The Great Escape

dreaming of a simple life in Palawan

WPC: Symmetry


Something magical happens when the air becomes still and the sun shines brightly above. Sky becomes water and water becomes sky. The forest becomes two and we are left to gasp in wonder.

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

I’m Canadian, Eh? 019

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.

Northern Lights, Yukon, Canada

Northern Lights

The skies across the country will light up with the breathtaking colours of the aurora borealis during the solar maximum this year. Here are some of the best spots to catch the view. ~ The best places in Canada to view the northern lights, Canadian Geographic

"Love you forever and always"

Locked in love

Many places in Canada have been hit by this strange lovesickness. On Vancouver Island, the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet is full of love locks, as is the Humber Bridge in Toronto. The debate has just begun. Should we be thinking of environmentally friendly, aesthetically pleasing alternatives? Are the hanging locks more like artwork or graffiti? And if the authorities decided to get rid of them, would they keep on returning… just like an old love? ~ A love too heavy to bear?, Gazette, July 9, 2014

Ice Hotel Québec City

Cool Hotel

We went up to Quebec City especially to visit the Ice Hotel. We stayed on a Sunday night and managed to pick a quiet weekend – only 25 guests so there was plenty of solitude which added to the charm. Sophie gave us the talk on how to survive the night and she was fantastic. We slept through the night there – a little cold at first and then got used to the feeling of the sleeping bags and we both settled. ~ “Wow – this was an amazing experience,” John P., TripAdvisor Review


The Land Where I Was Born 018

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.


Twin Beaches

That’s a tough one. Do I really have to pick? Just one? Does it really have to be just one? And who could blame them? With 7,107 islands, the Philippines has more than its share of spectacular beaches! And choosing just one is not an easy task at all. There are a lot of things to consider: the sand, the landscape, their personal experiences. Still, after a long time of bugging, pushing, and — sometimes — blackmailing begging, they were able to give an answer. Here’s a list of 30 best beaches in the Philippines as chosen by some of your favorite Pinoy travel bloggers. ~


…..a few still think Filipinos all live in slums or in the jungle. WRONG.

To be honest, I asked many, many people (locals and foreigners) what they like about Manila, and over and over, I was met with head-scratching and silence. They all told me they would think about it and get back to me. I’m still waiting. You see, Manila is a city that people love to hate. ~ Surviving Manila – A Foreigner’s Guide to the City People Love To Hate


Cool Banaue

In its provincial boondocks, the Philippines has the ultimate paradox: the cool tropical town. Lower temps, however, aren’t the only things that make these towns cool. ~ 11 coolest towns in the Philippines, CNN, May 22, 2014


Photos from the Shoebox: Thaipusam Festival, Singapore 1991

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.

You can’t live life without feeling some pain. It’s January in Singapore and thousands of devotees have come together to participate in the Hindu Festival of Thaipusam. Based on the legend of Lord Murugan, who slayed demons causing chaos on earth, the festival is a celebration of good over evil.

The walk of faith

Devotees prepare one month ahead by purifying their minds and bodies by eating a strict vegetarian diet and abstaining from sexual pleasures. Then on the day of the festival hundreds will be pierced with hooks, skewers or lances. Men will carry heavy structures called Kavadis while women and youth take part by carrying milk pots as offerings. Some will pierce their tongues.

Cleansing the soul through physical suffering

Some devotees pull chariots with hooks pierced in their backs. They put themselves into a trance like state which stops them from feeling pain.

The ultimate show of devotion

Some devotees carry spiked Kavadis that can reach three to four metres in height, and weigh at least 30kgs. They are decorated with peacock feathers and flowers.

Full moon festival

It’s a festival of blessings, fulfilling vows and offering thanks. Participants join the pilgrimage which starts at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple and stretches over 4 km to the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple.

Hindu Temple

It’s not an easy festival to watch especially if you’re the least bit squeamish but it certainly shows how far one will go to express their devotion and faith. The event is held on the day of the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai. This year the festival falls on February 3, 2015.

WPC: Express Yourself

Express Yourself

This was the first time I ever walked into this type of competitive arena. Instead of the roar of a boisterous crowd, voices were muffled and hushed. There was excitement in the air but also tension.

Seven highly skilled chocolatiers and pastry chefs battled for nine hours for the title of World Chocolate Master of Canada.

In the end Chef Oliver Tribute would win with his showpiece, an impressive chocolate sculpture expressing the theme “Architecture of Taste.”

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

WPC: Serenity


I hate to admit I’m slightly addicted to my iPad. How many times does a person need to check their emails, Facebook and other social networking sites?

Fortunately there are still times when the real world can steal me away in a moment. ‘The Chef’ was working and I was left alone in an eerily silent house. A soft light drew me to the window. Newly fallen snow and a full moon bathed the backyard in the softest light. It was the image of serenity.

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

I’m Canadian, Eh? 018

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.

lairson sledding

What’s next, snowball fights?

As more cities in Canada and the U.S. become concerned with liability costs and catastrophic injuries, they are passing by-laws, posting signs, restricting access and even outright banning tobogganing. The crackdown has inspired pro-sledding protests, music videos and petitions. ~ Freedom sliders defy tobogganing bans in defence of Canadians’ right to slide down hills, The National Post, January 12, 2015


Not just for lumberjacks anymore

Eyes on the target, the pressure is on as Niki Schiafone raises a 28-inch axe high over her head. It’s the tie-breaker of her first game in Toronto’s axe throwing league, held in a Port Lands warehouse with multiple playing lanes caged in barbed wire. Her opponent has landed a blade just off the bull’s eye and Ms. Schiafone must stick hers right in the centre to win the match. ~ Where burying the hatchet can gain you points, The Globe and Mail, June 13, 2014

snow drummer

It’s just winter

Polar Vortex: Every year, meteorologists struggle to come up with innovative terms to bring terror to viewers over weather conditions. Polar vortex has its own Wikipedia page, and it really is a scientific thing, but six-o’clock weathermen (and women) started tossing the term around anytime the temps dropped. How about we just go back to calling it “winter,” agreed? ~ Banished words for 2015: Don’t ever say these cra-cra words again, you hack,, January 2, 2015


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