Colors (Post#1) : Jurong Bird Park Entrance Garden
Photo above was captured near the Entrance of Jurong Bird Park which displayed colourful flowers and some used to creatively display a bird shape which the park is all about bird. I visited this place when I was still working in Singapore and went there together with my nephew which just 3 years old as a way to introduce to him different kinds of birds. Snapshot captured last February 2010.
It was almost a month after I returned to Melbourne last October 2014, it was my first day to really go out again to explore some places that I haven’t seen yet. The place we were targeting was somewhere near the city which was Dandenong Ranges National Park. On this trip, I discovered and learned that this National Park has a lot to offer to anyone.
As my friends got a map of the national park, when they were discussing places visit near the city, they selected a garden. At first I really don’t understand the name of the garden because I was somewhat unfamiliar with the term. The name of the garden became clear to me when we arrived at the place. The day we went out was still Spring season and since we were technically inside the mountain, it was really cold and it felt like it was winter.
The name of the garden we visited is National Rhododendron Garden. I honestly not familiar with that flower family. I felt that I never heard it before or I forgot it from my secondary school years.
We had lunch first at the parking area as the garden does not have a facility such as picnic area where we can eat. After lunch, we went inside the National Rhododendron Garden through the store beside the closed main gate and stopped for a while to look around inside the store. In the store I found out what Rhododendron flower family look like. After spending sometime at the store I left my friends and took my chances to walk inside the garden. I remembered one funny thing happened to me inside the garden. At the time I was there and following the path walk, I was a fool looking around and taking photos using my DSLR and yet I never immediately noticed that I am taking photos without knowing that my camera does not have memory card. Yes, I was crazy taking photos without checking the screen of my camera after takings shots where some messages that my memory card slot was empty, because of the situation I never able to save all my shots. Since I already spent time walking in the garden, I was quite sensitive with the time and I knew that my friends were waiting at the store. I tried to return to the garden using my iPhone and all I was able to do was to have a couple of shots as my souvenir to the garden. Most of the memories of Rhododendron garden were all in my memory.
–Some photos that I quickly captured with my iPhone before leaving the garden
I returned to the store and in few minutes we left the garden. When we were back on the road, my friends checked again the map of Dandenong Ranges and then they agreed to visit a picnic ground which became our next stop that day. We went at Grant Picnic Ground. I honestly had no idea what to expect in the place until we saw a lot of visitors looking around at the bird feeding area. Since we had limited time in the place as it will close at 5PM, my friends bought seeds so they can enter in the fenced feeding area and to have a moment with the birds such as Rosella, native and wild birds.
I let my friends feed the bird while I take in charge of photo shoot. There still birds in the feeding area but when my friends entered in the fenced area, birds started to flock together and slowly approached my friends as they saw the food/seeds. We started to laugh as we heard screaming. It was fun-filled sight as my mates felt a little bit nervous when birds were so close to them physically, some birds flew to their heads, some stepped on their arms or feet, birds comes wherever the food was. My friends were screaming as they felt the bird’s claws and its pointed toes. All of us were enjoying what we were seeing inside the feeding area.
–King Parrot (the one that I tried to chase with my camera as its colour is really striking)
Last thing I did was I went inside the souvenir shop just to look around and just check if I can find post cards that will leave memories of Grant Picnic Ground. Then after few more minutes had been passed, we decided to leave the place as it closed the feeding area and the shop since the business day is over for the day. This how we ended our adventure.
It was Friday and we were set to visit two palaces in Seoul. The two palaces are: Changdeokgung and Changgyeonggung. The original plan was to visit first the Jongmyo Shrine, but unfortunately, we missed the English tour at the time we arrived at the gate and it is not allowed to go around the area on our own, tour guide is a must while inside the shrine. Because we wanted to maximize the time and not just waiting outside, we decided to go back after the two palaces.
From Jongmyo Shrine, we walked at the road at the right side of the shrine named as Seosulla-gil and then we turned left after we saw the rooftop of Changdeokgung Palace gate called Donhwamun. Same what we did in Gyeongbokgung Palace, before we entered, we bought the map guide. We have the tickets already for the said palace as we bought combine tickets (integrated tickets) when we were in Gyeongbokggung.
