We have had really bad weather here at the Capital for the past few days. Yesterday was absolutely yucky! It rained endlessly and we had gale force winds – I thought our roof would be picked up by the breeze! It’s still pretty yucky out there today, but the wind isn’t as bad (not howling anymore, like it did yesterday) but it’s still pretty chilly.
On my way to an appointment this afternoon, I walked past one of the dairies on Cuba Street and saw that they were selling over-ripe bananas for $2.99 per kg. Since I’ve been feeling a bit bleh, I decided to buy some so I can bake some banana cake at home – the type I used to bake way back in Manila.
So, I walked in and bought a bunch — and then decided to add another bunch … and since there were just a few forlorn bananas left, I said I’ll take the whole lot. So yeah, I ended up going home with a little over 5kgs of over-ripe bananas. Sheesh!
It’s been a while since I wrote about anything so tonight, I decided to stop playing Candy Crush (I ran out of levels on my phone anyway) and actually sit down and update my blog. I thought I should write about the place I spent most of my teenage / young adult years (at the University of the Philippines) so I trawled through my massive photo-file (which needs a good cull and proper labels / keywords / tags) to look for photos to share. One photo that caught my eye was that of the sundial.
Naturally, I needed to find some text that would go with it so I did a google search for “UP Sundial” and one of the links that came up was this: http://iskwiki.upd.edu.ph/index.php/Sundial.
When I clicked on the link I thought that the banner photo looked oddly familiar.
I looked closely and thought – “Hey … that looks like the photo I took of the sundial.” What gave it away is that glare spot in the middle of the image. So, I went through my digital files again and … yep, it’s exactly my photo.
Since I don’t recall giving my digital file to anyone or posting it anywhere else but Flickr (I also need to sort out that site – I uploaded too much junk), I decided to check all the uploads I have made to find that particular image.
True enough, I did upload that photo and – all the metadata was intact (date taken, camera used, settings, etc). I felt vindicated …
and slightly miffed because, there weren’t any credits on the iskWiki page. 😦 I would have let them use it anyway, after all, UP is my alma mater, but it would have been nice if they had acknowledged the source.
Oh well … I suppose I should take this as a sign that I have “arrived as a photographer” because my work is now being used in various websites. If only I could get paid …
Wellington decided to wiggle a bit more than usual on the first few minutes of Monday morning (14th November 2016).
It started off as slight trembling – which is a normal occurrence here in the Capital, so I didn’t think much of it. However the tremors didn’t stop after a few seconds. Instead it grew stronger – strong enough to rouse the Grizzly Bear from his slumber. We waited a bit longer but the movement didn’t abate – the intensity just grew stronger. And then the house started to sway. Side to side – slowly at first, and then it started to shake. I thought of doing the “drop cover and hold” maneuver but – I was in bed. I mean, do I go out into the lounge while the house was doing the Macarena, just to go under a table? I stayed put, I couldn’t – not just because of the shaking, but more so because the Grizzly Bear threw himself on top of me (my hero). The shaking lasted quite a while but the movement stopped, eventually. (we found out later that there were 2 earthquakes one after the other, which was why the shaking took so long).
We survived. The house – which I kinda expected to just slide down the hill – is still on its feet, and the chimney hasn’t tumbled down. Nothing was broken; utilities (power, water and gas) weren’t disrupted; the bank behind us held up. All’s well. Even the cats are okay.
Sadly, the same can’t be said for parts of Kaikoura (epicentre of the quake), parts of Christchurch and most of Wellington CBD. Work was suspended later that day as engineers examined the buildings in Wellington Central, and emergency services cleared debris which consisted mostly of broken glass. Trains and buses were cancelled as well – they had to check on the train tracks and power lines weren’t damaged too much by the quake. Furthermore, there were several aftershocks that day – from 4.5 to 6M in intensity.
To make matters more interesting, the forecast for Monday evening was rain with gale force winds (up to 140 kph). This on top of a month’s worth of rain (about 88 mm) dumped on the Capital on Saturday.
It’s now Tuesday and I’m now back at work. Thankfully, the forecast of Gale Force Winds didn’t eventuate, but we are getting inundated by so much rain, and it appears it will be like this for the rest of the week.
Walking up Cuba Street from Manners Street, a lot of the department / clothing stores have remained shut – obviously waiting for the “go-signal” from city engineers. Meanwhile, their mannequins and other displays are strewn across the floor. I was tempted to take photos of the “damage” but realised, there are already too many photos of devastation (not just because of the quake) and unhappy occurrences in existence, I just didn’t feel right about adding any more to it. So I walked on, and decided that I will focus on finding beauty in the world around me.
