Virtual Visita Iglesia
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The first ever Virtual Visita Iglesia using 360 immersive panoramas was published by Rappler.com during the Holy Week of April 2012. “…a multimedia tour of 14 Philippine Catholic churches in a virtual Visita Iglesia that brings together visuals, music, and 1-minute Bible readings to give the faithful time to pause in today’s fast-moving, stressful times. The passages are read by Paterno Esmaquel II. The virtual package allows those wishing and willing, but unable to for different reasons…” “Technology and faith can mix.” Read more!
8th Manila International Auto Show
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The biggest car show in the country officially open to the public on March 29 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City with MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino as guest of honor. The first day of the exhibit saw the launch of several new car models from Ford, Subaru, Mini and Hyundai, each one accompanied with their own dazzling opening performance. Precision driver Russ Swift will once again take on the wheels of a Subaru to wow the crowd in his 6th year of performance in Manila. Parked in-front of the exhibit center is local group Opcentec; which displays Filipino made combat and rescue amphibious vehicles and remote operated drones. Participated by over 30 automotive brands and close to 300 cars on display, the exhibit runs until April 1. Entrance fee is at 100 pesos, opening hours is from 10AM to 10PM. Here’s the virtual tour of the exhibit hall: All VRs taken on March 29, 2012. The author can be reached at: fung.yu@gmail.com [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="14.551013, 120.987297{}car.png" bubbleautopan="true" showbike="false" showtraffic="false" showpanoramio="false"] Read more!
3rd Pyromusical Competition
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The Philippine is once again the host country of the International Pyromusical Competition. Now on its third year, this year’s event is participated by the countries: Korea, Malta, UK, Spain, Finland, Portugal, China, The Netherlands, Australia, Canada and Italy. The venue is at the seaside boulevard of SM Mall of Asia, competition is set on every Saturday at around 7PM. VRs taken on March 3, 2012. The author can be reached at: fung.yu@gmail.com [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="14.534826, 120.979165{}sunny.png" bubbleautopan="true" showbike="false" showtraffic="false" showpanoramio="false"] Read more!
The Ship of Hope
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The largest floating library in the world, the Logos Hope, arrived in Manila last February 17; carrying more than 5,000 titles, the ship officially opened its doors to Manila, providing high-quality books at a fraction of the cost. Having come from Cebu, the crew of the ship, comprising about 56 nationalities is regarded as a genuine expression of international goodwill and understanding. The primary aims of the vessel is to provide quality reading materials at affordable cost, promoting peace in diversity, expressing love to those in need and guiding people towards a purposeful life. Many of the volunteer crewmembers are in their 20s and 30s, coming from a broad range of disciplines and professions. From the captain down to the newest staff, each one is assigned a job that is essential in keeping the ship running; they normally serve for a period of 2 years. Good Books for All (GBA Ships e.V.) which runs the Logos Hope is a non-profit organization based in Germany. Since 1970, the organization’s vessels have made over 1400 port visits in over 160 countries and territories and were enjoyed by over 42 million visitors, bringing knowledge, help and hope. Logos Hope is currently docked at […] Read more!
26th EDSA Celebrations
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The nation marks the 26th Anniversary of the EDSA Revolution last February 25 at the People Power Monument lead by President Benigno S. Aquino III. The program was highlighted with the signing of pledges from several provincial governors including the President who wrote “Gawin ang tama sa araw-araw tungo sa nagtatapos ng laban ng EDSA”, translate as “Do good everyday towards the end of fighting in EDSA.” The EDSA Foundation awarded two youths for their effort of bringing solar lamps to remote communities. The traditional “Salubong” or meet-up between the civilian and military factions was re-enacted followed by the showering of confetti from a PAF chopper which passes overhead. President Aquino’s speech centered on the economy of the country. The Cercado sisters rendered the song “Magkaisa” and Freddie Aguilar sang “Bayan Ko” to the delight of the crowd. All VRs taken on February 25, 2012. The author can be reached at: fung.yu@gmail.com [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="14.599855, 121.060070{}peace.png" bubbleautopan="true" showbike="false" showtraffic="false" showpanoramio="false"] Read more!