–Open space after Donhwamun
–Geumcheongyo and Jinseonmun
We entered the Palace via Donhwamun, as per the handbook guide, this gate is a two-story, pavillion-type wooden structure and the largest of all palace gates. After passing the said gate, what we saw was a huge space. And then we turned right where we saw the small bridge called Geumcheongyo. This bridge is known as the oldest stone bridge remaining in Seoul. After passing the bridge, the way leads to another gate called Jinseonmun. Based from handy guide, on this gate has once installed a drum called Sinmungo where anyone can strike the drum to file a petition to address grievances but striking the drum requires approval to a lot of government official and this system did not serve its purpose and been useless to many. It’s sole purpose is by the name only.
–Sukjangmun (Front) and Injeongmun (Left)
After passing Jinseonmun gate, another open space welcome us. From where we stand and looking at the map, another gate in front of us called Sukjangmun and the gate in our left side is called Injeongmun. As we reached Injeongmun, we saw Injeongjeon area. Injeongjeon is the throne hall of Changdeokgung Palace. Based from the guide, major state affairs took place here such as coronation of new king and reception of foreign envoys. Next area we visited is Seonjeongjeon, this building where king worked at his convenience to discuss routine state affairs with high-ranking officials. And this is the only building in the palace with blue-tiled roof.
–Seonjeongjeon and Huijeongdang
Beside Seonjeongjeon is Huijeongdang. Huijeongdang is the king’s bed chamber. This bed chamber became king’s workplace and become the actual main hall of the palace instead of Injeongjeon.
–Entrance to Secret Garden
As we are awaiting for the English Tour schedule to Secret Garden, we went out the area of Huijeongdang and we waited at the entrance of the garden. Time had come and the tourist guide arrived. The guide made introductions and reminders while touring the secret garden.
Secret Garden or rear garden (Huwon) was a forbidden place for the purpose of the sole use of royal family. Since the palace was built at the base of the mountain, in the rear end of the palace, the garden was placed. And after seeing the garden at the tour, I can say that the design of the secret garden is still in harmony of the nature. This kind of place, I can think that any king can reclaim peace of mind because it is surrounded of nature. Our guide led the group at first stop which is Buyongji and Juhanmu.
–Buyongji (Pond), Eosumun (Gate) and Juhamnu (Main hall at the top), Seohyanggak (library) left hall in the top
–Buyongjeong (left) and Sajeonggibigak (right)
–Seohyanggak (only roof) as I can’t go beyond where I was standing
–Seohyanggak (left most hall) , Eosumun (gate) and, Juhamnu (right most hall)
–Seohyanggak(left), Eosumun (gate), and Juhamnu (top)
–Juhamnu (second level), Gyujanggak (first level) and Eosumun (gate)
–Juhamnu (second level), Gyujanggak (first level)
–Stairs to Cheonseokjeong (not visible – not sure of the building still stand at the top)
I like the setting of the area. There is rectangular pond called Buyongji and most of the building built here surrounds the pond. The main building we saw is called Juhanmu Pavilion. Two libraries are nearby as well called as Gyujanggak and Seohyanggak, another pavilions exist are Yeonghwadang and Buyeongjeon. The said area is in the heart of the Secret Garden.
–Buyongji (Pond) and Sajeonggibigak
–Buyongji (Pond), Eosumun (Gate) and Juhamnu (Main hall at the top), Seohyanggak (library) left hall in the top
Our next stop was Aeryeonji and Uiduhap. Here we found another pond, this time, the pond shape is square. It was mentioned that it has islet in the pond with pavilion but now it was disappeared but the pavilion still there. The pond named by King Sukjong (I know he is the King in love with Dongyi) “Aeryeon” that is why the pond is called Aeryeonji. The grandson of King Jeongjo which is Crown Prince Hyonmyeong built Uiduhap Pavilion near the pond. I remember that the guide told us something about one passage way in the area, it was called Bullomun (or Bulromun) gate wishes whoever passes it will have long and healthy life which originally meant for king.
–Aeryeonji (pond) and Aeryeonjeong (pavillion)
Then, moved to Jondeokjeong area, here the landscape seems to be more natural, because the ponds looks great together with different pavilions surrounding it. There is pavilion which stands on the brim of the pond which is called Gwallamjeong, there is one near on the hill – Pyomusa, Sungjaejeong which stands on the highest ground in the area and the oldest pavilion which is Jondeokjeong.
