Something Fishy

General Santos City, the Philippines

March 29-30, 2014

We had to beat the crack of dawn to catch tuna. Anyway Hemingway, my family was never into deep sea fishing. We only wanted to be a welcoming committee to tuna trawlers as they returned to port. Alas, none of us a morning person, we arrived at General Santos City Fish Port Complex at 7AM, already past the thick of the action.

Geared Up for General Santos City Fish Port Complex

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Life and Death and Everything in Between

Kathmandu, Nepal

February 24, 2013

Death was in the air, and in the water too, in a temple built in honor of Shiva. Plumes of smoke were rising from several funeral pyres on the paved bank of Bagmati River, choked with litter but revered as a holy river nonetheless, that sliced through Pashupatinath, the Hindu holy of holies in Kathmandu. Curious onlookers had gathered on the opposite bank to witness and document what this temple complex was famous for: the public open-air cremation.

Holy Smokes! @ Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu

Holy Smokes! @ Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu

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Staycation at Alcoves

Makati, the Philippines

August 24 – 25, 2014

Granted, a hotel is fancy and convenient, but for an extended stay, a big family, or a no-frills staycation, it can be pricey and unnecessary. There are digs that combine the ambiance of both home and hotel: the apartment hotel, which offers the downtown location and luxuries of a hotel and the homey comfort and privacy of an apartment. I had the privilege of enjoying such a staycation at one of the well-appointed units of Alcoves Apartments, located at several high-rise condominiums in Makati.

Alcoves Apartment-Hotel @ Makati

Alcoves Apartment-Hotel @ Makati

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A Little Bromance

Suzhou, China

October 20, 2013

Over the sea grows the moon bright. We gaze on it far, far apart.

There couldn’t be a more opportune time for a night of nostalgia than on a full moon. In Chinese tradition, the moon, unreachable yet inescapable, arouses retrospection, and, especially in mid-autumn, it inspires reunions. How apt then that the moon was a perfect orb on the chilly October night I would rekindle a long-lost friendship separated by distance and a decade.

Moon Over Pan Pacific Hotel Suzhou

Moon Over Suzhou @ Pan Pacific Suzhou

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Crouching Lion, Leaning Tiger

Suzhou, China

October 20 – 21, 2013

It took a few turns before it dawned on me that I was lost in a complex labyrinth of rock. I could not even retrace my steps to where I had entered. People who could help me could not understand me; those I could ask were just as clueless. I broke into a sweat despite the autumn aftie chill. I didn’t mind losing my way, but I did mind missing the appointed time given by our tour guide to regroup. I couldn’t be the idiot that held up everyone’s schedule. Finding the exit was a fluke after I had been running in circles like a hamster on a wheel. By then, what I had feared happened. I was the last tourist on the bus. As I got on panting, the whole group erupted into applause and cheers. I turned redder than Chairman Mao.

TTT and the Prettiest Photobomber @ Lion Grove Garden, Suzhou

TTT and the Prettiest Photobomber @ Lion Grove Garden, Suzhou

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Southern Frontierland

General Santos City, the Philippines

March 27 / 29-30, 2014

Land as far as the eye could see – that was the view from the plane making its final approach to General Santos City. In an archipelago, it is uncommon to see so much land, such horizon-hogging terrain uninterrupted by the sea. It stretched out beguilingly, unending and inexhaustible. No wonder then that my mother’s uncle had claimed a slice of this vast open country long before I was born. Mom and I made this trip to Mindanao to visit his descendants, most of whom we had not met.

Touchdown @ General Santos International Airport, Tambler, South Cotabato

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Three Weddings and a Breastfeeding Virgin

Manila, the Philippines

May 18, 2014

My grandfather must have turned in his grave. He was the first Filipino Baptist minister in my hometown in the 1930s; fast forward to about 80 years later and his daughter – my mother – declared she wanted to do a visita iglesia in Manila. As a PK (pastor’s kid), Mom could count with one hand the times she had been inside a Catholic church. Perhaps because of this blog, she finally caught on to my fondness for religious art in these colonial era churches.

Wedding @ San Agustin Church, Manila

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