Monday, July 09, 2007

University of Toronto

Here's my random travel picture for the day. This was taken on a cold autumn day on the campus of the University of Toronto. Sorry, I don't know the name of the building. My cousin who was a grad student at the time, met me and she gave me a little tour of the campus. There was a small exhibit of Picasso ceramics in one of the galleries so we were fortunate enough to get to see it.

November 2004, Toronto, Canada

Friday, July 06, 2007

Matsumoto Castle

This castle sits in the middle of Matsumoto, a small city that lies in the shadows of the mountains of Nagano. Surrounded by a moat, the castle was also used as a defense against hostile invaders. I believe it was built sometime in the 1500s.

Here's the Wiki entry for Matsumoto Castle.

When entering the castle, we were given plastic bags in which to put our shoes since they were not allowed inside. Much of the interior flooring were made of wood so my guess is that we had to remove our shoes so we don't damage the floors.

August 5, 2004, Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, Japan.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Celebrating the fourth

Since I don't see myself doing much overseas travel these next several months, I figure I'll be a tourist in my own town, sharing the sights and sounds of my adopted home here in So Cal.

The following is an excerpt from my other blog.

Ready for some fun times...Ivan, Flora, Eric, Eusebio, Rachael, Michelle, Chris, Kip, Stephanie. (Photo courtesy of Eusebio).

On the afternoon of July 4th, I went down to Eusebio's place in Dana Point for a little get together. What a host. He had a little spread on the table that would rival a Love Boat buffet. Met a few cool dudes and dudettes for the first time—Stephanie, Rachael, Michele, Flora, and Chris. Kip aka RJ and his wingman, Ivan were also there. Eusebio surprised Steph by busting out an ube birthday cake for her from Goldilocks (the pinoys' fave bake shop). Awwwh...

After filling our tummies with pancit, pasta, salmon, adobo and Kip's iced tea concoction, we walked down to the harbor to board Lola. We motored with several other boaters as we watched the sun setting over the horizon.

Viewing the fireworks shoot right over our heads as we're anchored just outside the harbor was an amazing experience. There was a little over a half hour delay because of tech problems, but once those pyro experts got it on, they got it on. The finale was awesome. Check it out. You can hear everyone screaming with excitement at the end.

What a fun day it was, and a great way to celebrate the fourth. Happy Birthday, America!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Hawaiian Ki’i

The Pu‘uhonua o H├Ánaunau National Historical Park

According to the National Park Service web site “this place provided refuge to Hawaiians who came here. Today, the park continues as a sanctuary for visitors seeking a peaceful place and as a safe haven for all of the native wildlife living here.”

A place of refuge or pu‘uhonua provides safe haven for fugitives for breaking certain laws in ancient Hawaiian culture. The only escape from punishment by death is by eluding their pursuers to the safe confines of a place of refuge. “Many ki'i (carved wooden images) surround the Hale o Keawe, housing the bones of the chiefs that infuse the area with their power or mana. If you reached this sacred place, you would be saved.”

This place was built around 1550 though certain wooden structures have to be replaced periodically because of the tropical environment.

June 2005, The Big Island of Hawai’i

Taking the high road to Whitney

On June 24, 2007, I made it to the top of the highest mountain in California and the contiguous U.S. It was a trip I've wanted to make for at least ten years now, but for one reason or another, have not been able to do until now.

Click here for a trip report.

Whitney Trail Head

Morning light cast on the mountain side

Mountain meadow and stream

View from the top

Summit Shelter—not safe in case of electrical storms

Late afternoon light on the way down

Beauty of the Sierra Nevadas

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wow Philippines

Thanks to viker's blog which i stumbled upon, i found this music video promoting tourism in the Philippines. It features some of the country's top performing artists and entertainers.

If anyone would like me to translate the lyrics, let me know and I'll do my best.

RTP (Boracay Banca)

Boracay Banka

We went on a little boat tour to the other side of Boracay Island to Puka Beach. Unfortunately, the puka shells for which the island is named after is no longer plentiful. Nonetheless, this is still beautiful and pretty isolated since getting here still requires arriving by boat. As we pulled out of the beach to hop to the next island, I saw something less than inviting--a major road being built to the beach. Progress or a sign of things to come?

Boracay Island, Philippines. July 2006

Friday, June 15, 2007

Random travel picture...06/15/07

Rascafria Siesta

Rascafria, meaning cold water, is a sleepy little mountain resort town a couple of hours outside Madrid. We were here for the wedding of my cousin Louise and Luis (awwh, cute noh?). This picture was taken in the middle of the day when apparently the town was even sleepier and taking its siesta.

Rascafria, Spain, September 2005.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Random travel picture of the day...06/14/07

Baja, California Desert

There is something magical about the seemingly desolate environment of the desert. I suppose it’s the fact that creatures here have to work hard and efficiently to survive.

Baja California, Mexico, February 2006.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Travel picture of the day...06/12/07

Hagia Sophia Interior

This was our first stop on our first full day in Istanbul. This building just smells of history going back more than 1400 years when it was a Byzantine church, later becoming a Catholic cathedral, then a mosque before Turkey's father of the modern republic, Ataturk, transformed this building into a museum.

I first learned about the Hagia Sophia in art history class and stepping into this building was like being transported back into several periods in our humanity's ancient past.

Photo taken in November 2005.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Travel picture of the day...06/11/07

Man and Girl on Bike

This picture was taken in August 2004. I like the look on this girl's face which gives the photograph its special character.

Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, Japan.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Travel picture of the day...06/06/07

Don't know if I'll be able to update this as frequently, but I'll try to do at least a couple of times a week. I'll put up a travel photo that I have from however long ago, with a little bit of commentary. It will at least serve a nostalgic purpose for me as well as a sort of documentary. Hope you enjoy it.

Misha against Davit Gareji fresco

On one of our last days in Tbilisi, Jane and I visited Davit Gareji with her Peace Corps buddies, Ann and Jeremy.

Davit Gareji is a complex series of monasteries built against the caves. Unfortunately, due to exposure to the elements and to some degree, vandalism, these frescoes are slowly deteriorating. Fortunately for us, we got to see hints of the beauty that they once held.

Misha was our very capable guide for this little adventure.

Georgia Republic, December 2005.

What the heck?

So I'm checking my email this morning, and whoa...

Bangi left me a comment on this blog. This site has been neglected and has been gathering pixel dust already, and I would've soon left it for dead had I not seen that she's even added it to her blog roll.

So, I'm trying to resurrect this. Of course since it's more or less travel-related, I need to get off my butt and go somewhere at least for the sake of gathering content here.

At the very least, I suppose I will share some of the past adventures I've had and those that I daydream about.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Where to Go? Where to Go?

Yeah, it's that time of the year again. Where the heck should I be going this summer? I'm thinking of heading out to the Philippines again. I had so much fun there, and I really miss it. But I'm also considering going to Costa Rica. I'm exploring the possibility of doing some volunteer work again. It makes the experience so much more special for me. We'll see.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Hiking with Buffalos

It's been a long time since I strapped on a heavy pack to walk for miles and set up camp. The weekend of Mar 30 to Apr 1, I did just that with a few of peeps from the OC Hiking and Backpacking Club. Besides myself, there were Steve, Chris, Marine, Keith, Tracy, Neel, and Ron. The trip organizer, Steve, ordered beautiful weather for the trip, and I believe the views just came with the package. I can't believe I didn't take a real live buffalo picture, but at least I have one with a very colorful bison. If I ever get around to it, I'll write up a trip report, but for now, please enjoy the pics.