Aboard the Galleon Andalucia
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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 1.7Mb each. Ropes, a lot of ropes! That was the first thing I noticed when I first came aboard the 17th Century replica of the Galleon Andalucia on her Manila visit. Docked at Pier 13 just behind the Manila Hotel, the galleon is open for public viewing until the 9th of October; after which, she sails to Cebu and Bohol, taking the route of her ancestors from a golden bygone era. “Would you like to go up?” referring to the crow’s nest at the main mast of the galleon, asked Miguel, the press officer cum chronicler cum sailor of the Andalucia. At first I thought he was kidding, but after a few seconds of finding no hints of triviality, I responded with “…and I thought you’ll never ask!” So after a few minutes of securing my safety harness, camera in tow, I was ready for my swashbuckling adventure of climbing up to the crow’s nest of an actual galleon. With mental images of pirates swinging from mast to […] Read more!
Islands of Simunul, Sibutu and Sitangkai
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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 1.8Mb each. After being stranded for several days in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi due to unfavorable sea conditions with the balangay boats; the weather finally improved and allowed us to sail to the island of Simunul. Simunul is a 4th class municipality of Tawi-Tawi. Situated at some 1,000 kilometers south of Manila, it is home to a predominantly Muslim population belonging to the Sama tribe. The first Muslims in the Philippines are said to have arrived in Simunul and introduced Islam to the country 629 years ago. The first mosque in the Philippines was built in 1380 by an Arab trader Makhdum Karim. It is now known as the Sheik Karimal Makdum Mosque. The original four wood columns of the mosque still stand inside and are repainted every year. Sheik Makdum’s tomb is located beside the mosque. The principal livelihood of the people apart from fishing is “agar-agar” or seaweed farming. Island of Sibutu Located 41 kilometers southwest of Tawi-Tawi, Sibutu is also home to the Sama people; skilled seafarers […] Read more!
Passage to the South: Zamboanga, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi
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Sights of the City of Zamboanga, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi as part of the balangay voyage's journey to the Southern Philippines. Read more!
Balangays: Raiders of the Sulu Sea
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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 1.7Mb each. Hundreds of years ago, the Filipino ancestors, part seafarers, traders and warriors, command much of the Sulu archipelago; from coastal areas of Zamboanga in the north, to Palawan in the west and North Borneo in the south. Control by the Sultan of Sulu, these warriors would often raid settlements and ships for slaves (hence the term “slave raiders”) on-board wooden crafts like the balangays. These majestic boats, described by Antonio Pigafetta, Ferdinand Magellan’s chronicler during the 16th century as sometimes having over 100 rowers, strike awe and fear into the hearts of their enemies. Today, replicas of the balangay boats set sail again, not to raid and plunder, but to promote unity and understanding thru historically shared maritime bonds in Southeast Asia. The three wooden crafts: Diwata ng Lahi, Masawa hong Butuan, and the recently constructed Sama Tawi-Tawi undertake an adventure to retrace the migration paths of the ancient Filipino ancestors. I joined the balangays in the last leg of their Philippine voyage; coming aboard in […] Read more!
Cruising with Sama Tawi-Tawi
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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 1.8Mb each. The following additional VRs were taken during the maiden cruise of balangay Sama Tawi-Tawi; from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) wharf along the Agusan River to Masao in Butuan Bay. Coming back, we stopped by the Banza church ruins, the oldest church in Mindanao. The team welcomes support in any ways, for more information, visit www.balangay-voyage.com All VRs taken on July 16 & 17, 2010. The author can be reached at: fung@firefly.ph Read more!
Launch of Balangay Sama Tawi-Tawi
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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 1.8Mb each. July 16, 2010 marks another historical milestone for Butuan; this was the day the 3rd balangay boat was launched at Luna Compound, in Brgy. Bading, Butuan City. Spearheaded by Kaya ng Pinoy Foundation and the Butuan Global Forum, the festive event was attended by Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr., Congresswoman Angel Amante-Matba, Congressman Jose Aquino II, other local officials and stakeholders, students, and scores of well-wishers. Most Rev. Juan De Dios M. Pueblos D.D. and Father Amalla blessed the boat which officially hit the waters of the Agusan River at around 2PM amidst a jubilant crowd. The boat, christened Sama Tawi-Tawi, was named for the Sama people of Tawi-Tawi, particularly in Sibutu, the last true bastion of the Badjao boat-builders. Sama people are renowned for their boat building craftsmanship, mastery of the waves and the wind; relying only on knowledge pass down from their forefathers, they still use ancient tools in boat constructions, without the need of a plan or a blueprint. Constructed like a […] Read more!
The Aquino – Binay Inaugurals
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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 2.3Mb each. The day had come at last, the historic inauguration of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay at the Quirino Grandstand. In his speech, Pres. Aquino talked mostly of change, an end to corruption, better investment climate and a government answerable to the people. An estimated crowd of 600,000 attended the Inaugural. All VRs taken on June 30, 2010. Audio from Youtube sources and OPS website. The author can be reached at: fung@firefly.ph Read more!
