Rover Curiosity at “Rocknest” Area
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This 360-degree scene shows the surroundings of the location where NASA Mars rover Curiosity arrived on the 59th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s mission on Mars (Oct. 5, 2012). It is a mosaic of images taken by Curiosity’s Navigation Camera (Navcam) on sols 59 and 60 during first scooping. Smooth surfaces of the windblown sand and dust of the “Rocknest” area, in the foreground, are what signaled from a distance that this might be an appropriate place to spend about three weeks collecting and using the mission’s first few scoopfuls of soil. The rover scooped up its first sample on Sol 61 (Oct. 7, 2012). Mount Sharp is on the horizon in the southeast. The “Glenelg” area planned as the next destination lies to the east. Tracks that Curiosity’s wheels made while driving toward Rocknest recede toward the west. For scale, Curiosity leaves parallel tracks about 9 feet (2.7 meters) apart. I made this panorama by assembling 40 raw images courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech. No other image enhancement was applied except for a slight contrast adjustment. Minor process errors can be noted. Original text from: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/pia16227.html The author can be reached at: fung@firefly.ph Read more!
Jeepney Arts Festival
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Jeepney Tours, a tourism enterprise offering Daily City Tours onboard the cultural icon, furthers its vision as it embarks its latest corporate social art drive—Jeepney Arts Festival—set to bring back the glory days of fun and vibrant jeepneys spread through a series of events. In essence, it is an advocacy that pays homage to the Philippine jeepney as a true icon of Filipino artistry, ingenuity, resiliency, and entrepreneurship. The first event is the Jeepney Arts Camp which includes the On-the-Spot Jeepney Painting set to happen on September 20-23, 2012 at the SM Mall of Asia Open Grounds behind SMX Convention Center. It is aimed to be a great educational experience wherein people—Filipinos and foreigners alike—can witness the art of Jeepney painting and even have a glimpse of an original WWII jeepney. On site, the Department of Tourism will be providing a free training program for jeepney drivers and operators which will cover value formation, the culture of tourism, passenger handling, and road safety tips. “It has always been our vision to be able to bring back the Filipinos’ high regard for the Philippine jeepney as a cultural icon,” says Clang Garcia, Managing Director of the Jeepney Arts Festival. “This is […] Read more!
National Heroes’ Day 2012
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Today the nation celebrates National Heroes’ Day with the main commemorative program held at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. President Benigno S. Aquino III was guest of honor and led the wreath-laying ceremony that started at 8AM. The program begun with the customary arrival honors rendered by the AFP to the President then followed by the flower offering. Col. Ernesto Cimatu of the Philippine Army led the opening prayer with Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano then gave a welcome message. National Historical Commission (NHCP) Chair Dra. Maria Serena I. Diokno delivered a short message then Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin introduced the president. The event was attended by the diplomatic corps, WW II veterans, members of the armed forces, different government agencies, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of the Philippines and some residents of the City of Taguig. The author can be reached at: fung@firefly.ph [google-map-v3 width="100%" height="350" zoom="10" maptype="roadmap" mapalign="center" directionhint="false" language="default" poweredby="false" maptypecontrol="true" pancontrol="true" zoomcontrol="true" scalecontrol="true" streetviewcontrol="true" scrollwheelcontrol="false" draggable="true" tiltfourtyfive="false" addmarkermashupbubble="true" addmarkermashupbubble="true" addmarkerlist="14.519834, 121.044264{}catholicgrave.png" bubbleautopan="true" showbike="false" showtraffic="false" showpanoramio="false"] Read more!