Mt. Guiting-Guiting: A Ravenous Journey
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  Chocolates, rich creamy chocolates, the kind that you step on and make the trail slippery amidst torrential rain as we make our descent from Mt. Guiting Guiting on the island of Sibuyan, Province of Romblon. No amount of rain gear can protect you from the continuous downpour as we trekked down under the steep forest canopy, our paths turned into mini rivers, drenched to the bones, for nearly 9 hours, this was the longest shower I ever took. As we reached the Malamig River, being the last team to arrive, the day-long torrent had turned what used to be a gentle stream into a mad rapid of murky currents with rocks and tree trunks belting down; it was almost dark and we must get across. Mt. Guiting-Guiting, fondly called G2 by mountaineers, is classified as the most technically difficult mountain in the Philippines. On a scale of 1 to 9, G2 is a 9/9 or even 10/9 depending on prevailing weather conditions and environmental factors. Mt. Pulag, the highest peak in Luzon, for comparison, is an easy 3/9. Rising 2058 MASL at the heart of Sibuyan Island, one of the seven islands that make up the Province of Romblon, […] Read more!
Mt. Pulag – At the Peak of Luzon
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  Darkness surrounds us, the temperature at a chilling 12 degrees Celsius as we woke up that morning ready for the final trek towards the summit of Mt. Pulag, the third highest mountain in the Philippines. With no time for breakfast and together with some 200 climbers, our group started the slow ascent in a bid to catch the sunrise atop Luzon’s tallest peak. Towering at 2922 MASL (meters above sea level), Mt. Pulag, or Pulog as it was originally named (meaning bare due to grow of low grasses and shrubs on its slopes), borders between the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya. Considered sacred by many tribes that live in its vicinity, the mountain host a wide variety of flora and fauna, some endemic while others endangered, and is regarded as one of the most bio-diversed in the Philippines. The jump-off point for Mt. Pulag is via Baguio, about 6 hours ride north of Manila; one typically takes an overnight bus service at 11pm to arrive at daybreak the following day. From the bus terminal in Baguio, chartered jeeps toke our group to the Babalak Ranger Station, passing through picturesque roads, including a brief stopover at Ambuklao Dam, […] Read more!
Rizal Day 2011
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The nation marks today the 115th commemoration of Jose Rizal’s martyrdom at Luneta. The flag raising ceremony was led by President Benigno S. Aquino III with Vice President Jejomar Binay, Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim, NHCP Chairman Dr. Serena Diokno, other government officials, dignitaries, members of the AFP, PNP, and the general public. After the wreath laying at Rizal’s monument and a 21-gun salute to the National Hero, the President unveiled the new marker for the “Rizal Fountain” at the Noli Me Tangere Garden in Luneta. Here are the 360 panoramas of today’s event at Rizal Park. All VRs taken on December 30, 2011. The author can be reached at: fung.yu@gmail.com [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" bubbleautopan="true" showbike="false" showtraffic="false" showpanoramio="false"] Read more!
CVMP Fatluk at Tagaytay
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The Come Visit My Philippines (CVMP) Facebook page was started by Bessie Badilla, Alex Baguio and Francois Medina; inspired by an article of Tourism Sec. Mon Jimenez, they started posting images of the Philippines in an effort to entice more tourists as well as to showcase the beauty of our country. The group has since ballooned to over 32,000 members and still growing. Last December 21, at the picturesque Josephine’s Restaurant in Tagaytay, the group held its first ever gathering with no less than Sec. Mon Jimenez in attendance. More than a hundred members show up for the simple potluck; there was an overflowing of food, specialties that even came from different provinces; at the end of the event, the leftovers were donated to a nearby orphanage. The group also sold CVMP theme t-shirts with the entire profit going to the victims of the recent flooding in Cagayan de Oro, Iligan and Dumaguete. Here are the rest of the 360 panoramas. All VRs taken from December 21, 2011. The author can be reached at: fung.yu@gmail.com [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="14.096353, 120.942967{}restaurant.png" bubbleautopan="true" showbike="false" showtraffic="false" showpanoramio="false"] Read more!
Mt. Kanlaon – Kinship with an Active Volcano
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  So I slip, landed on my butt with legs between a tree trunk at an elevation of 2,000 meters in a 60-degree sloping ravine as we made our way into the Margaja Crater near the summit of Mt. Kanlaon, the country’s 3rd most active volcano and Visaya’s highest peak. Fortunately, nothing broke, organic or otherwise and I was up again after checking the condition of my camera to continue the descent towards the flat plains of Margaja Valley, an old crater of Mt. Kanlaon. Towering majestically at 2435 MASL (meters above sea level), the stratovolcano is part of the so called Pacific Ring of Fire that straddles the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental, approximately 30 km southeast of Bacolod City. A favorite spot for mountain climbers and is the centerpiece of Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park, a park originally established on August 8, 1934. The most active volcano in central Philippines, Kanlaon has erupted 26 times since 1886. Eruptions are typically phreatic explosions of small-to-moderate size that produce minor ashfalls near the volcano. On August 10, 1996 however, a group of 24 mountain climbers was on the summit of the volcano when Kanlaon suddenly erupted without any warning […] Read more!
