Monday, October 25, 2010

Where I Live

I am a true-blooded Cebuana and a proud one at that. I was born and raised in Cebu, one of the 7,000++ islands in the Philippine archipelago. I live in a tropical country where the sun shines brightly in most days and where it rains every now and then. 

The weather may be unpredictable at times, but I love it here because life is not as fast paced as Manila (the nation's capital), but neither is it too laid back. It's a great combination of a modern and an islander lifestyle. My hometown is already a bustling metropolis where IT industries, manufacturing companies, and export processing zones are continually emerging. But after a day's work, my hometown offers a place to relax and enjoy life. 

When I was growing up, I tend to neglect the beauty of the place I live. I always dream of visiting foreign countries where the place is beautiful and full of life as depicted in several postcards. Now that I had traveled to other places here and abroad, I realized that it's about time to rediscover my hometown. I shouldn't be a stranger in my own place, right?

Armed with my gears, I had my own photo walk and saw the place from the eyes of a tourist. I am proud to say that my hometown boasts of pristine beaches, hand-crafted souvenirs/products made of indigenous materials, colorful festivals, and beautiful sunsets/sunrises. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wine Tour in Northern California

I know of quite a number of people who are passionate about wines. I am not one of them though, but there's something about wineries and vineyards that attract me. I'm probably influenced by the movies I've seen where some scenes are shot in a vineyard. A Walk in the Clouds and Letters to Juliet are just a few of those movies that make me fall in love with the vineyard scenery. 

I'm so lucky to be staying in the US at a place just a few miles drive to the central wineries in Northern California. Napa, St. Helena, and Sonoma are the counties who grow grapes and manufacture world-class wines. I am not interested in wine tasting obviously because I don't care much about wines (I only prefer champagne and a desert wine), but I do appreciate the scenery. Hence, I didn't pass the opportunity for a road trip to these counties, my own version of the winery tour.

I suggest a tour during spring where it's sunny, but not too humid; and where it's breezy, but not frigid. They say that harvest time during fall is also a great season because you can witness the grape harvest and I bet the fall colors is also lovely. The next time I'll have a chance to visit the place and if it's fall, I definitely would not want to miss the grape harvest.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Love the Light

I love early mornings especially just a few minutes after sunrise. I love the light and the sun rays; early morning is not too warm and the effect of light to the surroundings is just lovely. I love early mornings too because it just gives me this feeling of peace. I just want to catch a few hours or minutes of quite and silence before everyone else wake up, before the streets become too busy with all the transportation noise, and before everyone rush off for the day.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Pier 39

For a first-time visitor in San Francisco, California, Pier 39/Embarcadero/Fisherman's Wharf is one of the must see places. A word of warning, the place is really crowded with tourists. I believe the crowd makes the place unique and jolly; and for that I think that's one of the reasons why many visit this place. Of course there a lot of other reasons why Pier 39 is most visited by tourists...there are just so many things that you can feast your eyes and palate. 
Pier 39 is situated right along San Francisco Bay. It offers a very good view to Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. In Pier 39, here you can also find ferry or boat services for a day tour to Alcatraz. Souvenir shopping is not a problem as there are a lot of shops that carry knick knacks, shirts, caps, and mini replicas of famous San Francisco attractions. Food is not a concern as well; fast food and fine dining restaurants are abundant. There are also several shops that sell feel-good food from churros, chocolates, ice cream, etc. Clam chowder is a must try and don't pass the opportunity to visit Ghirardelli Square, there you will find the yummiest Ghirardelli chocolates. You don't also have to look far for entertainment; there are street performers, an Aquarium of the Bay, Madame Tussuad's wax museum, a magic/comedy show, carousel for kids, a caricaturist, and one of the must-see are the sun-bathing seals/sea lions.
Spend a day at Pier 39 to make the most out of it, plan out your activities and logistics. Free parking is difficult to get by and paid parking are quite expensive. If you are from Marin and other Northern counties, it's better to take a ferry from San Rafael or Larkspur. If you are a tourist lodging at any of the hotels in San Francisco, it's better to take a MUNI or any of the cable cars.

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