Tag Archives: FotoFolio

FotoFolio: Rock View Beach Resort, Bolinao, Pangasinan

Since, I was able to resurrect my Banana phone’s* memory card, it gave me a chance to check out the pictures I thought will no longer see the light of day — these pictures of Rock View Beach Resort in Bolinao, Pangasinan are some of them. And, before they get threatened to once again fall into oblivion, let me share these with you.

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Continue reading FotoFolio: Rock View Beach Resort, Bolinao, Pangasinan

FotoFolio: Waling Waling, the Queen of Philippine Orchids (and Malagos garden Resort)

Did you take Sibika and Kultura classes wherein the teacher always discusses the “national something/someone” of the Philippines? I know it’s not the Philippines’ national flower (unless the Senate bill has been approved with an HoR counterpart) but being the “Queen of Philippine Orchids”, I’ve always wondered what the Waling Waling looked like in full bloom and splendid color.

Waling-Waling Dots

Waling Waling, scientific name Euanthe sanderiana after orchidologist Henry Frederick Conrad Sander, is found in Mindanao island. While it is endemic in Cotabato and Zamboanga del Sur provinces as well, it is more popularly known to be seen in Davao as more people “know” that Mt. Apo, Waling-Waling’s home, is in this province.

Waling-Waling Close-up

So, when we had the chance to visit Malagos Garden Resort, we did not miss the chance to have face-time with the “Queen of Philippine Orchids”. (Well, at least that’s what I thought I was seeing or taking a photo of. hehe)

Walling-Waling Cluster

It was mainly purple in color, with spots of a darker shade. I can’t remember how it smelled though, only what it looked like. I haven’t seen that much orchids in my life but really, the Waling Waling was a beauty to behold. I find it, uhm, detailed and intricate. In the sense that though the flowers essentially seem the same at first glance, a lingering look will prove otherwise.

Apart from the Waling-Waling, there are other flowers and orchids to see and admire at Malagos Garden Resort.

Yet-to-blossom flowers

Purple Orchid

There’s an area that serves as a playground both for kids and adults. I think Malagos also serves as a team building, retreat and/or camping venue. There’s also these huge chess pieces that you can play with, or have photos of. The chessboard is more of these squares spread over patches of grassy land.

Chess Pieces

What I particularly liked at the Malagos Garden Resort area was the topiary of different forms and shapes. I am no gardener and neither is any of my immediate family members. But, I like landscapes, natural or man-made and the topiary at Malagos made me happy!

Bicycle Topiary

Family Topiary

So yes, whether you’re interested in seeing the Walling-Waling orchid for real or you just want a soothing green space to relax, a visit to Malagos Garden Resort as part of your Davao itinerary is hereby recommended!

FotoFolio: Sunrise at Mt. Kanchenjunga (3rd highest peak in the world)

In my CouchSurfing profile, I shared that one of the most amazing things I have seen in my entire life is the sunrise at Mt. Kanchenjunga in the Himalayas. Mt. Kangchenjunga is the 3rd highest mountain in the world at 8,586m (28,169ft).

FotoFolio Darjeeling Kanchenjunga Mountain at Sunrise Close-up
Mt. Kanchenjunga. Amazing.

No, I did not climb Mt. Kanchenjunga but I watched the sunrise from the Tiger Hill in Darjeeling, a popular tea estates tourist spot, in West Bengal, northeast India. Darjeeling has an average elevation of 2,050m (6,710ft). Tiger Hill in Ghoom, where you can find the world’s highest railway station, is about 11kms from Darjeeling.

FotoFolio Darjeeling
Welcome to Darjeeling!

In order to see the sunrise at Kanchenjunga, Julie (my VSO co-vol, friend and travel buddy in India) and I had to wake up at bloody 3:30AM at an “I-don’t-know-how-cold-nut-I’m-freezing” temperature! Being in India for a while by then (October, 7 months in!), we didn’t really expect them to be serious about the pre-arranged shared jeepney to Tiger Hill, the viewing point, to go by 4:00AM! But yes, they did and even called us up before 4 to make sure we were on our way.

With the number of shared jeeps, vans, cars and other vehicles heading that way—there’s like about 200 vehicles at the parking lot and that’s a conservative count—the traffic was really bad especially when it was already nearing Tiger Hill.

FotoFolio Darjeeling Kanchenjunga Mountain at Sunrise Vehicles
Vehicle options for the Tiger Hill (aka Three-Point Tour) tour. We got a jeep like the green one for 10 people

Upon alighting, we were told to just go to the ticket booth to pay for the Rs 10 entry fee to the hill’s “viewing deck” area. Since we thought we could rough it out anyway, Juls and I decided not to go for the extra Rs 20- and Rs 30-rupee tickets for the viewing deck that’s inside a taller building.

FotoFolio Darjeeling Kanchenjunga Mountain at Sunrise View Deck
Tiger Hill Viewing Deck and “Viewing Deck” – take your pick!

