Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sanctuary of Truth

Pattaya, Thailand

The Sanctuary  of Truth is in Pattaya, Thailand.  The temple has awesome woodwork and the statues are fantastic!  The purposes of decoration with wooden carve sculptures are to use art and culture as the reflection of Ancient Vision of Earth,    Ancient  Knowledge,  and  Eastern Philosophy. With in this complex, visitors  will  understand  Ancient  Life,  Human  Responsibility, Basic
Thought, Cycle of living, Life Relationship with Universe and
Common Goal of Life toward Utopia. 


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Desperado RAW! I survived.....

Have you tried the Desperado roller coaster ride in Las Vegas?  It's definitely a one-of-a-kind experience.  I consider myself bold and adventurous, never the one to pass up a challenge,  so
when my husband asked if I would like to try a roller coaster ride while we were in Las Vegas, I readily agreed.   I have seen U.S. roller coaster rides from the movies.  We have roller coaster rides here in the Philippines but nothing quite matches those in the U.S. or even those in Japan.  I was thrilled that my husband asked me to go and ride in one.

My husband chose the Desperado roller coaster.  It is  in  31900 Las Vegas Blvd S, Jean, Nevada.

We were also with my husband's childhood friend, Paul, who came from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for reunion with Dave, my husband.

The night before  this roller coaster ride,  I listened with amusement as these two mature men reminisced their 'wild' childhood days.  They never ran out of anecdotes and funny experiences to tell for hours.  I enjoyed listening and laughing with them -  margaritas after margaritas, shrimp cocktails after shrimp cocktails.  OMG, these two items I enjoyed most in Las Vegas.  I think Las Vegas is the place where you could buy  them the cheapest!  

                                                                  Night scene in Las Vegas
Before this ride, their wild childhood escapades were just stories.  After this Desperado ride, I look at my husband in a different perspective. Man, he's really wild in order to enjoy  and go though this ride each time he goes to las Vegas!

Okay, back to Desperado.  This is my first 'real' roller coaster ride in the U.S. and sh*t, I did not know that this is one of the scariest ride even in the U.S.  I did not know that is is the tallest roller coaster in the North America!  The operator had us leave our things -  bag, eyeglasses, sunglasses, camera with the guard before the ride.  I was not able to take picture of us, and even if I was allowed, I would not have the guts to take out my hand from gripping the steel bar in front of me.  I almost couldn't breathe from fear and excitement.  There were two young men in front of us as we were in the second seat..  They looked at me, smiled, and gave me the thumbs up. They looked at each other,  gave each other hi-5 and shook with laughter.  Then the out-of-this-world-ride began.  

We ascended ever so slowly, enabling us to see the beautiful view the Buffalo Bill hotel and the nearby areas.  Reaching the peak,  like a nightmare of a surprise we descended so fast, 80 mph.   I screamed and laughed at the same time,   but then, looking down I saw a very small  hole, where I know we'd be barreling into.  OMG, how could we fit in such a small hole, and at  mind-boggling speed too.  The two young men in front of us were enjoying the ride, they even raised their hands while my hands were almost bloodless from gripping the steel bar!  

Note this ride facts:
Length: 5,843 feet
Max Height: 210 feet
Biggest Drop: 225 feet
Max Speed: 80 mph
Ride Duration: 2 minutes, 45 seconds
Capacity: 1,700 people per hour on three trains
Designer: Arrow Dynamics, Clearfield, Utah
Special Features: A high-speed dive down a 55-degree hill into a tunnel kicks off the ride followed by a 155-foot second hill. That's higher than most other coasters' first drop.

Here's a short Youtube recording, just for you to get a 'feel' of the ride:

After the second ascent/descent, I closed my eyes....which is a very wrong thing to do, as I never anticipated what direction my  neck would be involuntarily turned.  Awww, that was painful. My neck were like pulled and thrust in different directions in what seems like forever!  Paul and Dave and the other passengers were laughing. I screamed all the way,  wooooo,   woooooooo!!!!

After the ride, I needed a drink.  I felt like the old woman that I am.  As you could see in our picture, I was not pale anymore, in fact I was flushed from several bottles of beer.  Hayyy, Desperado is not for the faint of heart, I am warning you.

Lessons learned:
1. Never close your eyes while in a roller coaster ride as you'd like to know how to brace yourself against the roller coaster's twists and turns.  You don't like your fragile neck jerked here and there, don't you.

2.  Before you get married, ask your future groom, "what are the things that give you thrills or excite you".  This will give you enough clues how wild or tame your man is.

Useful sites:
Thanks for the Desperado pic and ride facts

Thanks for the youtube entry:

 Check out this roller coaster documentary!