Yes, the world needs to know that “bad things” happen, but I think a lot of people already share this around. There are photojournalists who go to war torn areas and send back photos of casualties of war, or those who document poverty and oppression. However, I think there aren’t enough photos depicting the simple beauty of life and of living. I’m not referring to photos that show amazing sunsets and fabulous scenery here – I’m talking about capturing the beauty in the mundane. And that’ll be my focus.
… continued from “Excerpts from my Travel Diary”
Not bad considering we went through a lot of turbulence. Was out of the airport at 9:00 am because the airport is – in a word – massive. It’s really really big – you need to take a train to get to the baggage claim area. The airport is very sleek as well.
Took the shuttle then the bus to the backpackers lodge. It wasn’t that hard to find though I think I got off one (or two) stops too early, and I also walked the wrong way (hihihi). Pero di bale, I found it in the end.
After I checked in, I walked down the hutong’s alleys and took pictures of almost everything. I say almost kasi I had to stop myself. There were so many interesting buildings or carvings that if I took pictures of them all, I’d die.
So, I went off to look for a sim card and a supermarket. I found the shop where they sell simcards and goodluck na lang! Kahirap to communicate! No one spoke English so I think I spent about an hour there just trying to buy a sim card and top-up. Afterwards, I went to the supermarket to stock up on food. I wanted to buy bread and perhaps, peanut butter and some de-lata – pero naman! I’m in the land of Ma-Ling yet I could not find one single ma-ling can around, plus they didn’t have sliced bread! I bought shampoo and soap and a big jug of water na lang.
When I got to the counter, they didn’t have plastic bags! So Sige, may-i-siksik sa camera bag kaya lumala ang scolio ko. I planned to go back to the lodge to put down my things pero … medyo malayo so I opted to go ahead and check out the drum and bell towers. Buti na lang I did that kasi nakakita ako ng convenient store and they had bread and strawberry jam! Lunch and Dinner forever! I bought a bag as well so that I can distribute the weight evenly (camera on the left side of the body, groceries on the left). I then went to see the Drum Tower but before that … lunch.
@ The Drum and Bell Tower
Kelangan ata kasing tangkad mo si Yao Ming para di ka mahirapan pumanik ng stairs. I was taught in school that risers should be 0.15 to 0.20mm max and treads are at least 0.30. Dito, both riser and tread are at least 0.30mm. Mid leg (sa shin) ang taas ng step and super duper steep! PLUS MADULAS! Good luck na lang kay lola with the camera and the bag of groceries (me).
Pardon the selfies – I was a solo traveler – if I don’t take selfies I won’t have photos!
After exploring the two towers (and being lucky enough not to fall), sabi ko uwi na ako – but I was side tracked by a nice street (don’t know the name). Lots of shops around and very quaint. Took photos but I gave up after that. I went back to the lodge to rest and plan the rest of my week … and to BATHE! I am so nanlilimahid.
to be continued …
Here are some of the stuff I wrote in my travel diary. I’ll probably share more of these in the next few days, just because… it’s nice to remember. AND I trawled through my hard-drive to include some photos too.
24 october 8:30 pm (Akl Airport)
Finally off to China! I’ll be boarding the plane in 2 hours and then I’ll be on my way. Mum and BK (& Saffron) dropped me off at the airport earlier and we were quite surprised because the queues weren’t long. We expected heavy traffic and long lines because it’s the start of ta long weekend but it was quiet. I asked the ground crew about it and he said that we just missed the rush.
While tidying up my corner at home, I saw this little black notebook lying amongst the mess. It’s my travel notebook – my only one, I think. I used it extensively when I went to China way back in 2008. I opened it up and read what I had written – it was hilarious! Everything! Most of my entries were written in taglish (a mixture of Filipino and English) but I suppose my writing style reflected my way of thinking back then. Not filtered, and just as raw as it could ever be. Anyway I think, if ever I get to travel again, I’ll make sure I have a travel diary with me and … I will write down everything at the end of the day. It’s more fun that way. 🙂
Last month, on the 25th of May, I called in sick due to the sniffles (which is still bugging me 2 1/2 weeks later). While I was snuggled up like a bug in bed, hoping for the sniffles to disappear, my mobile phone rang. It was a private number and I immediately knew that it was Westpac. You see, I just changed banks a few weeks back and the only “Private Number” calls I receive are from Westpac. I picked up the phone, silently wondering if I had forgotten to sign papers and needed to pop in a branch immediately to sort things out. I was relieved when it was not KW (the lady I usually deal with), but … someone else. Our conversation went something like this …
Westpac Lady (WL): Hi! Is this “The Rabbit”?
Me: Yes (monosyllabic replies due to colds)
WL: This is “WL” and I understand you changed banks recently and in so doing, applied for a Westpac Airpoints™ Mastercard.
