Salinlahi: The Launch 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 2.4Mb each. After nearly 3 months from the date of first construction, the replica of an ancient wooden boat ‘balangay’ was finally launched into the waters of Manila Bay at mid-day on June 27. As the rope was cut, the “Diwata ng Lahi” (Muse of the Race), the balangay’s christened name, made a thundering splash as it rolled down the make-shift pier and floats proudly amidst cheers and applaud from everyone present. The launch was attended by dignitaries, government officials, private company sponsors, members of the Philippine Navy and Coast Guards, maritime students, and various organizations and individuals. Prominent guests who grace the event included Sec. Lito Atienza of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources; Mr. Oscar Lopez; former Senator Santanina Rasul; Butuan Vice Mayor Dino Claudio M. Sanchez; and Admiral Wifredo D. Tamayo, commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard. With the successful launch of the boat, Team Balangay looks forward to an adventure that will bring pride and unity for the Filipino people. All VRs taken […] Read more!
The Up-coming 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 2.3Mb each. Another great dream is being unfolded in a little corner of space near the grounds of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). Led by Art Valdez, the man behind the success of putting Filipinos on the summit of Mt. Everest will once again embark on a maritime adventure across the Philippine archipelago and beyond in a replica of an ancient wooden boat called the balangay. The aim of this endeavor is to re-trace some of our ancestor’s journey in the Indo-Pacific during pre-colonial times in the effort to rekindle the Filipino pride and spirit in the long forgotten maritime heritage. First excavated in the late 1970s in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte by the National Museum, a balangay (also called ‘Butuan boat’), is a plank boat adjoined by a carved-out planks edge through pins or dowels. Nine balangays were actually discovered: the first one was preserved and displayed in the excavation site, carbon-dated at year 320AD; the second was dated to 1250 and is now […] Read more!
Kalayaan 2009
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June 12, 2009 marks the 111st Philippine Independence Day. As the nation celebrates freedom amidst the looming threat of flu pandemic, unemployment, and economic downturn; the people look ahead with hope, anticipating change that might, in the coming election. Below are some scenes of the day. All VRs taken on June 12, 2009. The author can be reached at: fung@firefly.ph Read more!
A Day at Enchanted Kingdom
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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. Eldar’s Tent was filled with soap bubbles that night, reflected against multi-colored stage lights, the interior was made to appear like an underwater scene. The play was a summer special entitled “An Under the Sea Experience” which showcase the talents of EK’s cast members and select GMA artists. Dressed in colorful costumes, cast members serenaded the audience with songs and dance that told the adventures of the sea creatures with the surface dwellers. The musical play captured everyone’s imagination, and for a brief moment, it can truly be described as magical! Together with a group of select bloggers, this writer was invited to a 1-day adventure to experience Enchanted Kingdom’s many attractions, foremost being the newly launched “Magicalympics.” Magicalympics is a team building activity that fuses certain tasks with the park’s rides in order to accomplish a team’s goal in the least amount of time. Call it ala Amazing Race with a little twist. The purpose of which is supposed to foster camaraderie amongst the participants […] Read more!
A Journey of the 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 2.5Mb each. The distinctive pop of the oxy-acetylene torch lid-up in the hands of Carlito Ortega as he casually asked our group “So who wants to try brass welding?” It was a hot and humid day as our van sped south in a journey aptly named “Viaje del Sol” as organized by the Filipinas Heritage Library of the Ayala Foundation. Together with a group of about 20 writers, the 100 or so kilometer journey across the provinces of Laguna, Batangas, and Quezon promises to spark interest in the arts as well as excite our palates. Surrounded by a garden of greenery, Carlito’s spacious workshop is dotted with finished and unfinished masterpieces. On one side of the wall hung wooden hammers of various sizes, small sheets of brass littered on the working table, carved bole use for molding sits in a corner, and a small speaker emanating the artist’s favorite music permeates the air. At the center stands a figure of a woman with a half finished skirt, while […] Read more!
A Corregidor Cruise
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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. The fireworks exploded at exactly 7PM above SM Mall of Asia, a usual weekend occurrence, except this time, I was watching it from the waters of Manila Bay, aboard the cruise ship 7107 Island Cruises while partaking our sumptuous 10-course dinner buffet. The fireworks display, seeing it from far out at sea, gets reflected by the surrounding waters can only be described as kaleidoscopic. The invitation for the Corregidor cruise came from 7107 Island Cruise, the only Filipino owned inter-island cruise company that seeks to redefine travels in the Philippine. The ship currently offers cruise within the tourism triangle of Subic, Coron, and Boracay. Berth at Pier 13 in South Harbor, Manila; the ship, formerly Coco Explorer 2 from Danish-owned C&C Travel was originally built in 1968. Fully renovated in 1990 from keel to mast and fulfills international security demands, all cabins are made from fire-secure material including an extensive sprinkler-system installed throughout ship. I arrived around 3PM that day to an already short queue of […] Read more!
