Category Archives: Travel and Holiday

Selfie sticks & holidays

At a glance, taking photos using selfie sticks is a clever idea . You stand there, strategically position your camera+stick, work out your angle, ensure there is balance between the foreground and background, then click! Voila, you have a perfect photo to cherish for a lifetime!

I thought a selfie stick will finally sort out our holiday photo dilemmas. It means we no longer need to ask a complete stranger to take our photo. Marvelous!

But I was wrong. The truth is, depending on the circumstances and location, I find selfie sticks annoying. I am strongly convinced that there is a time and place for its use. Museums and restrictive spaces are not one of these places. If there are people around who  would like to enjoy without a stick blocking their view, one must be considerate. It seems to me that there should be a code for the appropriate use of selfie sticks.

Although what I had mentioned so far may be superficial, a photo taken by a complete stranger has many benefits attached to it:

(1) It enhances your skills in assessing people. Who can take a good photo and who cannot? The guy with a DSLR? The smartphone user? The cool teenager or the serious-looking yuppie or perhaps the retiree? And when you got it right, you will feel amazing that you spotted the right person plus of course, a great photo to keep. Just make sure you choose a person who will not run away with your camera or phone!

(2) It opens conversations. There were many times when my husband and I have approached complete strangers for a photo. They took our photo and we took theirs. Conversations thereafter were about where each was from, shared holiday notes, exchanged holiday tips, which restaurants served nice food, recommended places for next holidays etc. Asking others to take your photo enhances human interactions, that digital technology had somehow limited in this day and age.

(3) The excitement and surprise of a candid photo. Whether you asked someone to take your photo or you set the timer on, there is sheer excitement in seeing the final product. It may be disappointing sometimes and may take a couple of takes, but all of these become part of the story of the photo. From our many holidays, I can still remember the people who took our photos. The stories about them such as ‘I took a great shot for them but they cut my hand out on this one’. Other stories included ‘Look, you were partly sat on that one because you were running to beat the timer!’ or ‘We have a photo bomber!!’.

(4) Lighter load. Overall, the most convenient way of travelling is bringing less. While touring, especially around Europe, it is specially important to keep your load as light as possible. Indeed, having a selfie stick means having a potential self defence material but most of the time, you will be carrying it around like a twig that you picked from somewhere.

Unless one plans to take a hundred photos, I feel selfie sticks do not promise to capture far more unique angles of the whole experience of a holiday. If one is really inclined on having a ‘selfie’ to give in to the trend, they simply have to extend their hands as far as possible, like Plastic Man or the Incredibles!

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The Much-Awaited Pause

Just in case you were wondering where I have been hiding for the past few days, here’s a short explanation.

As usual, work is always busy. The more I try to finish my tasks, the more I feel that there are still a lot of things to do.

Today is my first day in university. I enjoyed this day, met the lecturers (who cracked straight to business) and met some friendly classmates (who like me, are wondering how we would cope with this pressure that we have voluntarily enrolled in).

Last week, I went to Brussels for a work-related meeting and took this picture of the Grand Place.

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The Grand Place, Brussells (2006)

After the meeting, I went to see my parents, sis, bro-in-law and sweet smart nephew in Germany. More pics:

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Which way leads to Ben’s House?

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The Crystal World

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Can you see Auntie M and Ben’s reflections on the Blown Glass?

Tomorrow (I mean, several hours from now), I will be flying to Canada. I will attend a five-day cancer conference. A is coming to join me so we can have a good holiday after my conference.

Talking About Birthdays

Since I was little, I do not normally have a birthday party on my own. My sister’s birthday is three days later than mine. So almost all the time, we have joint birthday parties. We have one party and two birthday cakes. We have lots of pictures opening gifts together. In fact, my eighteenth birthday was even celebrated on her birthday.

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My older sister and I (Germany, 2005)

So strictly speaking, I always share my birthday with someone else. But now, my sister and I are in different parts of the world. Therefore, I can have the party on my own!

