When I started my walk at Ypao Beach, I saw information board and found a piece of historical information not only about the beach where I was standing at that time but the history of Ypao itself. I learned that it has significant part of history. Before, people live nearby the beach and when Spanish arrived, they moved to Hagatna. During American period, there’s hospital built to address some diseases occurred at that time. And during Japanese period, gun placement and pillboxes has been put up around the area. Now, it is one of the famous public beach in the island. These photos are part of Guam Adventure Photo Collection April 2017.
Discovery (Post#25) : Mabini Historical Marker at Asan Beach Park
In one of the tours I had in Guam, I had a chance to see a marker of a familiar hero back home – Apolinario Mabini. I felt proud when I saw such marker. At least in a small island like Guam, one of patriotic men in my country is recognized in that part of the world. He is one of my country’s extraordinary hero as he lost his both legs because of polio disease, it wasn’t hindered him to give his love and service to the country and he often called as “The Sublime Paralytic”. Aside from that I myself more recognized him as the “Brains of the Revolution” as he became adviser when forming revolutionary government of my country. Mabini was captured by American colonial authorities during Philippine-American war and exiled to Guam. The marker which is Asan Point is where Mabini lived in Guam. These photos are part of Guam Adventure Photo Collection April 2017.
Peace Memorial Park was built and dedicated not only to the victims of the nuclear bomb, not only to remember that Hiroshima was the first city to suffer the nuclear attack but to continue advocating the world peace.
Atomic Bomb Dome is part of Peace Memorial Park but I separated the rest of the Memorial Park as I wanted to emphasize the dome itself. From Atomic Bomb Dome, our walks continued within Peace Memorial Park. Before reaching the center of Peace Memorial Park, we found a tower called Memorial Tower to the Mobilized Students and their we learned that more than 6000 students died at the day of the bombing. When I read that, it was a heart breaking information that I learned during our walking tour.
Memorial Tower to the Mobilized Students (Cenotaph for Mobilized Students)
At the center where the Cenotaph for Mobilized Students stands
We crossed Motoyasu-bashi Bridge and there we found tourist center which they also called as ‘Rest House’. We rested a bit inside the ‘Rest House’ and I bought post cards as my souvenirs.
Motoyasu-gawa River joining Honkawa River as Ota River and Aioi-bashi Bridge
Motoyasu-bashi Bridge North View
Motoyasu-gawa River South View near from A-Dome
Motoyasu-bashi Bridge South View
Motoyasu-bashi Bridge Road
We moved on and continued to explore the park. Next thing we saw were Flame of Peace, Memorial Cenotaph and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
Flame of Peace, Memorial Cenotaph and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Flame of Peace
Like Rekaido Hall (Eterna Fire Hall) in Mount Misen in Miyajima Island, which I discovered that the fire never burned out, this Flame of Peace is the same, which first lit up last August 1st, 1964. It’s been light-up until our time. There’s a quote saying “Let’s keep burning the fire until nuclear weapon is eliminated from the entire earth” (source: visithiroshima.net) which really signifies that it represents the fight for peace.
The Cenotaph was built in memories and honor of remains are in another location. The shape symbolizes the thoughts of sheltering the souls that died in the atomic bomb or to protect them from raining. For many things what it means, the Cenotaph symbolizes of people whom died in human hands that we hope not to happen again. There’s a message engrave in the stone in the middle telling us “”Rest in Peace, for the error shall not be repeated” (source: visithiroshima.net).
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park – A Walk to Remember
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
The building said to house a lot of archives and memories that showcase all about the even happened that day. We were not able to visit the building, just saw it from the outside as we have very limited time to spend in the city.
Children’s Peace Monument
There was one little girl named Sadako Sasaki who was died after the atomic bomb, when the nuclear attack happened in the city, she was just a 2 years old baby and she died at 12 years old. The child reminded us the terror effect of the nuclear bomb. Because of her story, the statue built in her memories and other children who suffered the same fate with her.
The bell was built with the aim of true peace in Earth without nuclear weapons. The sound of this bell aims to be heard in every corner of the world and to reach every heart of human being. It was also noted that it’s sound was selected as one of “Japan’s best 100 sounds”.
