African Violets

Yes, I have a new hobby – and it’s growing African Violets. Well, to be honest, it’s growing plants, in general, but I’m particularly fascinated with African Violets at the moment because they’re so easy yet so hard to grow and take care of!

It all started sometime in …. 2016 (yes, I’ve been into this for almost 2 years), when Selena, from work, gave me one of her mature plants to take home because she already has too many. Somehow, that plant (which has now gone to African Violet heaven, thanks to me over-watering it) got me into this activity. Next thing I knew, I was nipping little leaves from her collection at work and trying to grow them myself! I have a whole bunch of them now, and allow me to introduce each one to you.

Continue reading “African Violets”

Advertisements

Crusaders vs Chiefs

The Crusaders (Canterbury Rugby Team) will be facing the Chiefs (Waikato Rugby Team) tonight as they vie for a semifinal slot in the 2017 Super Rugby Tournament. The team that wins tonight will face whoever wins in tomorrow’s game (Hurricanes vs the Lions). It’s going to be tough for me to choose a team because I like all three NZ teams (the Lions are from South Africa). Anyway, since the game is at Christchurch, here are a few unedited photos of Christchurch circa 2009 (pre-earthquake).

Semi-Dried Tomato and Basil Bread

We have had really bad weather here at the Capital for the past few days. Yesterday was absolutely yucky! It rained endlessly and we had gale force winds – I thought our roof would be picked up by the breeze! It’s still pretty yucky out there today, but the wind isn’t as bad (not howling anymore, like it did yesterday) but it’s still pretty chilly.

Continue reading “Semi-Dried Tomato and Basil Bread”

Going Bananas

Because I bought 5 kg of over-ripe bananas, I tried out this new banana-recipe.

On my way to an appointment this afternoon, I walked past one of the dairies on Cuba Street and saw that they were selling over-ripe bananas for $2.99 per kg. Since I’ve been feeling a bit bleh, I decided to buy some so I can bake some banana cake at home – the type I used to bake way back in Manila.

So, I walked in and bought a bunch — and then decided to add another bunch … and since there were just a few forlorn bananas left, I said I’ll take the whole lot. So yeah, I ended up going home with a little over 5kgs of over-ripe bananas.  Sheesh!

Continue reading “Going Bananas”

Interesting ….

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.

 

UP Sundial_2151810532_l

Naturally, I needed to find some text that would go with it so I did a google search for “UP Sundial” and one of the links that came up was this: http://iskwiki.upd.edu.ph/index.php/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 …

Capture

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 …

When Wellington Wiggled

Wellington decided to wiggle a bit more than usual on the first few minutes of Monday morning (14th November 2016).

It started off as slight trembling – which is a normal occurrence here in the Capital, so I didn’t think much of it. However the tremors didn’t stop after a few seconds. Instead it grew stronger – strong enough to rouse the Grizzly Bear from his slumber. We waited a bit longer but the movement didn’t abate – the intensity just grew stronger. And then the house started to sway. Side to side – slowly at first, and then it started to shake. I thought of doing the “drop cover and hold” maneuver but – I was in bed. I mean, do I  go out into the lounge while the house was doing the Macarena, just to go under a table? I stayed put, I couldn’t – not just because of the shaking, but more so because the Grizzly Bear threw himself on top of me (my hero).  The shaking lasted quite a while but the movement stopped, eventually. (we found out later that there were 2 earthquakes one after the other, which was why the shaking took so long). 

We survived. The house – which I kinda expected to just slide down the hill – is still on its feet, and the chimney hasn’t tumbled down. Nothing was broken; utilities (power, water and gas) weren’t disrupted; the bank behind us held up. All’s well. Even the cats are okay.

Sadly, the same can’t be said for parts of Kaikoura (epicentre of the quake), parts of Christchurch and  most of Wellington CBD. Work was suspended later that day as engineers examined the buildings in Wellington Central, and emergency services cleared debris which consisted mostly of broken glass. Trains and buses were cancelled as well – they had to check on the train tracks and power lines weren’t damaged too much by the quake. Furthermore, there were several aftershocks that day – from 4.5 to 6M in intensity.

To make matters more interesting, the forecast for Monday evening was rain with gale force winds (up to 140 kph). This on top of a month’s worth of rain (about 88 mm) dumped on the Capital on Saturday.

It’s now Tuesday and I’m now back at work. Thankfully, the forecast of Gale Force Winds didn’t eventuate, but we are getting inundated by so much rain, and it appears it will be like this for the rest of the week.

Walking up Cuba Street from Manners Street, a lot of the department / clothing stores have remained shut – obviously waiting for the “go-signal” from city engineers. Meanwhile, their mannequins and other displays are strewn across the floor. I was tempted to take photos of the “damage” but realised, there are already too many photos of devastation (not just because of the quake) and unhappy occurrences in existence, I just didn’t feel right about adding any more to it. So I walked on, and decided that I will focus on finding beauty in the world around me.

Yes, the world needs to know that “bad things” happen, but I think a lot of people already share this around. There are photojournalists who go to war torn areas and send back photos of casualties of war, or those who document poverty and oppression. However, I think there aren’t enough photos depicting the simple beauty of life and of living. I’m not referring to photos that show amazing sunsets and fabulous scenery here – I’m talking about capturing the beauty in the mundane. And that’ll be my focus.

Landed @ 8:05

Day 1 at Beijing.

… continued from “Excerpts from my Travel Diary”

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.

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. 

img_0051
McDonald’s – easiest to buy. No translator needed. Just point to the picture you want and voila! Instant Nourishment.

@ 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).

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.

to be continued …