Saturday, July 21, 2012

A day in Milan

Milan is a great Roman city which one can get a glimpse even for just a day - starting off with its famous cathedral Duomo, other interesting structures near the square where Duomo is, to the Castello.
You would know you are already looking at Duomo when you see its majestic beauty looming. It's like a castle floating in the midst of all the structure in the square. Just being around it makes me feel I am in the medieval period. Its structure is nothing like any cathedral I have seen before. We do have many churches up in northern Philippines, where i came from. In fact, our place is a fave destination for a pilgrimage. But Duomo is different. It's like a massive crown that mesmerizes me.
Duomo Italy and me
We reached Duomo late in the afternoon, at about 5 PM, and it was very timely. During this hour of the day, the sun is down casting light upon Duomo and it shines like a white marble thing leaving the rest in the dark. No wonder, Duomo was made of bricks and pink marble of Candoglia.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Musicians at the Cathedral in Barcelona

Perhaps one of the most memorable experiences I have had in Barcelona is witnessing local musicians play while people dance together on the street, fronting the Cathedral. I really was so lucky to have seen this. It was late in the afternoon and I was kinda lost into the maze of structures around Las Ramblas, when I found the street heading to the Cathedral.
Dancing at the Cathedral

Monday, July 9, 2012

Las Ramblas, Barcelona in a day

With an influx of tourists wanting to enjoy the Spanish summer heat, it is hard to believe Spain is in deep economic trouble.  I witnessed the endless arrival of people at Las Ramblas in Barcelona – retirees, families, students from all over the world,mostly from other parts of Europe and US citizens queuing patiently to board the city tour bus, shopping, and drinking sangria. It is a sign of hope shining in this side of the Mediterranean Sea.
Las Ramblas itinerary

Friday, June 15, 2012

If you have a red passport

You are lucky in many ways.

You get to travel in many countries without securing first a visa in Manila. I’ve been to China and South Korea on a red passport. I’m looking forward to travel in the Schengen area, and guess what, except for Amsterdam and France as ports of entry, I don’t need to secure a visa first. A few thousand pesos were saved, not to mention a lot of effort and time going to the appropriate embassy and perhaps do interviews. Some countries like Japan require a visa but the fees are waived and the procedures are simple. If you use a red passport, most likely you don’t need to secure appointment with the embassies first. And most of the time, there is no need for a personal appearance because things will be done through your liaison officer.

red passport

Friday, June 1, 2012

Bohol churches

Baclayon Church interior
I was born from a province up north where old churches are within arm’s length and huge centuries-old altar was a weekly sight. Yet I still found churches in Bohol artistically enticing and welcoming. And so my camera feasted on its beautiful interiors. I take you back centuries ago with these photographs I took of Bohol’s historic churches. 
The Baclayon Church (1st, 2nd and 3rd photo) was our first destination when we got to Bohol. While for me the altar lacks the grandiosity of Cebu’s Basilica de Sto. Nino, its interior is nonetheless charmingly old. I really love the chandeliers looming against the faded blue ceiling of the church. I remember our church in Magsingal, a town located north of Vigan, what it used to be when I was a child. It had majestic chandeliers, in vivid red colors. Sadly, these have been taken down. Even the interior walls made of bricks which used to exude that old Spanish era feeling have now been covered with newer wall finishing. And so I envy Bohol for it has preserved its churches quite well.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Loboc River Cruise

Loboc river cruise 5
It was exactly a decade ago when I first visited Bohol, in 2002. Just last month, I had the opportunity to again visit this lovely paradise. Not much have changed in terms of the grandiose river and the rich flora that surrounds it. What I am glad about is how the tourism industry in the province have improved over time. I remember quite vividly that when we boarded the boats for the river cruise, we were just stepping on some stones on the riverside. And the boats were smaller then. Now, they have a designated area for boarding, paved, organized in an orderly fashion, with benches where people can wait for their turn. The area has been developed where there are now souvenir shops and other facilities. I extremely enjoyed the sumptuous buffet lunch we had at the cruise while enjoying a live band serenading us. Back then there were no live bands. Also, there is now an added attraction just floating by the river- a group of locals singing and dancing folk songs aboard a raft. It was fun especially that they invite visitors to dance with them, some tourists got to dance the Tinikling with them.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Royal Princess Larn Luang Bangkok: A Review

Royal Princess Larn Luang Bangkok 4
Highly recommended for its:
Spacious and comfortable room and bed
Great food, lots of food choices
Authentic Thai massage room service
Good location
I immensely enjoyed my stay at the Royal Princess even though during that time, there was a major renovation going on (that was October last year). The room is truly comfortable and spacious enough I can go around dancing. The photos I took of my room speaks for itself. Even under renovation, and I was walking through lobbies that only staff should be passing through, it did not bother me, there was slight inconvenience yes but I did not mind it, I had a great time in this hotel. There is a real good Chinese restaurant and a Japanese one. I had the luxury to order my food without waiting for even a minute (to exaggerate)because it was off-peak season and the hotel is under renovation as I said so there were not many people.
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