Statue of a Prayer for Peace
This statue built in hopes of making the victims of nuclear attack lives forever and for hoping for lasting peace in human race.
While I am writing this post, I cannot deny the sadness that I felt, there were times that I was pondering and thinking, why there such events happened in our beautiful work such like this. I knew that this kind of human tragedy is not alone because there were tons of records in history listed all unimaginable things did by human to human,but people itself does not lose hope for peace.
Hiroshima City was the place where first atomic bomb was dropped during World War II. Based on history, the building was blown-up as well because its location is not far from hypo-center (where the bomb was dropped and exploded up in the air). The building was formerly used as Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall and now representing people’s prayers for a lasting peace (reference information – visithiroshima.net)
Atomic Bomb Dome
Atomic Bomb Dome and Motoyasu-gawa River
There were two loops available for Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus or “Hiroshima meipuru~pu” where the bus terminal can be found near Hiroshima Station at Shinkansen Entrance. First loop is Orange where it is called as “via Peace Memorial Park and Art Gallery” and the second loop is Green and it is called as Peace Memorial Park and Okonimi-mura”. We started our adventure in the city and we took the Orange loop. We got off A-Bomb Dome bus stop. From the bus stop, it’s just few walks away. When we saw the building, we saw a lot of tourist a like and they surrounded the building. Because of too many tourist, we took our time with the dome as we wanted a bit of exclusivity of the building, we waited until most of them were gone.
Atomic Bomb Dome (Part 1)
Atomic Bomb Dome (Part 2)
Atomic Bomb Dome (Part 2)
Atomic Bomb Dome and Motoyasu-gawa River
While looking at the building, I can’t stop thinking at that time when the atomic bomb had been dropped in the city and how cruel it can be specially for the innocent people whom died in vain during that time. I knew it is somewhat a sensitive topic to discuss because people divided on its belief whether what happened was wrong or right, there are lots of topics that will arise of righteousness of the decision made to do it. When the Second World War broke last 1939, it was not only one country suffered, there were lots and my home country was not alone to suffer. It was a hurtful thing to think about and even to remember but there was a human hope that this kind of history will not repeat again. As I watching the building in different angles, whenever I look at it, I hope that human will always remember that living in peace are more important than other things. I will not condemn anyone but I hope that we learned our lessons on the history and make our world more livable. I admired Japanese because the world thought that this area of Hiroshima will be gone and will not be livable but after 70 years that had been passed the city and its outskirt proven that a city can be a reborn again and that what’s the impression that left in my memory after visiting the said city.
From Ameyoko, we continue our stroll and we never noticed immediately that we reached Okamachi Station which still along JR Yamanote Line. Because we are looking for some souvenir products that we can bring home, we decided to go to Asakusa. From Okamachi Station we went back to Ueno Station. Then, we switch train line to Ginza Line and got off at Asakusa Station.
What I was only expecting when arriving at Asakusa area was to find a market with a lot of Japan souvenirs that we can buy as it seems the name of the place is quite famous for it. Outside Asakusa Station, I already liked what I saw. As we walked along in an alley near the station with half-dome glass roof, I observed that the place is indeed a tourist destination, as each alley has stores lined, up to its end.
Half-Dome Roof Walkway
We followed the half-dome roof walkway, to look for a place to have our lunch, after our lunch we walked again until a our feet brought us to where most of the crowds are going and coming from. Few minutes passed, we found a nearby market on the way to the temple and we discovered that the temple is Sensoji. The temple was in my list when I’m doing the itinerary plan, but I not realized that the temple is in Asakusa area.
Asakusa Nakamise Shopping Street
Asakusa Nakamise Shopping Street (Facing Kaminarimon Gate)
Asakusa Nakamise Shopping Street (Facing Hozomon Gate)
We continue our walk, we followed the crowd until another shopping street existed before Hozomon Gate, I learned later that the shopping streets is called Nakamise. A lot of people, I can say a crowd of people are passing Nakamise. A lot people were kept on looking and buying stuff and I myself enjoyed the street while passing it going to and coming from the temple.
