Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Mamapasano Massacre and the Long-standing Conflict in Mindanao

Contributed by my sister Pearl Dans, an alumna of the University of the Philippines Visayas. Her response to recent events surrounding the Mamapasano massacre in Maguindanao, Philippines. 

When I first read this, I cried in tears because I couldn't agree more with her sentiments. Somehow, she found the right words to express my feelings that I could not have expressed any better.

This has been shared and reposted on other people's timeline as well. I would appreciate it very much if you could take time to read this. 

To all my friends who have posted their sentiments on Facebook regarding the Mamapasano massacre, before anything else, please know that I respect your opinions and I wish to thank you sincerely for your honesty. Only when we are able to fully express our stand regarding issues without limitations, censure or fear of retaliation, are we able to fully appreciate democracy in our country.

A former schoolmate noted an observation that the Muslim community has been questionably silent over the brutal killings of 44 police officers in Maguindanao. As a "half-breed Moro", I think I might just have been the target of that insinuation.

It seems that my decision to keep my opinion to myself have resulted in some erroneously inferring that I am biased towards a certain party.

My apologies to you, as it seems that wary caution has heightened your emotional state of resentment. Please be assured it does not mean I do not care, or that my outrage over this are less than yours. By no means does it equate that I feel no anger or pain. In truth, I fear whether there may be too much of it that sometimes I wonder whether so much negativity may have permanently taken root in this heart that is more conflicted than yours. I have to step back at times and remind myself, again and again, that I have to be circumspect with my thoughts in order to stay rationale.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Oh, Sentimental Home!

"Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
In my 35 years, I have had the privilege of living in a few places away from home. First, was in Manila where, shortly after graduation from college, I grabbed an opportunity to work there. Then I moved to Singapore, where i lived for 8 years, and where my husband and I started our own family. Finally, I relocated to Canada where I now live with of course my husband and our son, Pico, who grows up too fast by the minute.

Love and Sunrise at Juara Beach

Back in 2010, my then new husband and I spent one of our most memorable vacations with a favorite cousin and her family at Tioman Island, Malaysia.

Below are some photos of our sojourn taken in Juara Beach on the Island of Tioman.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Travel to Bintan, Indonesia

It was in 2007 when we first went to Bintan, Indonesia to celebrate our 5th year anniversary at Bintan Lagoon Resort. 

The place was perfect for us who wanted to get away from the bustling city life and experience the peace and quiet. And yes, it almost felt like we had the beach by ourselves! We read our books at the beach while enjoying the windy sea breeze and fresh air. 

It was paradise. 

If you're looking for a place where you can relax, de-stress and have the beach to your own, Bintan is the place for you! 

You can get to Bintan from Singapore's Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. The trip will take you about an hour. For more detailed schedule and info, please click here. 

As always, I do advice to just get any promo fares from an agency, rather than doing everything by yourself from booking your ferry, to booking your hotel. I am one who doesn't want to sweat the small stuff. 

There are a lot of Resorts in Bintan. Prices varies as well. The choice is yours. There's Nirwana Gardens,  Angsana Bintan, Bintan Lodge for those on budget, Club Med, Banyan Tree

Enjoy your holidays and do let me know what you think about the place. 

Sunrise at Bintan Lagoon Resort

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Live and Love in Photos

That feeling of wonder when confronted by beauty as we chase a lovely sunrise or sunset. That sentimentalism that comes with throwback photographs of a memorable event. That learning fulfillment that comes from technical and creative growth and learning.

What is photography? The answer varies depending on whom we ask.

Friday, January 23, 2015

King of the Road

I was inspired to do a shot just like Joe Mcnally's on the cyclist "Some Flashes and a Cup of Water". That was just a beautifully executed shot. What do you expect, we're talking about the great, Joe Mcnally here.

Though I know I wouldn't stand a chance at being even close to that picture, I know that I just have to do it my way. The way i feel and look at it. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Pulau Ubin: The last surviving Kampong in Singapore

What's you favorite place in Singapore?

Mine is Pulau Ubin. The last surviving "kampong" and the only place that has retained its original landscape. It is remarkable that the government has protected this from development, and I truly hope they keep it that way. 

This place is my escape from the concrete jungle of working in the city and the pressure it brings. Riding the bicycle, the smell of fresh air, the disorder of things is totally gratifying! It is the most relaxing place to be. At least for me. 

It is only 30 minutes by bumboats from Changi Village. Take the ferry and enjoy nature! :) 

Our rented bike in one of the Quarries in the Island

Monday, January 19, 2015

Discover Sta Cruz Island: One of the Top Beaches in the Philppines

Somebody said, do not be a stranger in your own place.

