Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hawaii



I have my first trip to Hawaii, Oahu Island in December of 2000. I love the place! To me it is so much like the Philippines, but just an improved island with so much variety.

Oahu is a stunning natural beauty with the comforts, amenities, and activities of contemporary life.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Washington DC: A Unique American State



I stayed up late to watch the Inauguration of President – elect Barack Obama last January 21, 2009.

As history unfolds before my eyes, I was simultaneously reminiscing the past and my personal journey to Washington DC. I have many memories of Washington DC,USA .

When I first visited in September 2000, it was the perfect place to look back on historical pieces that I only get to read in books. While I admit that the only date I really care about remembering is my date with my prince (lol), I am a history major and call myself a history buff.

Washington DC, located on the Potomac River,is unique among American cities because it was established by the Constitution of the United States to serve as the nation’s capital. After 217 years as the nation’s capital (officially founded on July 16, 1790), Washington DC is a place brimming with a unique history of its own. It has developed as a complex and layered city with multiple personalities. As home to the federal government, it has attracted a diverse mix of government workers, members of Congress from every state, foreign emissaries, lobbyists, petitioners and protestors.

George Washington, the first president and namesake of the city, envisioned Washington DC as a commercial center as well as the seat of government.

I visited Washington DC last September 15, 2000 while at Baltimore, Maryland staying with my friend, Reid Mumford. It is a part of my 18-day first ever trip to the United States that took me to Los Angeles - Salt Lake City, Utah – Detroit-Mary Land – San Francisco (CA). Reid drove me to Washington DC and had a day of fun and wonderful historical learning at the National Mall and the DC’s neighborhood.

MY MUST "DO" and MUST "SEE" LIST


Everyone knows that Washington, DC is the United States' "seat of power," but did you know that it's also home to the world's biggest seat? The "Big Chair," in Anacostia happens to be the world's largest. It is free to visit, and serves as a gathering spot for the Anacostia neighborhood.

NATIONAL MALL

1. See the National Mall with DC by Foot, a walking tour company that gives free, kid-friendly tours (gratuity recommended) infused with games, fun facts and trivia.

FREEDOM PLAZA

2. Spend an inspiring moment at Freedom Plaza, across the street from the Willard InterContinental Hotel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his famous, "I Have a Dream Speech". Then head over to the Lincoln Memorial to stand in the spot where he delivered it.

LINCOLN MEMORIAL

3. Have a heart-to-heart with Honest Abe at the Lincoln Memorial then walk along the Reflecting Pool to experience the solemn WWII Memorial.
-This grand monument overlooks the Reflecting Pool, the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol. Inside, the 19-foot marble statue of the 16th president is flanked by inscriptions of his Second Inaugural Address and the famous Gettysburg Address.

UNION STATION

4. Walk across the street to 100-year-old Union Station to get inspired by its beautiful architecture and special events make it more than just a train station.
- Union Station in DC is home to Amtrak and multiple commuter rail services.

Take a ride on DC ‘s clean and safe Metrorail system for a taste of a train ride, and a break from the summer heat.

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT MEMORIAL

5. Take pictures with Fala, the famous presidential pooch, at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.

WILLARD INTER-CONTINENTAL HOTEL

6. Sit in the lobby of the Willard Inter Continental Hotel to imagine history unfolding. The hotel is where Julia Ward Howe wrote "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," where President Ulysses S. Grant popularized the term "lobbyist" and where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his renowned, "I Have a Dream" speech.

7. Watch history being made by sitting in on a ground-breaking Supreme Court ruling.

8. Get out into DC's neighborhoods to learn about history beyond the National Mall by experiencing Cultural Tourism DC's free self-guided walking trails. They are marked with illustrated signs revealing the stories behind Washington's historic neighborhoods.

9. While you're there, take in the beautiful fall colors and see the pillars from the original U.S. Capitol that was burned during the War of 1812.

10. Discover a hidden treasure in Montrose Park, and make sure to stroll along Lovers' Lane - a beautiful 18th-century cobblestone path.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

LDS Jubilee Celebration in The Philippines: Kick-Off Jan. 3, 2009

It was an experience for me to be a part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Jubilee Celebration Kick-Off at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Theater in Santolan, Quezon City. I was part of the Novaliches choir which sang the theme song for the Jubilee.



On a biblical note, Jubilee is a time of celebration or rejoicing. It is defined in Leviticus 25:9 as "Yovel" in Hebrew, as the sabbatical year after seven cycles of seven years.

Come April 28, 2011, the LDS Church will celebrate its golden Jubilee, since the Church in the Philippines is turning 50 years old! As part of the three-year Jubilee Plan, a Song Writing and Logo Competitions were held in search for the theme song and logo for the Jubilee. The song "United" by Danel October Beriong from San Jose, Antique was chosen as the grand winner and became the theme song, while the logo designed by Dino Antenorcruz was chosen as the Jubilee logo.



There were two sessions held- 2pm and 5pm, and two Stakes sang the theme song "United" in each session. On the 2pm session were the Manila Stake Choir and the Novaliches Choir, while Paranaque and Marikina Stake choirs sang at the 5pm session. The Area Presidency and the audience clapped their hands after our rendition, so it was an experience.



(Novaliches Choir Director Cynthia Ampil, with Novaliches Choir soloist Paulo Antenorcruz and the composer of the Jubilee Theme song "United", Danel October Beriong)

(with Novaliches Choir soloist Paulo Antenorcruz and some members of the Manila Stake Choir who loves Paulo after our rendition of the theme song United)
video

Friday, January 2, 2009

MACAU: The Little Europe and Las Vegas of Asia



Some things deserve a second look. And for me, Macau is one of them. Macau is a territory located in southeast China, and a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China like its neighbor, Hongkong.