We joined the multitude of jacket- and sweater-clad (sometimes with bonnets too coz it’s too freaking cold!) of local and foreign tourists first on the right side of the building for an earlier view of the sunrise, you know, ala-Breaking Dawn!

FotoFolio Darjeeling Sunrise at Tiger Hill
Breaking Dawn with strangers. And electronic devices!

I thought that was it! That we were unlucky to see Mt. Kanchenjunga because it’s too cloudy! But I was wrong! Because, the sun’s rays are to hit Kanchenjunga in the opposite side of the viewing deck. Juls was the one who saw it just when we were about to walk down!

FotoFolio Darjeeling Kanchenjunga Mountain at Sunrise 2
Up in the clouds! Cotton Candy, anyone?!

Forgive the photo quality here (click to enlarge; I can give you original resolution ones if you’d request) but I assure you, the white snow-capped mountain peaks of Kanchenjunga turning into varied hues of orange is indeed a sight to behold.

It was an amazing moment for me. Like, really amazing. It’s not everyday that we get the chance to witness a natural beauty, some say a testament of God’s gift to humanity, and be blessed with the feeling of a better day unfolding before our eyes, sharing it with strangers from all walks of life. Sunrise at Mt. Kanchenjunga is amazing, isn’t it?

FotoFolio Darjeeling Kanchenjunga Mountain at Sunrise Panorama
Panoramic view of sunrise at Mt. Kanchenjunga

After the sunrise,I think Juls and I descended from the main viewing deck and found our way to the shared jeepney. Yes, the day has just begun as the Rs 150 tour is good for three points of interest in Darjeeling (Tiger Hill, Ghoom Monastery, and Batasia 360 degree loop), stories of which I will tell in my next posts.

FotoFolio Darjeeling Kanchenjunga Mountain at Sunrise
How can you not be amazed?

For now, I leave you with memories of my time with Mt. Kanchenjunga and experiencing cloud 9, perhaps figuratively and literally! Happy wandering!

FotoFolio Darjeeling Tiger Hill Tibetan Buddhist Banderitas
Banderitas / Flaglets with Buddhist prayers/text line up the road at Tiger Hill

FotoFolio: Kailash Temple, Ellora Caves, Aurangabad

I spent the weekend on top of the world—well, on top of cliffs and mountain-plateaus to have better viewpoints of the Ajanta and Ellora caves, with the Kailash Temple as one of the highlights of my Aurangabad cave exploration!

Kailash Temple
View from the Top: Kailash Temple and its ornate designs and carvings, surrounded by the cliff from which it was made from (see the people climbing up?) and the garden/park

Here’s a basic description of the Kailash Temple, according to Wikipedia: Kailashnath Temple, also Kailash Temple or Kailasanath Temple is a famous temple, one of the 34 monasteries and temples, known collectively as the Ellora Caves, extending over more than 2 km, that were dug side by side in the wall of a high basalt cliff in the complex located at Ellora, Maharashtra, India. Of these 34 monasteries and temples, the Kailasa (cave 16) is a remarkable example of Dravidian architecture on account of its striking proportion; elaborate workmanship architectural content and sculptural ornamentation of rock-cut architecture.[1] It is designed to recall Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva.[2] It is a megalith carved out of one single rock. It was built in the 8th century by the Rashtrakuta king Krishna I.

Elephant and Pillar at Kailash
View from the left-side terrace (second level): massive elephant rock sculpture, towering pillar, and temple areas containing the Shiva lingam and Nandi (Shiva’s bull), adorned by carvings of deities, celestial nymphs, elephants, lion, dragons (and the mix of three creatures in one!)

And, according to me, the Kailash Temple is a magnificent symbol of millennium-old awesomeness of Indian architecture, religion and culture. The entire complex of Ellora Caves actually! Whenever you are in Aurangabad, a visit to the Ajanta caves (totally different area) and Ellora Caves is a must and marveling at the Kailash Temple is a delight. Now, climbing on top of the high basalt cliff from which the Kailashnath Temple is carved from? That is another experience altogether. If you can do that, you’ll see the Kailash Temple from a different angle and really, maybe you’d feel like Shiva looking over his worshippers!

Intimate Couples at Kailash Temple
If you are observant enough, or not yet overwhelmed by the number of carvings waiting to be admired, you will notice sculptures of couples in intimate scenarios

FotoFolio: Mahad on my Mind (Memories of Rural India)

It was May last year when I first saw rural India, up close and personal. I was invited by my colleague Charu to celebrate a once-in-three-years festival at her native place Mahad in Maharashtra, India.

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I wrote two blog posts about it (click for Part 1: A day in the Life and Part 2: Getting Up Close and Personal) at the Project 365 Blog developed with other VSO Bahaginan volunteers.

It was a great experience for me and I guess the nostalgia came over me so I felt the need to share some of the trip’s photos here with you. Smile

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