February 28, 2011

Winter Macros

While some of my fellow bloggers in cold climes are posting bright spring photos to banish the dreariness of gray winter, I was moved to find in my archives these macros I took on my walks on the Sunshine Coast of BC last winter. The shapes, textures and colors of this eclectic group of winter foliage appeal to me. As usual, details can better be seen when enlarged.

Sunshine Coast, BC, 2010

I'm joining the good folks posting for Macro Monday and Mosaic Monday.

February 27, 2011

Binondo Bridge

The Binondo Bridge spans the Pasig River close to where it flows into the port in Manila Bay.

 Manila, 2011

Linking with bridges from around the world at Sunday Bridges.

February 26, 2011

Black Family

Family of black pigs, that is. 

 Gansu, 2007

Have you ever seen black pigs or swine?

Linked with Photo Hunter where the theme is mostly black and with Camera Critters.

February 25, 2011

[SkyWatch] Sky in the Sand

You may have seen the beach photos taken in Ilocos I posted earlier with sunset silhouettes and reflections. On that same evening walk, I marveled at the beauty of the sky colors in the sand (better viewed enlarged). 


Ilocos, 2010

Help me get better at choosing my images to post. Which is your favorite? And why? Which is your least favorite? Why? I have thick skin, so please don't worry; I'd so much rather learn something than be falsely praised.

I link this post with SkyWatch Friday and Weekend Reflections.

February 24, 2011

T is for Tricycle

An everyday form of public transportation found throughout the Philippines is the tricycle. This is typically a small 50-125CC motorcycle with a side car that works like a taxi for short distances and in areas not covered by buses or other mass transit. 

Less common these days, it seems to me, is the pedal-powered tricycle, a vinyl-covered sidecar mounted to a regular bicycle frame. Yet a few days ago I spotted these two in Malate, a touristy area near Manila Bay...

Manila, 2011

... and I thought they'd be fun to share for T at Alphabe-Thursday and Signs, Signs.

February 23, 2011

F is for Fountain

Today I show you yet another spot on the grounds of Sitio Remedios, the resort I've featured a number of times in the past weeks (here, here and here).

Looking out from the little chapel, you see this fabulous fountain with a statue of Saint Michael the Archangel in the classical pose of showing Satan who's boss.

 Ilocos, 2010

I thought it looked fantastic at night all lit up, too.

This post joins the good folks playing along at ABC Wednesday where the letter today is F, as well as with Watery Wednesday.

February 22, 2011

[MyWorld] Working with Waste

Meet Ann Wizer and her Invisible Sisters.

 Makati, 2011

Ann is an American visual artist, environmentalist and activist. Like me, she has lived in Asia for over 25 years. And she works with waste. In her art she started with natural debris and about a decade ago moved to industrial waste. Why? Because, she says, "there's just too much of it." I sure agree!

In 2008 Ann started her social enterprise in the Philippines: Invisible Sisters. This organization teaches marginalized women to crochet and knit fashion accessories from plastic waste materials. This provides poor mothers and grandmothers with skills, income and self-esteem.

And the consumer gets a colorful handcrafted one-of-a-kind must-have item that is not only creative and trendy but ecofriendly. How cool is that?

You can read more about this celebrated eco-warrior and her wonderful design intervention into poverty reduction and environmental protection at her website. And by the way, she is looking for partners and investors, so if the glove fits, do connect with her through her website.

I spoke to Ann and took these photos last Saturday when my friend Jill and I visited Art in the Park in Jaime Velasquez Park, Salcedo Village, Makati. After two decades in the world of designing, producing and marketing handcrafted products, I know a little about the effort and dedication that success  in this field requires. And so I greatly admire people with heart like Ann who use their creative talents to make our world a better place.

So with this post I join the community at MyWorld Tuesday.

February 21, 2011

Sticky Stuff

Suman is a Filipino delicacy served over the Christmas holidays, which in the Philippines, it is jokingly said, goes from early September to end January. Traditionally suman is served as dessert at the Noche Buena meal (Christmas Eve after late night mass).

