Compilation of photos taken at the Marco Polo Plaza in Cebu City, Philippines, all taken in February 2015. Just going through my hard drive and I’m trying to organise my photos. As you can see, I’m still working on my 2015 photos – 3 more years of photos to go!
It’s been a while since I wrote about anything so tonight, I decided to stop playing Candy Crush (I ran out of levels on my phone anyway) and actually sit down and update my blog. I thought I should write about the place I spent most of my teenage / young adult years (at the University of the Philippines) so I trawled through my massive photo-file (which needs a good cull and proper labels / keywords / tags) to look for photos to share. One photo that caught my eye was that of the sundial.
When I clicked on the link I thought that the banner photo looked oddly familiar.
I looked closely and thought – “Hey … that looks like the photo I took of the sundial.” What gave it away is that glare spot in the middle of the image. So, I went through my digital files again and … yep, it’s exactly my photo.
Since I don’t recall giving my digital file to anyone or posting it anywhere else but Flickr (I also need to sort out that site – I uploaded too much junk), I decided to check all the uploads I have made to find that particular image.
True enough, I did upload that photo and – all the metadata was intact (date taken, camera used, settings, etc). I felt vindicated …
and slightly miffed because, there weren’t any credits on the iskWiki page. 😦 I would have let them use it anyway, after all, UP is my alma mater, but it would have been nice if they had acknowledged the source.
Oh well … I suppose I should take this as a sign that I have “arrived as a photographer” because my work is now being used in various websites. If only I could get paid …
Not bad considering we went through a lot of turbulence. Was out of the airport at 9:00 am because the airport is – in a word – massive. It’s really really big – you need to take a train to get to the baggage claim area. The airport is very sleek as well.
Beijing’s Massive Airport
Entrance to the Train Station
Typical Beijing Bus
Took the shuttle then the bus to the backpackers lodge. It wasn’t that hard to find though I think I got off one (or two) stops too early, and I also walked the wrong way (hihihi). Pero di bale, I found it in the end.
After I checked in, I walked down the hutong’s alleys and took pictures of almost everything. I say almost kasi I had to stop myself. There were so many interesting buildings or carvings that if I took pictures of them all, I’d die.
So, I went off to look for a sim card and a supermarket. I found the shop where they sell simcards and goodluck na lang! Kahirap to communicate! No one spoke English so I think I spent about an hour there just trying to buy a sim card and top-up. Afterwards, I went to the supermarket to stock up on food. I wanted to buy bread and perhaps, peanut butter and some de-lata – pero naman! I’m in the land of Ma-Ling yet I could not find one single ma-ling can around, plus they didn’t have sliced bread! I bought shampoo and soap and a big jug of water na lang.
When I got to the counter, they didn’t have plastic bags! So Sige, may-i-siksik sa camera bag kaya lumala ang scolio ko. I planned to go back to the lodge to put down my things pero … medyo malayo so I opted to go ahead and check out the drum and bell towers. Buti na lang I did that kasi nakakita ako ng convenient store and they had bread and strawberry jam! Lunch and Dinner forever! I bought a bag as well so that I can distribute the weight evenly (camera on the left side of the body, groceries on the left). I then went to see the Drum Tower but before that … lunch.
@ The Drum and Bell Tower
Kelangan ata kasing tangkad mo si Yao Ming para di ka mahirapan pumanik ng stairs. I was taught in school that risers should be 0.15 to 0.20mm max and treads are at least 0.30. Dito, both riser and tread are at least 0.30mm. Mid leg (sa shin) ang taas ng step and super duper steep! PLUS MADULAS! Good luck na lang kay lola with the camera and the bag of groceries (me).
Selfie by the Drums
Selfie in front of the steep and slippery flight of stairs
Selfie by the Bells
Pardon the selfies – I was a solo traveler – if I don’t take selfies I won’t have photos!
After exploring the two towers (and being lucky enough not to fall), sabi ko uwi na ako – but I was side tracked by a nice street (don’t know the name). Lots of shops around and very quaint. Took photos but I gave up after that. I went back to the lodge to rest and plan the rest of my week … and to BATHE! I am so nanlilimahid.
Here are some of the stuff I wrote in my travel diary. I’ll probably share more of these in the next few days, just because… it’s nice to remember. AND I trawled through my hard-drive to include some photos too.
24 october 8:30 pm (Akl Airport)
Finally off to China! I’ll be boarding the plane in 2 hours and then I’ll be on my way. Mum and BK (& Saffron) dropped me off at the airport earlier and we were quite surprised because the queues weren’t long. We expected heavy traffic and long lines because it’s the start of ta long weekend but it was quiet. I asked the ground crew about it and he said that we just missed the rush.
I did mention I’d be writing about the Yungang Grottoes, didn’t I? Well here it is! Yungang was my last tourist stop when I was in Datong. I did a little research about the place and I was mildly all right with visiting it – I’m really not much into statues of Gautama Buddha so I was somewhat indifferent. I was looking forward to seeing it, but wasn’t jumping up and down in excitement. When I first saw the entrance to the place, I was like “So what’s so special about it?” – yeah yeah, I know that’s really mean, but can you blame me? Look at the images below, you have to admit that the place looks uninspiring – but this trip made me realise that the saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” does not only apply to books (and people), but places as well. Once I entered those gates, I was in for the shock of my life. 🙂
As I’ve mentioned before, I managed to snag really cheap fares to and from Beijing way back in 2008. Apart from exploring the sights of Beijing itself, I made a side trip to Datong because I wanted to see the Hanging Temple. I saw it being featured in one of those travel channels and desperately wanted to see what it really is like. Thankfully, Datong is much closer to Beijing than X’ian (where the Terra Cotta warriors are), so I did more research and found a travel agent who booked me on a “soft-sleeper” train to this province.
After a (surprisingly comfortable 8-hour) train ride, I got into Datong. My tour guide and driver – I can honestly say MY tour guide because I was her only tourist – drove me to various tourist attractions (9-Dragon Wall, Buddhist Temple) and fed me soo much food I thought I was going to pop! Then of course, they brought me to the Hanging Temple.
(Here’s another post I’m moving from my old site to this one. I’m off to the Coromandel, to see the Cathedral Cove, tomorrow. I hope to be able to write about this trip as well as the rest of the trips I have taken in the past – I’ve got a massive backlog already. I still need to write about Nelson, and Raglan and the other places I’ve been to)
Beijing’s Olympic Stadium
Last year, thanks to Air New Zealand’s Grab-a-Seat, I was able to get a really really cheap round trip airplane ticket (read: NZ$508.00 all in) to Beijing, China. So on the Friday before NZ’s Labour Day, I left Middle Earth to visit the land of the Imperial Dynasties.
The Tuesday after I arrived (and the day after I walked the Great Wall in Jinshanling and Simatai – worthy of another entry), with the insistence of my backpacker roommates, I braved the horrific Beijing traffic and pedalled my way northwards to the famed Olympic City. A visit to the Olympic City is a MUST considering the Great Games just finished a mere 3 months earlier. Better to visit the site before all the excitement, euphoria and the novelty wears off.