Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fort San Pedro

One of the magnificent historical sites in Cebu, Philippines is Fort San Pedro. It is one of the oldest and smallest fort in the Philippines built by the Spaniards as a military defense structure.

The original form was made of wood and was built in 1565 by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. However, the construction date of the stone fort is uncertain. Fort San Pedro was named after the galleon (San Pedro) of Miguel Lopez de Lagaspi when he and his explorers landed in Cebu.

The fort covers an area of 2,205 square meters with walls 20 feet high, 8 feet thick and towers 30 feet high. The shape of the fort is triangular with 3 bastions namely La Concepcion in Southwest corner, Ignacio de Loyola in the Southeast corner, and San Miguel in the Northeast corner. 

Today, Fort San Pedro is a historical park and a museum that houses Spanish paintings, sculptures and old documents retrieved from the San Diego galleon.

Fort San Pedro
Address: A. Pigafetta St  Cebu City, Philippines
Coordinates: 10° 17′ 32″ N, 123° 54′ 21″ E
Admission: Php 50


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Blue Mountains, NSW

Fifty kilometers from the bustling metropolitan Sydney is a serene mountainous region called the Blue Mountains. Listed as a World Heritage Area by UNESCO in 2000, The Greater Blue Mountains Area is one of the listed attraction in the New South Wales.

The area is inhabited by over 400 different types of animals from rare mammal species like Spotted-tailed Quoll, Koala, Yellow-bellied Glider, Long-nosed Potorro, etc. Rare reptiles and amphibians can also be found in the area like the endangered Blue Mountain Water Skink and the Green and Golden bell Frog. Dingos are the largest predator and they hunt for Grey Kangaroos.

Blue Mountains offers overwhelming tourist attractions like the Edge Cinema that gives a panoramic view of the Blue Mountains, The Guinness Book of Records World's Steepest Railway-  The Katoomba Scenic Railway, The Three Sisters, The Toy and Railway Museum at Leura, The Norman Linsay Gallery and Museum, Knapsack Viaduct, The Zig Zag railway and a lot more. Blue Mountains is also a popular destination for adventure sports and outdoor activities like Rock Climbing and Mountain Biking.

Coordinates: 33° 43′ 5″ S, 150° 18′ 38″ E

The Greater Blue Mountains Area

At the Edge Cinema.

Guiness Book of Record World's Steepest Railway

A Parrot resting at a Eucalyptus tree.

Closer view of the Three Sisters.

Visit Blue Mountains.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Hotel Villa Malpensa

Have you ever imagined for once in your life to live in a Palace without spending like royalty???

Situated in a quiet countryside of Malpensa (Italy) stood a lovely Villa built during the early 1900s, it was originally owned by Count Gianni Caproni.
The family Bonini, the new owner of the Villa since 1985, after years of painstaking restoration back to the ancient and original splendors. The Villa in Art Nouveau style from 1920 with the attached chapel built during 1774 is now a four star hotel, The Hotel Villa Malpensa.

Only 800 meters to Malpensa Airport (Milan), the hotel is strategically out of the air routes therefore provides a quiet stay. Hotel Villa Malpensa doesn't only give excellent service and friendly staff but also very reasonable rates.

Hotel Villa Malpensa
Address: Don Andrea Sacconago, 1- 21010 Vizzola Ticino (VA) Italy
Tel: +39 0331 230944

Dress: Michael Kors
Bag: Vintage
Shoes: Pedro Garcia
Accessories: Earrings- Liz Claiborne, Bracelet- Mango

See Hotel Villa Malpensa

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Merlion

The Merlion, a famous tourist icon of Singapore is a mythical creature with a head of a lion and body of a fish.

The lion head represents 'Singapura' meaning Singa- Lion and Pura- city. The name 'Lion City' was derived when Prince Sang Nila Utama landed on Tamasek, took a walk and spotted an animal with an orange body, black head and a white breast. It moved quickly and disappeared into the jungle. He asked his Chief Minister about the animal and was told that it was a Lion. He thought it was a good omen, he decided to rename the city- Singapura. However, studies shows that Lions do not live in Singapore, what Prince Sang Nila Utama saw was probably a Malayan Tiger.

The fish body of a Merlion represents 'Tamasek' (Javanese) or 'Sea Town' which was Singapore's old name. Singapore in the old times was a fishing village.

There are 5 Merlion statues that are recognized by Singapore Tourism Board, the most famous Merlion statue is found at The Merlion Park located at One Fullerton.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Food Diary: Filipino Food For The Beach

One of the things I love doing when in the Philippines is go to the beach. When you go on a holiday in the Philippines, I highly recommend the beach! Anyway when my friends and I go to the beach, we normally bring fresh food with us and grill it there. I love grilled food especially seafood and I think most Filipinos does. When you go to Filipino Restaurants, Barbecue is always on the menu.

Here are what we normally serve on the beach.

Fresh fruits for dessert!

Sweet N Sour Fish. Fish is always present when going to the beach or go on a picnic, though some people prefer to grill it but it doesn't really matter. Fish is a staple food in the Philippines.

Grilled Pork. Though I'm not really a meat lover but ''Liempo'' or grilled pork belly is a must try Filipino food!!!

Grilled Chicken. Grilled Chicken is very famous in the Philippines, You can almost find it everywhere in the country, although some places have different marinating style.

Grilled Shrimp. I love shrimps, it is probably my favorite food and it's what I eat most of the time! I love cooking shrimps in different recipes.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Magellan's Cross

The first Western explorer who have set foot on the Philippine soil is Ferdinand Magellan. Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer but served King Charles I of Spain, He travelled to Asia in search of the Spice Island known as Moluccas Island/ Malaku Island in Indonesia.

When Ferdinand Magellan and his crew landed on Cebu Island in 1521, He was directly welcomed by the Native Chief Rajah Humabon and his people. The natives accepted to be baptized to Christianity and that is the history of the Christianization in the Philippines.

Ferdinand Magellan then planted a cross to indicate the Christianization of Cebu.

Today, the cross is in a 'Kiosk' or a small chapel and can be found beside the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. There is a sign below the cross that indicates the original cross is encased in another wooden cross for protection. However, many believed that the original cross has been destroyed and the cross now is a replica planted by the Spaniards after they have successfully colonized the Philippines.

I grew up with a tradition that every time my family and I go to Cebu, we always visit the Magellan's Cross and Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. The cross plays a significant part of our history and how it changed the Philippines.

Magellan's Cross
Address: Magallanes Street, Cebu City
Coordinates: 10°17′35.9″N 123°54′6.5″E
Admission: Free

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Schloss Mespelbrunn, A Water Castle

Schloss Mespelbrunn, located in a small cozy town of Mespelbrunn, it is one of the most visited water castles in Germany.

Surrounded by green, wooded hills and crystal clear waters, Mespelbrunn Castle is one of the loveliest castles in northern Bavaria. Hidden in a small, romantic valley, it was not destroyed in the Thirty Years War nor any later. Mespelbrunn Castle is one of the few castles in Germany that has retained its original form and furniture.

The castle tour includes a visit to the Chapel, The Knight Hall, Banquet Hall, Ancestor Hall, Echter Room, The Chinese Room and The Bedroom. Inside these rooms are big collections of historic weapons, furnitures, paintings, antique porcelains and China.

At present, The water castle is privately owned and maintained by a noble family, the Ingelheim. They still lived in the southern wing of the castle.

Schloss Mespelbrunn
Address: Schloßhof 1  63875 Mespelbrunn, Germany
Coordinates: 49° 54′ 20″ N, 9° 18′ 26″ E
Admission: €5