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Showing posts from September, 2012

NAIA Terminal 3

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Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the main gateway to the Philippines. 


The terminal, which partially opened in 2008, was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. 




by Kin Enriquez

Wreck Diving in Coron

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Coron is one of the islands in Calamian, a group of island north of Palawan, Philippines. It is about an hour away by plane from Manila. Aside from the azure seas, white beaches and islets fenced with limestone cliffs, Coron has several magnificent wreck diving sites. The wrecks are remnants of the Japanese supply fleet that took shelter around the island during World War II.  American bombers - whose picture can be found in Helldivers bar beside where we stayed - chanced upon the ships in 1944 and promptly sunk them to oblivion. 


The dive sites are named after the ships themselves, and I've dived in three sites the second time I went to Coron:  Olympia Maru, East Tangat and Skeleton wreck.

Olympia Maru is a 5,600-ton freighter, 122 meters long and 17 meters wide, found below at the depth of  about 100 feet . We were able to penetrate the cargo hold of Olympia Maru right after we descended, and the site was pretty impresive, albeit it was a bit claustrophobic swimming through the da…

Ruins of Ayutthaya

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The story of Ayutthaya always fascinated me. The capital city of the kingdom with the same name,  it became one of the largest cities in the world at the height of its power - with a population reaching 1 million in 18th century. 


The kingdom, also known as Siam, had several vassal states around mainland Southeast Asia; its conquest was responsible for the destruction of Angkor, the seat of the Khmer empire, in what is now Cambodia, in 14th century. 


It was a bit of irony that the same fate befell the kingdom several centuries later. Months of sieges by the Burmese  in 1765 brought the city to its knees; the invaders burned the city and killed practically everyone, including the king. 


The degree of the destruction was still visible today. The old city is now a historical park, bearing the scars of war that were punctuated by the crumbling prangs scattered along the complex. 
Ayutthaya is about 76 kilometers away from Bangkok. We arrived at the park just before noon, and there were not a …

Sandstone Buddha under a Bodhi Tree

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All that remains of this centuries-old image of the Buddha under a bodhi tree in Ayutthaya is the sandstone head, framed by the roots of the tree. 

Visitors are advised not to stand over the image when having their pictures taken as a sign of deference. 

by Kin Enriquez

Caveat Emptor: Disadvantages of Taking a Budget Airline

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I'm a big fan of budget airlines. As I stated before, Low-Cost Carriers - as they are also known - democratized travel and made backpacking within reach to thousands of budding travelers. But, taking a budget airline can have its disadvantages. Here are some things that can make you go postal to the unfortunate schmo hogging the space beside the luggage carousel:
You get what you pay for. Sure, the fares are cheap; where else can you book a flight to a foreign destination for as little as $40? But there is a caveat to this - you pay for everything else. You want a choice window seat? pay a few more dollars. Want refreshments on board? Pay up. You don't get caviar h'ordeuvres seating in the Y-class of a budget airline. The ungodly hours. To save money most budget carriers operate red eye flights - they depart late at night and arrive at the destination at the wee hours in the morning - to take advantage of cheaper airport fees. That means most public transportation no longer…

Henri Matisse's Still Life with Vegetables

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Here's something a vegan Impressionist connoisseur would appreciate: Henri Matisse's Still Life with Vegetables.Oil on canvas, 1905-1906.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. by Kin Enriquez

Sta Cruz Church

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The Sta. Cruz Church in Manila. It is located just across Binondo, the oldest Chinatown in the world, which was established along the bank of Pasig River in 1594, a short distance from the walled city of Intramuros
The church was originally built by the Jesuits in 1619.
by Kin Enriquez

Suvarnabhumi Airport Concourse

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The concourse and boarding gates of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport.




by Kin Enriquez

It's More Fun in the Philippines

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The official site for the It's More Fun in the Philippines campaign of the Philippine Department of Tourism is now live: http://itsmorefuninthephilippines.com

Can I Have Some Candy?

