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.
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.
View At My Window (Post#19) : Abu Dhabi (Heritage Village, Theatre), Corniche Beach and CBD
When I got a chance to visit United Arab Emirates (UAE) when I attended a work related training, I tried my best to see other place aside from Dubai. Through my college friend who currently working in Dubai suggested to visit Abu Dhabi which is the capital city of UAE. Since the season is summer we cannot really stayed outside of the city and most of the time we wanted in a place where there is air-condition to feel more comfortable because of the summer heat. We went to Marina Tower and we dined to one of the café at the top of it to get a chance to see the city from top in a more comfortable way. The snapshot above with the UAE flag at the right side is where the Heritage Village and the Theatre is the dome building at the left side. The white beach at the top is the Corniche Beach and the Skyscraper at the background is the city’s CBD. Photo captured last August 2014.
–First thing to see at Petite France from the Entrance
–Petite France village
–Petite France village
Petite France was the another drama site that we visited. I heard the name of the drama but I haven’t watched it. The drama title in English is “My Love From Another Star” and as per my sister it was a love story of an alien and human (with that idea we can think of the story that it is fantasy drama, right?). The Korean actors who played in the drama, I am not yet familiar as well. In my country, the drama was quite famous specially for the teens and young adult. My youngest sister was the one forced me to convince to visit the place since she’s watching the drama and the site was near in Nami Island.
Since we were in the area of Gapyeong after we visited Nami Island, I agreed to visit Petite France. The name is interesting and the brochure of photo regarding the small French village seems to be unique and beautiful. From Gapyeong Wharf after we crossed the river when we left Nami island, we took a cab straight to Petite France. We took this path as we need to be back in Seoul before or exactly 7PM that day. The travel time from the wharf to the village was estimated of 30 minutes drive.
We arrived at the village and my first impression, the location has french ambiance as it showcase its colourful buildings which stand out in the area as Petite France is located at the hill-side near in Hoban-ro road at Cheongpyeong-myeon in Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do province. My sister was really excited and I felt the same thing as I was in a place which first time and unique for me.
We walked to the ticket booth at the entrance and we bought tickets so we can enter the village. After we enter Petite France my sister first thing to notice is the human like stand which shows the two main character of the drama “My Love From Another Star” with the hole on its face as it serve as photo booth to replace the face of the main character(s) by the person that will stand at the back and post their face for photo shots.
As we have limited time, we tried our best that at least within an hour we see as much as we can.
Here are the following buildings and other areas we saw inside Petite France
A. Ticket Booth (Entrance)
–Snapshot from Outside of the Village
–Snapshot from Inside of the Village
The entrance of Petite France is colorful and with lively colorful, I felt that it invites people outside to come in and discover the village.
B. Europe Puppet House
C. Fountain Square
D. Orgel House
E. Puppet House
–Scenery captured at the Butterfly Park near the Accommodation Vicinity (top most area in the village)
The scenery above at the Butterfly Park was one of my favorite part in the village because I found a scenic view which is the natural beauty of Gapyeong River that made me stood there for sometime appreciating its was wonderful vista.
G. Outdoor Theatre
H. Kang MA-E Cafe
I. Beethoven Virus Film Location
–Inside Beethoven Virus Film Location
J. France Traditional Playroom
K. France Traditional House Exhibit Hall
–Inside France Traditional Exhibit Hall
M. Beethoven Virus Film Location, Outdoor Cafe and Waterworks / Medieval Costume Experience
The scenery from the Observatory was next of my favorite because of the overlooking view I had while I was there which allowed me to peek the whole village itself.
N. Petite France (Some parts of the village)
O. Antique Exhibit Hall
Q. Petit Prince Road
We did walked around the village because we wanted to see as much as we can with so little time that we had, we still bought the ticket even we knew most of the shows were finished.
Before reaching the top most area of Observatory, we have to climb a little so we got a chance to observed what the village look like from the top.
In summary, all of us enjoyed the village because of its colorful place that offered visitors with great atmosphere, fun and exciting experience. We were aware that other buildings offers a lot of things that we still haven’t seen yet but because the village is closing, we never witness other exciting stuff. As for what we had seen so far, we were already satisfied in the village. If I will be given another chance to come back to this village I will spend one day of it so I can watch other shows and see other exhibits available in the place.
It was Monday, most of the tourist spot we wanted to see were closed. Because We don’t have so much option to choose we decided to go to Bukchon Village, one of the hanok village in South Korea located in Seoul. Bukchon is located between two palaces, Changdeokgung on the east and Gyeongbokgung on the west. In the past, the village used to be upscale residential area for wealthy aristocrats and court employees.
From Non-hyeon station, we took Line 7 going to Bupyeong and went out at Express Bus Terminal station, then we transferred at Line 3 going to Daehwa and got off at Anguk station, ahead station before Gyeongbokgung. Our route from hotel is the same when we went to Gyeonbokgung Palace.