Jesse Flies Home
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The well-loved Secretary of Interior and Local Government Jesse M. Robredo die in an accident when the plane he was riding on crashed into the waters of Masbate on August 18, 2012. After an exhausted 3-day search that involved Navy, Coast Guard, foreign divers and local fishermen, his body, together with the pilot and co-pilot was found at a deep of about 180 meters. Given a state funeral at the Kalayaan Hall in Malacanang, his metal casket was first flown from Naga City in Bicol, Robredo’s home town, to Manila. After a 2 day wake where it was opened to the public, his remains were flown back to Naga for burial on August 28. The scene above was from this morning’s departure honors rendered by the Philippine Airforce at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City. Rest in peace Sec. Jesse. The author can be reached at: fung@firefly.ph [google-map-v3 width="100%" height="350" zoom="10" maptype="roadmap" mapalign="center" directionhint="false" language="default" poweredby="false" maptypecontrol="true" pancontrol="true" zoomcontrol="true" scalecontrol="true" streetviewcontrol="true" scrollwheelcontrol="false" draggable="true" tiltfourtyfive="false" addmarkermashupbubble="true" addmarkermashupbubble="true" addmarkerlist="14.516783, 121.026684{}airport.png" bubbleautopan="true" showbike="false" showtraffic="false" showpanoramio="false"] Read more!
Typhoon Gener
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Typhoon Gener, international codename Saola move further away from the country today, but its effect triggered massive flooding in several parts of the metropolis. In Roxas Boulevard this morning, strong winds and tidal forces conspired and flooded a large portion of the main road that left many motorists stranded with their vehicles. It also washed ashore tons of trash, mainly floating plastics along the stretch of the newly constructed breakwater. Personnel from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and their anti-flood equipment were at hand in trying to clean up the trash and mitigate the flooding. But what was problem for the most of us was an opportunity for some; scavengers living along the boulevard had a field day collecting plastic bottles and caps in a struggle to earn a daily living, proving the age-old adage, what is garbage to others is money to some. VRs taken on August 1, 2012. The author can be reached at: fung@firefly.ph [google-map-v3 width="100%" height="350" zoom="10" maptype="roadmap" mapalign="center" directionhint="false" language="default" poweredby="false" maptypecontrol="true" pancontrol="true" zoomcontrol="true" scalecontrol="true" streetviewcontrol="true" scrollwheelcontrol="false" draggable="true" tiltfourtyfive="false" addmarkermashupbubble="true" addmarkermashupbubble="true" addmarkerlist="14.574852, 120.979730{}cloudy.png" bubbleautopan="true" showbike="false" showtraffic="false" showpanoramio="false"] Read more!
Farewell to Dolphy
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The acknowledged “King of Comedy” Rodolfo “Dolphy” Vera Quizon passed away on July 10, 2012 after a lifetime of providing laughter to generations of Filipino. Dolphy was finally laid to rest in simple solemn ceremonies yesterday at the Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig after a 5-day wake. Big stars as well as the public and fans where given opportunities to pay their last respect in remembering Mang Pidol. The funeral was strictly private with only families, relatives, close friends and the media in attendance. The march from the chapel started around 2PM under a slightly overcast sky and sweltering heat with those present wearing white, Dolphy’s favorite color. Upon reaching the burial site, Catholic priests offered the final mass after which family members were given a last chance to view Dolphy’s open casket. Many weep as Dolphy’s casket was finally slide inside the black granite tomb and flowers thrown in by relatives and friends before it was sealed. Songs were played, doves were released and a final applause was rendered as the officiating priest asked everyone to smile and celebrate the life of one of the icons of Philippine television. An online campaign has also started to confer Dolphy as […] Read more!
On the Sands of Mars
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Disclaimer: The original panoramic image is courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech. I recreated a portion of the Martian sky and some minor image enhancements resulting in some sky banding before rendering it into interactive 360. Text below from http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-196. Image use does not constitute endorsement by NASA. PASADENA, Calif. — From fresh rover tracks to an impact crater blasted billions of years ago, a newly completed view from the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the ruddy terrain around the outcrop where the long-lived explorer spent its most recent Martian winter. This scene recorded from the mast-mounted color camera includes the rover’s own solar arrays and deck in the foreground, providing a sense of sitting on top of the rover and taking in the view. Its release this week coincides with two milestones: Opportunity completing its 3,000th Martian day on July 2, and NASA continuing past 15 years of robotic presence at Mars. Mars Pathfinder landed July 4, 1997. NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor orbiter reached the planet while Pathfinder was still active, and Global Surveyor overlapped the active missions of the Mars Odyssey orbiter and Opportunity, both still in service. The new panorama is online at http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA15689 . […] Read more!