Since Macau is a low-cost airline hub, my friends and I flew to Macau via Tiger Airways to reach Hongkong in January 2007. We barely have 10 hours altogether to look around Macau, so we asked my friend, Allan Eleazar, who served as our tour guide, to recommend 5 things we shouldn’t miss while over there. The sights he recommended are: Ruins of St. Paul, Fisherman’s Wharf (including the Vulcania), Macau Tower, Macau Grand Prix, and various Temples.



As I have not seen enough of Macau on my first visit, my prince and I decided to venture in the country again, as part of my week-long “Macau-Hongkong” birthday celebration, kicking off in Macau last September 28, 2008 and culminating again in Macau on October 3, 2008.



The opportunity allowed me to enjoy the Venetian, Ruins of St. Paul (rather extensively), Leal Senado Square, Guia Fortress, St. Dominic Church, and the sights and shows at night in several hotels like the Wynn, Grand Lisboa and Sands. (Grand Liboa Hotel is Macau’s famous landmark for its distinctive “birdcage” tower.)

Casinos? Oh they are elaborate and are all over the place. But we maintained our “No Gambling” sign in our hearts. It was fun, though, to look around and to have an idea of how gaming tables and slot machines look like (hehehe).

Although known for gambling, Macau is extremely rich in attractions and oozing with atmosphere. St. Dominic Church – Founded in 1587 by three Spanish Dominican priests who originally came from Acapulco Mexico.)



As the place is packed with churches, temples, fortresses and other old buildings bearing an interesting mix of Portuguese and Chinese, Macau is a fascinating place to walk around and convinced ourselves that we were in Europe. For me, some of the interesting things to see and do in Macau include:


The Venetian Hotel
- The Venetian is the most famous in Macau now, with its Venice-styled shopping mall with rivers running through, and is also the current largest casino in the world which is even modeled after Doge’s Palace.



The hotel recreates Venice complete with its own version of the Grand Canal. Guests are ferried by gondola while being serenaded as they travel through the Grand Canal Shoppe lined with half a million square feet of excellent shops, and restaurants. And there is a touch of culture inside.


Macau Tower -This is a great place to spend the afternoon. It has awesome views and adventure sports like bungee jumping off the 283-metre Tower, a walk around the rim, and bouldering and sport climbing at the tower’s base are on offer. But for me, thanks but no thanks! I just love the view and my prince remarked that no doubt Macau Tower is my favorite because I would mention it to him in all our conversations while in Macau.
(A walk through the theme park)
Fisherman’s Wharf -
This is one place you shouldn’t miss in your stay in Macau. Fisherman’s Wharf is the first theme park in Macau opened on December 31, 2006 and located near the Hongkong-Macau Ferry Pier. The complex includes over 150 stores and restaurants in buildings built in the style of different world seaports such as Cape Town, Amsterdam and Venice, six rides, a slots hall, a hotel and a casino. What more, entrance is free. And for that reason you may want to come back again and again. The

Fisherman’s Wharf has three major themes: Dynasty Wharf, East Meets West and Legend Wharf. In the East Meets West you’ll see Vulcania, River of Fire and Dragon Quest.

Vulcania , a 40m tall replica volcano which ‘erupts’ every evening and inside of which the ‘River of Fire’ white – water and ‘Dragon Quest’ rollercoaster rides are housed. The exterior of Vulcania includes walkways styled on the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.

Alladin’s Fort, an attraction in the style of middle-eastern fort which is home to a variety of children’s funfair rides, and playground for kids and teenagers.
(Formula Car displayed at the Wynn)
Macau Grand Prix Museum - For Formula 1 enthusiasts like me, this is a must-see place, especially if you are visiting Macau on months other than November (second week normally) when the most awaited and celebrated racing event is held. The museum is open daily and entrance is very reasonable for P70-80 for adults and half of that for kids. The museum contains exhibits that are related to Grand Prix worldwide including photos, videos, illustrated articles, cups, records of champions and some commemorative items. It was built in 1993 in memory of the 40th anniversary of Grand Prix Racing in Macau. More than twenty formula cars and motorcycles once driven by world renowned drivers are on exhibits there. The most interesting experience is a being in the two racing car simulators. This will enable you to experience racing on the challenging tracks at an extreme high speed.

Ruins of Sao Paulo (Ruins of St. Paul) - I guess this is Macau’s most famous landmark. The Ruins of Saint Paul refer to the façade of what was originally the Church of Mater Dei built in 1602-1640, destroyed by fire in 1835, and the ruins of St. Pauls’ College, which stood adjacent to the Church. Nowadays, the façade of the Ruins of St. Paul function symbolically as an altar to the city.

“Leal Senado” Square
-Senado Square has been Macau’s urban centre for centuries, and is still the most popular venue for public events and celebrations today. The square is surrounded by pastel-coloured neo-classical buildings, creating a consistent and harmonious Mediterranean atmosphere. The name “Leal Senado” (Loyal Senate), derives from the title ‘City of Our Name of God Macau, There is None More Loyal” which was bestowed by Portuguese King Dom John IV in 1654.

Guia Fortress, Lighthouse and Chapel
-These are the symbols of Macau’s maritime, military and missionary past. The fortress was built between 1622 and 1638. Inside the fortress stands Guia chapel with its elaborate frescoes depicting representations of both western and Chinese themes. Also stands within the perimeter, is Guia Lighthouse, the first modern lighthouse on the Chinese coast.

Na Tcha Temple – Built in 1888, this small traditional Chinese temple is dedicated to the worship of Na Tcha.

Lakbayan Philippines Grade


My Lakbayan grade is A!

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