Thursday, March 31, 2011

Santorini: Cable Or Mule Ride

Alas, the moment arrived. It was time to bid Santorini adieu.

I thought that I can finally cross out Santorini on my travel list, but at that same moment, I realized that I have to put it back on my "must return to visit" list. Santorini is more beautiful than I have imagined. The photos I took couldn't justify the beauty I've seen. In my opinion, Santorini must be experienced in all five human senses. If there's a sixth sense, by all means use it too.
A beauty I'll always remember.
The fastest way to descend from Fira to the harbor is through cable.
We opted for the cable.
Getting tickets for the cable ride.
The cable ride is comfy and fast.
Unless, you're more fit to take the mule path. Here's the pathway from Fira to the old harbor (vice versa). I've seen people hike the whole thing and if you prefer, you can ride a mule through that steep, long and winding path.
 Here's a better photo of the mule path. (Source)
I heard comments that the path is smelly as it is littered with mule droppings. All part of the experience if you're up for it.
A quick ride and we were already at the harbor.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I Remember Pearl Harbor

It is through conversations with my dad that I learned about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, how the Pacific plunged into World War II, how the battle at Midway was fought, how the Filipino guerrilla movement persevered under immense pressure and more. You see, my dad was a history teacher in the Philippines, and I feel so lucky that even before I started first grade, he was telling me stories of how grandma and grandpa survived the Japanese occupation in the Philippines, how grandpa fought in Okinawa and was presumed dead until he came home three years after.

My family, my grandparents specifically, survived World War II and lived through history. I have two grandfathers, on my father's side, who fought under the Philippine guerrilla movement while my alapo (grandpa), on my mother's side, helped the escape of two American POWs imprisoned by the Japanese during the war. Now why am I talking about World War II? Because today, I'm featuring Pearl Harbor.

As the Japanese campaign, Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, moved forward in Asia unchallenged, it was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that sealed America's plunge into World War II. On December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor burned and engulfed with smoke as the wings of death came through "353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves." (Source here.)
"Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan... No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people will through their righteous might win through to absolute victory... With confidence in our armed forces-with the unbounded determination of our people-we will gain the inevitable triumph-so help us God. I, therefore, ask that the Congress declare that since the dastardly and unprovoked attack by Japan on Sunday, December seventh, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire." (President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dec. 8, 1941, speech asking Congress to declare war on Japan)

This is Pearl Harbor at present.

It begins here. Japan wanted to cripple the U.S. Pacific Fleet guaranteeing their success in occupying Southeast Asia. Ironically, this surprise attack guaranteed a "reaction" from the US.

"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve." (Admiral Yamamoto)

A feeling of eeriness came over me as I stood staring at USS Arizona's anchor.
Visiting Pearl Harbor is free, but you have to obtain tour tickets in order to know what time you have to show up at the gate for the informational video.
After the video, visitors will take a short boat ride to the Memorial.
As our boat sailed to the Memorial's direction, I took a photo of Mighty Mo. I find it fitting that Mighty Mo is finally at home on the waters of the Pacific strategically beside USS Arizona. I'd like to think that Might Mo looks after the USS Arizona.
The Missouri was launched on Jan. 29, 1944, and commissioned on June 11, 1944. She was assigned to the Pacific Third Fleet and steamed into Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1944. The USS Missouri was part of the force that carried out bombing raids over Tokyo and provided firepower in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. During the war’s final month, the “Mighty Mo” served as Admiral William “Bull” Halsey’s flagship for the Pacific Third Fleet. The Missouri secured its place in history as the site of Japan’s unconditional surrender to the Allied Forces on Sept. 2, 1945, ending World War II. The ceremony for the signing of the Formal Instrument of Surrender was conducted by Supreme Allied Commander, General Douglas A. MacArthur. (Source)
The memorial looks very simple, but succeeds to remind each visitor what happened here.
Here THEY are remembered.

"To the memory of the gallant men here entombed and their shipmates who gave their lives in action on December 7, 1941 on the U.S.S. Arizona"
Oil still leaks from the sunken ship.
From the website, "There were 1.4 million gallons of fuel on the USS Arizona when she sank. Over 60 years later, approximately nine quarts still surfaces from the ship each day. Some Pearl Harbor survivors have referred to the oil droplets as "Black Tears."
This is the memorial built on top of the sunken USS Arizona. Please remember that this is a tomb or resting place of the 1,177 crewmen who died on December 7, 1941 (Source here.), so visitors are required to observe silence and be respectful at all times.
A flag flutters in silence over the memorial.
The Tree of Life.
Everett Hyland - USS CT. Pearl Harbor Survivor.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Dark New Love

I know I ranted on my previous post, and I thank you for reading. It's Friday and I'm starting to feel myself again. I also found a new love.