148th Birth Anniversary of Gat Andres Bonifacio
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Today the nation marks the 148th birth anniversary of Gat Andres Bonifacio (November 30, 1863 – May 10, 1897), founder and the supreme leader of the Katipunan. Bonifacio was born to Santiago Bonifacio and Catalina de Castro in Tondo, Manila and was the eldest of five children. Bonifacio was married twice. His first wife was a certain Monica who died of leprosy. His second wife, Gregoria de Jesús was of Caloocan, whom he married in 1893. They had one son who died in infancy. On July 7, 1892, the day after Rizal’s deportation was announced, Bonifacio and others founded the Katipunan, or in full, Kataastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (“Highest and Most Respected Society of the Children of the Country”). The secret society sought independence from Spain through armed revolt. When Spanish authority ordered an intensive manhunt, Bonifacio called thousands of Katipunan members to a mass gathering in Caloocan, where they decided to start their revolt. The event, marked by the tearing of cedulas (community tax certificates) was later called the “Cry of Balintawak” or “Cry of Pugad Lawin”. Accused of sedition and treason against Aguinaldo’s government and conspiring to murder Aguinaldo, Bonifacio wa brought to Naic […] Read more!
2nd Anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre
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November 23rd marks the 2nd anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre wherein exactly two years ago, 58 people were killed, mostly journalists. It is also the first international commemoration of the International Day to End Impunity as declared such by the International Federation of Journalists and the International Freedom of Expression Exchange to recall the Ampatuan Massacre. The march started near the University of Santo Thomas, and then proceeded to the heart of the “university belt” in Manila where a brief program was held. Along the way, volunteers traced body outlines on the concrete pavement with chalk and leaders of different student journals toke the stage and delivered their messages. The march ended at the foot of Mendiola Bridge near Malacanang; a dramatic program was again enacted. Relatives of the victims voiced their sentiments using placards and banners while some members of the media lie on the street to have their body traced. The program ended with the lighting of candles in remembrance of the victims, for which justice has yet to be served. All VRs taken on November 23, 2011. The author can be reached at: fung.yu@gmail.com [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" […] Read more!
The Island of Cuyo
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Author’s Note: Palawan has three capitals: Taytay was founded in 1623 and became the capital of the entire territory of the Calamianes; Cuyo became the second capital of Palawan from 1873 to 1903; and the present Puerto Princesa as the seat of the Palawan Provincial Government in 1911 by the New American Administration. This article is the last of three parts about the Palawan capitals. Literally located in the middle of nowhere, the Cuyo Group of Islands is composed of 45 islets scattered in the Sulu Sea. It lies south of Mindoro and is halfway between Palawan and the island of Panay. Cuyo is divided in three municipalities, namely Cuyo, Agutaya, and Magsaysay. Cuyo is the oldest town in Palawan which has a culture of its own and was preserved for more than 350 years. From the sea, Cuyo Island’s first visible landmark is a light tower by the pier. Many of the streets leading to the town have already been cemented but the town has preserved the Hispanic plaza-iglesia structures. Dominating the town centre is Cuyo’s 1860 church, convent, and fort built by the Spanish and finished in 1680; nearby stand a schoolhouse, a gymnasium, and a monument of […] Read more!
Roxas Boulevard after Typhoon Nesat
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When Typhoon Pedring (International Code Name: Nesat) roared through Central Luzon, I was in Cebu and only experienced one night and two days of rain there, a far cry from the devastation that befell the Manila Bay area as well as the equally ravaged provinces in the north. I would have put on my wetsuit, sling a goggle, wrapped the camera and stand atop the pedestrian overpass near the US Embassy and shoot to my heart’s delight! Imagining myself frantically clicking the camera shuttle as waves upon waves hammered the sea wall, sending a cascade of water, stones, fish and trash in my immediate surroundings, while amidst all these chaos, a sense of awe and trepidation encompasses my being as the full fury of mother nature is being unleashed. (sigh!) So 2 weeks after the storm, I finally had time to survey the damages to Roxas Boulevard’s sea wall, especially the stretch from the US Embassy to Rajah Sulaiman Park. According to the workers I talked with, the clearing/cleaning operations will last until December and the actual redesign/reconstruction will likely take several months thereafter. It was a Saturday when I took these shoots; apart from the anglers, bikers, joggers, foreign […] Read more!