I was curious to visit Hanok Village because it’s the traditional residential area in earlier times of Korea, seeing these places excites me. From Anguk station, we walked at Gahoe-ru street, here we saw a building that it seems it’s a government office, until we realized it is the Constitutional Court of Korea. We continued our walk until we found Bukchon Jae-dong Tourist Information Center to inquire how we can go around Bukchon Village. Here they gave us instructions to go to Bukchon Traditional Cultural Center as start of our tour. We followed their instruction and walked along Bukchon-gil, we asked few people where is the exact location of the cultural center until we saw it on our own, it’s quite an adventure since we are not holding any map. Bukchon Traditional Cultural Center is a hanok, few hanoks are there and for me it is more of the tourist center than the first one that we inquired of. Here we were able to get maps of Bukchon Village. Every time I travel, I tried my best to buy souvenir. I always buy post cards, the lightest souvenir you can bring without any hassle. That’s what I did at the cultural center. After taking photos, we started our journey within Bukchon Village.
Constitutional Court of Korea
Corner of Bukchon-gil and Gahoe-ro
Inside View of one of the hanok at Bukchon Traditional Cultural Center
Vicinity area of Bukchon Traditional Cultural Center
We tried to follow the map. But were not able to follow it as is, because sometimes we were lost in the village until we find ourselves again based on the map. Here I will not tell the story based on the map but based on what we have seen so far inside the hanok village. From cultural center, we walked straight along Gyedong-gil (Alley) and from what I learned in the map guide, this alley is one of the original streets that already existing during Joseon period. This is one of the street that still remaining the same as before (of course the looks are different nowadays but what I am saying is the alley itself). In this street we saw coffee shop, art shops and stores in hanok which is unique, because the traditional ambiance of the place can still be felt. We found the guest houses along the alley as well. One significant hanok is the Bukchon Guest House which is before called as Bae Ryum’s House in Gye-dong. We walked up to the top end of the alley where we reached Changdeokgung-gil alley. Here we saw Choong Ang Middle and High School. Along Changdeokgung-gill alley while facing the school we decided to turn right even we saw that the alley is ascending.
Some of the hanoks that we found while touring Bukchon Village
The walk was not easy, the three of us really tired when we reached the top of the alley and from the top we saw that the end of the alley is descending. Well, all of us were laughing because we were tired and we haven’t seen so much yet. At the corner of the alley, there is hanok that seems to be interesting based on the map guide that we have in our hand. We found the Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine, but we haven’t seen much because we heard that there is on going lectures inside the hanok and we avoid to disturb the session that is running, we just took photos outside the hanok. This is the place as the 2nd view in 8 views that can be found inside Bukchon. From here we followed some smaller alleys nearby until we saw interesting modern hanok building. We realized that the building is Baek Hongbeom’s House in Wonseo-dong. At the gate, there is a guard and told us that we cannot enter in the building since its closed (because its Monday).
Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine
Baek Hongbeom’s House in Wonseo-dong
This one seems one of the wall gate in Changdeokggung Palace (though not really sure),
based from map, the area is near in historical laundry site
After walking around the area, we decided to go back at the school where we turned right so we can check what’s next to see. With the map guide we have, we followed the tracks of 8 views, though there are other tracks, but we chose the views track to continue our walking adventure inside Bukchon. 1st view was out of our current track because it is near in traditional cultural center and we were far from where we stand that time. What we found next was the 3rd view, we followed the map, we lost and we tracked again, until we found it, the 3rd view was from the Han Sangsoo Embroidery same with other hanok we never able to see what’s inside it and for some reason we were not allowed to go inside.
Han Sangsoo Embroidery
Donglim Knot Workshop
After taking some photos at Han Sangsoo Embroidery, we continue to proceed to the next site view. We used again the map to locate where it is. Until we found Donglim Knot Workshop. Then we strolled in Gahoe-saesak-gil alley until it reached the end. Next, we crossed the Gahoe-ro street. We walked again, but this time it’s along Bukchon-Hanok-gil alley. We walked until we found the 5th View which is Gahoe-dong alley. So far, from the time we started walking around Bukchon Village, this is one of the area that I like, I can really feel that we are inside the Hanok Village. And we are not the only one who enjoyed this alley, most of the tourist comes, they enjoyed it too. We took our time to take photo shots from the bottom (5th View) and from the top (6th View) of the alley, both ends offer great and different views. Before returning at the bottom of Gahoe-dong, we tried to find another way, until we found the 7th View which is the 31 Gahoe-dong.