Me: Yes … (becoming slightly wary)
WL: Westpac was having a promotion during the time you applied for the card. Those who applied were automatically put in a draw to win a Surprise Weekend Getaway which includes return flights and accommodation for two to either Auckland or Queenstown …
Me: okay … (still not catching on to anything, still wary …)
WL: Well, you won the grand prize …
Me: What? Are you serious …
And so, that phone call created a small hubbub in my “sick room”. The Grizzly Bear walked in to see why I was suddenly chatting animatedly and when he found out about it, he naturally, perked up as well. Thus began an unexpected journey to Queenstown.
We flew out of Wellington via Air New Zealand on Friday afternoon, had a brief pitstop at Christchurch (where I was pleasantly surprised at how much the airport has changed since I was there last – kinda sad the Auckland Airport doesn’t look that nice) and flew in to Queenstown a little bit after 5:00 pm. We got our rental car and drove to Heritage Hotel Queenstown, where we were booked for the weekend. Since it was wet and dark, and we were tired from travelling, we decided to stay in for the night and just explore Queenstown and its surrounds the following day.
On Saturday, after having an amazingly sumptuous and filling breakfast, we hopped in our rental car and drove to the town centre. Unfortunately, it was still bucketing down so, instead of staying in Queenstown, we decided to drive off to parts unknown and explore more of the Otago district.
We drove out towards Cromwell (but didn’t stop, I’ve been there before so I wasn’t too fussed about not seeing the town again – speaking of which, I really should post a story about my quick Cromwell Trip sometime) and headed on towards Ranfurly, driving past Lake Dunstan and the amazingly turquoise Clutha River (sadly, no pictures, hard to take photos in a moving car). Stopped briefly at Ranfurly to get a cup of coffee and then drove on to a small town called Patearoa. After walking around Patearoa, we drove back towards Central Otago stopping at Omakau for a “stretch your legs” break and a cuppa (visit The Muddy Creek Cafe when you’re in the area, they have really good coffee). Afterwards, we drove off towards Wanaka’s Puzzling World.
After getting ourselves dizzy and confused, we headed back to Queenstown to call it a day. Sadly, it was still wet and cold at Queenstown, so we proceeded to the hotel to rest.
Queenstown was having a bad weekend while we were there – it was still raining on Sunday. However, since this was our last day, we decided to brave the wet weather and enjoy what Queenstown had to offer. We walked around Queenstown Mall, took a few photos and…had a Fergburger for brunch! After stuffing our faces silly with burgers and brioches, we drove back to the airport and waited for our flight back to Wellington.
It may have been a wet weekend, but it was a weekend break that we desperately needed. We came back from the unexpected holiday a bit more refreshed and ready to face the challenges the next few weeks would bring. We’re really grateful to Westpac for this unexpected break. Thank you. It was very much appreciated. 🙂
PS. Guess where I am now … Queenstown (again!) Hihihi!
A&P, the couple whose wedding photos I took about a year ago, were in Windy Wellington for a flying visit this weekend (7-9 April). They arrived on Thursday night to a typical Wellington Welcome (the usual .. wobbly plane due to strong winds), did their thing on Friday, and then on Saturday … we went to the Southward Car Museum near Otaihanga. I’ve heard of this place, but I haven’t been so I was pretty excited about going.
We drove on SH1 for about an hour and turned off towards Otaihanga and then made a hard left to enter the museum compound and I was quite surprised at the size of the compound. The parking lot was quite huge and the building itself looked quite imposing. We parked the car, rocked up and paid the $17.00 admission fee (price per adult as at 2016, may change without prior notice) and proceeded to the main galleries to admire this world class collection of cars, not just from New Zealand but from all over the world.
Here are a few of the vehicles that caught my eye:
But it’s not all cars … there were planes, a couple of boats, a section that showed a lot of miniature toy cars, motorbikes, push bikes, and even a little room devoted to sewing machines and other household appliances.
It’s really worth the trip (and the admission fee) so if you’re in Wellington include the Southward Car Museum in the list of places you must visit.
The British Dictionary defines Traipse (/treɪps/) as:
and that’s exactly what I did on and what it was on the last Sunday of January when I (together with the Grizzly Bear, sisterhood and a few other folk) completed the Tongariro Crossing.
We had cake club at work 2 mondays ago and the lady rostered for that day brought this absolutely SUMPTUOUS chocolate dessert. It had a somewhat crumby base and a delectable chocolate icing on top. I found myself getting 2nds and 3rds! It was so yummy, I simply had to get the recipe, and she, very generously, shared it with me.
This is the first of a series of posts about Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, provinces in the Philippines I visited about a decade ago. Since we (my dad, sister and I) covered a lot of ground in the 3, maybe 4 days we were there, I thought it would be best to split the stories up into bite-sized portions. 🙂
Sometime in 2005, the Philippine Department of Tourism produced several music videos which encouraged Filipinos to travel within the country. The video below (it’s in Filipino, but I’ll translate the words in a separate post) was the first of several, and I admit that it did make me want to travel.