Showing posts from July, 2014

Isabelle Scheltjens at Ghent Museum of Fine Arts

Isabelle Scheltjens:  Remember the name!
I was just done with the first half of my tour inside the city’s Museum of Fine Arts when I headed for the centrum to check out this cool, new way of portrait-making using a technique called glass fusion.  It’s the melting together of tiny, square bits of colored glass, one on top of another, to form a singular piece or “pixel” and thousands (yes, thousands!) of those pixels to form a picture.  In this case, the result is a portrait, that when viewed from a distance appears only in sepia.  Very fascinating AND intriguing.
Finding the art gallery that housed Ms. Scheltjen’s exhibit was pretty easy.  It was located just across the town hall.  And even on that day itself that there were a gazillion of people who came to celebrate Ghent’s annual ten-day festival, I found my way.
The moment I entered the gallery, I immediately realized that the artist herself was there.  I was in luck!  And just a couple of minutes after, an imposing figure stepped in …

In Pictures: Sta. Monica & Venice Beach

I haven't had an In Pictures post for a few months now and I think one is in order. For this week, I am featuring a glimpse of the SoCal beach culture, in Sta. Monica and Venice Beach, California, which I visited a few months ago. 
I actually didn't plan to go to Sta. Monica, as I was going to take the hop-on, hop-off bus from Hollywood and go around Los Angeles. Somewhere in Beverly Hills I saw another bus that goes all the way to the coast, I boarded it and I ended up on the beach. Since it was unplanned, I was wearing jeans and felt so overdressed. 

The first thought that came to my mind when I alighted from the bus in Ocean Boulevard was that I am going to see the Pacific Ocean from the other side! I crossed to Palisades Park, which was built on top of the coastal bluff parallel to the boulevard. The tree-lined parked has lots of people milling about - tourists, buskers and locals doing about their business. 

From the park I can already see the Pacific Ocean, bounded by the b…

PSA: 2015 Holidays in the Philippines

The Philippine government just announced the dates of public non-working holidays in the Philippines for 2015. You may plan your trips accordingly

January 1, Thursday - New Year's Day
January 2, Friday - Additional special non-working holiday

February  9, Thursday - Chinese New Year
February 25, Wednesday - EDSA Revolution

April 2, Thursday - Maundy Thursday
April 3, Friday - Good Friday
April 4, Saturday - Good Saturday
April 9, Thursday - Araw ng Kagitingan

May 1, Friday - Labor Day

June 12, Friday - Independence Day

August 21, Friday - Ninoy Aquino Day
August 31, Monday - National Heroes Day

November 30, Monday - Bonifacion Day

December 24, Thursday - Additional special non-working holiday
December 25, Friday - Christmas Day
December 30, Wednesday - Rizal Day
December 31, Thursday - Last day of the year

infographic by

Exploring Balicasag Island

Since my childhood - when I started reading books like Kidnapped, Treasure Island, Swiss Family Robinson, Robinson Crusoe, and my all time fave Gallows on the Sand by Morris West - I've always been drawn to the idea of being marooned in a desert island. I would imagine myself living off the land and fighting pirates for survival, then finding a cache of treasure somewhere - typical boys stuff. 
Balicasag Island is not a desert island by definition, since it has local residents numbering several tens of families. The island though, comes close to what kind of desert island I imagine myself to be marooned in. 

Our trip to Balicasag began early in the morning, immediately after going to the part of the Bohol Sea to see the dolphins. The boat ride didn't take that long, about less than an hour. As we approach I could see the lighthouse and the clusters of mangroves and huts built along the white-sand beach that encircle the round-shaped island. As we get closer the waters began chan…

PSA: Important Info During Disasters

Metro Manila and the rest of the Philippines are experiencing unusually heavy rains and strong winds due to Typhoon Glenda this week. Here are some important info to remember and take note in case of emergencies:

Red Cross:
If you need to be rescued, call 143 , (02) 527.0000 or (02) 527.8385-95. Put a white blanket outside your house so that rescuers can easily locate where you are (Philippine Red Cross)

National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council: Twitter: @NDRRMC_Open Facebook: NDRRMC hotlines:(02) 911-1406, (02) 912-2665, (02) 912-5668; +63917-8916322
Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA)
Twitter:@MMDA Website: MMDA metrobase hotline: 136 Flooding control: 882-4177, 882-0925
PAGASA (Weather bureau) Website: Twitter: @dost_pagasa PAGASA hotline: (02) 433-8526
Coast Guard:
Hotline: 0917-PCGDOTC (0917-7243682), 02 527.3877, 02 527.8481

Department of Social Welfare and Development (…

Travel to Mexico: Visa and Other Considerations

Mexico is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The country's rich culture and history, tropical beaches and other natural attractions made it a magnet for travellers around the world. Here are some of the considerations to take when visiting the country.

Visa Citizens from select countries, listed here, do not need a visa when entering Mexico for tourism purposes. 
Citizens of the countries that are listed here, however, need to get a visa from the nearest Mexican embassy before they can enter the country. These countries include, unfortunately, the Philippines. However, there is an exemption for this. If you have a valid United States visa (or traveling from the USA) and the purpose of your trip is tourism, business or transit, then you can enter Mexico through any port of entry with no visa necessary. 
Filipinos with no US visa need to submit several documents when applying for a visa. The requirements include bank statements, income tax, certificate of employm…

Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History

Leave it to a geek traveling to faraway land to find time and visit a museum full of dinosaurs. That's basically what I did when I visited the City of Angels. I swung by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County to see the famed Dinosaur Hall of the museum, right after I saw the space shuttle at the California Science Center (spaceships and dinosaurs? It must be geek heaven!).

Located in Exposition Park, the NHM can trace its roots way back in 1913 when it opened as the Museum of History, Science and Art. The artsy part of the museum later became the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, or LACMA, and the geeky part became the NHM. 

The main draw of the museum for me are the dinosaurs, and the rest are icing to the cake. Many of the specimen displayed in the museum were taken from the La Brea Tar pits, the area in LA where natural asphalt were oozing from the ground, thick enough to trap animals. NHM is comparable to the Field Museum of Chicago, although I think the latter has mo…