But then I married somebody whose birthday is three days earlier than mine. Therefore, I will never have a party on my own as long as we both shall live…but I don’t mind that at all.


Birthday photos on my own

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The Highest Point of Zurich (2003)

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Atomium, Brussells, Belgium (2004)

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The River Danube, Regensburg, Germany (2005)

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Hills of Edinburgh, Scotland (2006)

But joint birthdays are always fun!

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Foot of the Alps, Heidiland, Switzerland (2003)

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Who took my picture? — Brusells, Belgium (2004)

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Danube River, Germany (2005)

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The Modern Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh (2006)

Long Weekend in Budapest

It was a bumpy landing…

We were welcomed with champagne drinks at the Fishermen’s Bastion. There was a violinist who added style in the air. Dinner was then served at the Budavari Fortuna Restaurant.

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Fishermen’s Bastion

 

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View of the Parliament from The Fishermen’s Bastion

Friday was a whole day meeting. In the evening, we discovered Budapest by cruise. It has splendid nocturnal views.

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The Chain Bridge

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St. Stephen’s Basilica

The following day, we climbed the Buda Hills and admired the panoramic view of the city. Buda and Pest separated by the River Danube…

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Buda Castle (View from the top of the Hill)

The day ended showery. The showers came just right after we watched England lost against Portugal in the Square near Vaci Utca. (This spoiled my weekend a bit, if only…)

Sunday (our last day). We enjoyed the thermal spa, swimming pool and an hour of relaxing massage at the Gellert Baths.

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Hotel Gellert Baths

…it was indeed a relaxing weekend. World cup forgotten.

 

It’s great to be home!

Three and a half long years have passed. For somebody like me who left the Philippines at the age of 22, this is the ultimate gift — to be home for Christmas. Yes, my Philippine holiday had come and gone but the events and memories of it linger.

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Frontera Verde, Tiendesitas

After my husband and I hopped off from the plane and had dinner at home, we visited one of our Christmas tiangges, Tiendesitas. My sis-in-law has a native bags business there. On the way to Tiendesitas, I saw tricycles, sarao jeep, the sidewalk vendors, the Christmas decors, and the traffic caused by the massive shopping. ‘I’m so glad to be home’.

The next few days were preparation for Christmas — wrapping gifts and checking my Santa’s list to see who has been good or bad (wink!). Christmas Eve, I was in my parents’ house with A and my whole family! I had the best Christmas since 2000!

The next event was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — my sister’s wedding. This picture (deleted since the post became public) was taken at the hotel before the wedding. Ate M, Bel and I were giggling, just like before, when we were still little.

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But when my sister was already walking down the aisle, my tears slowly showed my joy for her and my brother-in-law. They look so great together! Just like my dad and mom, more than 30 years married but are great together!


Family and friends, we have lots of them! So we decided to take some time alone. To have an exclusive family time together, we headed off to Subic — a resort that is easiest to reach from our place. It was a happy day. I tried to put some tan on and did a bit of kayaking.



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In Manila, we stayed in my sister-in-law’s place on the 35th floor of a development in Ortigas. So on New Year’s Eve, my husband and I had great fun catching panoramic photos of the city fireworks!

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Taken at Josephine’s in Tagaytay where I ate Filipino food to my heart’s (and stomach’s) content! Followed by a halo-halo session in Taal Vista!

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The rest of my holiday was spent seeing family, friends, shopping and eating everything my stomach can accommodate. I just love Filipino food and for me, it will always be the best!
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The day before I left, my passion for history, architecture and places brought me to Intramuros. For me, to be in Fort Santiago is the best place in Manila. Nowhere else in the city could ever equal the greatness of this place.

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On the same day, I went to La Salle Greenhills.


I missed to see some friends and family, and I am so gutted about it. Now, I am back in London and back to reality.


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Looking back, it was indeed a lovely and fantastic holiday!

My idea of real home used to be my parent’s home. But I realised, I now have two homes. For in London, my husband and I have established a new dwelling.

There’s no place like home, I am thankful to God for giving me two!