Calabarzon Heritage Field Trip with the Ford Fiesta
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The sun was about to set as we made our way towards Majayjay; one more church remains on the itinerary as we sped down the winding roads somewhere at the boundary of Quezon and Laguna. The gas tank was nearly empty with about 10% of fuel remaining and apparently for over an hour, ours was the only car negotiating this stretch of the roadway; things were finally getting exciting! 2 days ago, Ford Philippines offered the 1.6L Fiesta S with a full tank of gas to go wherever I pleased. Having done advocacy works for both the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and the National Museum, I decided to continue my personal project of documenting the Colonial Churches of the Philippines and those sites declared as National Cultural Treasures. I had the option of either going north for the churches of Pampanga, Pangasinan and La Union or the equally rich heritage towns of the Calabarzon; taking time and distance considerations of these sites, I chose the latter; the former will have to wait. Armed with a few maps, my iPhone, iPad and a mobile router, getting lost would certainly not be part of the equation. The almost realtime […] Read more!
An Afternoon in Taytay, Palawan
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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 2nd of three parts about the Palawan capitals. We only stayed in Taytay for a night having come from the neighboring island resort of Apulit as the balangay boats made its way towards Manila last November. It was almost 4 in the afternoon as our boats made their final dockings amidst the warm welcome being staged by residents and municipal officers. With a couple of hours of daylight remaining, I wasted no time and jumped ashore almost immediately to explore the well-preserved fabled fort of Santa Isabel. Once at the top, the view that stood before me was exhilarating! The afternoon sun perfectly bathes the entire structure in crimson hues with the greens of the grass and trees punctuated by the blues of the sea and sky. Standing there beside the cannon looking over the horizon, one can almost be transported back in […] Read more!
The Mind Museum Test Run
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The Mind Museum held a one-day test demonstration to showcase some of the interactive exhibits the public can expect when it opened on December 2011. This is the 2nd exhibit testing and among those on display were a dinosaur extinction diorama, humanoid figures showing the evolution of man, mammals exhibit, a digital microscope, tornado effects machine, a mini planetarium, a radio-controlled planetary rover, wave amplitude machine, a large DNA model, plus other numerous setups. Most of the exhibits are interactive in nature; it encourages viewers to play and learn about the principles of science behind them. The test exhibit was a way to gather feedback from the public that in turn will be used to enhance or increase awareness for the museum once it opens. VRs taken on September 1, 2011 at NBC Tent in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. 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="14.548808, 121.049177{}medicalstore.png" bubbleautopan="true" showbike="false" showtraffic="false" showpanoramio="false"] Read more!
Arrival Ceremony of BRP Gregorio del Pilar
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August 23, 2011 marks another milestone for the Philippine Navy as the newest and biggest ship, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF15) officially docked in Manila with no less than President Benigno S. Aquino III as Guest of Honor and Speaker during the arrival ceremony. As the former lead ship of the US Coast Guard, USCGC Hamilton (WHEC 715) is 1 of 12 Weather High Endurance Cutter commissioned in the 1960s. These ships were largely used by the US Coast Guard for drug and migrant interdiction, law enforcement, search and rescue, marine resources protection, and defense readiness. Under the Philippine Navy, the ship is classified as a Surface Combatant Ship with a type code “P” for Patrol and is further classified as a Frigate with a type code of “F”, hence the designation “PF.” PF15 is the first Philippine military vessel to employ the now-common aircraft gas-turbine jet engines with the use of controllable pitch propellers. With her two 18,000 horsepower (13,000 kW) Pratt & Whitney gas turbines, she can travel at speeds up to 28 knots (52 km/h). She also has two 3,500 horsepower (2,600 kW) Fairbanks-Morse diesel engines, capable of driving the ship economically at 17 knots (31 […] Read more!
Ninoy’s Prison Cell
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The nation commemorates the 28th death anniversary of former Sen. Benigno (Ninoy) Aquino Jr. on August 21, 2011. Ninoy was arrested in 1973 and incarcerated for 7 years in this 4 by 5 meter room known as Building No. 2 inside the Legaspi Compound of Fort Bonifacio. During his solitary confinement, Ninoy read books and pray the rosary, only his members of the family were allowed to visit; he stay in this room from August 27, 1973 until his exiled to the United States in 1980. I always wanted to capture Ninoy’s cell in 360VR ever since I saw pictures of it 2 years ago, and yesterday, I finally managed to do just that. When EDSA happened 25 years ago, I was barely out of grade school, couldn’t really make sense of the scenario, and was glad merely for the suspension of classes and the sight of all those tanks and APCs rolling down the streets on TV! I didn’t know Ninoy that well either, his actions, his causes, and his struggles, they were meaningless to me. The only enduring image I had of the man, was his lifeless body being dragged across the tarmac of Manila International Airport. But […] Read more!
