Moriones of Marinduque
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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. With masks and capes they came, With axes and spears they walked, Garbed in armors, one in thought, for Longinus they seek, his death foretold. The colorful Moriones Festival of Marinduque, based on the legend of Longinus, the Roman centurion who pierced Jesus in his side with a lance while He was on the Cross; with blood that spurted forth touched his blind eye and fully restored his sight. This miracle he proclaimed “Truly this man was the Son of God.” Longinus converted to Christianity and earned the ire of his fellow centurions. The re-enactment reaches its climax when he is caught and beheaded. Longinus is traditionally venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church and several other Christian communions. The spear used is known as the Holy Lance, more recently, especially in occult circles as the “Spear of Destiny,” which figures in the legends of the Holy Grail. Marinduque Holy Week 360VRs Marinduque’s Other Attractions The Moriones festival is Marinduque’s best tourists’ attraction, but the […] Read more!
Multi-Faceted Landscapes of Manila
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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. This 360 virtual tour is in response to the British Council’s “Show Us Your City” contest of Creative Cities in the UK and East Asia for The London Festival of Architecture 2010. The sun hasn’t risen yet and I’m already half-awake as the sound of oncoming trains rolled by outside my windows. Not exactly a wake-up call, but nevertheless they are a welcome sensation as I lay on my bed, pondering on the things that lie ahead. Such are the daily occurrence in my neighborhood north of downtown Manila, a place that’s near a wet market, at the intersection of two railways – the LRT and the PNR. The Pasig River cuts across Manila separating the downtown area from the business and heart of the city. Ever since from the early days of tribal kings and during the Spanish period, the river has played an important role both in terms of commerce and livelihood. It was only after WWII, due to industrialization and migration from nearby provinces, […] Read more!
Batanes on My Mind
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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 1.6Mb. Most of my companions are puking inside the faluwa boat as we made our way to Sabtang Island that day; it was an overcast sky with a little drizzle as our boat rocked back and forth amidst the towering waves of the South China Sea meet the currents of the Pacific Ocean in the most ‘intense’ experience of the entire trip. Loaded with us on the boat are motorbikes, local produce, live animals consist of chickens and goats as we toke the 45 minutes ride from San Vicente port in Batan. It took a while upon landing to got my composure back, by that time, the weather was changing for the best with the moody landscape transformed into a majestic vista. The Batanes group of islands is situated some 640km North of Manila, comprising a total of ten islands for which only Batan, Sabtang, and Itbayat are inhabited. Geographically nearer to Taiwan than Manila, Batanes enjoys the four season climate as that of the countries in the […] Read more!
Butuan’s Balangay
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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 2.1Mb each. It’s a little past 11AM as I waited impatiently in the cargo office of Cebu Pacific Air for my bag of photo equipment to be handed over while the new balangay is about to be launched any moment into the waters of Agusan River, a good 15 minutes away from the Bancaxi Airport. The anxiousness was building up within as the thought of traveling hundreds of kilometers for this one event and to miss it by a hairline will indeed be appalling! The predicament begun as I set foot again in Butuan the day earlier; having arrived, minus my check-in baggage which they were only able to trace that afternoon, was sent to Tuguegarao instead! What’s more, it can only be shipped by the first flight the next day, ETA 1145. So there I was, halfway through the launch program, ran to the airport and finally got my equipment at 1130; from thereon, we practically drove like crazy back to the launch site with barely 30 […] Read more!
Feast of the Black Nazarene
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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. VR size is 2.0Mb. Celebrated every 9th of January, the Feast of the Black Nazarene is a wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ held to be miraculous by many Filipino devotees. Its original carver is an anonymous Mexican carpenter, and the image was transported by a galleon from Acapulco, Mexico by the Augustinian Recollect Missionaries on May 31, 1606. The image is currently enshrined in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila. Roman Catholic tradition holds that the Black Nazarene came from a boat that caught fire, turning it from its original white into black or charred complexion. During the annual public procession, only the body of the Black Nazarene is displayed in procession to the public, while the original head portion of the statue is retained in the Basilica of the Black Nazarene within the high altars of the church. The Black Nazarene is also famously noted for its devotees who walk the procession streets barefoot, without shoes or sandals as to imitate Jesus Christ on his way to […] Read more!
