Sights of the Ruins of Sutro Baths and Sutro Heights Park

The only thing I know about the prominent destinations in San Francisco prior to my arrival here in San Francisco are the Union Square and the Golden Gate Bridge.  I never knew that the amazing Ruins of Sutro Baths and the scenic Sutro Heights Park exists.

on my way to sutro baths…

awesome!

beautiful

if you swim that ocean, you will end up in baler quezon! hahaha!

Sutro Baths according to google is the largest public saltwater swimming pool complex that opened in 1896.  The baths struggled for years due to high maintenance costs.  It caught fire in 1966 and was never rebuilt.  All that remains are the concrete walls and passageways.  Sutro Heights Park on the other hand (meters away from Sutro Baths) is a park that offers the best scenic view of the Ocean Beach.

ocean beach!

amazing…

Though the ruins aren’t really old, but the sight and feel it offers is something sentimental to the point of being romantic.  Both location offers a little history on what it was like to be in majestic San Francisco decades ago.  Thanks to the front desk staff who pointed me to this amazing location.

Super nays…

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Glacial Facial at Milford Sound

Milford Sound has been considered as the most visited tourist place in New Zealand.  It is the crowning jewel and quintessential spot of New Zealand.  Many visitors say that it is the most beautiful place they have ever seen.  It so beautiful, it is usually included in blogs and publications that enumerates the places to go to before an earthling dies.

Milford Sound is a body of water, thus, one has to take a boat ride to really appreciate its beauty.  And that’s exactly me and my friends did.  We took the tour as operated by Southern Discoveries which is inclusive of a sumptuous buffet lunch served right inside the boat.  It was actually a smooth connection between the 5-hour bus ride and that of the ship ride.  No worries, no hustle and surprisingly, no overcrowding!  Everything went smooth and organized.

cruising...

cruising…

And when the boat embarks into the water, further excitement about my NZ experience sets in.  The sights of the Sound were just gorgeous.  Limestone cliffs, snowcapped mountain peaks, amazing waterfalls and the clear water of the fiords were all so stunning.

I particularly loved the part when the boat would get so near the waterfalls throwing water down the sides of the sheer cliffs.  And according to the boat’s tour guide and narrator, water coming from above the cliffs were actually melted glacier from the mountains.  The narrator told all passengers to be ready to get wet and secure a raincoat because the bow of the ship will go right underneath the pounding falls.

The up-close look of the waterfalls were simply spectacular!  Only when the ship maneuvered right at the bottom of the falls did I realize how high, how strong and how massive the waterfalls were.  The sprinkling, the shower, the downpour of the glacial water on my face was something to behold.  I totally agree with the boat narrator’s description that the feeling would be like having a “glacial facial”!

Another add on about the Milford Sound cruise were the animals that tourists got to see.  We were unfortunate that we did not see pods of dolphins or rare penguins.  But what we found were lazy seals sunning themselves on low lying rocks.

getting ready for my glacial facial!

getting ready for my glacial facial!

strike a pose!

strike a pose!

Me and my friends were just too glad to do a 2-hour Milford Sound tour!  We were so happy that such an amazing place with all its natural splendor really does exist!

Kakaibang pasyal na may peyshal!

Haler Baler…

One measure to prove that a traveler is so fascinated by a holiday destination is when he experienced the wanderlust to come back.  It is the strong desire and the itching feeling of wanting to return and re-experience the stunning sights and striking sounds of such captivating destination.

I have done a lot of returning and re-experiencing of various spellbinding tourist destinations myself both locally and internationally.  And one destination that has recently been added up to this beautiful list is Baler.  In less than a year I am back visiting this countrified town of Aurora Province here in the Philippines.

What I particularly loved about Baler is that there are so much to see, do and explore.  And that every spot is so overwhelmingly beautiful.  Add to that are the surprisingly affordable restaurants and food establishments  that offers fresh, delicious and hearty meals.

To further substantiate that I am truly captivated by this place, I returned back with Nengkoy and my family for them to see and experience for themselves how much fun I had the first time I visited.  And true enough, Baler for the second time around did not fail to amaze the traveler in me.

A very long rickety yet enjoyable Hanging Bridge

A very long rickety yet enjoyable Hanging Bridge

enjoying the sea breeze at the baywalk

enjoying the sea breeze at the baywalk

me & nengkoy posing at lukso-lukso beach & islets

me & nengkoy posing at lukso-lukso beach & islets

the millenium tree! one of the largest trees in asia..

the millenium tree! one of the largest trees in asia..

the surf is up at Sabang Beach!

the surf is up at Sabang Beach!

magnificent Mother Falls!

magnificent Mother Falls!

Swimming at the magnificent Mother Falls in Baler #motherfalls #baler #swim #waterfall #philippines #aurora

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the view up the lighthouse hill...

the view up the lighthouse hill…

And what is even further amazing about this return is that members of family were equally amazed by the beauty, warmth and hospitality of this gorgeous province.  I wont be surprised if I will again be back in this province and say “Haler… Baler…”

Babalik-babalik pa mor…

The Seabin Project

Being an archipelago, most of the parts of my country is surrounded by water.  It is however dismaying to know that considerable portions of these waters are now dirty and polluted.  An immediate solution to this pressing problem needs to be addressed.