Puerto Princesa in One Day
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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 1st of three parts about the Palawan capitals. Puerto Princesa is the present capital city of Palawan, known as the Philippine’s Last Frontier. It is famous for its crocodile farm, Underground River and numerous dive spots. It is also the second largest city in the Philippines (after Davao City) in terms of total land area. Declared as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park features a spectacular limestone karst landscape with its underground river. A distinguishing feature of the river is that it flows directly into the sea, and the lower portion of the river is subject to tidal influences. The area also represents a significant habitat for biodiversity conservation. The site contains a full mountain to the sea ecosystem and protects forests, which are among the most significant in Asia. I only had a day from our […] Read more!
The National Museum in 360!
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This project viewable in Flash only. The present building was originally designed as the public library by Ralph Harrington Doane, the American consulting architect of the Bureau of Public Works, and his assistant Antonio Toledo. Construction began in 1918 but was suspended several times because of lack of funds. When it was decided that the building should be used by the Legislature, the revisions of the plans was entrusted to Juan Arellano, then supervising architect of the Bureau. The building was inaugurated on 16 July 1926, and by then had cost four million pesos. The building was part of Daniel Burnham’s plan for the development of Manila. Upon its completion, the second, third, and fourth floors were occupied by the Senate and House of Representatives while the ground floor was occupied by the National Library. The 1934 Constitutional Convention was held in this building. On its front steps Manuel L. Quezon was sworn in as President of the Commonwealth. The Legislative Building was a casualty during the bombing and shelling of Manila in 1945. It was reconstructed in 1946 following the original plans but with some revisions, such as the replacement of flat pilasters of the stately rounded engaged columns. […] Read more!
Ilocos Norte with Mega Magazine
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I was invited several months ago by Mega Magazine to do some behind the scenes 360VRs in scenic Ilocos Norte for their June/July issues. The settings were in the grand rock formation of Kapurpurawan in Burgos and the equally eerie sand dunes of Suba. Kapurpurawan literally means white from the local dialect; the majestic rock formation was carved out of sandstones, possibly from thousands of years of water and wind weathering. What is striking is it’s whiteness amidst the surrounding landscapes and it’s changing of colors much like the Ayers Rock in Australia as the sun sets. The rock formation is reachable in about an hour’s drive from Laoag City; just pass the Cape Bojeador lighthouse in Burgos, there’s a small sign onto the left of the road. A short trek across sharp jagged tide-exposed landscape culminates to this awe-inspiring sight. The sand dunes are another attraction altogether. Here, one can hire 4×4 buggies and speed along the great expanse of the dunes; the excitement added by going up and down 45-degree ridges further adds to the already high adrenalin experience. By sun down, a certain eeriness permeates the air as the landscape transformed itself akin to a cold, lifeless, […] Read more!
SONA 2011
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President Benigno S. Aquino III delivered his 2nd State of the Nation Address (SONA) in the 15th Joint Session at the Batasan Pambansa (House of Representatives) on July 25, 2011. Below are some more scenes taken during the address as we let viewers get a perspective of how it feels like to be standing near the podium within the grandeur of the Congress building. All VRs taken on July 25, 2011 at the Batasan Pambansa. 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="14.693301, 121.094398{}2-default.png" bubbleautopan="true" showbike="false" showtraffic="false" showpanoramio="false"] Read more!
PeTA and a Pachyderm
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PeTA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) held a rally several days ago in front of Manila Zoo calling for its closure. They alleged that the animals in the zoo are suffering and not being fed well; PeTA particularly zeroed-in on Maali, the 30-something lone Asian elephant, how the female pachyderm is leading a miserable and lonely life and should be return to the company of other elephants in a natural environment. PeTA’s report here. Having a soft spot for animals, I have nothing against PeTA in clamoring for animal rights and prevention of animal cruelty. Some of their campaigns are actually very creative, and I enjoy seeing them dressed-up in placard-carrying silly animal costumes, more so with their posters of nude celebrities. I have only been to Manila Zoo twice; the first time was during my early grade school days, the second time around 6 years ago. While my recollections of these two visits are vague in terms of facilities and the state of the animals’ welfare, I do recall having a great experience. So with camera in towed, I decided to visit Manila Zoo last Sunday and see for myself if the call for closure is justify. […] Read more!
