120/365: Goodbye April

30th of April

Goodbye April
I hate to see you go
Specially remembering how we started with all the fun and adventure.

Fun became an under statement when in the middle
I finally accomplished something that I haven't done
For the last four years to be exact

You gave me an almost 30-days of special memories
Almost...
I was unsuspecting when you were about to leave
You surprised me with this sadness
Of saying goodbye to a dear special lady
Who will never again see your summer sun.

I was just wishing for some summer wind
But what I've got is a windy chill
I am not yet ready to let your summer sun go
But I have no choice but to welcome the rain.

Goodbye April...
Thank you for the memories,
I will cherish the good ones
and will try to bury the sad ones

Goodbye April...
See you next year
Maybe then you will be
The April that I used to know.



116/365: Places of Worship: Let Us Travel To Long, Phrae, Thailand With The Master of Metaphor As He Talks About Temple Wat Salaeng

26th of April

Jonathan 1Metaphorically Speaking is one among my favorite and “regular reads” blogs.  I had been back reading the entries from time to time.  The author might not know about my back reading because I don’t regularly leave comments on his earlier entries.

I love reading this blog not only because it talks about interesting topics especially about life’s journey but also because each entry is a well-written piece with perfect grammar.  I think I said about this several times because this is not the first time that I feature the author here.

I had the privilege of personally meeting our guest blogger Jonathan whom I had instant rapport with.  Probably I am bias in liking him because I was impressed first with his writings prior to meeting him in person.  But I was not biased at all.  Jonathan is a total sum of a naturally intellectual person enhanced by his well-traveled and well-experienced/exposed life.  It was not surprising when I got drawn to our conversation.  It was just a short meet up but it was a very worthy and interesting talk.

At first I though Jonathan’s writing is good because of his mastery and unique skills in playing with theJonathan 2 English language.  I thought also that all his writings are always on the serious tone.  The I realized he is a real versatile writer when I came across his hilarious article written in the Filipino language.

Jonathan is Filipino by nationality who has a mix blood of Chinese. He is currently based and working in Thailand as a teacher. He can speak fluent English, Filipino and Chinese and some few more languages.

Go check out his blog and get drawn with his metaphor.  But first let’s see one of his piece as he talks about one place of worship.
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A temple, just like a church, is a place of worship, a spiritual refuge, and a man's home for those who wanted to serve monk hood for a certain period of time or for a lifetime. Travelling to Phrae, which is 55 kilometres away from Bangkok, was a trip of picturesque sceneries. The views over the countryside, the rice paddies, the long line of trees, the rivers and the mountains offered distractions to the long journey by car.
Long, Phrae boasts of a temple called Wat Salaeng. The entrance looks like a park what with its fountain and Buddha structures.

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The vast property boasts of new structures in smaller houses of worship for different purposes.

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There is also a portion where three huge Buddha structures are lined up side by side. They are made of jade and marble so imagine how they transported those images in there.

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There is an area of old structures, ruins and an old, wooden Ubosot (the holiest prayer room) with several Buddha images.

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This is where monks usually go before doing their usual routines. It is also called an “ordination room” as where ordination for novices takes place.
At the back of the temple ground is the famous Wat Salaeng structure where the Buddha's footprint is housed. It is close and accessible only by monks. I guess one can actually take a peek if we intend to do merit making.

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While walking around, I happened to stumble upon a huge gong where people were queuing up. There were some younger people and mostly elderly and they were filled with smiles and anticipation. When it is one's turn, you need to stand in front of the gong and then rub it in circular motion. There are two things that can happen: it can make a loud reverberating sound or it makes nothing or a faint, weak 'hmm' sound.

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It is a belief that when it resonates, one leads a good life. If there's none or a very weak one, it's the opposite. That's the reason why after each person's turn, the people around either smile or start
to chatter.
The temple is just a structure just like a church. It is a house of meditation and recollection. However, Christ or Buddha is in our hearts. One is never lost when we believe. With mindfulness, a person always prosper. (Buddhist quote)

111/365: MERS-Cov Awareness

21 of April

Happy Ester Monday to all!

At this moment people are coming back from out of town trips after spending the annual Holy week break and probably most are not aware of the current alert from the Department of Health about the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus or commonly knows as MERS-Cov.

Just to help a bit with the our health departments alertness campaign, I am sharing this advisory on this site.

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Remember that this is not to create panic but awareness for everybody.  Always remember that when it comes to health ‘PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!”

Information Source from here.

110/365: Sunday Quote and Photograph: Easter

20th of April

The joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world.

Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice.

But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, sacrifice.

~Henry Knox Sherill~
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The photograph is taken at “Kamay Ni Hesus” in Lucban Quezon, Philippines where bigger than life-size images of the Passion of Christ is scattered all around the 5-hectare land.  The “Resurrection” is the last station in the group of images depicting the Passion of Christ.

Most people visit this place during the lent but we went here a week earlier before lent. This is where I first observed the “Passion of Christ” prior to doing it during my actual Vicita Iglesia on Good Friday.