That is exactly how i felt after reading on Yahoo news that the top 7 beaches in the Philippines includes the pink sand Sta. Cruz Island in my hometown Zamboanga City.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

HTO Park in Winter

Just because you do not get that beautiful play of colors, the ones that seems like the sky is on fire, doesn't mean you won't be able to get your shot for the day.

Think outside of the box. No, do not think. FEEL! Look around you. Be inspired. The world is beautiful. 
"Keep looking up! I learn from the past, dream about the future and look up. There's nothing like a beautiful sunset to end a healthy day." - Rachel Boston

HTO Park during the Winter. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Theory of Everything

My husband and I share one thing in common, and that is our love for movies. When we moved here in Canada, somehow we have stopped watching movies. We are too consumed with starting our life here, and still we are clueless as to where to start. We are literally putting up the pieces of the puzzle until we can finally say we have settled down. 

Last night however, I finally had the chance to watch a movie "The Theory of Everything", story of physicist Stephen Hawking. This movie, while it is moving and deeply inspiring, is more of a movie of hope for me - that's on a personal note.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Train types in Toronto, Canada

This shot was taken at the Clarkson GO Train Station in Mississauga. And this is where we learned about the transport system here. 

Am i glad i brought my camera with me. I always try to bring my camera with me though wherever i go because you just don't know what awaits you. Your perfect shot may come in a very unusual place or situation. 

Tips for a beautiful Sunset

Are you one of those who chase Sunset, and time and time again gets disappointed because after travelling for hours and carrying your heavy bag to get to your destination, you see nothing?  I am one of those.

For years, I would rely on my luck. Until i got here in Canada and noticed the one thing that would change on how i look at it. You don't need luck, after all. All you need to do, is wake up very early and wait for the sunrise. If you wake up to this - a beautiful play of colors in the sky, expect the same for the Sunset!

Before Sunrise 

Singapore is Shopping

If there's one thing i miss about Singapore, apart from the food, are the malls! If you love shopping, Singapore is the to-go place! The whole 2.2km stretch of Orchard road are malls. It is the shopping mecca of Singapore. This place is so vibrant and bustling....there are restaurants, pubs, entertainment everywhere. Ion is the most iconic shopping mall you'll see in that stretch, but that's my opinion. Sounds crazy? It is. But, that's the thing, and this is what you will love about this place, people are behaved. There are no crackheads on the streets. You also won't, not for a second, fear for your bag or your wallet getting stolen.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Toronto Sunrise

By now, you should know just how much i adore Sunrise and Sunsets. Most of my photos will be taken around this time.

Nathan Square in Winter

You must be wondering what you can do during the Winter in Toronto. For most of the locals, that wouldn't be a question i guess. But for people like me, who just moved in the city, these are stuff i'd like to know.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

WTA Champions 2014 in Singapore

When i learned that the WTA Champions 2014 will be in Singapore, i knew i had to watch it! I was in high school when i started playing tennis. Since then, it has always been my dream to be able to watch the great players in the world play live! At 35 years old, finally i had the chance, so i am not letting this go. It took so many years before i can have my dream come true. But dreams after all, comes true. Sometimes, it just takes a lot of patience.

Serena Williams is my all time favorite. It's not about how strong she can hit a ball, or just how perfectly she can execute her serve, it is her passion for the game! When i watched her play against Caroline Wozniacki, i saw why she is a champion. She raises her game to the highest level! It was such a nerve-wracking, heart pounding match, that even i who was seated was feeling all the nerves. And when she wins a point, i jump from my seat in a growling YEAAAAAH!!! I can't imagine how they feel on court, must be even worst.
"Being so close and still losing, it really stinks," Wozniacki said. "It was just small things, but that is why champions are champions. All of them step up when it matters."

CN Tower in Toronto

Every country has a landmark that it will be known for. Singapore has its Merlion. Kuala Lumpur has its Petronas Towers. Paris has its Eiffel Tower, and Canada has the CN Tower. It used to be the world's tallest tower until Burj Khalifa and Canton Tower overtook its ranking.

CN means Canadian National, but is popularly known as the CN Tower. If you ever get to visit Toronto, Canada, go and visit the CN Tower. It is 553.33 meters high. 

There are also quite a number of attractions and activities to do in CN Tower. The famous one being the Edge Walk - the world's highest hands-free walk. They also offer the 360 Dining experience. You can check out in detail at CN Tower's website. 