We continued our walk in the next area called Ongnyucheon. Ongnyucheon is a brook flowing through the deep valley north to the Secret Garden of the palace. And he we found a large flat rock called Soyoam Rock. As per our guide, the story of the rock is related to poetry composition, where cup of wines are afloat while making poems, I checked the handbook guide and I learned that it was from Chinese when having parties, they composed poem by a floating wine cups in the waters and if they are not able to create poems, they drink 3 cups of wine as punishment (for me it’s not really punishment, they are still having a good time). There are five pavilions surrounded the brook, namely : Soyojeong, Taegeukjeong, Cheongguijeong, Nongsanjeong and Chwihanjeong. In that five pavilion, the one caught my attention is Cheongguijeong, because it has unique roof which is thatch-roof.
We moved to the last stop which is YeonGyeongDang. When we went inside the area, there is part where it seems one of the building is being used for shows during night-time. Then, the guide walk us around the area. Based from handbook guide, the area become an audience hall, the guide shows us separated quarters of for men and women. It was mentioned that during King Gojong, the area become a venue to received foreign envoys.
The tour ended well and for me I had a great time. I enjoyed the tour in the garden because it is like a nature trek which I really enjoyed doing. Historical sites in a natural settings is amazing for me. Before we ended the tour, while we were on our way to exit the Secret Garden we found a tree called Chinese Juniper. The tree believed to be 750 years old and aromatic which provide incense for ancestral rituals at Seonwonjeon Shrine.
We parted ways with our tour guide in the Secret Garden. Then we continued our walk in other parts of the palace. We moved to Gwolnaegaksa area. Based from handy guide, the area are mostly used as government offices.
–Gwolnaegaksa and vicinity area
Next was Old Seonwonjeon Site, it was called Old because there is a New Seonwonjeon Site, but we were not able to visit the area, it seems the area are still restricted from the public. Old Seonwonjeon was the place for royal ancestral rites performance. Former king’s portraits were enshrined here.
–Seonwonjeon and Naechaldang
–Seonwonjeon and Vicinity
Then we moved to Daejojoen Area. As per guide book, the area are the scene of tragic history. Here was the place where the last meeting of the cabinet was held to discuss the Japan’s annexation of Joseon and the bed chambers of the last king and queen are still remaining in the area.
And the last area we visited inside Chandeokgung palace was Seongjeonggak. The area was the crown prince residence and has been home of many buildings. Seongjeonggak was also used as royal hospital during Japanese occupation.
During the time of our walking tour between Daejojeon and Seongjeonggak area, it rained so heavy and we waited for sometime until rain was over. While waiting at the stair in the doorway of entrance to Huijeongdang, we met a Filipino which touring around the palace as well. And we talked to him for a while, until we discussed the next palace which is ChangGyeongGung which can be found beside Changdoekgung. He mentioned that the palace is small and can be finished in 1 hour. Because of that conversation, we hurriedly decided to visit ChangGyeongGung as well. We have at least 1.5 hours left before closing time.
View At My Window (Post#7) : Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel Mickey Maze
During our Hong Kong Adventure, we stayed one night in Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel as we visited the Disneyland. The photo above is the Mickey Maze garden at the back of the hotel facing the sea view and this was captured last January 2012.
I captured the photo above when I had a chance to travel Vancouver Island last June 2008. This garden is popular place to visit together with Victoria City tour which is capital city of British Columbia province in Canada. The said garden is located at Brentwood Bay, BC.
I stayed in Australia for more than a year now, I remembered the first time I went to Arthurs Seat in Mornington Peninsula which was a year ago, I visited the area as part of my Mornington Peninsula tour last March 2013. The said tour was one of the earlier tours that I had in Victoria since the time I arrived in Australia last February 2013.
The story that I am going to tell was about my second visit in the area this year last March. My visit was different from the first time because I was not only passing the area just to visit the lookout area, I visited beautiful and seems magical garden around the area together with friends that I made while staying in Australia.
I knew that we were going for a picnic but I didn’t know that it will be around Arthurs Seat. When were on our way to the place, I heard it was in Red Hill in Mornington, until I realized that Arthurs Seat was actually near in Red Hill. We went to Enchanted Adventure Garden. I went there with friends together with their own family, the basic thing we were going to do were having fun and family bonding. Analyzing the people went with us, I just realized I was one of the few people who are still single in the group and that made me felt awkward at first until I felt that I belong to a huge family.