I noticed that some people go here without even knowing what this place is for. They just took pictures and treat this as just plain tourist spot or just a place for “photo opps".  I have nothing against taking photos for such beautiful place.  I too is among those who takes advantage of documenting beautiful places by taking souvenir photographs to feature them here.  But I just wish that people would know first the purpose of such place.

109/365: Churches: Vicita Iglesia 2014. From The City To The Highlands

19th of April

As much as I am excited to post today the next entry for Churches and Places of Worship series, I am taking a break to give way to my annual post and sharing about my observance of  Vicita Iglesia.

We started a bit late again this year and the sun is already at its killer rays when we head out to visit seven churches at around past 7AM. We decided that we will be visiting 7 churches again this year because we are not sure that we will find 14 churches along the route that we plotted on this day only.

1st Station: SHRINE OF THE FIVE WOUNDS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

Administered by the Stigmatine Fathers and Brothers located at Real Street, Talon I, Las Piñas City, Philippines.  One of the churches that surprised me because I’m not expecting to find it by chance – majestically built in the heart of this town.

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2nd Station: ST. JAMES THE GREAT PARISH

Located inside the posh Ayala Alabang Village in Muntinlupa City.  A combination of modern and classic architecture that is definitely worth writing about so I will not elaborate about this magnificent edifice,  Just watch out for the special post.

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3rd Station: NOTRE DAME DE VIE CHAPEL

I was looking for a church and I found a fairy tale place!  Located in Las Piñaz Rizal, Philippines - adjacent to the breathtaking Fernbrook Gardens.  A special post is definitely coming up!

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4th Station: OUR LADY OF SACRED HEART

A modern and well –maintained church located in the town of Bacoor Cavite, Philippines

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5th Station: JESUS NAZARENO PARISH

A humble and yet mysterious looking church located at Dasmariñas, Cavite.

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6th Station: NUESTRA SEÑORA DE CANDELARIA

Also known as the Silang Church because it is located at the town of Silang, Cavite, Philippines  A church built in the 1500 is definitely worth writing about.

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7th Station: ADORATION CONVENT OF DIVINE MERCY (Pink Sisters Convent and Monastery)

The famous home of the Pink Sister located in the peaceful highland city of Tagaytay.  A wish come true for me and it would be my pleasure to share you the story. 

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Though we know that there will be more churches that we will be passing by as we head to the commercial center of Tagaytay, I opted to complete the 14 Stations on this convent to take advantage of the solemnity of this place that has long been listed on my wishes.

ANGELS’ HILLS CHAPEL

Located at Angels’ Hills Retreat House just right beside the Pink Sisters Convent in Tagaytay City also.

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OUR LADY OF LOURDES PARISH

Located along the Tagaytay-Nasugbu- Highway.  This church is known for wedding and I am also including among the list that I will be writing more about.

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After we’re done with our Vicita Iglesia we headed to the Summit Ridge to freshen up and have our delayed lunch.  I had never seen Tagaytay like this day. There was heavy traffic specially along the roads leading to the Pink Sisters Convent and the other retreat houses.

It is kind of amusing to see that malls and establishments in Tagaytay were all operational on Good Friday.  Unlike in Manila where almost all the the malls are closed starting Maundy Thursday up to Good Friday.  But in spite of the buzz in the commercial areas, this city remains to emanate the presence of peace and tranquility that made our observance more meaningful.

He who has learned to pray has learned the greatest secret of a holy and happy life. ~William Law~

108/365: Good Friday Scenes Around The City

19th of April

As we head to our annual observance of Vicita Iglesia we are expecting to see different ways of Filipino traditions during the observance of Holy Week.

These scenes are not new to me. I grew up exposed to these kind of observance from my provincial home town and I am hoping that someday I will be able to share them on this blog on a well-written article and how these observance has something to do with my growing up. 

It’s kind of amuse me that every year I still see this observance in the busy city.  Let me share them with you though this photo talk.  Please bear with the photos quality as I randomly took them using a digital camera while on a moving vehicle.

The carrying of heavy wooden cross and the whipping at the back with an open wound is the common act of self-flagellation that I normally see every year.  This is the first time that I witnessed the hooded barefoot devotees walk with their hands in a sitting position and they are walking in the same speed of the other devotees who are doing their rites walking with their foot in the scourging heat of the sun.  As I watched them I found it as as tough and difficult as the other act of self-flagellation.


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Most of the churches we visited are getting ready with the images of the saints they will be using for the procession on the night of Good Friday.

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As we reached Tagaytay City we were trapped in heavy traffic particularly on the roads leading to the retreat houses and convents.

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The solemn place of the Pink Sisters Convent and Monastery were flocked by people observing the “Passion of Christ”.

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It was amusing to see though that when we reached the highland’s commercial area, the place is abuzz with normal business operations.  You won’t even feel that it was Good Friday there.  It was an exact opposite scene versus the city proper where almost all business and commercial establishments are closed. 

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In the Catholic observance the culmination of the observance of Good Friday is the procession of saints images in the early evening of the same day.  Huge images of saints commemorating from Jesus entry to Nazareth, to crucifixion to his death in Calvary are being paraded in almost every town.  The main image of which is the “Santo Intierro”  or the dead Christ.