Sensoji Temple Map
Main Hall (Kannondo Hall) Hondo
Interiors of Main Hall (Kannondo Hall) Hondo
Five Storied Pagoda
After passing Nakamise, the first structure to see is the Hozomon (Niomon) Gate. It followed by the Main Hall (Kannondo Hall) of the temple. The other significant structures to be found within the area are Five Storied Pagoda, Yogodo Hall, Awashimado Hall, Nitenmon Gate and Asakusa Shrine.
Bronze Statue of Uryu Iwako
Tomb of Toda Musui
Aside from halls, we found some tombs existing in the vicinity of the temple:
Kaminarimon Gate is the gate structure of the temple before reaching Nakamise.
Chromatic Outlook (Post#24) : Mortar M120 (USA) At Relics Point
Mortar M120 is one of the World War II archived weapon that can be found displayed in Relics Point inside Philippine Military Academy. As mentioned in the excerpt in the photo, the weapon was used against the invading Japanese imperial army. Photo captured during the trip in Baguio City last May 2010.
I know that it’s been a while since my last post. After being busy in a project at work, I was busy planning my next out of the country adventure this year together with my family.
Traveling in a country with visa is most likely a dream to me because your chances to see that country is whether the visa application is approved. If the visa approved we are really lucky. If not, the hope will probably gone as there’s no way to come to that country in a normal and legal way.
When I heard that Japan loosen a bit of its strictness in processing visa specifically for tourists visa to promote their tourism, I put some thought to visit the country since last year. Then, I waited my chance for cheap airline ticket since I am planning to travel together with my family (with my parents and my youngest sibling). Last February this year, I received alert email from one of the budget airline in my country and I grabbed my chance to book tickets for myself and my family. Honestly, it was difficult to get cheap ticket with combined promo rate both for departure and arrival flight but with perseverance I was able to find combinations of dates for our travel.
Almost 7 months had passed and I’m still not sure if we can really travel to Japan for many reasons. And last August, I processed all our visa applications and submitted it to one of the authorized travel agency of Japan Embassy as their office does not accept anymore applications directly from applicant. I completed all the requirements and prepared for the visa fee. I applied a single entry for all of us. And after 3 days of processing, the agency called me and notified me that the visa were already approved. I was ecstatic when I heard the news, because the major worry of the travel planning if we can push visiting Japan got resolved. When I returned to pickup the passports, I was surprised for one thing. I received a multiple visa for 5 years in Japan while the rest of my family just got single entry. For me and my family, being approved even for single entry in Japan was one of the great things happened because it gave us a chance to see the country even for once. I just thought that if there is a need to re-apply for visa, it will be probably easier because we’ve had a record that we had visited Japan.
Even before visa application processing, I already started searching places to visit in Japan. Since after the booking of our flight, I have hope that I will be able to see Japan. When our visa approved, that’s was the time I made a real itinerary. I planned the places to visit and the accommodation where were going to stay. I aligned all the accommodations that we need to all places we planned to visit. Since I’m always on a budget, I selected hotels walk able to and from the train station, as I learned that taking a cab in Japan is quite pricey. I also bought necessary advance tickets such as train pass and sumo ticket to reserved guaranteed slot for my family.
My family and I traveled the country within 10 days, these includes two flights to and from Japan. In total we spent at least 8.5 days roaming around in Japan.
Here are the following places we’ve got a chance to visit.
Our trip was really quick by I tried to see as much as we can since I was with my family. In the next coming post. I will described the experience that myself and my family had in our first visit in Japan.
Chromatic Outlook (Post#23) : Saigon Central Post Office
One of the significant building to see while we’re strolling around the downtown of Ho Chi Minh (also known as Saigon) was its French building Saigon Central Post Office. This building was constructed in 1892 with a neo-classical architectural style when the country was still part of French-Indochina. Photo captured last March 2011 during my backpacking adventure in Vietnam.
Enriching Viewpoint (Post#3) : Replica of The Royal Throne of Perak
“This Royal Throne has been used during the installation of His Royal Highness Sultan Iskandar Shah (the 30th Sultan of Perak) in 1918. Since then it was used during the installation of His Royal Highness Sultan Abdul Aziz Al-Mustasim Billah Shah in 1938, His Royal Highness Sultan Yussuff Izzudin Shah in 1948 and his Royal Highness Sultan Idris Iskandar Al-Mutawakkil Allalahi Shah II in 1963 in Iskandariah Palace, Kuala Kangsar, Perak.” – excerpt found near the Royal Throne of Perak.