Historic Butuan
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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 2.5Mb each. “In the beginning, there was no Philippines but there was BUTUAN” Such is the claim to fame of Butuan, a province located in the Caraga region in Northeastern Mindanao; a place known for its rich history and colorful culture. Butuan is a term believed to have originated from the sour fruit “Batuan”. Others opined, it came from a certain “Datu Buntuan”, a chieftain who once ruled Butuan. Scholars believed, it came from the word “But-an”, which literally means a person who has sound and discerning disposition. As early as the 10th century, according to the Chinese Song Shi (history), people from Butuan had already established trading relations with the kingdom of Champa in what is now South Vietnam. By the 11th century, Butuan was the center of trade and commerce in the Philippines. The best evidence to prove this fact is the discovery of 9 balangays (The Butuan Boats) and other archeological finds in the vicinities of Butuan City, particularly in Ambangan, Libertad near the old […] Read more!
Rendezvous with Diwata
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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 2.4Mb each. After 3 months and 8 typhoons, Diwata ng Lahi finally arrived at the port of Butuan City around noon on the 28th of November amidst a celebratory welcome by Butuanons. As she slowly sailed her way along the historic Agusan River, escorted by vessels of the Philippine Coast Guard and some well wishers on bancas, there was a feeling akin to nostalgic, of being home at last, to the birthplace of her heritage, the land of the ancient balangays. My flight landed on Butuan as tropical depression ‘Urduja’ was still in the vicinity of Surigao, where the balangay team was also anchored 2 days prior to their departure towards Cabadbaran, our rendezvous point some 20Km from Butuan City. Gray clouds and a light drizzle greeted me as I step out of the plane, but nonetheless a great feeling of relief as I set foot on the ground from a less than smooth ride due to turbulence. Butuan’s Balangay Narra Hotel, located in Luna Compound at Brgy. […] Read more!
Kasalang Mar at Korina
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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 2.2Mb each. Scenes from yesterday’s Senator Mar Roxas and broadcaster Korina Sanchez wedding at the Sto. Domingo church in Quezon City. The event started around 4:00 in the afternoon and lasted for almost three hours. Attended by mostly prominent guests and public officials, this can easily be the wedding of the year for 2009. Scenes arranged in reverse chronological order. All VRs taken on October 27, 2009. The author can be reached at: fung@firefly.ph Read more!
Winning the Philippine Blog Awards 2009
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Author’s Note: No VRs in this post. Average VR size is 0.0Mb. I joined the Philippine Blog Awards 2009 (PBA) without any expectations. To be named one of the finalists under the ‘News and Media’ category, least of all declared as the winner, was rewarding enough. I believe my other co-finalists are equally deserving of this award, I humbly share it with them. To my co-winners, let us not rest on our laurels, winning is not the end of our work, but a beginning to work harder. We must continually challenge ourselves if we are to make a difference. Change starts from the heart, it permeates the soul and radiates the spirit. Only when we can achieve transformation within ourselves can we hope to influence others for the betterment of our nation. So what did I get for winning the award? There’s of course the very nice and colorful ‘king of the road’ Philippine jeepney trophy, the envelope containing the winning entry of my category (yup, it says virtualjournals.net alright), a Nokia 6700 Classic courtesy of Nokia Philippines, a medal of sort that the organizers will be sending, and bragging rights for the next 365 days! My heartfelt gratitude goes […] Read more!