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A kid enjoys his sweets at the floating market, in Ayutthaya, Thailand

by Kin Enriquez

Reflection

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Remnants of the flood waters that inundated the ruins of Ayutthaya reflect the prangs that dot the complex.

Ayutthaya was the capital of the old kingdom of Siam, and it was destroyed by the Burmese invasion in 1767. 

[September 14, 2012, Ayutthaya, Thailand] by Kin Enriquez

Sipattal of the Isneg People

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Aside from the bulul, there's another Philippine artifact on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York: a sipattal, a jewelry worn by the Isneg people of Luzon. 
The ornament, dated to 19th century, was made of mother-of-pearl, glass beads and various fibers. It is currently displayed in Gallery 355: Island Southeast Asia. by Kin Enriquez

Sand Castle Engineers

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Kids building sand castles, in a beach in Coron, Philippines

Remember 9/11

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The twin towers of the World Trade Center would have been visible in this view of downtown Manhattan from the Empire State Building, had not because of that fateful day 11 years ago today. 
I was home that time when it happened, and I thought I was just seeing something that's happening in a movie, until it finally sunk in to me that a terrible, dastardly act was just done.

Sleeping in Airports

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A weary traveller catches a nap in the boarding area of Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in Manila, Philippines.

In all my travels I've only have done this one, during a 7-hour layover in Kuala Lumpur on my way to Langkawi. I figured sleeping in one corner of the terminal instead of getting a room somewhere would be cheaper (plus for the experience), but regretted it as it was the Formula One race weekend and the terminal was too crowded.

Fruitful

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I like the colors of these fruits on display in a grocery in Shanghai.

Beam Me Up

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The atrium of the Suria Mall at the base of Petronas Twin Towers looks so science-fiction-y.

Yuchengco Museum

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Facade of the RCBC Plaza, an office skyscraper in Makati district of Metro Manila. The building - designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill - houses the privately operated Yuchengco Museum, which showcases Filipino and Filipino-Chinese art. 
[photo by Arvy]

Caballo Island

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Caballo Island, seen from Corregidor Island, is one of the islands guarding the mouth of Manila Bay. 


During the Second World War, Caballo Island (which means horse in Spanish) was heavily fortified and, together with Corregidor, Carabao and El Fraile islands, was part of the harbor defenses of Manila

Corregidor and Caballo are thought to be the rims of the Corregidor Caldera, an extinct volcano located at the bottom of Manila Bay. 

by Kin Enriquez

IMAX Dome

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Like a giant prop for a sci-fi movie, the six story-high IMAX Dome theater looms large inside the glass dome of the Shanghai Science & Technology Museum.


by Kin Enriquez

Mardi Gras Trinkets

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Revelers, bedecked with colorful garlands and beads, join the festivities during the Mardi Gras in the historic French neighborhood of Soulard, St. Louis. 


Mardi gras, which means "Fat Tuesday" in French, is a celebration done before the advent of Lent (which starts on Ash Wednesday). Colorful trinkets - such as necklaces of beads and garlands and known as Mardi gras throws - are given or thrown out to the spectators from the floats and houses during the celebration, moreso if women bare their bosoms. I had fun collecting loads of bead necklaces, but without baring anything (as it was just the end of winter and too cold out). 

by Kin Enriquez

Orbitron

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This is one of my favorite rides in HK Disneyland.

Lunch at 29,000 Feet

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Lunch is served at a Philippine Airlines flight (Manila to Bangkok)

Grand Central Terminal

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The Beaux-Arts facade of the Grand Central Terminal. On the right side you can see the Art Deco Chrysler Building

by Kin Enriquez

Ruins of San Roque Church, Camiguin

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Aside from the Sunken Cemetery, the ruins of the old San Roque Church are only a few of the remnants that mark the devastation of the 1871 eruption of Mt. Vulcan, a volcano in Camiguin. Parts of the convent and the belfry also remain in the area. 
by Kin Enriquez