Baler: A Town Forged by War and Friendship
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A grandson of one of the Spanish soldiers seated on one row, another of a Katipunero seated across him, they wave at each other in recognition, yet two generations ago, their grandparents were shooting one another in the exact spot where the Siege of Baler happened. Today, they both came to recall that moment of gallantry, loyalty and courage. The Siege of Baler – where a group of Spanish soldiers garrisoned inside the town’s church and defended the Spanish flag from July 1, 1898 to June 2, 1899 without knowing that Spain had already lost its principal colony in Asia on December 10, 1898 through the signing of the Treaty of Paris. Heroism and stubbornness let the 33 soldiers, commanded by Captain Enrique de las Morenas y Fossí and Lieutenant Saturnino Martín y Cerezo, not only survive for almost a year, but to earned the respect of the revolutionary army of the Malolos Republic, whose safe return to Spain was ordered by General Emilio Aguinaldo who decreed that the Spanish soldiers “…be treated not as enemies but as friends.” After this heroic act, this group of soldiers came to be known as Los últimos de Filipinas (The last ones of […] Read more!
Rizal’s 151st Birthday
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The nation celebrates today the 151st birth anniversary of National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal. Led by the chair of National Historical Commission of the Philippines’ (NHCP) Dr. Maria Serena I. Diokno, together with the presence of Congressman Justin Chipeco, 2nd District of Laguna, Congresswoman Cynthia Villar, Las Pinas, Mayor Joaquin M. Chipeco Jr., and Mr. Emmanuel Herbosa, descendant of Rizal, this morning’s flag raising ceremony was held at the ancestral house of Rizal in Calamba, Laguna. A customary 21-gun salute was rendered to Rizal with each official laying a wreath at the statue of the Young Rizal in the courtyard. The celebration also saw the presentation of the Gawad Rizal Awards to Mr. Cesar Cortez Climaco, Mr. Paul Dumol, Metrobank Foundation (represented by Aniceto Sobrepeña), and the City of Calamba. The solemnity was capped with the singing of “Pilipinas Kong Mahal” and the guests/visitors treated to free ice cream. Rizal’s birth was celebrated also at Luneta with Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim as guest of honor. VRs taken on June 19, 2012. The author can be reached at: fung@firefly.ph [google-map-v3 width="100%" height="350" zoom="10" maptype="roadmap" mapalign="center" directionhint="false" language="default" poweredby="false" maptypecontrol="true" pancontrol="true" zoomcontrol="true" scalecontrol="true" streetviewcontrol="true" scrollwheelcontrol="false" draggable="true" tiltfourtyfive="false" addmarkermashupbubble="true" addmarkermashupbubble="true" addmarkerlist="14.213636, 121.166807{}modernmonument.png" bubbleautopan="true" […] Read more!
Kalayaan 2012
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June 12, 2012 marks the 114th anniversary of Philippine Independence. Celebrated this year at the historic Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan as the site where the first constitution of the country was promulgated as well as the first Philippine Republic was declared. This was the very first time that Malolos was chosen as the main site for the celebration, giving it the due importance the role the city had played in the history of our nation. The highlight of the event was the simultaneous flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies led by President Benigno S. Aguino III as the guest of honor in Malolos; other sites included Rizal Park lead by Vice President Jejomar Binay, Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit by Sec. Mar Roxas, Pinaglabahan Shrine in San Juan by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Mausoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolucion in the North Cemetery by Usec. Ernesto G. Carolina, Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City by DOJ Sec. Leila M. De Lima, and the Pamintuan House in Angeles City by DOT Sec. Ramon Jimenez. Flags were raise at 8AM after which the President laid a wreath under the monument of General Emilio Aguinaldo while a PAF chopper dropped red and white rose petals. During […] Read more!