You know what they say, you have not really been there if you have not seen their landmark, it is their distinction among others.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sunset at its loveliest

“There's a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they're absolutely free. Don't miss so many of them.” Jo Walton
Sunsets are a constant in my pursuit of photography. Anytime I find myself in a new place, I make it a point to capture the sun at its loveliest hour. And if you've been following some of our great photographers, they would tell you that the best time to take photographs are Sunrise and Sunset. Cliche as it may sound, but that's just the way it is. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Winter's Unsung Heroes

So previously, I DID SAY I wanted to go back to the harbour front for the perfect sunset. Guess what happened? I did not get to have my perfect sunset.

However, I had the pleasure of witnessing three extraordinary men performing the highly unusual, most astonishing feat of swimming in frozen Lake Ontario. Yep, you read me right.

At depressing -19degC cold weather with the wind velocity of 45kph, i ran from the Boardwalk at York Quay to the waterfront trail to get a closer look at these people who, I thought, were seriously out of their minds! These men certainly knew how to catch my attention! And how!

Do you see them?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Travel to Dumaguete City, Philippines

My father and his family is not foreign to this beautiful city otherwise known as the "City of the Gentle People". Most of my Uncles and Aunties graduated from Siliman University, the country's first Protestant University and the first American University in Asia. It was only in 2011 though that I got to visit the beautiful city of Dumaguete, Negros Oriental. And I was in love.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Frozen Lake Ontario

Yesterday, i noticed that the Lake Ontario is starting to ice. I told myself that i needed to have a picture of this. I have not seen any frozen lake or river before as i come from Asia. So yeah, it's a big deal to me. This morning when i woke up looking at the lake, I told my my husband that i'm going to the harbour in the afternoon to take a snap shot of the lake, no matter how cold it can get. That's what we do right? We capture moments - no matter what it takes! Though i didn't really get the shot i wanted as i was hoping there can be some seagulls, or maybe an airplane or a boat or a blazing sunset and a blue sky. But i'm just as happy with this one i'm sharing with you. I'd probably try it tomorrow again. I don't stop until i am fully satisfied, really.

Anyway, this week has been horribly cold. They say it's going to last for the whole week. Am i not glad today is Thursday? 3 more days and the week is done. Phew!

So i braved the freezing weather at -11, with a wind velocity of 52kph which sums up to a feeling of -24. Do you know how strong that wind is? With my size and my weight, i could barely walk easily as the wind just blows me a step backwards. When i came home, my face was all red. If i was in Asia, they'd call it Sun Burn. I don't know what they call it over here in Canada. Cold Burn, maybe?

Lake Ontario is one of the great lakes in Northern America. It's so huge at 19,000 sq mtrs, i thought it was an ocean, until somebody of course corrected me.

I didn't use any tripod for this shot, as i wouldn't be able to carry it by myself with the strong winds and shivering feeling.

Tennis, be your own fan!

I started playing tennis since i was 15 years old. Most of the time since then, i was often out of school practicing for division meet, regional meet and ultimately, the Palarong Pambansa. I always remember with fondness those days...the nerve we had, the friends we met, the accommodations in schools, the ghost stories, and the FUN we had travelling to play and represent our city and region.

Last year, i thought of taking a video of me playing so i can have a remembrance of my tennis years. Though quite late, taking it at 35, i'm still happy with what i've came up with.

What do you think?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Road Trip..Wow Philippines!

Go on a road trip. Carry your camera with you. Stop. Breath. Enjoy. And thank God for the beautiful world you live in. 

Don't forget to shoot raw... :P 

Taken while on a road trip in Ilocos. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal, Quebec

I thought i knew the word grandeur. I've used it many times to describe something i thought was grand. According to Webster's Dictionary, gran-deur means: a great and impressive quality. But not until i saw the Basilica of Notre Dame in Montreal. My jaw dropped to the floor in awe. I have never seen anything like this in my entire life, it made me want to cry. That feeling you get when you see something new and so beautiful is immaculate. It was like giving birth.

The Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal or La Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal is a Gothic Revival Architecture. It is considered one of the most dramatic in the world. The intricate wood carvings is amazing. One would wonder how they have done it during those times. Don't you find it ironic that today's architecture, despite the technology where everything is possible opts for a modern minimalist approach of clean lines?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Travel to Montreal, Quebec

When my sister asked me if i wanted to go to Montreal, without a blink of an eye, i said yes! Who wouldn't? Who doesn't love vacations, short trips? I would love to go on vacation my whole life....

So on December 19, 2014 we travelled to Montreal via the VIA Rail Train. The 5 hour train experience was wonderful. The stewards/stewardess were really nice. They have a wi-fi on board too, so it's not going to bore you. But come on, are you really going to do that? You gotta see the picturesque landscape's beautiful!

Inside VIA Rail Train