This delicious dish is made of sticky rice cooked with coconut milk and steamed in banana leaves. The rice mixture is then skillfully wrapped in buri leaves. There are regional variations in the recipe, and these days we can buy them flavored, including chocolate suman!

I found these being sold in front of the Quiapo Church in Manila just a few weeks ago.

Manila, 2011

Suman is typically served with sugar and grated coconut, or with a coconut based sauce, or with ripe yellow mango.

This is my offering for Mellow Yellow Monday.

February 19, 2011

Cactus Shadows

 Ilocos, 2010

Taken at the lovely resort Sitio Remedios I featured here and here... for Shadow Shot Sunday and Weekend in Black & White.

Footbridge over KCR

This railway that runs between Tsim Sha Tsui East in Kowloon and what used to be called Canton (now Guangzhou) is still referred to as "the KCR" (Kowloon-Canton Railway) by locals, even though since 2007 it has been operated by MTR, owners of the metro system in Hong Kong. In my opinion, the Hong Kong public transit system is the best in the world. It's extensive, efficient, safe, clean and relatively inexpensive. Who can beat all that?

On our last visit to Hong Kong, we stayed with friends who live - by Hong Kong standards - out in the boonies; that is, far from the din of heavy traffic and claustrophobic skyscrapers. To get to their house, we must get off the main road and cross this footbridge.

 Hong Kong, 2011

I readily concede that aesthetically there is nothing in these photos to marvel about, but what IS remarkable is how even in a remote place like this the footbridge is clean (note: NO graffiti) and safe, with reflector mirrors to alert pedestrians and bikers to each other and plenty of light for nighttime security. 

I think that is worthy of note, and so I am linking with the good folks at Weekend Reflections and Sunday Bridges.

February 17, 2011

S is for Statue

This unnamed statue I photographed from two angles in the beautiful ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii is my contribution to Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday where the letter of the week is S.

Pompeii, 2009

February 16, 2011

E is for Eggs

Manila, 2011

Today my photo story is about egg delivery to the market. The eggs are brought in from the countryside in a jeepney (a vehicle that will get its own story one day)... I am astonished that the eggs survive the trip! They are hauled by humans into the marketplace from where they are distributed to the many private retail kiosks.

As always, all images can be enlarged with a click of the mouse.

And this is my post for ABC Wednesday and also for Signs, Signs

A little late note added for sign enthusiasts: It is typical for private trucks and carriers of all sizes to have a sign "not for hire"... and that is done to discourage drivers from using the vehicle to moonlight.

February 15, 2011

Love Is in the Air

I'm a few hours late to greet you for Valentine's Day, but love works for me 24/7 365 days a year. You too?

To get you in the mood for this theme, right click and open in a new tab to listen to this sweet tune.

Kathmandu, 2010

Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and a richness to life that nothing else can bring. - Oscar Wilde
As sweet and musical
As bright Apollo's lute, strung with his hair;
And when Love speaks, the voice of all the gods
Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony. - W. Shakespeare
There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.- Friedrich Nietzsche
Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart. - Marcus Aurelius

Linking with Ruby Tuesday and MyWorld Tuesday.

February 14, 2011

Tempozan Ferris Wheel

Some months back I already introduced the imposing Tempozan Ferris Wheel standing between the Osaka Aquarium and a cable-stayed bridge (panorama better viewed enlarged).

Osaka, 2009

This ferris wheel stands 112.5 meters / 370 feet tall and measures 100 meters / 328 feet in diameter, making it one of the largest in the world. 

I still feel a tinge of regret that we did not have the time to take the 17-minute ride to enjoy (and capture!) the view of Osaka Bay, the city and the surrounding mountains, especially since a gray rainy morning had turned into brilliant blue-skied afternoon.

Today I link with Mellow Yellow Monday. Click on the link to find more interesting takes on the theme.

