Saturday, December 15, 2012

Reminiscences once more!

I want to digress once-in-a while. Travelling is one of my passions, but  have not done so this year so I experience some melancholy. I am posting some old shots from Strasbourg, France, to pacify the wandering spirit. In doing so, I relive some experiences and was able to recall the scenes so vividly. I even remember the slightest of puns and fun.

My companion here was a lady from Croatia, who was my constant companion while we were there. We walk through small streets, took the cruise in La Petite France and we also laughed so well. We also ate a very big sandwich at the above restaurant with a wonderful cup of hot coffee, something so welcome after a long walk in a cold weather. She is a plant scientist and a member of the UPOV or International Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties.

 La Petite France with a lot of tourists, cafes and small souvenir stores. At the right is the famous Cathedral, built in a span of four centuries, 1015 to 1439. Housed inside is the 18-meter high astronomical clock, which is one of the tallest in the world, and a fine example of Swiss artistry. I have already posted that old clock in a previous post.  
 It looks like a lazy day and people leisurely walk around. Some old ladies like those at the left seem to be just living here, or locals. This paved concrete is already newly constructed, as older ones have cobble stones like those in front of the cathedral.

Croissants are my favorite even in my own country. So that is what i got with a cup of coffee while waiting for my boarding time at the above gate, F34. Charles de Gaule International Airport is so vast viewed from the air, and reaching this gate took me a long walk using conveyor belts, detour walks and stairs. Whew, it is good i have more time spared before boarding, to contemplate on so many things. And i realized i should have extended my stay for at least even just a week.

I have been to Paris, but was not even able to get close to the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. I saw only a two meter Eiffel Tower viewed from inside the plane coming here to Strasbourg. On the way out was a cloudy day and I can't get a better view. Well, hope on all hopes, to visit this  place again in this lifetime! Miracles do happen sometimes, i hope this is one of them!

Scenic Sunday

Monday, December 10, 2012

South Luzon Expressway

Going home to the province is always an exciting moment. I go home twice a month, and it is like an answered prayer when it coincides a long weekend. That means I can eat more home cooked food, organic vegetables from the property, fresh fish and whatever fruits are in season. Moreover, i can always be on the lookout shooting insects, spiders, larvae, plants, flowers, and whatever comes in front of me. It has been my preoccupation these past few weekends to search for small insects and spiders, as i mostly post in my other blogsite. It is timely, as butterflies don't seem to emerge these days. And most special among all these, is breathing freshly produced oxygen from our natural and plentiful oxygen generators. I hope the pollution in the city dwelling in my lungs can be displaced by the newly manufactured oxygen, fresh from the factory!

This is the decoration in front of the bus driver, together with the round mirror, and the view of the road. Maybe some of you recalls my previous post a few months back, when i also posted the decoration inside the bus. This time the bus has angels,  although the biggest angel is not fully shown in the photo. But the mirror easily shows the driver, the standing conductor and someone sitting near the driver, for lack of available seat. 

 The South Luzon Expressway is now continuous from Metro Manila to the Batangas International Port. It takes more or less two hours to drive this route, depending on the traffic situation or the weather condition. Rains surely slows down travel time. This highway brings you to the south of the Philippines if you prefer the land route. There are what we call "ro-ro vessels" (roll on-roll off) at the pier that takes your car in it, so you can drive your own car to the other islands and provinces south of the Philippines. There are also buses which do the same. The passengers get off from the buses while on the ship and board their bus again upon reaching land. This SLEX can even bridge your trip to Mindanao: Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon, etc, as well as Visayas: Tagbilaran, Tacloban, Cebu, etc. But most of the travelers are tourists to Puerto Galera, Mindoro; Romblon; Anilao, Mabini, Batangas at the least.

 I love looking at those white grass flowers swaying with the wind. Even the sugarcane fields produce the same kind of flowers and beauty.

 The greens on both sides of the highway and all throughout the journey is so relaxing for the eyes. I never sleep on the journey at all times, and I never tire looking at the beautiful scenery.

 The view of Mt Makiling is very special, as it seldom allows full view. Clouds normally cover its top. This mountain has a very special meaning for me, as our university where i studied and worked for sometime is at the foot of this on the other side. I also have reached the peak four times in the past when i was still in the university campus. It is still heavily forested because it is a national park and forest reserve. It contains a lot of representative biodiversity species of flora and fauna in the country, and some endemic species are found only here! I am sorry for the haze affected by the glass windows of the bus.

The smoke you see at the middle of the valley is from a factory in between the big mountain and the low hills in the foreground. And i would like to inform you this is a dormant volcano, only not erupting because of so many energy outlets at the foot. A big hot and boiling mudspring at the other side gets wider through time.

This tropical rainforest always reinforce its name, because it often rains at this part of the highway, even if other areas are very dry. When it is as clear as this, i always bring out the camera to try shooting even inside  the running bus. You can see the movement on the grasses in the foreground. I always savor this special uncommon scene of our beloved mountain, Mt Makiling.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Spiky Reds

buds of Ixora coccinea

Ixora are hardy in the tropics, they can withstand longer dry season than most plants here. Moreover, they can tolerate some shading, but they really prefer full sun from sunrise to sunset.

 Firespike or Odontonema strictum buds

This plant loves partial shades and cannot flower profusely when fully exposed to the hot sun. When planted into hedges, they give a lovely atmosphere which is favored by insects like butterflies.

Ruby Tuesday 2

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mirror Images

Sorry for the pun! But these are really images i shot through glass windows.

I was in the university last month, my alma mater, doing some prior art search for some inventions. The building is a bit far from the campus, with a still rural landscape beside the rice fields and experimental fields. It is far ahead of the International Rice Research Institute, which owns most of the rice fields in my view.

 This is the view at the West side of the building

 This is also at the west side of the building. At far right is Mt Makiling, a natural forest reserve.

South view: fruit trees and forest trees

East view

The East view horizon shows more mountains, which are more visible in the mornings when it is not as hazy as this time of the day.

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