The Great Escape

dreaming of a simple life in Palawan

The Land Where I Was Born 017

Random photos and thoughts about the Philippines

Our environment, our experiences, and the people we choose to surround us shapes us into who we are. In this series I search the web for thought-provoking images about the Philippines, the country I was born in and which I am now rediscovering.

waveme mermaid hopping tour

Mermaiding? Yep, you heard right.

Looking for a reason to visit the Philippines? This mermaid school should do the trick. No, seriously, there’s an actual school that will teach you how to be a mermaid. It’s called the Philippines Mermaid Swimming Academy. A couple of years ago, the academy was founded by Anamie Saenz and Normeth Preglo. The duo was looking for a new fitness craze and thought of mermaids! ~ Elite Daily, July 28, 2014

Frame Finish

A star is born

Making a Parol – a Filipino traditional star-shaped Christmas lantern, is something I loved doing growing up. It is mainly made up of bamboo, strings, and japanese craft/gift paper but the ones hung outside (lighted with a bulb) can be made of tougher plastic, capiz (shells), or any other transparent/translucent materials.~ Make a Parol – a Filipino Christmas Lantern, Instructables

Cemetary North Manila

I fold

Millions across the Philippines packed into cemeteries Saturday to pay respects to their dead, in an annual tradition that combines Catholic religious rites with the country’s penchant for festivity. The Church appealed for a solemn and prayerful observation of the ‘;day of the dead'; and urged against turning gravesites into picnic spots. Police set up frisking booths at cemetery gates to confiscate alcoholic beverages, playing cards, portable karaoke machines and weapons as huge crowds, including children and the elderly, endured slow-moving queues. ~ Philippine Times, November 1, 2014


WPC: Gone, But Not Forgotten


I’m feeling a bit melancholy. Memories of times past can bring sweet joy and deep sadness.

When ‘the Chef’ and I got married we traded the obligatory wedding reception for a trip to Lake Superior Provincial Park. We both love nature and wanted to celebrate in a place that brought us great happiness. With a small, willing group of our closest friends and family we led a ‘caravan of love’ up north for a week of camping.

Each day we explored the park as a group and each night a couple provided a theme for dinner festivities that always led to inspired, delightful surprises.

One day we decided to explore a small bay. The sun was in full force and we welcomed its soothing warmth. We took off our socks and hiking boots and slowly meandered to the end of the beach where we were stopped by an outcropping of rocks.

I don’t remember who it was that started it but in the end, each of us had placed a rock on top of each other until we formed an inukshuk. It will always remind me of the time when we were together and content. I often wonder how long it lasted before the elements knocked it over.

It makes me happy to think about that day but my heart is also saddened by the thought that two couples have broken up since then. It’s a time that’s gone, but not forgotten.

To see how others interpret the word ‘gone, but not forgotten’ visit the Weekly Photo Challenge.

I’m Canadian, Eh? 017

Random photos and thoughts about Canada.

Our environment, our experiences, and the people we choose to surround us shapes us into who we are. In this series I search the web for thought-provoking images about Canada, the country I grew up in.


“Hurry!” – A command which instructs players to sweep harder.

Job-hunting? How about applying for a gig as a maple syrup processing plant worker, curling rink ice technician, or polar bear tour guide? Read on for these and other uber-Canadian jobs on offer: ~ MaClean’s Magazine

"Ode to Girlina"

Last Call!

Have you been punched in the face after having a few too many drinks at the bar? Thanks alcohol! That message and others are part of Alberta’s new, cheeky anti-drinking campaign, which attempts to use humour to point out that bad booze management can lead you to some pretty rough places. The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission launched the new awareness campaign on Friday, reminding us about something many of us know from experience: Alcohol can help turn you into a pretty crummy person. ~ Alberta launches cheeky ‘Thanks Alcohol!’ anti-drinking campaign, Yahoo! News Canada, October 31, 2014

Cougar Boots

Canadian Cougar

As far as a trend goes, these were the Canadian winter boot of the 1980’s for women (although they came in mens sizes). Worn with leg warmers, or with your jeans tucked into your socks these became instant icons. Only in fashion for a few winters, the memories live on. ~ The Canadian Design Resource


WPC: Converge


I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to win big.

We were in Coron, Palawan during the Kasadyaan Festival in August. It was typical of many small town fairs around the world. Colourful food booths with outrageous food lined one street while small vendors plied their wares on another. The streets were alive with people.

We stopped at a small red trolley. I lined up to get my fix of salty, garlic fried peanuts. Directly across in a vacant lot a couple of bright yellow amusement rides waited for the chance to spin children around as their parents visited games of chance beside them.

Under bare fluorescent lights coins were laid down. The wheel of fortune spun round and round. Here, under the darkness of night hope, luck and kismet converged.

To see how others interpret the word ‘converge’ visit the Weekly Photo Challenge.

Photos from the Shoebox: Overland From Kathmandu to Lhasa 1990

If you had a 35mm camera you probably have a shoebox full of pictures that you never got around to sorting and putting in an album. In this series “Photos from the Shoebox” I take them out of the closest and shine light on them once more.