Taking full advantage of the DVD format, this installment of the Roller Coaster Thrills series offers viewers a choice of two camera angles for each of the 20 rides captured on this disc. Anticipate the fear of that initial heart-stopping plunge with a first-person perspective, or face backward and watch the reactions of the riders--either way, it's a great ride. The virtual tour across U.S. theme parks includes old-fashioned woodies, dual-track looping coasters, and colossal steel mega-coasters with 300-foot drops. Many of the featured coasters were built in 1999 and show off the latest advances in roller coaster engineering; in fact, one launched coaster has apparently garnered interest from NASA engineers for the speed of its propulsion (0 to 60 mph in under 3 seconds). The disc is also packed with special features: amusement park histories, interviews with roller coaster designers, behind-the-scenes insights from director Ned Rodgers and director of photography Dave Cutler, plus Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound, and bonus footage of the first combination roller coaster and water ride. --Larisa Lomacky Moore


Monday, March 1, 2010

Remembering Auntie Rosie

No, the gorgeous woman above is not my Auntie Rosie, but model's curls remind me of  her. Auntie Rosie sported the same length of hair when when she was young.  As she grew older her hair got shorter.   I was always fascinated by her thick curly hair, which she absentmindedly twirled on her fingers while she was studying.  She was still studying when I went to live with my her, my grandmother and another spinster aunt, Auntie Charing and other cousins and their parents.  Yes, Auntie Rosie was a spinster, an old maid....OMG, these terms are not in use anymore.  But she did not mind describing herself as such, did not mind other people describing her as such.  My other aunt, Auntie Charing, in an effort to discipline us children, would often threaten us to tell on Auntie Rosie about our pranks, in the same manner that a mother would tell her children "Wait 'til you father gets home".  So around Auntie Rosie, we tend to be more quiet, better behaved, sort of tiptoeing around her while she was studying. If we were boisterous, she would snap, "silence!", and we won't even giggle.   We children made faces  at each other but we obeyed Auntie Rosie. If silence
was needed, we gave her that. She did not speak much, but when we showed her our 'works of art', our high grades in school, told her of our accomplishments, she would smile and we knew we made her proud.   I think she was in her early 30's then, and  I was 9 years old.  Yes, she was still studying, pursuing her M.A. in Education, I think.  She was  a 'working student', sent herself to college while she was employed as one of the junior staff at the Registrar's Office of Philippine Normal College, now Philippine Normal University.  She rose to ranks eventually and became the Registrar of the university.

I stayed with them for two years until I felt so homesick I would burst,  and went home to my parents in Negros Occidental.   I came back to them six years later when I was 16 years old, and  studied at the same university where  Auntie Rosie was working.  Living with them (grandmother, spinster aunts, younger cousins)  at my grandmother's house was not that smooth when I was a little girl, and when I was a teenager until I graduated from college and started working.  They say I was always a rebel.  I say I felt so alone.  There was this 'regionalism' issue - I was from the south, a 'Bisaya', actually an llongga, while all of them are 'Tagala', from Metro Manila and Laguna, all speaking Tagalog. My father was from the south, Negros Occidental, so my siblings and I were all born Ilongga.   I could speak Tagalog alright, thanks to Liwayway, a Tagalog weekly magazine I faithfully read since I learned how to read - when I was five years old.  But Regionalism is big deal here in the Philippines.  A young girl could be treated inferior by relatives by the mere fact that she is from the South!  It did not help too that I was fiercely proud of being an Ilongga; that I was also stubborn;  that I was a smart-aleck kid, that when I was angry I shredded my dress in tiny tiny little  pieces with my bare hands;  wrote my bitter feelings in seven pages of typewriting paper while I was given the 'sermon' by Auntie Charing!  But I am straying from my topic - Auntie Rosie. 

Auntie Rosie forgot that I was an Ilongga, etc.,  when we were together every day - going to the University and coming back home.  We had nothing much to say to each other, except for the immediate needs, like "Auntie, I need to borrow this book from the library but the librarian would not allow me as the book is classified 'References'.  Auntie Rosie would get the book for me at the end of library hours, having promised the librarian that the book would be returned first thing in the morning.  To make the long story short, Auntie Rosie did her best  and made my college life easier - she gave me sandwiches at break times; she helped me get employed as a student librarian after my regular classes so I would be financially independent from my parents;  she applied for me as a grant-in-aid scholar in the university and was approved too;  she helped me in my art classes. Art and books - these are the things we both are passionate with. We borrowed books from each other, gave books as presents to each other too.   Auntie Rosie manifested her creativity with her beautiful sculptural works - she fashioned her beautiful busts of the Virgin Mary, child Jesus and other non religious objects from soap,  and from clay.   She made a grotto, complete with the Virgin Mary at the side 'walls' of the house and at the backyard too.  The 'walls' are actually the hilly backyard which she also fashioned like the mini rice terraces.