At the Quirino Grandstand
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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 1.2Mb each. June 30, 2010 will be the historical inauguration of President-elect Noynoy Aquino at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila. With less than 3 days to go, repair and renovations are still being completed by the DPWH at the cost of 230 million pesos. Both VRs taken on June 27, 2010. The author can be reached at: fung@firefly.ph Read more!
9500+ft. Above Sea Level
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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. The temperature must’ve been below 10°C when I woke up with chills creeping from my feet; even with two layers of socks, and shoes that I didn’t bother to take off, I can still felt the cold coming from outside of our tent. It’s almost 3am, Sunday, not much sleep for nearly 40 hours, dressed fat like a penguin, quivering inside an “igloo”, at eight thousand feet up in the mountains, the only question on my mind was “WTF am I doing here!!?” Towering at 2,922 meters, Mt. Pulag is the highest mountain in Luzon and the third highest in the Philippines next to Mt. Dulang-dulang (Bukidnon 2,938m) and Mt. Apo (Davao, 2,954m). Located along the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya; it was declared a National Park under Proclamation No. 75 on February 20, 1987. With a temperate climate and rains throughout the year, Mt. Pulag is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, among which are the endemic dwarf bamboo and […] Read more!
Mt. Pulag Teaser
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I guess it will be a while for me to come up with the article on Mt. Pulag, so for the meantime, here’s a VR teaser of the sunrise. Please click the image below to view the 360 panorama. Read more!
Election Day 2010
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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 1.8Mb. Some scenes of yesterday’s May 10 first automated election in the Philippines. Around 7AM at Rajah Soliman Science and Technology High School in Binondo, Manila; voters in the act of voting in one of the clustered precincts with several poll watchers seated at the back of the room. Outside, near the school gates, voters start to tinker-in. Joint Security Control Center (JSCC) made up of combined police and army soldiers manned the area for control and security. 8AM at Hen. Gregorio del Pilar Elementary School in Jose Abad Santos Street near the corner of Recto Avenue, Manila, voters looking for their names in the lists posted at the entrance. While inside, teachers and poll watchers waited for voters in one of the precincts. 8:30AM at Palanan Elementary School in Makati City, the spacious quadrangle became the venue for finding voters’ assigned precincts. Volunteers from PPCRV assist and verify voters, issuing their respected sequence numbers and guiding them to the right precinct. 9:15AM at the network operations center […] Read more!
2010 Philippine Election
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Author’s Note: This article uses virtual reality technology to provide an immersive experience. Click the image to view the 360-degree VR. Adobe Flash 10 or higher is required. Average VR size is 1.7Mb. Less than 12 hours before the opening of the first Philippine automated election, I went around 2 nearby precincts in Manila to see their current scenarios. At Antonio Regidor elementary school in Sta. Cruz, Manila, the new CF memory cards were just delivered this morning and they went through the process of testing and sealing the PCOS machine. The ballot boxes arrived at around 2:30PM, with the rest of the election paraphernalia at a much latter time. In Rajah Soliman high school over in Binondo, Manila, the scenario was more or less the same, with the testing done in the morning, except that their ballot boxes were delivered a day earlier. Both sites’s testing and sealing went smoothly without any reported issues. All over the country, school teachers deputized as BEI (board of election inspectors) by the Commission of Elections will be task yet again to ensure an orderly and peaceful election. They are assisted by poll watchers belonging to every political party, as well as representations […] Read more!
Warships!
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Author’s Note: This article uses virtual reality technology to provide an immersive experience. Click the image to view the 360-degree VR. Adobe Flash 10 or higher is required. Average VR size is 1.8Mb. The People’s Liberation Army Naval Task Force 525 visited the port of Manila from April 13 to 17, 2010. Belonging to the East China Sea Fleet anchored near Shanghai, the flagship Ma Anshan (FFG525) leads the 3-ship task force with sister ship Wenzhou (FFG526); both are of the type 054 guided-missile frigates. With a length of 134 meters, height of 33 meters, and breadth of 15 meters (16 meters for FFG526), both ships has a top speed of about 27 knots and is accompanied by comprehensive replenishment ship Qian Daohu (886) and complemented with 783 officers and crew. The ships came from the Gulf of Aden wherein they participated in the escort and protection of merchant vessels from Somali pirates. This was the fourth Chinese Navy flotilla to undertake such mission. All VRs taken on April 14, 2010. Source: wikipedia.org. The author can be reached at: fung@firefly.ph Read more!
The PCOS Machine
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A while ago we produced this 360 object VR of the PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scanner) machine for ABS-CBN’s election education subsite. This is our public service project in support of the Philippine’s first ever automated election in May 10, 2010. The shoot toke place on-site at Comelec’s office in Intramuros and is probably the very 1st time that an object VR is used for online journalism in our country. Please click the image below for the link. VR taken on March 1, 2010. The author can be reached at: fung@firefly.ph Read more!