As per history, Sultan of Perak is one of the oldest hereditary seats among the Malaysian states. The Sultanate is a combination of dynasty and the land supervised by Sultan (person) which came from Arabic word which has a lot of meanings and one of them were “authority”, “strength” or “power”. Sultanate of Perak was established by one of the two princes left by the Sultan of Malacca which fell to Portugal in 1511 named Sultan Mahmud Syah I. The first Sultan of Perak and the one who establish the Sultanate was Muzaffar Syah while the other prince named Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah II whom established the Sultanate of Johor. After learning the information, I was fascinated because there a little bit clarity why Malaysia has Johor states though I haven’t been to Perak states during my travel adventure in Malaysia last December 2012 to January 2013. Snapshot captured while strolling around in Muzium Negara (The National Museum) located in the city.
Royal Exhibition Building is one of the building on my list that I wanted to visit while I was in Melbourne. But it was only happened when Motorclassica (showcasing classic cars) event happened last October 2013.. Visiting the building requires reservation and most of the time, it is fully booked for events and exhibitions. This building based on history was the first in Australia to be awarded as UNESCO World Heritage status, being one of the last remaining 19th-century exhibition building. The building also hosted the opening of the first Parliament of Australia in 1901.
Jack’s Ridge is located at Shrine Hill in Matina, Davao City. The place was the last stand of Japanese in Davao during their invasion time in Philippines. American soldier successfully won over Japanese and retreat on this place after they lost the fight. I like the area because there are lots of restaurants around it and the place is great for Davao Gulf lookout view. Photo captured last March 2009.
During summer of 2009 (March 2009), the mountaineering group where I belong used to schedule summer adventure every year and that year was quite a lot. One of the itinerary we had that time was Capones Island where historical lighthouse built. It was historical because it is one of the oldest light station exist in my country. It was first lit last August 1, 1890. The light station still active until today and its lenses has been replaced, but the sad things about it is its surrounding area was left ruined and as far as I know it still the same as of this writing. We took a boat to reach Capones Island to visit this historical site from Anawangin in San Antonio Zambales.
View At My Window (Post#20) : Sungai Melaka (Malacca River)
The photo above was Sungai Melaka or Malacca River. The snapshot was captured during the adventure in Malaysia together with my youngest sister last January 2013. My impression in the town of Malacca was like an old town, which truly reflecting its own history of time. The river has important role at the height of economic boom of Malacca Sultanate which depicted on its history during 15th century.
Enriching Viewpoint (Post#2) : Camp John Hay – Historical Figures Totem Pole
The Totem Pole consist of historical figures which has influence or roles for Philippines and US military relations which happened during the first half of 20th Century. We found this totem just beside the Bell House which was a historical site within Camp John Hay in Baguio City. Photo snapshots last May 2010.
From the excerpts beside the totem the following information are found regarding the faces in the totem from top to bottom:
1. Admiral George Dewey whom led Battle of Manila Bay
2. General Emilio Aguinaldo was the first President of Republic of the Philippines
3. President William Howard Taft whom the first governor-general of the Philippines and later the Secretary of War who took great interest in the development of Baguio City and Camp John Hay
4. Secretary John Hay was Secretary of State when the Philippines became of colony of the United States. He died as the construction of the camp named in his honour went into full gear.
5. William Cameron Forbes was a governor-general of the Philippines who is credited with the development of Baguio City
6. President Theodore Roosevelt signed the order that designed 535 acres as the military reservation that became Camp John Hay.
7. Major General Franklin Bell was commander of the Philippine department and designer of Italian Garden as well as Bell House and Amphitheater.
8. Lt Col Lyman W. Kennon oversaw the completion of the road that facilitated the construction and development of Baguio City and Camp John Hay which just so happens to be named Kennon Road.