Cutud Crucifixions
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Author’s Note: This article uses virtual reality technology to provide an immersive experience. Adobe Flash 10 or higher is required to view the 360-degree VRs. Average VR size is 2.5Mb each. Being a predominantly Catholic nation, the Philippines is host to an ‘endless’ religious festivals and celebrations. Next to Christmas, the Lenten season, which falls either on March or April, is celebrated throughout the country. Conventionally, this is a 40-day affair representing the time, according to the Bible, Jesus spent in the desert before the beginning of his public ministry, where he endured temptation by Satan. The traditional purpose of Lent is to prepare a believer – through prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial – for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes on Holy Saturday. The six Sundays in Lent are not counted among the forty days because each Sunday represents a “mini-Easter”, a celebration of Jesus’ victory over sin and death. People observe the season by usually reading (or singing) the Passion; fasting or abstinence from eating meat, particularly pork; and on the extreme, self flagellation and crucifixion. Although crucifixion rites are perform in many […] Read more!
Breathtaking Bohol
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Author’s Note: This article uses virtual reality technology to provide an immersive experience. Adobe Flash 10 or higher is required to view the 360-degree VRs. Average VR size is 2.5Mb each. “Welcome to Bohol” the sign says upon landing in Tagbilaran airport. I found myself joining yet another media test drive with Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. for the newly launched Honda City. The onset of the summer months bring hot and humid weather, more evident as the intense heat of direct sunlight pierce your skin and sweat slowly crept on the insides of your shirt. Fortunately, it was rather cloudy when we landed; but the photographer instinct in me wished it was rather radiantly sunny. Bohol, world famous for its Chocolate Hills, is an island province in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. It comprises of the Bohol mainland plus 75 surrounding minor islands of which the Panglao Island is the biggest. It is also the home province of Pres. Carlos P. Garcia, the 4th Philippine president, who was born in Talibon, Bohol. Our start of the tour was the Clarin Ancestral House. Built in 1840, this typical Filipino-Spanish stone house was the residence of Don Aniceto Velez, former […] Read more!
The Honda City Paradise Experience
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Author’s Note: This article uses virtual reality technology to provide an immersive experience. Adobe Flash 10 or higher is required to view the 360-degree VRs. Average VR size is 2.5Mb each. January 7, 2009 saw Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. launch the all new City. The much anticipated 3rd generation Honda City, following the recent success of the new Jazz, completes Honda’s all i-VTEC line-up and reinforces its claim in the passenger car segment. Taking inspiration from an arrowshot concept, the new City ascertains sleek and powerful stance from any angle. It features streamlined grille, sharp headlights harmonization, smoother contours and a 15-inch tire size to enhance its overall sporty appearance. With cutting-edge design and technologies that set new standards in its class, the City merges modernism with practicality for an ultimate driving pleasure, forever changing the rules on how subcompacts should be. Sharing the same powerplant as the Jazz, the i-VTEC engine of the new City delivers maximum power output of 120ps at 6600rpm and 100ps at 6000rpm for the 1.5 liter and the 1.3 liter variants respectively. The i-VTEC engine technology delivers power and torque intelligently, thus contributing to a fuel efficient driving performance. Further fuel efficiency is enhance […] Read more!
Detour – An Island Cove Adventure
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Author’s Note: This article uses virtual reality technology to provide an immersive experience. Adobe Flash 10 or higher is required to view the 360-degree VRs. Average VR size is 2.5Mb each. The historic province of Cavite, situated just south of Metro Manila is home to Island Cove, a sprawling 36-hectare hotel and leisure park. Located in Kawit, this Mediterranean-inspired island is only 45-minutes away from Manila and boast of a wide range of attractions and facilities: Sangrey Point and The Fishing Village offer a variety of food choices; the Oceania Water Park offers several giant water slides, pools and other water activities; the Animal Island is a zoo compose of tigers, ostriches, monkeys, crocodiles, variety of birds, and other animals; accommodations consist of 96 hotel rooms and 17 cottages; other facilities include Island Spa, Gym at the Cove, Island Cove Café, Island Songs (karaoke), Patron (an open-air bar), and a function hall. Being one of the first eight provinces that sought independence from Spain at the start of the Philippine Revolution in 1896, Cavite is rich both in historic and cultural attractions. Foremost being the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, the home of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, first president of the Philippine […] Read more!