5th View at Gahoe-dong alley (below)
6th View at Gahoe-dong alley (top)
7th View – 31 Gahoe-dong
We ended our walking tour in Bukchon and we decided to go back since we were tired walking at sunny afternoon. We walked again along Gahoe-ro to reach Angguk station again. This is how we ended our Bukchon Tour.
Whistler becomes a buzz word while I was in Canada because the next Winter Olympics which will be happening in 2010 will be held in Whistler. I was so happy that I will be able to visit Whistler because I knew that I will not be around during the Olympic season. Before I even arrived in Vancouver, I had been planning my tour since I had only two full day weekends, two nights and half-day (just almost 5 days) to travel around British Columbia and I don’t want to waste my time just being at the hotel.
I was booked for Whistler Mountain and Forest Tour via Whistler Glacier Dome train last June 14, 2008. I booked the tour with Vancouver Landsea Tours and Adventures. Because the location of my hotel (Ramada Hotel) was in Burnaby, the tour company told me that they will not be able to pick me up from the hotel that I was staying. I was advised to go to Hyatt Regency hotel at Burrard Street. Therefore, I woke up early and went to the said hotel to join the group tour. After meeting my group, I was dropped off at the Whistler train station since my tour includes Whistler train.
Inside the Glacier Dome of Whistler Mountaineer Train (quite blurred)
Lions Gate Bridge (From North Vancouver District)
Vancouver view from West Vancouver
Bowen Island view from West Vancouver
Whistler train station is in North Vancouver railway station, this was where the Whistler train left Vancouver. From the station, we passed Lions Gate Bridge a suspension bridge that connects Vancouver to North Shore of North Vancouver and West Vancouver.
The train route follows the coastline of North Vancouver to West Vancouver near Marine Drive, then the rest of the tracks is almost parallel to Sea to Sky Highway. The trail seemed designed for a great train ride. The panoramic views along the Strait of Georgia, sceneries together with Bowen and Gambier Island from Lions Bay, Furry Creek and Squamish were really amazing.
Falls view from Whistler train Some photos while on our way to Whistler (along Sea To Sky Highway)
Scenic view near in Squamish
Riding in a train like that seems like a cruise because the dome train I took was more luxurious than the other carriage of the Whistler train. The travel was comfortable and enjoyable. I admired everything that I saw all the way from Vancouver to Whistler.
Almost at Whistler
Finally, we arrived at Whistler Village. Because I booked Whistler tour via train, I was separated in my group tour on the way to Whistler, they came to Whistler via tourist bus. I met the whole group and the tourist guide again in the village. I remembered that our guide told us that while we’re in the village, we have free time to spend and try things that we like. The group agreed to come back at the meeting place in a specific time.
Whistler Train Station
Some snapshots in Whistler Village
While in Whistler, I grabbed the opportunity to walk within the village. I was able to reach lake called Green Lake and found out that it was the Whistler airport station. Yes, it is the airport because it’s not the same like common airport we used to, it is an airport for a sea float plane, where small plane flies but lands in water either in harbor or lakes.
Whistler Airport at Green Lake (and its surrounding area)
Since the area is being prepared for the upcoming Winter Olympics in 2010, there were constructions going on in different parts of the village, but the construction activities did not hinder the normal operations in the village and tourist keeps on coming.
After walking for sometime around Whistler Village, I decided to ride gondolas to reach the mountain summit. I saw Blackcomb mountain booth. I bought the ticket and went on queue for gondola. The gondola that I saw in the area are open type gondola because it is the rides of people who does the skiing in the mountain during winter season and because the winter was over, the same gondola brings tourist like me to reach the top of the mountain.
During my ascent to the summit of the Blackcomb mountain, I was able to see the panoramic views of mountains around the area. If I saw Rocky Mountains in Banff from the ground, I was overwhelmed because I witness different angle of mountains from the top. And because it was Spring season I saw some parts of the Blackcomb mountain that still have snow and iced which a leftover by Winter season. I was lucky that I was wearing winter jacket at that time because I experience the cold wind from the ground up to the summit. I spent some time at the peak of the mountain by taking photos, by just looking around 360 degrees and by appreciating all the things that my eyes reached. I never experienced a mountain like that before where it felt like the other surrounding mountains were so close to me. It seems they were all reachable and I could just grab them with my bare hands with the blink of an eye. I told myself how beautiful and great the place where I was standing.
Panoramic Views at Blackcomb Mountain
I looked at my watch and decided to descend the mountain. I reached the ground of the mountain the same way that I reached the summit.
It was great to see a beautiful village surrounded by mountains. I was ecstatic and I never thought that a remote place like Whistler is a beautiful community covered by natures wonders. It was really a wonderful place for me. I really enjoyed my walk along the village and my rides in gondola. Discovering the place from the ground, from the sky and from summit made my experience memorable.
My group tour met together again. And in few minutes we left Whistler Village and we started driving back to Vancouver.