9. Mayor James Halsema was the last American mayor of Baguio City.
10. General Douglas MacAuthur was the famous liberator of the Philippines during WWII.
Enriching Viewpoint (Post#1) : General Douglas MacArthur Room
When I did the two days visit in Brisbane during Open House season in the city last October 2013, there was a museum that I never expected that it will be familiar to me. Yes I went to MacArthur Museum but I never thought that the name of MacArthur will be the same person that I was familiar back to my country’s history. During rudimentary and intermediate school, I learned about the notable quote that American General made during Japanese invasion and I am referring to General MacArthur whom announced to the Filipino and Allied forces “I came through and I shall return” during his great escape from Philippines as Japanese forces able to control the country during that time. Since I learned the history quite a long time ago, I was reminded or probably learned that MacArthur went to Australia after leaving Philippines to think again how to retaliate the enemy which made him able to come back to my country and able conquer Japanese forces.
Name Of The Place (Post#16): Royal British Columbia Museum
This was the second royal museum that I visited in Canada. Without checking the net it seems that Canada has one royal museum on its provinces. The first royal museum I saw was in Alberta province. Photo captured last June 2008. I like museum since I like knowing and discovering something, the only challenge is time because for me, standard time to spend to a museum is from half a day to one full day, but even myself saddened if the museum is part of a tour because it means I had limited time to see and learn more, because tour is always time bounded.
It’s our last day in South Korea and because we just had less than 24 hours, what we planned before the night of our return flight to Manila was a tour in the most heavily militarized border in the world which is the border between North Korea and South Korea called Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
As I am aware that security is the most important factor for me for this tour, I booked the one and only tour we had during our trip in South Korea. For me even I knew that we can go to the said border by just jumping to the KORAIL train, I still planned it with a tour guide because of the main reason that we must at least knew someone who knows how to speak English and who will guide us in one of the tourist friendly but heavily guarded area and maybe dangerous place in the world. There are lots of travel company that offers DMZ tour and I just selected one of them. We got the half-day tour of DMZ as we still need to go to the market to shop a little so we can bring something when we return from our 9 days trip abroad.
The night before Saturday, we arranged all of our things in our luggage as it was our last night in the hotel. We decided to leave our stuff at the hotel before our tour the next morning so we were hands free while traveling to Korean border. And then we will return to the hotel then straight to the airport.
Even we were tired from the past days of adventures, we still woke up early because the tour was time-sensitive and we do not want to miss our tour.
From our hotel, we jumped-in again to our favorite and nearest train station which was Non-hyeon. And then, we took train going to Bupyeong-gu and went out at Isu (Chongshin University) station. From Isu, we took Line 4 going to Seoul station.
We arrived at Seoul station 10 minutes before 8AM. We met our tour guide after some difficulties of understanding where to meet at the station because Seoul Station is one of the busiest station as it is centralized to metro and provincial trains. Our tour guide bought the ticket for our train and we waited until we go down to the platform to board the train.
When the time has arrived, we go down and walked straight to DMZ train. At the back of my mind, I knew that our trip was safe but still I guarded myself as I was with my youngest sister and with my mom. As we mount the train, I was amazed at the ambiance inside the train, because outside, train color are plain white and black and some people potrait, which is opposite of what is inside. The wall color inside the train was so warm that made the passengers feels relaxing and joyful, the wall displays flowers, ceilings colorful heart shapes and the floor painted with lively color of water-lily leaves. The seat covers were flashy and vibrant flower shapes.
Our ticket has seat number and one of our ticket has gaps with the other two tickets, but our guide told us that if the seats were empty, we can seat together which what happened as the train started to desert the platform.
At the time we were waiting inside the train, I already felt the tour was quite exclusive as I can sense that the crew were most likely part of South Korean military which guarded the train with its strict implementation, one requirement on the tour is the passport, without it, you will not be able to join the tour. Within our trip, the crew that we saw inside the train, checks our passport and tickets.
It was the first train that I experienced where you can see the front or back view of the railway of the train. And while we were on our way, most of the views that I saw after we left metro area were farms in between. So I can imagine that most likely the place near DMZ are agriculture oriented places which I understand because how a government plan to developed a place which near in most threatening place in their country which is their border.
Along the way we saw few stations before we arrived at the Dorasan (tour destination station), the nearest station where the border is and the last station of South Korea, because the train line (Gyeonggi) is connected to the next station that already belong to North Korea. The following stations in Gyeongui line in Southern Korea are: Neunggok, Munsan, Uncheon, Imjingang and Dorasan.