UAAP Season 74
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Season 74 of the University Athletics Association of the Philippines kicked off at the Marikina Sports Center on Saturday, July 9. With this year’s theme “All Out, All Heart,” host Ateneo de Manila University officially lead the opening with an Olympic-style ceremony. Despite the incessant rain and a soaked field, the festivities started with 16 members of the Ateneo cadet corps carrying a giant 60 x 30 ft. Philippine flag as the Ateneo Boys’ Choir sang the National Anthem. A drumline performance by the Ateneo Blue Babble Battalion followed, while this year’s theme song “Puso” was rendered by the Ateneo Blue Symphony with Pinoy rock band Spongecola. “Rain or shine you are here, let us congratulate ourselves. The theme of the games says it all. This is more than just a simple tournament. This is not just about games. This is not just about strength and physical prowess but also heart. We know that the greatest enemy we face is not our foe, not our opponent in the field but someone from within: our very selves. And so it is our hope and prayers that these games will make us stronger and braver to face our enemies, especially those from […] Read more!
NCAA Season 87
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The 87 season of National Collegiate Athletics Association opened on July 2, 2011 at the Araneta Coliseum with the theme: “Brazen at 87” with this year’s host, University of Perpetual Help. No less than Congressman Manny Pacquiao was the Guest of Honor during the opening ceremony, as this was also the very first time that the People’s Champ graces the NCAA. “He is the epitome of excellence in sports, and truly an icon that our students in the NCAA will emulate,” University of Perpetual Help President Anthony Tamayo said of Pacquiao. San Beda kicked off its championship defense against Perpetual Help right after the opening ceremony, followed by San Sebastian against Jose Rizal, and the last game, Mapua versus San Juan de Letran. All VRs taken on July 2, 2011 at the Araneta Coliseum. The author can be reached at: fung@firefly.ph Read more!
Rizal@150: Luneta Celebrations
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Author’s Note: This article uses virtual reality technology to provide an immersive experience. Click the images to view the 360-degree VRs. Adobe Flash 10 or higher is required. Average VR size is 1.6Mb each. Some images contained “blots” that was the result of raindrops on the lens’ surface at the time of shooting The nation marks the 150th Birth Anniversary of our National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal on June 19, 2011. President Benigno Aquino leads the ceremonies at Rizal’s place of birth in Calamba, Laguna by laying a wreath at the Rizal Shrine; then proceeded to unveil the tallest Rizal monument at 22 feet in height at the new Calamba City Capitol. At Luneta, leading the celebration was Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa as Guest of Honor, with Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim, Education Secretary Armin Luistro, NPDC Executive Director Juliet Villegas, other government officials and the descendants of Rizal in attendance. The activities started with the Department of Education’s “Takbo ni Pepe” – a fun run for Rizal participated by students and teachers. Flag raising ceremony started at 8 o’clock, followed by wreath-laying and a 21-gun salute to the National Hero. Two giant cakes were made for […] Read more!
Kalayaan 2011
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Author’s Note: This article uses virtual reality technology to provide an immersive experience. Click the images to view the 360-degree VRs. Adobe Flash 10 or higher is required. Average VR size is 1.9Mb each. Scenes from yesterday’s Kalayaan activities at Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite and the Quirino Grandstand at Luneta in celebration of the 113th anniversary of Philippine Independence. The celebration started with the simultaneous flag-raising throughout the historical sites in the country: Aguinaldo Shrine, Rizal Park, Barasoain Church, Mausoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolucion in Manila North Cemetery, Andres Bonifacio National Monument in Caloocan City, Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine in San Juan City, Pamintuan Mansion in Angeles City, Davao City, and Cebu City; with President Benigno Aquino as Guest of Honor at the Wreath laying Ceremony in Aguinaldo Shrine, site of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence in June 12, 1898. The Parada ng Kalayaan or Parade of Freedom kicked off at 4PM in the Quirino Grandstand with President Aquino and other government officers, dignitaries, and the general public in attendance. Sandigan ng Kalayaan, a military parade by the AFP, PNP and PCG, exemplifying the strong and continuing loyalty and allegiance of our Vanguards of Freedom to the Republic. […] Read more!