Enchanting Sagada
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Author’s Note: This article uses virtual reality technology to provide an immersive experience. Adobe Flash 10 or higher is required to view the 360-degree VRs. Average VR size is 2.2Mb each. I first set foot on Sagada about 4 years ago, had so much fun and adventure then that I vowed to visit the place again. The opportunity came during the long December holidays; it was more of a sudden decision really, of packing your bags, leaving your thoughts and hopping on the bus the day after Christmas. Sagada, known as Philippines’ shangri-la, is a rusty idyllic town near Bontoc, the provincial capital of Mountain Province in the Cordilleras. Located some 275Km North of Manila and about 140Km from Baguio City, it is a haven for adventurers. Famous for it’s centuries old hanging coffins and burial caves, underground river and water falls, majestic sunrise and star-studded night skies, aromatic coffee Arabica and verdant rice terraces. At 1500m above sea level, it has cool breezy weather throughout the year. Dry season starts usually from December to May and wet season from June to November. Even after 4 years, little has change in Sagada. The whole place seems to be trapped in […] Read more!
Jazzing in Ilocos Norte
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Author’s Note: This article uses virtual reality technology to provide an immersive experience. Adobe Flash 9.0 or above is required to view the 360-degree VRs. Average VR size is 2.0Mb each. Yellow ‘hotspots’ are clickable. So I got an invitation from Honda Cars Philippines a while back… to test drive the all new Jazz… for 2 days… in picturesque Ilocos Norte! My first thought was to clear my schedules, refresh my memories of Ilocos, and pray that we’ll have fair weather during those days. Alas, I guess I didn’t pray hard enough. Having seen the 2008 Honda Jazz in the recent 2nd Philippine International Motor Show, I can say it is indeed a beauty. The new Jazz expresses dynamism and a super-forward looking form that you can readily see at a glance. The new body structure conforms to a variety of design requirements, including safety and spaciousness. This is a car that merges seemingly contradictory traits to genuinely enhance people’s lifestyles; the design is sporty yet spacious; performance is powerful yet efficient; utility is compact yet capacious, comfortable yet versatile. Among the new exterior features of the all-new Jazz are: the push-lift fuel lid that is synchronized with the door […] Read more!
Coron, Palawan
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Author’s Note: This article uses Adobe Flash in providing an immersive experience by means of virtual reality technology. Flash 9.0 and above is required to view the 360-degree VRs. Average VR size is 2.5Mb each. Yellow ‘hotspots’ are clickable. After hearing so much about Coron from friends who have gone there, and always wanting to go but without presence of opportunity, it was only last May that I finally set foot on Palawan, often called the Philippines’ last frontier. The Palawan group of islands, voted by Conde Nash Traveler magazine for its beaches, coves, and islets as the tourist destination with the best beaches in Asia; rated by National Geographic Traveler magazine as the best island destination in East and Southeast Asia region in 2007; and underwater explorer Jacques Costeau, inventor of the modern scuba, has described the province as having one of the most beautiful seascapes in the world. Our overnight trip onboard the Superferry was a pleasant one. We departed the port of Manila around 5pm and docked at the port of Coron almost 6am the next day. As the end of May is almost into the rainy season, nonetheless the weather was still hot, with occasional light […] Read more!
Compact Cars
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Author’s Note: This article uses Adobe Flash in providing an immersive experience by means of virtual reality technology. Flash 9.0 and above is required to view the 360-degree VRs. Average VR size is 2.0Mb each. I’m shopping for a new car… specifically a small one, with an engine displacement of 1.3L or below. After seeing the same purchasing value of my money getting less and less volume of gasoline, the rising pump prices that seems to be of no end, costly automotive parts replacements and other maintenance cost, plus the perennial traffic problem of Metro Manila; I guess it’s about time I retire my aging car and switch to one that gives greater fuel economy, more creature comforts, better environment compliant, and plenty of readily available cup-holders! Most of the car manufacturers today, anticipating increases in fuel cost and a more active awareness for the environment, have rolled-out respective minis or compact cars. They range from the 0.8L Suzuki Alto and the Chery QQ to the 1.3L Toyota Vios/Avanza, Honda Jazz/City, and Nissan Sentra GX. In between, we also have the 1.0L Chevrolet Spark, plus the 1.1L Kia Picanto and the Hyundai Getz. All cars required fuels to run. However, […] Read more!