In my Art classes in college, when I needed an outline to work on, I requested her to draw for me - from paisley prints to logos, etc.  Her handwriting was so beautiful, she wrote each name of the student in individual diplomas.  Too bad that her family did not believe that an artist could actually flourish and make money.  She would have been a great multimedia artist.   Everyone was encouraged to have a 'practical' career as a teacher, a librarian, a doctor, etc.  Years later, when I became an adult, I always visited her at her office and we became closer. I always invited her to watch a movie or to eat out, etc.,  but she declined.  She was always frugal and did not approve of me spending much for her.l 

When I decided to quit working as an employee in an international organization, everybody disapproved.  To everyone, my decision to become a full time photographer was not practical at all.  And maybe they were right.  But I feel fulfilled, I feel  freedom in photography.  I guess nobody fully understood, except for Auntie Rosie,  who also encouraged me to write!  For me, photography is almost natural as eating or sleeping  but writing?  I don't know how......  Auntie Rosie assured me I could do anything, "Ikaw pa!" (no literal translation in English, but that means 'Of course you can').  Two eBooks later (one for hard copies too), I now say - yes, Auntie Rosie, I should believe in me :))  (The books are not in my name, though, I wrote them for a nice and wonderful American client).

Why am I writing about myself and Auntie Rosie now?  It's her birthday today.  I was thinking about her when I woke up and thought of writing about her until I was sidetracked by requests of photo editing from friends.  In the afternoon, I smelled orchids, lots of orchids!  The fragrance wafted from our dining room to the living room and to the  kitchen.  I went out of our front door  to check where the fragrance came from.  There was nothing outside of our door.  I checked at the patio, no fragrance there.  Wohooo, I remember this kind of fragrance.  The same fragrance, same smell of flowers  at Nanay's birthday last February 7.  Nanay and Auntie Rosie are sisters, and yes, they are both dead now.  I know they are resting in peace, probably tending a garden and smelling the flowers too.

I love you 'Nay, 'Tay and Auntie Rosie.  Tell Auntie Charing and Lola and other beloved relatives, they are so loved and sorely missed.  

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Tagaytay is towards the south of Manila,  famous for its cool climate and beautiful view of Taal lake and Taal volcano.
General Information about Tagaytay:
Tagaytay City (population 16,322) is about 60 km / 37 miles south of Manila in the mountains of Cavite Province. Tagaytay is a city of scenic contrasts .Wildflowers line paved winding roads, panoramic views of the Taal Volcano nestled in Taal Lake, and orchards of fresh home grown fruits, all amidst modern convenient facilities and amenities including the Casino Filipino Tagaytay.
Tagaytay is home to Taal Volcano, which is reputed to be the world's smallest and yet most active. It stands on its own island amid a landscape of ash and cinder. The breathtaking views of Taal volcano and Lake is a MUST SEE for everyone visiting Asia. It is truly a once in a life time experience and we recommend a visit in the strongest possible way.
Tagaytay, considered as the country's second summer capital because of its crisp and cool climate all year around, is a treasure box of pleasure points in by itself. At nightfall, one sees the lake sparkle with the pinpoint lights of fishing boats. It is a perfect picnic spot. 
Tagaytay, however, is more than a picnic haunt. The place has given rise to many congregational houses and retreat centers. It is also conductive to spiritual meditation, that is earned yet another title for being the "Center of Spiritual Retreat."
Tagaytay City, located 2,500 feet above sea level enjoys a cool and invigorating climate characterized by a relatively low temperature, low humidity, and abundant rainfall. Average temperature is 22.7 degrees Celsius. For this reason, Tagaytay with its cool weather, balmy winds and foggy mists is called the "second summer capital" of the country after Baguio City.

 Taal lake and Taal volcano as  viewed from Tagaytay. 

It is also famous for its organic gardens.  In many of these gardens, computerized irrigation is used.

Flowers are colorful.  Many of the suppliers of flowers in Metro Manila come from Tagaytay. The cool  climate in Tagaytay is very conducive to growing of flowers.

Burst of colors!

We went in a zoo, they have leopards, deer, monkeys, gorillas, donkeys, turtles, etc. and snakes.

We went around a flower garden.  We were the only visitors that day.  We bought a pot of basil and I tried to grow more of them but after enjoying spaghetti with pesto sauce (basil and cheese with olive oil) for several weeks, my basil 'plantation' dried when we traveled again and no one watered the plants.  Below is a plant of round peppers.   I guess this is a better plant to 'farm'.

Aside from the view, cool climate, flowers and vegetables, Tagaytay is also famous for it's beef. Many claim that meat from Tagaytay is tastier than any other places in the Philippines.  Also, Muslims and Jews alike will be happy to know that they slaughter the animals in a kosher way, painless (almost) death.

I'd like to go back to enjoy again a delicious cup of coffee overlooking the beautiful view of Taal Lake.
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