Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bohol Island

We rented a boat for the day to do a little island hopping, snorkeling, and watch the sunset.

A local fishing crew catches tonight's dinner!

Denise documents a stunning sunset.

The kids on the beach showed us the mummy starfish they found.

Megan and Kelly have a snack at Organic Bohol Bee Farm

Our boat crew expertly guides the craft.

Good thing Denise forgot her swimsuit or we wouldn't have been able to enjoy the quick fix "Animal" suit she found at the beach!

The endangered Philippine Tarsier, about the size of my fist, is one of the smallest primates on Earth.

Carey's weaving skills are put to the test.

Hooray! Organic Farm!

The Buzzzzzz

Our friend Mohamed makes his Tarsier face.

I got to join Megan for a couple of dives.

Practicing for the Olympics.

Rafee and Dennick our scuba guides help bring the boat to shore after a successful day in the water.

Great Dive shop in Alona Beach, Panglao just off of Bohol.  Say hello to Rafee and Dennick when you go!

The sun rises over Alona Beach on Thanksgiving Day before I catch my flight back to Manila.  So much to be grateful for!

Mall of Asia.

Evening traffic in Manila.

...just another gorgeous sunset over Manila Bay.  

Smiling, Pampanga Style

An unexpected turn of events brought me to San Fernando, in Pampanga Province.  I am so lucky to have been here in the Philippines while my friend Brooke was preparing to head to her 43rd mission.  As one of the documentation photographers, also known as PIT (Patient Imaging Technician), she spent her first year in India going from mission to mission there learning her trade, and is now one of the most widely traveled volunteers with Operation Smile.  Through her, we made arrangements for me to stop in to see how her life had evolved, and the amazing work that the organization is able to do through the support of its donors and volunteers. 

A ride on the inflatable chair!
Team Pampanga!
Bubble blowing practice.
 It's all very serious business....
 Very very serious.
 A photo op with Carey and AnneMarie.
Trevor, fearless leader!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Phinally in the Philippines

Welcome to the Philippines!
It only took me 32 years to make the trip half way around the world to visit the homeland of my mom, and host to the famous flashy Jeepney transportation system!

Uncle Teodie and Auntie Najla have been the most gracious and generous hosts.

My cousins Carmichelle, Lauren, and Tedrick are all pretty amazing too!

I love taking pictures of food!  This is our Filipino feast complete with chicken adobo (closest to me in the boat on the left since the rest of the family are vegetarian).

I'm not the only one who likes to photograph food!

We've been exploring historical and cultural sites around Manila.  At fort Santiago, National Hero, Jose Rizal, was imprisoned before being executed for crimes against the state.  His writings revealing the torments  imposed on the local Filipinos spread the revealing and shameful truth of the nation's struggles during Spanish colonization.

San Augustin Church, built in 1587, is the oldest stone church in the country and the only surviving structure of World War II.  

Funny to see construction materials stored in such a grand stairwell of the San Augustin monastary, a building that hosts a vast collection of Catholic art and artifacts.

 Labyrinths of vaulted arcades showcase enormous paintings and retablos.

Spoliarium by Filipion artist, Juan Luna, is considered a National Treasure, having stunned European art crowds by winning the highest medals at the 1884 Madrid Exposition.  It was amazing to take in the massive scale of this over twenty foot wide painting.

More food.  Lumpia (another of my favorite filipino foods), puso ng saging (heart of banana- and a new one for me this trip), some green vegetables, and of course the asian staple, rice.

The fruit tower of papaya, mangosteen, mangos, dragon fruit, green citrus, and orange citrus.
An intimate look at the mangosteen's sweet and sour white meat and the bitter but high in antioxidant pulpy red fiber.

A Little Bit on the National Hero, Jose Rizal
 Within Fort Santiago, the Rizal Shrine displays a mural depicting the life and execution of Jose Rizal.

At Rizal Park a larger than life sculpture once again shows his execution.  
His writings have had the greatest impact, but Rizal was also a skilled sculptor, is credited with the discovery of a variety of local fauna, spoke over 7 languages, and was a practicing medical doctor.

I'm sure I'll be taking more shots of Jeepneys, but here are some of my best ones so far.