I've always been a milk chocolate person, but with this new Dove raspberry and dark chocolate swirl, I won't hesitate to indulge with this dark new love from time to time.


Raspberry swirls are oh-so-lovely and delish.

What's your new love these days? A wonderful weekend to all.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What Are You Mad At?

Warning: This is a rant.

This is in no relation to the ongoing March Madness (US college basketball), but I thought it's a good idea to list a few things that are making me "mad"  these days.
  • Gas prices - are going up uncontrollably and this is making my work commute expensive. I'm concerned that by tomorrow, gas will be at $5 per gallon (very possible). Hawaii is already at $4 per gallon.
  • Telemarketers - who keep calling and doesn't understand the meaning of NO and I AM NOT INTERESTED. I have these telemarketers who sell minutes for Philippine calls and no matter how many times I've told them politely that I am not interested, they still pester me every night. Now, I just drop their calls.
  • Rude drivers at I-270 - who bully, tailgate, honk their horn at drivers who stay within the speed limit. Pocket that rudeness, respect other drivers and let's share the road.
  • Nonsense reality TV shows - need I say more? Please note that I said "nonsense." There are only a few good reality TV shows out there.
  • Disrespectful neighbors - who steal reserved parking spots and have no respect on personal, private space. Don't buy four cars if you're allotted only two parking spots and don't steal my parking spot because you're too freakin' lazy to park near the street.
  • Irresponsible coworkers - who do not care about their responsibilities, let others take the burden and then get away with it. I demand justice!
  • DC Metro seat hogs - who don't care even if they see the elderly or pregnant women struggling to keep their balance in the train. Seats are for people not for your bags, legs, pizza or any other stuff you're carrying. I hope Metro makes them pay for those extra seats they occupy.
  • Low Platelets - that has been unresponsive and does not care what it's doing to my health and body.
  • People who can't keep their word - there are a people who can talk much but are unable to back their words with action. Sad but true.
  • Greedy people - much to my dismay the green-eyed monster becomes greener in times of special circumstances. This green-eyed monster rears its ugly head especially in times of death or family struggle. How do you deal with such people? Piss off greedy people!
Where did all the nice people go? I miss nice people.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    LP: Itim (Black)

    Kuha ang mga larawang ito sa Templo ng Byodo-in sa Kaneohe, Hawaii. Ang mga itim na gansa ay napakagandang pagmasdan lalo na at sila'y kaaya-aya kung kumilos o gumalaw.

    These photos were taken at the Byodo-in Temple at Kaneohe, Hawaii. These beautiful black swans were so relaxing to watch especially that they always seem to move with quietness and grace.

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Wicked In D.C.

    Image Source Here.

    The musical Wicked is coming to D.C.! I have been waiting for the tickets to go on sale. Last week, Kennedy Center's website was slowed down due to the volume of people purchasing tickets and trying to get good seats. It took me four tries before I got into the website and about two times I lost the seats I wanted. Finally on Tuesday afternoon, I got two front row, tier 2 tickets for a July showing. I know it's three months away, but now I can relax knowing that I have seats reserved.

    Here's an info about Wicked, taken from The Kennedy Center website:

    Music and lyrics by Stephen SchwartzBook by Winnie HolzmanDirected by Joe Mantello

    Back by "Popular" demand. Entertainment Weekly calls Wicked " the best musical of the decade," and when it last played Washington, D.C. in 2005, it broke box office records and sold out in record time. Winner of 35 major awards, including a Grammy and three Tony Awards, Wicked is Broadway's biggest blockbuster, a cultural phenomenon, and was named "the defining musical of the decade" by the New York Times.

    Long before that girl from Kansas arrives in Munchkinland, two girls meet in the land of Oz. One--born with emerald green skin--is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. How these two grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good makes for "the most complete and completely satisfying new musical in a long time" (USA Today).

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    St. Patty's Day!

    Recent weekend, I took these photos at the Washingtonian Center as the mall celebrated St. Patty's Day a few days early. I think that's because St. Patty's Day falls on a work day.

    Kepi and I sat at a nearby bench and enjoyed listening to the Irish music of the Kelly Family. Their music is really good and they play extremely well. I was really impressed with that girl playing the Banjo.
    I thought these clowns were the cutest. They were busy greeting and making everyone smile.