Pahiyas Festival
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Celebrated every May 15 at the town of Lucban, Quezon and in honor of San Isidro Labrador, the pahiyas festival is a colorful occasion for a bounty harvest. The houses are decorated with produce, from ginger to whole banana trees and thin rice wafers called kiping dyed in multiple colors that can be eaten after the celebration. Tourists both local and foreign flock to town not only to see the decorated houses and join the festivities, but also to taste two of Lucban’s famous food: pancit habhab and longanisa. The fiesta centers at the church and the patron saint St. Isidro is paraded around the town, taking different routes each year so that every house can be blessed. A contest is also held with a large pot of money going to the best decorated house in town. VRs taken on May 15, 2012. The author can be reached at: fung@firefly.ph [google-map-v3 width="100%" height="350" zoom="12" maptype="roadmap" mapalign="center" directionhint="false" language="default" poweredby="false" maptypecontrol="true" pancontrol="true" zoomcontrol="true" scalecontrol="true" streetviewcontrol="true" scrollwheelcontrol="false" draggable="true" tiltfourtyfive="false" addmarkermashupbubble="true" addmarkermashupbubble="true" addmarkerlist="14.115113, 121.553833{}fruits.png" bubbleautopan="true" showbike="false" showtraffic="false" showpanoramio="false"] Read more!
Romblon’s Heritage
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The roosters here have no sense of time. Jotted awake at 4am by one cockcrow, it quickly became a chain reaction as the rest of the birds followed, seemingly taunting you to go back to sleep, but my mind had already become active with the day’s thoughts and foremost of which was to murder some fowls. Located some 260km south of Manila, the province of Romblon comprises 3 main islands – Tablas, Romblon and Sibuyan plus four other small island municipalities of Banton, Simara, Maestro de Campo and Carabao Island (touted as the next Boracay). Contrary to popular perceptions, getting to Romblon is relatively easy. Zestair has a thrice a week flight that lands in Tablas Island from the domestic airport in Manila; while the more adventurous can take the cheaper overnight Montenegro ferries that ply the Batangas-Sibuyan route. Once in the provincial capital, smaller ships and numerous bancas are available to other island destinations. Hotel accommodations in the town are currently limited to a few four story buildings, but numerous seaside resorts abound. Apart from boats, principal means of transportation around the island is via motorcycles, mostly 2-wheels for families and 3-wheels for public conveyance. Known as the marble […] Read more!
Mt. Apo: Highest Peak in the Philippines
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The Hike for Light (H4L) project was undertaken by the Philippine Solar Foundation to provide solar lamps to those communities living near the mountains that has no access to electricity. In cooperation with Kaya ng Pinoy Foundation and the 1st Philippine Mt. Everest Team, the project summited 6 of the country’s highest peaks with 200 climbers and distributed 500 solar lamps to change the lives of those communities. Barely a week after Mt. Guiting-Guiting and with knees still in recovery, I found myself on the slopes of yet another mountain, majestic Mt. Apo, the country’s highest and the last in the list of the H4L project. Rising 2954 MASL, it straddles between the cities of Davao, Digos and Kidapawan, Mt. Apo is a potentially active volcano and a favorite among mountaineers. Declared as a National Park by Proclamation No. 59 in May 9, 1936 by President Manuel L. Quezon, it was submitted by DENR for inclusion as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mt. Apo is host to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including many species of birds, foremost of which is the mystical Philippine Eagle. The mountain is also a source of geothermal power, supplying no less than […] Read more!
Inside the Mind Museum
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The country’s first world-class science museum is now officially open to the public at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City. With over 250 hands-on interactive exhibits spread across 12,500 sqm of space, a visit is almost guaranteed of one mind-ful experience. Comprising of 5 main galleries: Atom – the minuscule unseen world of the elemental forces that governs our daily lives. Life – displays 4.6 billion years of the living things that have walked this planet, including a 40-foot skeletal representation of a T-Rex! Universe – knowledge of the vast cosmos from planets to stars and man’s quest for space exploration. Earth – forces that shape our planet’s natural history and its evolution. Tech – innovations that highlight human achievements and technologies that change our lives. And finally an outdoor science park that visitors can play and a souvenir shop where fun and curious merchandise can be bring home. The museum opens from Tuesday to Sunday, 9AM to 9PM. Entrance fee for adults in 600.00, private school students at 450.00, public school students at 150.00 and teachers at 150.00 as well. Here’s virtual tour of the museum. VRs taken on March 2011. The author can be reached at: fung@firefly.ph [google-map-v3 width="100%" […] Read more!