Saturday, July 31, 2010

Public [Photo Hunt]

These are recycled photos of Plaza de Armas in Fort Santiago, the fort's main square.  This place is open to the public for a minimal fee of 75 pesos (approximately $1.65).   At the entrance of Plaza de Armas are the brass footsteps of  Dr. Jose Rizal, embedded on concrete.  These are his footsteps from his prison cell to Bagumbayan where he was executed by firing squad  and made him a martyr of the Philippine Revolution.  Dr. Rizal was imprisoned in this fort in 1896 during his court martial---he was later convicted on charges of rebellion, sedition and conspiracy against the Spanish government.

Across Plaza de Armas is the Rizal Shrine, a public museum built in honor of Rizal's heroism.  The shrine holds Dr. Rizal's books, memorabilia, manuscripts and artworks, his famous poem Mi Ultimo Adios and a piece of his vertebra.   A life-size statue of  the hero holding a book stands at the edge of Plaza de Armas.  This statue made me wonder what was his favorite book.:p

Plaza de Armas at dusk

Posted for Photo Hunt

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Crab craving

In the mood for some crab?  Dig into this plate of Crabs with Chili Sauce---it's perfectly spiced and finger lickin' good!  We had this at  the Hong Kong Emperor Seafood Restaurant in MoA one rainy Saturday night. 

LP: Gusto/Ginusto


Sa dami ng gusto ko, di ko alam kung ano isusulat ko.  But right this minute, gusto ko ng bakasyon grande!  Sa isang magandang lugar na malapit sa dagat o ilog, tahimik, pwedeng magbasa maghapon habang nakahiga sa duyan, walang ulan at maaliwalas ang hangin.  Pero kailangan ko nga ba ng bakasyon, o nangangati lang ang paa ko?  Sa mga bagay-bagay naman, gusto ko ng bagong cell phone kasi may tantrum na itong cell phone ko.  Gusto ko rin ng bahay sa tabi ng bangin---hindi dahil gusto kong tumalon ha, gusto ko lang magandang view  pag-gising ko sa umaga.  At ang pinakagusto ko sa lahat...sana mag-desisyon na ang dapat mag-desisyon para hindi na ako mag-iisip ng kung anu-ano.:p  

My riches consist not in the extent of my possessions, but in the fewness of my wants.  ~J. Brotherton

 Posted for Litratong Pinoy

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shangri-la pier [Watery and Outdoor Wednesday]

View of Mactan Shangri-la's pier from Cowrie Cove, the hotel's al fresco seafood restaurant by the beach.  Boats for island-hopping or scuba diving are available at the hotel but the rates were outrageous compared to rental fees at the nearby Hilton pier.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tricycle [My World-Tuesday]

In remote areas like Caramoan [where this photo was taken], in  town  and city streets where buses and jeepneys are not allowed to operate, tricycles are the most common means of transportation.   A tricycle is a motorcycle with a sidecar (a passenger cabin)---a local taxi-service with three wheels that will drop you off  at your exact destination.  Tricycles are commonly seen in inner roads, often for short distances.   It fits into alleys and smaller streets, dirt roads, and even in places where there are no recognizable pathways.  Fare is seven pesos (or about 15 cents) per person.  But if you're in a hurry and don't want to wait for other passengers to fill up the tricycle, you need to pay for the maximum capacity, and it's called a "special trip".

Posted for My World-Tuesday

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Moat of Fort Santiago [Sunday Bridges]

At the tip of the delta near the mouth of the Pasig River stands Fort  Santiago.   It was built in 1571 for Spanish conquistador, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.  It is part of the structures of the walled city of Intramuros, and one of the oldest Spanish stone fortresses in the Philippines. As the premier defense fortress of the Spanish government in the Philippines, the main gate of Fort Santiago is fortified by a moat with a stone  bridge. 

Fort Santiago was the site of fierce conflicts between the Chinese and the Spanish in the 15th century.  It was captured by the Japanese during World War II and sustained heavy damage from American and Filipino mortar shells during the Battle of Manila in 1945.

This was the main fort for the spice trade to the Americas and Europe  for 333 years, and where the famous Manila Galleon trade to Acapulco, Mexico began. 

Posted for Sunday Bridges

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hanging [Photo Hunt]

Hanging roots at the entrance of Palaisdaan, a floating restaurant in Tayabas, Quezon.

Hanging swings at the playground of Silangan Nayon, a restaurant and resort in Pagbilao, Quezon.

Posted for Photo Hunt

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Moo Grob

Crisp and crunchy pork belly or Moo Grob is a simple Thai dish that is potentially deadly to those with high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol level.   Moo Grob was served with Jatujak's addicting spicy cilantro relish---it makes you forget you're eating deep fried pork belly and pork cracklings (chicharon).  Delightful with steamed rice or ice cold beer, or both.

LP: Tawid [to cross]

Walang kabuluhan ang paglalayag mo  sa dagat, sa araw o sa buwan kung hindi ka makatawid sa bangin na naghihiwalay sa 'yo sa iyong sarili.   Ang pagtutuklas sa sarili ang pinaka-importanteng paglalakbay...kung wala ito, masasayang lang ang buhay.

You will gain nothing by sailing the ocean, the sun or the moon if you cannot cross the abyss that separates you from youself.  It is the most important of all voyages of discovery...and without it, all the rest will be useless.