    Most of my coworkers are wearing green today. I feel odd because I'm the only one dressed in brown and khaki. People kept asking why I wasn't wearing green; it's a shame I forgot (honest). I have so many things in my mind especially that I just had another adventure at the Hematology department. But here's a very green, St. Patty's Day post in the hopes of redeeming myself from forgetting St. Patrick's Day.

    Wishing everyone a safe and happy St. Patty's Day!

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    LP: Kulay Rosas (Pink)

    Ito ang kulay rosas na Dogwood. Napakarami ang bulaklak na ito tuwing tagsibol.

    This is the pink Dogwood. They bloom everywhere especially during spring.

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    I Love Hanauma!

    As our car drove through Sandy Beach, I knew we were close to Hanauma Bay. I've been to Hanauma Bay several times before but when you only come home to the islands once a year or sometimes once in two years, you sometimes have to think harder in order to remember the roads and turns to certain destinations; that's me. Since I moved to the mainland, my heart longs and aches for Hawaii every single day, but every time I come home and step on the islands, the spirit of aloha makes me forget that I've been away for so long. The longing slowly dissipates as my heart swells of great warmth and happiness - an absolute love for the islands and the island life. This is how Hanauma Bay makes me feel every single time I visit, every time I dip my toes into its salty waters, every time I gaze from the hill top and marvel at its blue waters with the gentle Hawaiian breeze whispering to my ears, "Hanauma Bay's beauty is almost heavenly."

    I remember the first time I swam here, I was filled with awe because of its beauty from afar and within. Fishes of species I do not know and of different vibrant colors swim, feed, play and hide beneath its corals. Hanauma is a world on its own that you'll forget that life exists outside this beautiful bay. Here, it's just Hanauma and I.
    No wander that "in 1967, Hanauma Bay was declared a protected marine life conservation area and underwater park." And for those interested in underwater volcanoes, "the bay floor is actually the crater of an ancient volcano that flooded when the exterior wall collapsed and the ocean rushed in." (Source here.)
    And when the stress of life comes rushing in, I close my eyes and picture this perfect view in my mind - the feel of sand on my feet, the gentle waves caressing the shore, the sun in my eyes as I float on the waters of Hanauma Bay.
    The water is so clear, you can see the coral reef at the bottom of the water. How could you forget such beauty? Never.

    • Hanauma Bay is a marine conservation area: no pets allowed; no alcoholic beverages; no fishing or feeding the fish; do not remove, harass, or harm any marine life.
    • Avoid standing or walking on the coral reef.
    • Parking per car is $1 (A lot of people visit the bay so it is recommended to arrive early as the parking lot fills up quickly.)
    • Admission: $5 per person admission fee for 13 year old or older. The bay is FREE for children under 13 years, Hawaii residents and military stationed in Hawaii with proper ID.
    More information is available here.

    Sunday, March 13, 2011

    Cat Kettle

    Cat Kettle by kayni2010

    I was browsing at Pier 1 Imports and this kettle caught my eye. I would have bought it but I already own two tea kettles, so I took home a photo instead. I just wanted to share some smile and cuteness this Monday.

    Happy Monday!

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    Spicy Soup For The Soul

    When it's rainy outside and I just had a rough day at work, I tend to look for comfort in the form of food. I know it sounds bad, but for me, nothing is as assuring and relaxing as having that sit down dinner at my favorite Korean soup stand. While I wait for my order, I let go of the mishaps of my day and just be in that moment - a small Korean soup stand located in the middle of a bustling Asian supermarket.

    I listen to the chatter of shoppers passing by, the clanging pots in the small kitchen soup stand, customer slurping his noodles from a nearby table, clicking of chopsticks, cash register ringing another order, baby crying somewhere, squeaky grocery cart wheels, occasional arghgh or loud out breath of a customer who can't handle the spiciness of the soup or the kimchee, couple speaking Korean, couple speaking Spanish, thud of the butcher's knife, Korean pop music playing (I think it's the Girls' Generation.)...

    I'm ready to eat. I am hungry. I am in the moment and this moment is for eating - nourish my body and my soul.

    My order arrives.

    KoreanFood by kayni2010
    Korean Sundubu Jjigae Seafood

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    I Need A "Meiji" Break!

    This week is turning out to be stressful challenging:
    • Traffic was horrible this morning. I-270 was packed and slow.
    • Metro was running so slow; I don't know why.
    • It's been raining since I woke up and the weatherman said it will rain until tonight.
    • My monthly freakin' visitor is so unfriendly. She's not welcome anymore!
    • I have a big meeting next week, and I'm doing majority of the preparation.
    • I am not looking forward to dealing with my KSP coworker. Drama alert all over this one.
    Meiji by kayni2010
    So pardon me while I savor a bar of milk chocolate before I eat my lunch. This is why I love being a grown-up, I can eat dessert before a meal. If this week is trying for you as well, take a load off and join me for a sweet break. I'd be glad to have some company.