Everyone waited for each other and gathered all of us at the entrance of the garden near at secondary car park (not the main entrance), we bought ticket and once we entered the garden we looked for a nice spot for picnic. Seeing group of families preparing food for their family and family alike seems felt so great and wonderful and somehow I thought that this was kind of view with a family having fun together. While my friends preparing foods, my friends children started playing around since the garden is not just a garden for picnic, it has other facilities to enjoy and play around (that’s what I saw in the map that I got while buying ticket).
Before looking around the garden, we had our lunch first. In this kind of gathering, I got a chance to eat food from my home country. I am not expert in cooking and honestly I am starting to learn how to cook, and having friends same with my race and nationality, it felt great eating food that I missed for so long.
After lunch, I walked together with my friends while their husbands were doing their own thing and while their children were playing. The picnic area we chose were just near the entrance gate and parking lot for the main reason, it’s quite difficult to bring food stuff if the picnic spot was far. Our first stop was Spooky 3D Maze. We went inside and follow the maze, it’s quite scary because of the background sounds, we saw some scary paintings and sculptures with lively colors with the help of neon lights effect and tunnel that seems moving, I felt a bit dizzy when I got out the maze because of the effects of colors but in the end we had great time inside the maze.
Some shots inside the 3D Maze (courtesy of my friend Vicki)
We moved to the main part of the garden, but before that, we passed tracks where we found different sculptures and here most of us stopped to take pictures, we had a great time in the area. Then, we passed Spring Maze, Junior Obstacle Course, and Tree Surfing (which requires additional fee, never tried since no one wants to try it aside from me) until we found one of the main garden with unique shape The Parterre. The said garden is located at the front of Lolly Shop and Cafe. Most people did not miss to take opportunities to get pictures around the area. We found beside the Parterre the Hedge Maze. This Hedge Maze was the second maze garden that I saw while staying in Australia (the first one was the Ashcombe Maze near in Red Hill Road). We did try to walk inside the maze but unfortunately we were not able to reached the center of the maze, we got confused and got lost, all of us just laughing while inside the maze.
The Parterre (courtesy of my friend Vicki)
Going to the one of the entrance of Hedge Maze (courtesy of my friend Vicki)
After we got out from the maze, we went to the other garden area namely: Pottage Garden, Cottage Garden and Beach Box. We took time photos around the area until we reached the Enchanted Lake with fountain in the middle of it. Beside the lake, we found a unique dinosaur sculpture (Enchantosaur) that no one will miss because you will hear its dinosaur sounds near in the lake. After enjoying the lake view, we went to the other garden area and enjoyed the view as well as photo shots.
Cottage Garden (courtesy of my friend Vicki)
Some view from other gardens
Next adventure we took was tube sliding. The first time I remembered that I used tubing was for water tubing when I was in Sta. Cruz, Davao Del Sur Philippines. That time, I tried tube sliding and it was like tobogganing during winter season. We tried few more times and it was really fun, I did not stop screaming while sliding. It was a great adventure.
Tube Sliding (photo courtesy of my friend Alma)
When we got tired from playing around in tube sliding, we tried to walked-in to the lolly shop to see what we can buy and then from there, we realized that the main entrance of the garden was not the entrance we used to enter the park. We went out the door of the lolly shop and we took our time to take photos at the main entrance.
We returned in our picnic spot and we had our snacks before we left the garden. Before leaving Arthurs Seat area, we went to the same lookout that I visited a year ago. We arrived at Murray Lookout to see Port Philip Bay and the surrounding area of Mornington Peninsula. All of us in the group spent sometime here for solo and group photos.
Mornington Peninsula View (courtesy of my friend Vicki)
Port Philip Bay and Mornington Peninsula View from Murray Lookout
When I did Victoria and The Butchart Gardens tour, the last stop in our itinerary was The Butchart Gardens. After coming from Royal Museum in Victoria, we went straight to the garden. At first, I don’t really know what to expect in the garden which of course plants and flowers, but I had this high expectations because the garden is part of a tourist itinerary tour.
We arrived at the garden, I walked from the entrance, along the way I saw the gift store and I decided to look inside. While checking out things, I ended up shopping some souvenir stuff. When I got out the store I looked around, I immediately like the ambiance of the place then I passed the cafe and visitor centre. Next, I saw the big name of The Butchart Garden but I bypassed it as lot of people stopped in the area to take photos and I knew I it will take sometime before it cleared out with people, that’s why I decided to take photos once I’m done with the garden which I did before leaving the garden.