Maiden Voyage of the Balangay
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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 2.2Mb each. I found myself in Erik Lacson’s car speeding towards Sangley Point, Cavite City on an impromptu decision that day after seeing the balangay off in CCP grounds for the start of its maiden voyage. It was a decision that I never regretted. The weather that morning was radiantly sunny like the day before. The sky was in a deepest blue, and crystal clear. A slight breeze was coming from the west and temperature was on a steady increase as we approached mid day. When I arrived on the site, a sizable crowd and well-wishers from sponsors and supporters were already gathered. The sent-off ceremony was brief and simple; highlighted by a few speeches and a prayer for safe voyage. As before, the balangay crew paddled their way out of the make-shift dock, the birthplace of the boat for the very last time, a moment of excitement and serendipity. Sails were unfurled as they passed the breakwaters of Manila Bay and from then on, the journey of […] Read more!
Sailing with “Diwata ng Lahi”
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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. My foot kept slipping from the palm-leaves covered roof of the “Diwata ng Lahi” as I tried to balance myself and the camera-tripod combination; any sudden jerk or misstep would mean the lost of the precious equipment to mighty Poseidon, not to mention a wet and injured photographer, the first person to fell off from the balangay as she sails in the middle of Manila Bay. Fortunately, it was a smooth sail as the balangay glided thru the water at about 4 knots; I was able to get a good foot-hold to the opposite side and finished panning my shots in a complete circle. Such was the inherit ‘thrills’ of shooting in 360, you sometimes live the excitement of the scenario and gets to brag about it thereafter. One day before the balangay was set for her historic maiden voyage across the Philippine archipelago; I finally found the time to join her for my first, and her last training sail within the safe confines of Manila […] Read more!
ARC Gloria in Manila
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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 2.0Mb each. The Colombian naval training ship, ARC Gloria visited the Philippines from July 31 to August 2, 2009. Docked at Pier 13 of the South Harbor, the ship promotes international goodwill between Colombia and other countries. The ship’s crew is composed mostly of cadets and under the command of Captain Luis Jorge Tovar Neira. Construction of the ship started in April 1967 and was undertaken by Spanish Naval Construction Company of Bilbao. The three-mast brigantine sailing vessel was completed in September 1968. I arrived on Pier 13 at around 2:30PM as the ship was preparing for departure. Having come from the wake of former Pres. Cory Aquino in LaSalle Greenhills, it was fortunate that the good captain still permitted this writer to take a quick tour of the ship amidst their hectic schedule. There were a few dignitaries present, some well-wishers, representatives of our Philippine Coast Guard, and a band of Ati-Atihan dancers bidding adios to the ship as she set sail to her next port call […] Read more!
A Stolen Sun
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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 2.4Mb each. The longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century happened last July 22; the duration of totality was a few seconds shy of 7 minutes, making it one of the longest in 300 years; an event that will not be surpassed until June 13, 2132. The moon’s shadow covered most of Southeast Asian countries with the path of totality extending from northern India, central China, and southern Japan. Countries like the Philippines, which lie outside the moon’s umbra shadow, witnessed only a partial solar eclipse. It was during 1995 in Manila that I saw my first solar eclipse, albeit a partial one; it nevertheless rekindled my interest in astronomy, and all things heavenly. The eclipse in China was the most easily reachable in terms of geographical distance and monetary resource that prompted me to make a spot decision to go. Joined by a team of like-minded individuals from the UP Astronomical Society, our group of 13 set foot in Shanghai on the 19th, a few days […] Read more!
A Virtual Farewell to Cory Aquino
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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. Former president Corazon C. Aquino, first woman president of the Philippines, peacefully passed away on August 1, 2009 at 3:18AM after more than a year of battle against colon cancer; an icon of democracy and a symbol of ‘people power’ in the Philippines and around the world. An advocate of peace and unity, we thank her for what she accomplished, for what she achieved, and for what she sacrificed for the Filipino people. In a way, I’m happy for her; for though her physical presence is no more, her spirit lives on. She is indeed in a better place now, in the arms of her husband Ninoy, in the company of her parents, in the presence of God. For I’m here not to mourn her death, I’m here but to celebrate her life. What follows are some scenes from the wake in De La Salle Greenhills (August 1), in the Manila Cathedral (August 4), and the funeral parade (August 5). The Funeral Parade At the Manila […] Read more!