Sunday, April 6, 2014

Selfie Alphabet: Finland!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda


"Long before Oxford Dictionaries declared the word Selfie as its 2013 word of the year, I have already been taking a photograph of countries I visited with me in the photo. I am featuring all my selfie photos in alphabetical order! (For the introductory post check this link on Australia)


Today's feature is FINLANDa large and sparsely populated country in Northern Europe bordered by Russia to the East, Norway to the North and Sweden to the West. In July 2007, my good friend Beth (& her then hubby Roland), Atty. Jojie, Sheena and I took an overnight cruise aboard Silja Serenade  from Stockholm to Helsinki, the capital and largest city of Finland. As it was our first trip together, most of our Helsinki photos are group shots! 

In front of Helsinki Cathedral in Helsinki, Finland


But I scored a selfie in front of the Helsinki Cathedral, a bright white with green domes neoclassical building towering above Senate Square. Known in Finnish as Tuomiokirkko, this distinctive symbol of Finland's capital is actually the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran cathedral designed by Carl Ludvig Engel and built in 1830-1852 for the Diocese of Helsinki. Today, the cathedral is one of Helsinki's most popular attractions not only for tourists who attend religious events (as the church is still in regular use  for services worship and special events like weddings) , but also for those who love to take photos, just like me!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Selfie Alphabet: Brunei Darussalam

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda


"Long before Oxford Dictionaries declared the word Selfie as its 2013 word of the year, I have already been taking a photograph of countries I visited with me in the photo. I am featuring all my selfie photos in alphabetical order! (For the introductory post check this link on Australia)



My trip to Brunei was featured in Cebu Pacific's Smile Magazine Trip Journal
for October-November 2013 issues


Today's feature is Brunei or Negara Brunei Darussalam in Malay language. Regaining its independence from United Kingdom on January 1, 1984,  it has officially been regarded as the tiniest sovereign state or country in the world. But despite its size, Brunei is also one of the wealthiest country with its large oil fields in Southeast Asia. So in September 2011, I and my parents Lito & Cristy, my youngest brother Joel and then newlyweds Jojo & AA Riguerra traveled to Brunei's capital and largest city, Bandar Seri Begawan with a golden expectation (to see the gold that glitters!).  For this reason we checked out and photographed from every angle, the iconic Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque which dominates the skyline with its golden domes and the Kiarong Mosque whose domes and minarets shine like gold at night.  We also headed out to the Sultan's Palace not only for a free sumptuous feast [ since we happened to be there during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri] but also for a chance to see more golden walls and ornamentation. 





However, my favorite Selfie photo in Bandar Seri Begawan, has no trace of gold in it. It was taken inside the grounds of Sultan Omar Ali Saiffudien Mosque and shows a portion of the replica of the 16th century mahligia or royal barge anchored in the lagoon beside the mosque.  The mahligia was used to stage religious ceremonies, like the reading of Holy Koran competitions in the 1960's to 1970's.  I like this photo because it evokes such tranquility and peace, and a sense of contrast between the traditional abaya (the long black robe I was wearing while barefoot) and the colorful background.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Selfie Alphabet: Australia!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda


Long before Oxford Dictionaries declared the word "Selfieas its 2013 word of the year, I have already been taking "a photograph of me" in the countries I visited. So in the book "2,100 Things To Do Before You Die", I added to the handy checklist the task "Take Selfie Photos in A to Z countries of the world". It means I have to be in at least 26 countries that represents the Alphabet, from A to Z. To date, I've already been to 36 countries but still haven't been to any countries that starts with letters "D" for Denmark, "E" for Egypt, "L" for Laos, "O" for Oman, "Q" for Qatar, "Y" for Yemen and "Z" for Zimbabwe. So since completing the  Selfie Alphabet may be a long shot, I thought of blogging this month of April about those countries I already have selfie photos! Wooah! that's more than a whole month of blogging and that's not a prank!

AUSTRALIA debuts this series. It is the sixth country of the world in terms of land area and comprises six (6) states - New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia. In June 2009, I visited the capital cities of New South Wales, Tasmania, and Victoria,  respectively  Sydney, Hobart and Melbourne !  

Of the three (3) capital citiesmy trip to SYDNEY was the most memorable in terms of taking photos. Unlike in Melbourne and Tasmania where I checked out tourist spots with companions, I was on my own, going around this famous harbour city and capital of New South Wales! Yet, I managed to take a lot of photos with me in it, simply because I wasn't shy asking strangers (who are friends I haven't met)  to take them for me. 

At the Pylon Lookout of Sydney Harbour Bridge

I particularly love this Selfie taken by mother and son, McKenzie and Caleb from Boulder, Colorado (USA) atop the Pylon Lookout of the world famous icon Sydney Harbour Bridge. In the picture, I was pointing to one of the most popular visitor attractions in Australia the SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE, a multi-venue performing arts centre which formally opened on October 20, 1973.  Each year, more than seven (7) million people visits  this most distinctive building of the 20th century which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site on June 28, 2007. 

Lakbayan Philippines Grade


My Lakbayan grade is A!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

Trotting The Globe

Travel Map
I've been to 660 cities in 26 countries
Mhe-Anne is an explorer that:
does their own thing
doesn't mind roughing it
lives on the edge
Travel cred: high
I rank in the top...
0.1% most cities visited - Philippines
0.1% most cities visited - Brunei Darussalam
0.1% most cities visited - Asia

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New York - View from the Empire State Building

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Opera House - Sydney