Aside from developing a heart for the environment and massive change in discipline, the invention by Australian surfers Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski is exactly what my country needs to keep its sea, lakes, rivers and other bodies of water clean. seabin quote

It’s called ‘seabin’, a trash bin that floats in the water.  A water pump maintains constant water flow into the bin, bringing with it floating garbage and debris.  These refuse items are then caught in a strainer-like net bag.  The water is then sucked through the bottom of the bin, into a water pump and then pumped back into the sea.

It is a simple yet brilliant ocean cleaning system that could easily be implemented in seaports and harbors around the country.  The inventors have Indiegogo Campaign site that has been set up to collect funding so that they can carry out large scale production and commence with cleaning bodies of water.

Visit seabinproject.com for more details or go to  www.indiegogo.com if you would like to donate.

Ilang Sibins kaya ang kailangan sa Manila Bey?

Old Majestic Tree in Aurora

Trees are considered one of life-sources.  Aside from being the great oxygen supplier, trees also makes the world a beautiful place to live in.

After seeing the majestic trees that grew from the ruins of Ta Prohm temple in Siem Reap Cambodia, I thought I will never be again fascinated by any living tree on the planet.

But after being enchanted by the massive 600+ year old tree in the town of Maria Aurora in Aurora Province here in the Philippines, I knew I am mistaken.  Hailed as the Millennium Tree, this breathtaking Balete type of a tree is considered to be the largest of its kind in the whole of Asia.

nature's gigantic masterpiece

nature’s gigantic masterpiece; i’m like meters away standing from the tree…

Unlike the massive roots of the trees in Siem Reap, people can actually enter through the hoards of root shafts of this 200 feet tall tree.

super UGAT! "inside" the massive tree

super UGAT!
“inside” the massive tree

I’m pretty sure there are higher, older and more massive trees in some tucked away and untouched forest or mountainside on the planet.  But what makes the Millennium Tree more meaningful and delightful is that people are actually allowed to climb up to a certain point so as to feel and further appreciate it firsthand.

Seeing thrilled tourists climbing up or passing through the narrow crevices of its roots were like little boys and girls being cradled by no less than the enchanting Mother Nature.

Bonggang puno…

The Unique Charm of the Hundred Islands

hundred islands, a totally different adventure

hundred islands, a totally different adventure

Having close encounters with the Taklobo or Giant Clams, colorful corrals and vibrant schools of fish are the highlights of my recent journey to the Hundred Islands in Alaminos, Pangasinan (a calm and peaceful province north of Metro Manila).  I was so glad to have the opportunity to snorkel in the deep blue waters (of the Coral Island) in this portion of the Lingayen Gulf.  I have been a couple of times to this gorgeous protected national park and I am glad that the islands were still jarringly beautiful.

I really like the fact that it would be very difficult for people to stay overnight in the islands because there are no luxurious room facilities available in these islands which would tend to spoil, destruct and deteriorate the natural splendor of the place.

Among the more than 120 islands of the park I think only four are allowed for tourists to stay overnight.  People who would want to stay overnight would only have to settle on pitching their own tent/s and pray that unforgiving heavy rain won’t fall and gust of viscous wind won’t blow during the night.  Otherwise, it would be some messy, muddled and shambolic escapade.

with lambert, jun and willie

with lambert, jun and willie

now, how can you construct toilets on those islands? aber!

now, how can you construct toilets on those islands? aber!

my magic shot of jb...

my magic shot of jb…

those rickety pump boats are not for the fainthearted

those rickety pump boats are not for the fainthearted

Some two-legged squeamish finicky creatures may actually say and declare that they hate the park due to its inadequate or lacking in facilities – like drinking fountains, toilets, luxurious restaurants, air conditioned huts, high-class smooth sailing speedboats, etc. – in the islands.

But for me these add up to the unique charm and appeal of this Philippine tourist spot.  It totes up to the rugged virginity of the place.  This makes you feel that these harsh islands remains to be untouched, unexplored, undamaged and indeed intact.  That the environment and its ecosystem is nothing but ‘natural’.  So when you’re in the Hundred Islands, simply embrace nature’s beauty and expect the unexpected!  Besides, that’s what fun is about!!!

Hundred Islands is not a fluid, easy and relaxing type of an escapade.  It is for the rough, tough and jagged type of an adventurer.  This distinct characters of the Hundred Islands makes me love and fancy this erstwhile Philippine tourist destination.

Kakaibang adbentyur… di pwede sa lelembot-lembot…

Hanami in Osaka

Some people believe that blossoming of flowers at the start of spring is one of life’s simple pleasures.  But not in Japan,  because here in Japan, the blossoming of cherry blossoms (known as Sakua) is such a BIG DEAL!  It is such a big deal that they were able to establish one fantastic tradition known as Hanami Picnics.

hanami3

hanami

hanami2

During limited number of weeks when the Sakura are in full bloom until the latter days when it falls of from its branches, people of Japan gather under the cherry blossom trees to watch and appreciate the beauty of cherry blossoms.  This tradition of barbeques, bento boxes and Japanese alcoholic drinks in the park ushers the start of colorful spring.

hanami food

notice the ochiba (fallen sakura petal) at the left side of the blue plastic mat

hanami4

me and my niece (japan’s ms. congeniality)

Today, I personally experienced what it is to experience an Hanami Picnic.  Thanks to my niece (Japan’s Miss Congeniality) who brought me and my family along to the Hanami Party organized by her Brazilian-Japanese friend.  Our picnic spot was at a park around the Osaka Castle in Osakajo.  I can definitely say that Hanami is one rare experience.  Yes I can have a picnic anytime in any part of the world, but this event is one authentic adventure.

Piknik na ibang level…