June 16, 2018

PAGUDPUD ON MY MIND

561 kilometersa north of Manila lies this picturesque town right at the tip of Luzon where the waves of the West Philippine Sea crash with wild abandon on its beaches. It was an overnight trip by bus that we took which arrived quite late in the morning that’s why when we got to our hotel, we immediately hired a tricycle to take us to the famous Bangui windmills. For two days we went around visiting other famous tourist sights which were all amazing and Instagrammable! The roads were very well paved and there was greenery everywhere with so many ricefields as far as the eye could see. Our driver, who…

June 16, 2018

AN EPIC MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE

When it was built for Norwegian Cruise Line in 2010, the Norwegian Epic was the third largest ship in the world. The specs alone are impressive: 329 meters long, 61 meters height, 155,800 tons, 22 knots, 1,738 crew and 4,100 passengers. For all intents and purposes it was a floating small town. Crammed into its 19 decks were 20 restaurants, sports facilities, outdoor movie theater, spa, casino and swimming pool. We boarded the Epic in Barcelona for a 7-day Mediterranean cruise that took us to Naples, Rome, Livorno, Cannes and Palma de Mallorca. It was a great time specially the optional shore excursions that took us to Florence, Cinque Terre,…

June 16, 2018

HIKING AROUND HOOKER VALLEY

This is one of the numerous hiking trails that meander around Aoraki/Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand located in the South Island. It is quite easy to follow beginning from the Visitor’s Center going thru open grassland that later on becomes rocky terrain with large boulders dotting the 5 km. route. It crosses Hooker River via a long steel bridge whose waters come from the melting Mueller glacier. The sides of the mountains get closer and you can see moraine walls – rocks and sediment deposited by glaciers during their retreat across the land. We crossed two more foot bridges before the wind started to pick up making…

June 16, 2018

BELLAGIO: THE CROWN JEWEL OF LAKE COMO

Jutting out of a promontory into Lake Como, this place is considered by many to be the most beautiful town in Italy. You will soon agree once you see the quaint scenery around you – the ubiquitous cobblestone streets, the narrow alleys full of surprises and picturesque houses as well as the grand villas around. You have to walk uphill immediately behind the narrow waterfront in order get to the top of the town center where most of the action is. Quite tiring but you will be rewarded with beautiful views of the lake. Besides, you can always stop for a cone of gelato or a cup of espresso and…

June 15, 2018

ZION NATIONAL PARK SCENIC DRIVE

This 86-km. scenic drive takes a long time to traverse because the views are stupendous that you want to stop more often to admire each scene and take pictures. Every curve and every dip in the road is Instagram-worthy! It took us almost 3 hours to drive from end-to-end starting from the entrance at the intersection of Highway 9 and Interstate 15, where you pay a toll, all the way to Mt. Carmel junction. From the Visitor Center and Museum, it winds its way past many Zion landmarks such as rocky mesas, geographical rock formations and soaring sheer cliffs. There is a mile-long tunnel that you will pass thru and…

June 15, 2018

WATERLOO

18 June 1815. On that momentous day that changed the course of history, Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by the Duke of Wellington who led a British force allied with several countries. It happened on the undulating plains of this town just a few kilometers outside of Brussels. The battle was fought fiercely under rainy conditions that churned the ground in the fields into a muddy quagmire making it extremely difficult for the two sides to use their cannons and cavalry. By employing a brilliant defensive strategy making use of the prevailing topography and backed up by the Prussians whom Napoleon thought was a spent force, the Brits routed the French…

June 14, 2018

BALLOONING IN CAPPADOCIA

One of the must-dos in Cappadocia is to go on a balloon ride early in the morning to better appreciate the beauty of the place. And so we lifted off just as dawn was breaking with the balloon glowing like a living thing and slowly ascended up to a kilometer until we punched through the cloud cover and met the sun rise beside Mount Erciyes. It was an awesome moment that all 12 of us passengers fell into a hushed silence, not wanting to break the sublime stillness that surrounded us. We floated above the incredible landscape at a lower level passing thru the pointed fairy chimneys, pigeon houses and…

June 14, 2018

PARIS LA NUIT

Once in Paris, I had an early morning flight and couldn’t sleep. So I took my trusty Nikon and tripod for a long walk beside the Seine and ended up with these….

June 13, 2018

THE MATTERHORN

We took the train from downtown Zermatt to Gornergrat where the view from this 3,000-high ridge is spectacular and you can see the 4,479-high peak of the Matterhorn with its surrounding mountain world up close. There are many lakes around and numerous hiking trails that you can explore. In the last station, there is a viewing deck where you can see glaciers moving down jagged peaks. It is truly an awesome spectacle! [/caption]