I followed the track from the start point of the garden which starts from the big name “The Butchart Gardens”. Along the way, I saw Snail Fountain, Roses and Orchids until I saw the sign the direction of the Sunken Garden. The first part of the garden that I visited was the beautiful and amazing Sunken Garden. The view from the top was lovely. It’s like a magical garden place, it’s really a refreshing scenery.
I went down as I was excited for what I saw, then I walked along some tracks in the Sunken Garden. I saw shrubs, towering trees and Quarry Lake where I got scenic photos of it. After reaching the corner side of the garden, I found the Ross Fountain. I spent few minutes in taking photos of Ross fountain and then continued strolling the garden until I saw a statue of woman.
After enjoying my eyes in Sunken Garden, I moved to Rose Garden where I found a lot of beautiful and colorful flowers. I did a lot of up close and personal photos of some flowers that I found in the garden. There is a nearby fountain as well that I saw in Rose Garden and it’s called Sturgeon Fountain.
At Rose Garden
After enjoying the fountain view I continued my wandering in The Butchart Gardens until I entered in another type of garden called Japanese Garden. Here the design of the plants, trees , flowers and overall atmosphere in area was oriental and I amazed on the picturesque of the garden.
At Japanese Garden
I kept my pace and move along until I saw the Star Pond which surrounded by flowers in its edges. Then, I walked again up to the Italian Garden.
I was fascinated with my walk in the garden, beautiful and colorful flowers with green grass, plants and trees compliments each other made the garden even better. While inside I felt I were in a magical place and I felt I was a princess which lives in a wonderland, well that’s just for a moment.
I arrived in Vancouver the next day, Friday June 13, 2008. From the airport, I went straight to the hotel (Ramada Hotel in Kingsway Burnaby) then rested for a while. After sometime passed, I went to the company branch office in Burnaby Vancouver where I had a chance to meet the whole team there. Here I also met my colleague from who was assigned in Vancouver while I was assigned in Edmonton. After meeting people, my colleague and I undergone some hours of knowledge and training sessions with few people in the team. The day finished so fast and I never realised that it was almost evening.
Because there was Filipino team member in Vancouver and we somewhat closed to him since he was the one came to Manila and interviewed us, he offered us some time to see places nearby. We went to Surrey City and drove down to Vancouver-Blaine Highway. At first, I never realized that we were going to the border between US and Canada until we arrived at Peach Arch Provincial Park, the area wherein anyone can be in two countries in one time. There is a part of the park called Peach Arch that once you stand on it, it means you are standing in two countries at the same time. When I learned that fact, I was really excited, I never been to US and that was my chance to be in US for a short period of time. Once we cross the arch, we were already in US and once we cross back again, we were in Canada immediately. We spent some time for photos around the area until we decided to leave the place.
Peace Arch Provincial Park
Road to USA
Canada Flag Garden
USA Flag Garden
Peace Arch Garden
Crow found in Peace Arch Garden
Next, we drove down along Marine Drive in White Rock, where we saw scenic bay views in the area. Here we saw Semiahmoo Bay, Pier, the city itself and even the legendary historic White Rock while walking around the area. The place is a western coastal area where there is a main road near the coast and along the road are restaurant lane that people can enjoy seafood with beautiful bay views. I like the place because the city that located near in any body of water such as sea, lakes or rivers has different atmosphere compared to urban cities.
Marine Drive at White Rock
Semiahmoo Bay Snapshots
Semiahmoo Pier from Marine Drive
Side Views Snapshot from Semiahmoo Pier
At Semiahmoo Pier looking towards the bay
Some small boats and yachts at Semiahmoo Pier
White Rock City View from Semiahmoo Pier
White Rock City View from Semiahmoo Pier with train passing by
Legendary and historical White Rock
At Semiahmoo Pier looking towards White Rock
Maple Tree (Famous Trees in Canada and why Canada has Maple Leaf on its flag)
It was a quick tour since we sneak out some time after work and the last stop we had that night was at restaurant (I can’t recall the name because the surrounding area are full of seafood restaurants) located at Fisherman’s Wharf in Steveston Richmond, where we enjoyed seafood as our dinner and bay wharf views.