Posted for Litratong Pinoy

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Grey Manila Bay [Watery and Outdoor Wednesday]

A view of grey Manila Bay from G Hotel along Roxas Boulevard on Saturday afternoon.  We were supposed to bring a friend from Davao to a nearby park that afternoon but  rain  poured and gusty winds blew  about an hour after I took these photos.  Manila Bay is a natural harbor that serves the Port of Manila.  The bay is considered to be one of the best natural harbors in Southeast Asia and one of the finest in the world.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Caramoan: Lahus Island [My World-Tuesday]

Lahus Island or Bichara Island is one of the islands at the Caramoan Peninsula.  It is supposedly "owned" by the Bicharas, an affluent political family in Bicol.  I don't know how someone can own an island in the Philippines---do you buy it from the government?  The island is actually a sandbar connecting two rugged limestone formations.   During the rainy season, according to our boatman, most of the sandbar disappears, leaving a strip of fine white sand in the middle of the two rocky mountains where waves meet.

We attempted to dock on the shore but there was somebody signaling us to move on.  Apparently, Survivor was being shot there and it was closed to the public.  So I contented myself with taking some photos and feasting my eyes on this slice of paradise.  

These jagged rock formations embellish the side of the island.  Who knows there are mermaids hiding behind those rocks.:p

Caramoan Peninsula is a hilly peninsula, with deep gorges and a rough, rocky terrain, located in north-east Camarines Sur, in the Bicol region.  The place has a national park which has caves, limestone formations, white sandy beaches, an islet lake and a subterranean river.  Survivor France and Israel shot entire seasons in some of the islets.  It is accessible by public transport from the town of Caramoan, and islets can be reached by outrigger boats from Bikal port.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

At the Tamarind Tree [Sunday Bridges]

A wooden foot bridge over a narrow tidal creek at the Tamarind Tree that leads to  the main cottage.  The Tamarind Tree is a beach resort in Padre Burgos, Quezon, approximately 160 kilometers from Manila.  Spent the weekend here last year with friends.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Triangle [Photo Hunt]

About a hundred meters to the shore, the water was waist-deep and too shallow for the outrigger boat.  This triangle-shaped, flatbed canoe carried us from  the outrigger to the shores of Cagbalete Island.  It saved us from getting wet.

Posted for Photo Hunt

Friday, July 16, 2010

After "Basyang" [SWF]

The calm after the storm---sky-watching from my window on late Wednesday afternoon after cyclone "Basyang" (international name:  Conson) ripped across Central Luzon and hitting Metro Manila hard.   "Basyang" brought howling winds shortly around midnight of Tuesday until the early hours of Wednesday morning.  My friends and I were texting back and forth until around 2 am, and I wasn't able to sleep until  about 4 am as I listened to roofs creaking, metal sheets crashing down the street, and strong winds pounding the walls of the apartment.  The winds sounded like whistle bombs--it was  quite scary!  I was also worried that the car was crushed by an electrical post.    Fritz seemed to  sense my anxiety as he followed me around the house checking out on windows...he kept me company.  

We woke up to a quiet Wednesday morning, and to a power outage that stretched up to 27 hours.  Trees across the street were uprooted,  my neighbor's banana trees were wiped out, the cables were in disarray, and our street strewn with debris.   Power in our office building was also cut-off so I opted to stay home and  listened to the news from an old Walkman.

Grim stories were reported the whole day---20 26 38 people have been confirmed dead and there are still missing fishermen.  There were flooding in some areas, people were evacuated, thousands of commuters were stranded, flights were canceled or diverted.  "Basyang" was the 2nd typhoon this year and its ferocity was unexpected.  For the nth time, PAG-ASA, the weather service, failed to give the public the correct information.    It's exasperating that we get an average of 20 typhoons a year but our weather service still has outdated, primitive  equipments.  It's about time the government update PAG-ASA's equipments!  Seriously!

Posted for Sky Watch Friday

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Carpaccio di Salmone

@ mirandablue
We already had pizza at Yellow Cab and I was not planning to eat again.  But as we window-shopped around the Eastwood tiangge, I caught Sally eyeing the "ship" at Il Pirata, an Italian bar and grill along the City Walk.  Before the night was over, we were drinking SMB Light at the deck of the ship.  I ordered Carpaccio di Salmone (I love saying that!) for appetizer--it's a plate of smoked salmon, capers, fresh lettuce, olive oil  and vinegar dressing.  I was not really in the mood for beer but I enjoyed the appetizer---although I wished there were more smoked salmon on the plate.:p
Carpaccio is a dish of raw meat or fish generally thinly sliced or pounded thin and served as an appetizer.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Active Taal Volcano [My World Tuesday]

One of the 22 26 active volcanoes in the Philippines, Taal Volcano was showing signs of volcanic activity last month and alert was raised to level 2 in  early June.  Tourists and members of the media were banned from this picturesque island in a crater lake  about  65 kilometers south of Manila as scientists predicted an eruption was highly possible.  12 towns and cities near Taal Volcano were placed under impending state of calamity due to the volcano's restiveness and residents voluntarily evacuated.  As of last week, the number of volcanic quakes has been decreasing, residents have returned to their homes and volcanologists may lower alert level status soon.  I hope Taal Volcano is just having some hiccups and would be quiet again soon.

Volcano Island is called "pulo" by locals and it contains a lake about 2 km across, called Crater Lake.  Within Crater Lake is another small volcanic island called Vulcan Point.  Vulcan Point is often referred to as the world's largest volcanic island within a lake on an island within a lake on an island, namely, Vulcan Point within Crater Lake, on Taal Island within Lake Taal, on the island of Luzon.

view of Lake Taal and Taal Island from the Tagaytay Ridge