February 13, 2011

Crossing The Tiger's Mouth

This is Humen Bridge (literally Tiger Gate Bridge), a suspension bridge crossing Bocca Tigris (Tiger's Mouth), a narrow straight of about 65 kms / 40 miles from the mouth of the Pearl River to where it discharges into the South China Sea  (see map). We crossed Humen Bridge to go from our apartment in Songgang to our friend's hometown Kaiping last month.

This top photo plus two below were taken by my mate some months earlier. I chose to share his images with you because he was closer to the bridge inside the Weiyuan Fort (you see the stone fence), while my long view below is from farther down the river on a similarly hazy day.

 Guangdong, 2011

Completed in 1997, the sign in the last photo says that this bridge is 4.588 kms (2.85 miles) long. Also spelled out on the sign are the maintenance unit name and the supervising unit name along with a phone number. 

Perhaps more interesting to see if you enlarge the last image is the calligraphy of Jiang Zemin, past president of China (1993-2003) with the characters for Humen Bridge.  It is considered a special honor to have a building or structure inscribed by a famous personality.

This bridge joins other bridges at Louis' Sunday Bridges.

February 12, 2011

Long-tailed Macaque

The Philippine long-tailed macaque can be found living in most forested areas on the many islands of the country. With an average tail length between 50 and 60 cm (20-24 inches), about the same as their body sizes, these macaques have the longest tails of all monkeys. 

 Subic Bay, 2008
We saw these macaques hanging out on the side of the road on our drive through Subic Bay, a former US naval base turned into a light industrial zone and tourist destination. The tropical rain-forest there is a natural habitat for this sub-species of the crab-eating macaque.

Check out other Camera Critters!

February 11, 2011

[SkyWatch] Wires in the Smoggy Sky

Kaiping, 2011

Two different evenings in Kaiping County, China. Go explore all the wonderful skies around the globe @ SkyWatch Friday.

February 10, 2011

R is for Renovation

Renovation in Rome. In which side would you rather reside?

Rome, 2007

Check out Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday for other people's take on R.

February 9, 2011

D is for Driving the Dunes

Should you ever go to Dubai, definitely do go for a drive in the dunes of the desert... if you dare. 

Dubai, 2005

It wasn't allowed, of course, but me being me and a bit of speed freak, I sweet-talked one of the tour drivers into letting me take his car for a spin. After the rest of the group was dropped off at a touristy camp for a tacky culture show and dinner, he and I snuck back out into the empty desert and I took over the wheel for about 45 minutes.

It wouldn't take much to overturn a vehicle on these sharp-edged dunes, I can tell you. Don't imagine me creeping along in first gear, either. And get this, the sun had long ago set so it was pitch dark. Woohoo! What an adrenaline rush of a ride! What a dream!

Would you dare?

These exciting Ds are linked with ABC Wednesday. Go check out the many  dramatic, dazzling, delicious or just plain fun D posts.

February 8, 2011

[MyWorld] Heritage Houses

In an earlier post I described our lovely rooms at the resort we stayed in between Christmas and New Years. One of a number of things that made this a great place to stay are the accommodations in authentic heritage houses. I quote from their website:
Sitio Remedios is a private village resort situated in an 18,000 square meter of land in Barangay Victoria, Currimao, Ilocos Norte, facing the South China Sea. It is a re-created Ilocano village typical of the mid-fifties, and stands as a reminder of a more genteel era. The houses and other buildings are made of vintage bricks and wood salvaged from mid-century structures mostly from the towns of Ilocos Norte. The lay-out is in a grid typical of Spanish times, the quadricula, respectful of spaces and ancient trees, amid which the structures are built. The houses were constructed by workers coming from the towns where the houses were sourced, guided by architect Rex HofileƱa, who without any detailed architectural plans, coached them to surface their innate artistry and skill to build remembrances of their Ilocano past.
Here are a few of the houses. Details can be seen when enlarged.


 Ilocos Norte, 2010

In a future post I will show some more scenes of this special place.

Linking with MyWorld Tuesday, where hundreds of others share a glimpse of their world.