The photos were taken from Parañaque City at the start of the procession when all the images were headed out from the church yard. It automatically brought me to the memory of the time I was attending this same procession back in my provincial home.

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The Santo Intierro
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What bothers me while watching the procession was when I saw a bunch of teenage girls wearing heavy make up on their faces.  They really came prepared for the procession with their candles on their hands complete with the round card board to protect their hands from being burned from the melted candles while on the procession.  But what annoyed me most to the point of almost screaming at them is that they were wearing SHORT SHORTS (modernly called as “pekpek shorts”).

I restrained myself from taking their photos with their scandalous shorts or calling their attention.   I just prayed…  Jesus Mary and Joseph!

102/365: Churches: A Church from Sagada Philippines in the Eye of The Soul Explorer.

12th of April

Marco The Soul Explorer
The mysterious Marco The Soul Explorer is one among the first bloggers that I have regular and fun interaction with in the blogosphere when I was just starting this blog.  And it is such a pleasure thought that he is still around exploring and blogging up to this day.  Some of our common blogger friends had gone hiatus and has not come back yet.

Marco is one among my favorite person in the blogosphere.  Probably because we share the same passion for running  and exploration.  I usually call him “lakwatsero” – the most fitting Tagalog word that best describes his personality and passion.  I wish someday I can also do his other passion - mountain climbing.

For me to describe Marco as a blogger and in person? (Yep I already met him in person ha ha). Apart from being one good looking guy (no argument on this!) he is also a pleasant and a well- mannered guy.

As a blogger he is supportive and thoughtful.  In spite of being the male and older counterpart of “Dora” he never fails to surprise me with his simple yet sincere thoughtfulness. Out of the blue he will drop a comment to my blog or a “hi” or any conversation anywhere online. That is, as long as he's not in any mountain top, backpackinggoing against rapids, dancing in festivals, tasting weird food or finishing a race!

Take for example this request.  I did not even ask twice. I was really delightfully surprised finding this entry on my email inbox!   THANKS Marco!  More power to you and may you never get tired sharing your exploration to all of us!  Now let’s see/hear it from you!

  ~~**~~

The Episcopal Church of Saint Mary the Virgin

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Before heading to our next activity, we passed by at the only church in the town. This is a well-known landmark in the town of Sagada –is the only town in the Philippines that is almost Anglican where in 95% of locals baptised into the Episcopal Church of the Philippines. It is located at the Episcopalian Mission compound and it was sanctified on the 8th of December 1921.

Behind of the church is the school of Saint Mary’s Highs School, the Calvary Hills and fifteen to twenty five minutes hike is the echo valley, and you can see the hanging coffins. You can pass by at the Sagada Cemetery before you reach to the echo valley. Truly a nice view at the back!

We were able to get inside the church because it was open and able to take some pictures in it. So lucky! And, minutes after the mass had begun. The church is quite small, but it simple and looks nice. The altar has rocks at the back which looks so different.

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This should not be missed when visiting the place!

98/365: Beach and Pool Nearby Manila: Villa Excellance in Tanza Cavite (Part 2 of 2)

8th of April

The BEACH

This is the beach that welcomed us!

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The good thing is that we chose a cottage that is near the beach and the swimming pool entrance.
The sand looks like white but they are just the regular sand. But at least it is not the darker color sand.  White/grayish sand color looks more refreshing than the darker looking sand.

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Who would think twice to run towards the beach on a hot summer day?
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What I don’t like about the beach is that it looks murky when the wind starts to blow in the afternoon.  Though the water is not dirty but it was not as clear during the morning.

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The POOL
This is what I like most on this resort the POOL!

It is quite spacious and long.  And what I like best is that it is over looking the beach.

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You can actually feel the ocean wind while swimming in the pool because it is elevated.  The wind kissing the palm trees is such an amusing scene.

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I fell into a nap while relaxing to this very creative beach chair that were made from truck tires.

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The sound of the wind while you’re in this elevated pool is the same like what you hear when you put a sea shell in your ear.

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The pool vicinity was very tidy during the time that we were there. I enjoyed the creativeness of the pool’s surroundings.

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I was told that this is the comfort/shower room located near the pool but we were not able to use it because we went back to the beach and we used the shower rooms near our cottage.  This where I got disappointed. The shower rooms and the toilet near the cottages are not well maintained. There were no proper lighting, The covering doors are not closing properly. The shower heads are not working. We need to use the pail and water dipper and it does not look clean. In short it is very uncomfortable to use their toilet and shower rooms during the time that we were there,

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Anyway, the other good thing on this resort is that you can bring your own food plus there are nearby stores wherein you can buy some snacks.  There were also some vendors roaming around selling different foodies that you can enjoy while on the beach.

What we did is that we brought some food for lunch and some snacks and we just bought our drinks from a store within the resort and enjoyed buying almost all the foods that the roaming vendors are selling.

If you are planning to go to this place what I can suggest is for you to go there when it is not too crowded so you can enjoy just the way we enjoyed it except for the toilet and shower room.  I hope this time they made some improvements on those facilities.

Have a great summer everyone!

Part 1 of 2 is here.

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