Before the Dorasan station, we had been told to leave the train at Imjingang station for our identity check. All the passengers left the train and queued for the passport verification. After our passport validated, we returned to the train and went to the last station. Before arriving at the last station, there were some military personnel jumped-in to the train and some of them talked with tourist. One of the officer went to our table and sit together with us. I was glad he knows how to speak English. He was friendly and he asked some information in amiable way until he realized we are Filipinos. He seems happy that some foreigners are curious to their border. He actually took pictures of our passport cover and told us that was his souvenir that we came from Philippines.
After leaving Imjingang Station, we passed Imjingang Bridge and Imjin River. Here I saw structure but I was not sure during the trip but when I searched internet for DMZ, I realised that the one that I saw were the ruins of the bridge that had been destroyed because of war as Imjingang Bridge was two-way bridge before, but now it just only one way.
At Dorasan Station, we already felt the military presence as we enter the station. There were Korean soldiers assiting visitors when entering the station. At the station we waited a little as our guide arranged our seats for the bus to the DMZ. And in few minutes we hopped on the bus that will bring us to the border. At the bus, some checks has been done as well and then we hit the road to the border.
I cannot explain what I felt while we were in the road and awaiting to arrived in our destination, I thought things about the separation of Korea, as I saw its historical drama, both part of Korean peninsula contributed to its development as one country. I am familiar of their dynasties and kingdoms, even aware how it became one country. While watching historical dramas and reading historical notes of Korea, I learned how it was divided. I remembered that there is another country with similar case with North and South Korea before, I am referring to Germany. Germany had been divided into two during World War II, but now it is a united country and in our time, it is one of the country that considered progressed country. I thought Korea divided because of the same war and my mind flew of thinking what if Korea has been united like Germany? Maybe, it will be the same as Germany which is rich and fully developed country. As I saw the side of South Korea and how it is at the moment, though I am not aware about the North Korea as the news are the only medium to know about that country. I am quite sad of division happened to the peninsula.
We had two stops in our DMZ Tour: First, was the “Third Tunnel – Third North Korean Infiltration Tunnel” and last, the Dora Observatory.
There are two ways to go inside the Third Tunnel: One is using a sled rails (blue caps) and the other one is from the lobby (yellow caps) where people will walk all the way to the tunnel. Our guide led us to the group that used the sled which was really cool for us since we were just sitting in the sled until we reached the end of the rails. Then we continued walking to the tunnel which quite easy. We knew it’s not allowed to take photos but we did a little snapshots at the end of the sled rail as the tunnel trail was too narrow to be able to take photos and because the flow of people coming in and out of the tunnel was non-stop.
Dora Observatory is located at the top of Dorasan (Mount Dora) where you had a chance to see North Korea border from a distance using telescope and binoculars.
With the two places we stopped, there were lots of tourist like us that visited DMZ, I can say that most likely the reason of coming to that places were curiosity and experiencing the atmosphere of being in Korean Border.
After buying postcards which I usually does in every travel I was in, we returned to the bus and came back to Dorasan station where our train to Seoul was already waiting.
I knew that there were more to see in DMZ but because of limited time we had, the half-day tour we had in the border was really worth the time.
Chromatic Outlook (Post#16) : Shrine of Remembrance
I used to see this building on my back and forth travel from work and to the place where I live while I was in Melbourne. Coming from the city, this structure looks in the middle of St Kilda Road as it turned out that the road turns curve which is a good visual effect and become a charm in the area. Even this building is near and walkable from my place, I haven’t got a chance to see it immediately until I put some time to walk around Melbourne. Shrine of Remembrance was built to remember Victorian people who fought World War I and now it is shrine to all Australians who fought wars. After I visited Canberra, I just thought that it was like a branch of Australian Memorial as it showcase the bravery of people who for the peace we enjoy right now. Photo capture last July 2013.
Name Of The Place (Post#14): National Museum of Australia
One part of the itinerary that we had during Canberra Day Tour was National Museum of Australia where most of the history of continent country down under are being showcase. My gateway to this tour was through Sydney airport as the flight to Sydney from Melbourne was comparably cheaper than flying to Canberra. Since there was available Canberra Day Tour, I chose this option than other. Photo captured last June 2013.