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    LP: Kayumanggi (Brown)

    Ito ay mga Malasadas or Portuguese Donuts na luto ng Leonard's Hawaii. Niluluto lang ang mga ito kapag may nag-order kaya't kung minsan, pinapanood namin ang mga ito habang minamasa, pinoporma at priniprito hanggang sa maging kayumanggi ang kulay. Masarap itong kainin habang mainit pa kasabay ng kape o tsaa.

    These are called Malasadas or Portuguese Donuts from Leanord's of Hawaii. They're only cooked when a customer orders them. Sometimes, we watch how they're prepared, formed and fried to delicious golden browns. They're best eaten fresh and warm with a cup of coffee or tea.

    Leonard's Bakery is only found in the islands of O'ahu and Hawaii and in Yokohama, Japan. If you want to read more about Malasadas click here - Leonard's Bakery.

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

    Ultimate Wants This Spring and Summer

    I've been thinking what I'd want this coming spring and summer. This list helps get my thoughts straight as the season changes. Here are my ultimate wants for spring and summer in no particular order.

    1.) FLOWERS
    * I love the smell and sight of flowers blooming in my bedroom and in my living room. I'd love to see flowers bloom at my garden. Flowers have the ability to make me smile and feel feminine. I still haven't decided what flowers I'd plant on my garden, but I'd like to see some pinks, purples and yellows.
    Globe Thistle in full bloom at Williamsburg, VA.

    * Last year, my tomatoes were a success. This year, I'd like to add more variety to my vegetable garden. I'm thinking sweet peas, green beans, lettuce, basil, mint and of course, tomatoes. If only I could plant malunggay or ampalaya here.
     Last year's tomato harvest.

    3.) DAY TRIPS
    * I'm so lucky my house is at the border of two states, so I'd like to explore more of both states this spring and summer. Also, day trips are a great way to enjoy the warm weather and experience the beauty of the mid-atlantic.
    Skyline Ridge, VA 

    4.) BOOKS
    * I still haven't crossed over to the e-books genre; I think I'll never will. I love the smell and feel of books too much. There's just something different about holding a real book on my hand, browsing through the pages, looking at real  ink, and most especially, I love the smell of books especially if they're old, dusty, faded and chipped. The flutter of a book's pages being turned is music to my ears. I have a couple of unread books left but I know I'll be able to read 'em all soon. It would be nice to get some new ones to read and add to my library.

    5.) HOLIDAY
    * I'm ready for the next adventure. June trip is already booked and confirmed. There are a few more things to take care of, but the dates are set. Scandinavia here I come!

    6.) SLEEP
    * I believe stress is the culprit why some nights, sleep hides away from me. I miss those days when I'd sleep for a straight uninterrupted eight hours. I can't seem to calm my mind before and even during my sleep. What can I say, my mind is comparable to a "city that never sleeps." These spring and summer, I'd like more opportunity to nap and get caught up with sleep.

    7.) BE FIT & HEALTHY
    * I gained weight and my wardrobe is in limbo. I'd like to be out walking and exercising more this spring and summer. It's unfair that some people can eat so much yet still look fit. I, on the other hand, would just eat a few slices of bread and it would show up on my butt or thighs. Instead of complaining about it, I choose to be more active and fit.

    * I love wearing flip flops. This sunny season, all I want is find that "perfect" pair of flip flops that doesn't cut or cause me pain after a good amount of walking.
     Taken during a tour at the Vatican, I had to wear flip flops because my shoes were soaked during a downpour the day before.

    How about you? What are your ultimate wants this spring or summer?

    Friday, March 4, 2011


    In life, we each take, follow or lead different pathways. Sometimes, it is our choices, our experiences, our heartaches and our longings that pave way to finding our true route in life.  May we all follow our own true path and enjoy the journey as well.


    that seem unending.
    that lead to the sea.
    that show a glimpse of the destination.
    to a lovely home.
    that seem to end.
    to togetherness.
    going down.
    to the top.
    to an overview of the beautiful town of Fira.

    Note: If you look to the right, lower corner of the last photo, you'll see the winding, traditional route going down to the old port of Fira. You can hike, take the cable or ride a mule to take that steep pathway. If you decide to hike that route, just be careful with mule droppings.