Lord of the Animal Kingdom

Kathmandu / Patan, Nepal

February 24 – 27, 2013

In one fell swoop, a hawk glided down the busy street and dropped the prey dangling from its claws.

Thud.

A huge rodent bounced off the trunk of a parked car.

Squish.

The furry corpse, flattened by the impact, did not even merit a glance from fellow pedestrians. It was a scene straight out of Animal Planet played out in downtown Kathmandu.

Hawk over Kathmandu

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The Spirit of the Houses

Bagac, Bataan, the Philippines

August 10 – 11, 2013

“What if there’s mumu (ghost)?” Mhel posted in our Viber thread her concern – or maybe excitement – about visiting old houses. Old does not necessarily mean haunted. I spent my childhood in a creaky old house across from a cemetery and not once did I witness any paranormal activity. Perhaps that’s why I dig the old world charm and long history of heritage houses and none of their supposed spirit dwellers.

Casa Bizantina @ Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Casa Bizantina @ Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

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Gud AM

Tanay, Rizal Province, the Philippines

October 6, 2013

What could be better than sleeping in on a Sunday morning? An early morning road trip, if you were my friend Ki. Though it didn’t feel that way as I was dragging myself out of bed, the vistas of mountains and valleys of the Sierra Madre Range were worth waking up early for. With the light weekend traffic, it took less than an hour to reach the highlands of Rizal Province. The gentle mountain breeze rippling through olive green cogon-covered slopes whispered in our ears, the tranquility broken only by the vrooming convoys of motorcyclists that zipped past us.

Mt. Tarangka from Marcos Highway, Tanay, Rizal (photo taken using Samsung Galaxy Pocket)

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Grace Like the Underground River

Puerto Princesa City, the Philippines

March 25, 2013

Youth, large, lusty, loving – youth full of grace, force, fascination.

Do you know that Old Age may come after you with equal grace, force, fascination?

Walt Whitman wrote the words that my mother seems to live by. Her dream of visiting the Grand Canyon came true the previous year, but she ain’t done yet. She still had Puerto Princesa Underground River, one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, to check off her bucket list. She had just turned 80, not an age for dilly-dallying. We flew to Palawan that summer with my eldest brother and nephew.

Underground River

Sailing into Puerto Princesa Underground River, one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature

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Drawing Inspiration from a Water Town

Zhouzhuang, Jiangsu Province, China

October 20, 2013

Picturesque water towns dot the waterlogged Yangtze basin between Shanghai and Suzhou. Collectively known as “Venice of the East” for their capillary network of canals, gondolas gliding through stone bridges, narrow cobblestone alleys, and riverside houses directly accessible from the water, these aqueous settlements are ancient, of which Zhouzhuang, established almost a millennium ago, is the oldest.

Postcard Pretty Zhouzhuang: Illustration by Wang Chong Zhou

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Sculpting Singapore

Singapore, Singapore

November 23 – 24, 2011

It’s said that public art reflects the identity of a place. In the case of Singapore, its strict rules, economic progress, and antiseptic sheen could gloss over the city’s intangible heritage and unseen realities, but I had the chance to get acquainted with the city-state through the many sculptures that defined it for me.

Hanging Out with the Boys of the First Generation @ Singapore

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