm heading to my bedroom to cuddle with my electric blanket and rest my sore body. I'll be dreaming of spring.

Goodnight, Mr. Old Man Winter!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cuties Of Pyrgos

In Pyrgos, I couldn't resist taking photos of these lovely and friendly cats. I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I enjoyed snapping their photos.

"With their qualities of cleanliness, discretion, affection, patience, dignity, and courage, how many of us, I ask you, would be capable of becoming cats?" (Fernand Mery, Her Majesty the Cat)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Narrow Walkways Of Pyrgos

You need good walking shoes and a bit of stamina if you want to explore Pyrgos. Its ascending, narrow, tortuous pedestrian only walkways and traditional old houses make Pyrgos both a photographer's favorite and a nightmare for out-of-shape people like me. Accompanied with heavy breathing and with a sweaty t-shirt clinging on my back, reaching the top of Pyrgos brought me more than relief but also a breath of fresh Mediterranean air, and a spectacular view of the island.

One of the 33 churches in Pyrgos.
White church buildings and the blue painted domes are a familiar sight in Santorini.
Narrow entrances to residential houses.
The walkways get narrower as you near the top.
This orange cat followed us through our tour.
I think I took this photo when we took a break during the climb.
The view gets better as you climb higher.
We weren't allowed to see the inside of this church. I think it was strictly for Greek Orthodox only.
  A view at the top at last!

Purple flowers adorned the walkway walls as we descended back to our bus.
A map of Pyrgos.

Our tour guide explained that the village of Pyrgos was purposely built narrow and dense to thwart pirate attacks. She mentioned that it was easier to defend a village that is densely contained and protected with walls.

Although I strained during the hike to the highest peak of Pyrgos, I really enjoyed meeting some of the locals who were always smiling and friendly. Next time, I'll make sure to be more fit for more strenuous hikes or walks.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

LP: Ito (This)

Ito ang tanawin na kung tawagin ay "Wilderness Area" sa summit ng Haleakala Volcano sa Maui, Hawaii. Sa lahat ng aking paglalakbay, isa ito sa mga pinakamagandang tanawin na aking nasaksihan. Napakatahimik dito at magandang lugar para magmuni muni.

This view is designated as the Wilderness Area high up in the summit of Haleakala Volcano in Maui, Hawaii. In all my travels, this is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. A perfect place to meditate because up there, silence reigns supreme.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My First Glimpse Of Thira

We were still having breakfast when our ship began its slow approach to Santorini or Thira (official name of the island). The night before, I couldn't contain my excitement that I tossed and turned throughout the evening. My dream of visiting Santorini is finally coming true.

From our ship, we took a ferry to take us ashore. Santorini has two ports - old and new. From the ship, we're entering Santorini through the new port. But going back to the ship, we're using the old port. For adventurous travelers, the old port has its own charm, which I'll cover in my next posts.
The village of Oia. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see Oia. We visited the traditional village of Pyrgos instead.
For those who didn't book a tour, they can go ashore by taking this same ferry for a small charge.
Our tour bus. I was the first one who got in.
Brochure ready and ready to explore.
I took this photo as our bus started its ascent of Mount Profitis Ilias.
The islands of Nea (new) Kameni which is roughly 500 years old and Palea (old) Kameni which is 2000 years old (farthest). These two islands are made of black lava and are uninhabited. I heard Palea is known for its hot springs. Perhaps that's one thing I should check out for future visits.
Our bus' first stop is at the 18th century monastery of Profitis Ilias. Profitis Ilias is closed to visitors; the structure is deemed unsafe due to volcanic earthquakes. The monastery of Profitis Ilias is located at the highest peak and is a great place to get a panoramic view of the whole island. According to our guide, Profitis Ilias is currently home to one solitary monk.

Next, the narrow, ascending streets of Pyrgos.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Port Of Kusadasi

My tour of Kusadasi and the areas nearby would soon come to an end. Turkey is such an impressive and beautiful place to visit, and if given another chance, I would absolutely visit again in the future. Historically and culturally abundant, Turkey is a gold mine for history and archeology enthusiasts. And even if you're not into history or archeology, you'll be left awe-stricken with how much this place has to offer. So as our tour winded down, although too tired and too hungry, our feet took us shopping - that is until it was time to go back to the ship.

I wanted to take home one or two of these lanterns, but I was afraid they might brake during the trip.
Shops near the port and yes, these shop keepers can get pushy. It's a very interesting experience especially with bargaining.

Night came too soon.

Sağ olun (thank you), Turkey!
Soon, we were sailing for our next destination - Santorini, Greece.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

LP: Ala-ala

Ala-ala means memories.

Paminsan minsan lang ako nakakain ng tuyo, pero tuwing may pagkakataon na ako'y nakakaluto nito, hindi ko maiwasang mapangiti sa mga masasayang ala-ala ng aking pamilyang salo-salong kumakain nito sa hapag-kainan.

I rarely eat dried fish these days, but whenever given the time to cook, happy memories of my family eating together around this dish never fails to make me smile.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Didymaion - Temple of Apollo, Turkey

After our tour at Miletus, our bus took us to Didyma. According to our guide, Didyma "was a very important sacred site in the ancient Greek world because of its famous oracle and the magnificent Temple of Apollo." Our guide elaborated that "Didyma means "twin" referring to the twins Apollo and Artemis; the Temple of Artemis was built in Miletus. The Temple of Apollo or Didymaion was approximately built in the 10th Century B.C.; the date is still under debate."

Ruins and columns of the Temple of Apollo.

A lion guards the entry way.
There were originally 122 Ionic columns, only three remain intact.

The columns were measured to be 60 ft tall with a 6 feet diameter. (Source here.)
Relief of a Griffin

Medusa's Head, possibly carved by Aphrodisias. (Source here.)

A few facts about Didyma:
  • Didyma was known as a cult center in Miletus (Source here.)
  • Alexander the Great captured Miletus and handed Miletus full administration of the oracle. (Source here.)
  • "The Temple of Apollo (Didymaion) was the largest and wealthiest Ionic temple in Anatolia and was renowned for its holy relics, its treasury, its sacred spring and sacred laurel grove." (Source here.)