Often the journey is as interesting as the destination. My best friend and I had been in Nepal for almost two months. We had done the obligatory mountain treks and explored the city and its surroundings to its extent. We started to get that feeling. You’ve probably felt it too, the feeling of itchy feet, the need to move. It was November in Kathmandu and winter would soon arrive.


The Friendship Highway

“Why not journey into Tibet?,” we mused. We found a tour operator who had one last overland trip to Lhasa before snow made the highway impassable. Back then in the 1990’s you had to join an approved tour. There was no opportunity for lone, off the beaten path type of travel.


Life along the highway

We spent days in line-ups getting our visas and cashing in some traveller’s cheques to join an eclectic group of geriatric Americans, mid-aged Brits, a pair of young Swedish female backpackers and a couple of mysterious lone travellers.


The pass

The best place to sit in a bus? Front seats. From this point of vantage the windshield becomes your big screen TV. On one leg of the journey we drove for about seven hours over stark scenery that was beautifully barren and monochromatic.


Curious nomad

What started out as a black dot on the horizon soon materialized into flesh and blood. A curious nomad left his herd to come and check us out. It was not often they came across foreigners.


The arid land looked like a moonscape

As hours and kilometres ticked by we had the luxury of immersing ourselves in personal reflection. It was the perfect condition for an introvert like myself.


On the road again

Every Tibetan we came across greeted us with an excited exuberance, always laughing and asking for the same thing. They all wanted a picture of the Dalai Lama, forbidden by the Chinese.

Tibet children

Curious Tibetan children

The locals were peculiarly the same colour as the landscape – mottled shades of brown, blue and grey and often covered with dirt.

On the raod again

Life passes by

I can’t imagine living in this environment. It may be a simple life but it’s a harsh existence.


Our bus took a beating

Our bus took a beating breaking two springs and putting up with a bunch of progressively cranky travellers confined inside its metal box.

Beautiful Yamdrok Lake

Beautiful Yamdrok Lake

On the fourth day the browns and greys gave way to a beautiful turquoise. We’ve made it to sacred Yamdrok Lake, one of Tibet’s three holy lakes.


One last stop before Lhasa. Boiled eggs for lunch again.

Time always seems to pass slower as you get closer to your final destination. Patience is in short supply. Anxiousness takes its place. Finally, we reached Lhasa where a nice Holiday Inn greeted us with a hot shower, comfortable bed and decent food. After a long, tiring journey who doesn’t like a little pampering?

WPC: Angular


There’s a bitter, cold wind blowing in Toronto. Thankfully the sun is out to temper the chill and uplift our mood if only slightly. We’re in my old stomping grounds not far from where I went to art school ages ago. We duck down a side street away from the buzz of trendy Queen Street West and enter ‘Graffiti Alley’ infamous for its expansive display of street art. It’s become a local tourist attraction and my friend and I have come to  check out the latest pieces.

There’s a riot of colour and contrasting styles but I’m not here just to view. In my own way, I add my tag, a sticker with a set of five ‘borrowed’ positive rules for life. All along the alley I place my stickers in obscure places between pieces from notable Toronto graffiti artists. I still have a little bit of ‘rebel’ in me.

Graffiti may be polarizing as an art form and not everyone’s taste but I can appreciate the energetic, angular style of this often maligned street art.

To see how others interpret the word ‘angular’ visit the Weekly Photo Challenge.

The Land Where I Was Born 016

Random photos and thoughts about the Philippines

Our environment, our experiences, and the people we choose to surround us shapes us into who we are. In this series I search the web for thought-provoking images about the Philippines, the country I was born in and which I am now rediscovering.

Typhoon Saola floods Manila.

Why cry when you can laugh

8. You find ways to smile no matter what tragedy hits you…..You may have gone through typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and even the dire consequences of flawed political decisions. However badly this affects you, you still find plenty of reasons to smile. For one thing, you’re still alive. And for Filipinos, that is what matters most. ~ 8 signs you were born and raised in the Philippines, Matador Network

Philippines Rice

Rice eaters

It’s official. Half-cup rice serving must also be available in restaurants…..A measure requiring restaurants and eateries in Quezon City to include a half order of rice with exactly half the price of a full serving on their menu has been signed into law recently….A copy of the “Half-Cup Rice Ordinance,” signed by Mayor Herbert Bautista on July 9 and released last week, is to be posted in food establishments together with the message “Eat your rice right and save lives.”…..Councillor Allan Butch Francisco introduced the measure to support the campaign of the International Rice Research Institute to reduce rice wastage at the consumer level….The ordinance cited data from the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute that each Filipino wastes an average of three tablespoons of rice daily or 3.3 kilos per year…..The International Rice Research Institute said the losses translate to P8 billion a year, enough to feed 4.3 million people. ~ Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 6, 2014

The Ugly Side of Coron

The ugly side of paradise

Every ocean now bears witness to our waste. In a report, published in the academic journal PLOS ONE, scientists conclude for the first time that we have left our mark everywhere. “Litter is present in all marine habitats,” the study concludes. “From beaches to the most remote points in the oceans.” ~ Huffington Post, July 10, 2014


Post Navigation


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 556 other followers

%d bloggers like this: