Boracay, with its stunning white beaches, had always been a familiar destination for me. However, on my recent trip to this tropical paradise with my fellow yoga teachers, I was eager to see how the island had transformed after its rehabilitation. This adventure also presented a unique opportunity for me to embark on a Boracay bike loop, something I had longed to experience.
Our journey through Marinduque had been a thrilling cycling adventure, and the last leg was both the shortest and the most demanding. Our destination: the Luzon Datum of 1911, the geodetic center of the Philippines, perched atop Mt. Mataas in Mogpog, rising approximately 200 meters above sea level. It was the perfect way to conclude our cycling odyssey on this captivating island.
Visiting Bidibidi Cafe in Baao, Camarines Sur is entering the lush and vibrant world of artist, Bernadette De Los Santos, fondly called, BidiBidi. The signage “Cafe des Artes” seen along Rizal St marks the place of Bidibidi Cafe. Inside the gated walls is a beautiful garden interspersed with wooden sculptures. Vibrant murals envelope the facade of the house known as the home of the Burikbutikan Artist Collective, BidiBidi Enterprise Handicrafts and Bidibidi Cafe.
Leprosy has been eradicated in Culion since the 1980s but the stigma still remains. It didn’t help that World Health Organization (WHO) only declared Culion leprosy-free in 2006. So why not embrace this history of healing of this infectious disease? The structures, the research, the tools and the story of the people who lived while it was a leper colony still remains. Culion town is a witness on how a community persevered and healed.
The heat was overwhelming upon my first taste of Kuwaiti air in the 3rd quarter of the year. Even at night, the blowing wind felt like it was coming from the oven. During day, the sun intensifies the heat, reaching higher than 40°C. The only respite is the shade. But even under the shadows, I found myself still sweating buckets. It took a while for me to get used to this weather. Even if there are several malls with air-conditioners functioning at full capacity, I was looking for some green, cool, and open spaces. I found the recently open and on-going development of Al Shaheed Park fascinating. A modern city development to what seemed to be an oasis in the city.
For many culture, a broken mirror means bad luck in the unforeseeable future. But for Italian-born contemporary artist Lidia Qattan, seeing her daughter with scattered glass shards on the floor sparked a creative idea. To minimize her daughter’s wall doodling, Lidia started to place the mirror pieces on the wall with artistic patterns. This was the start of decades of work to transform her humble home in Kuwait as the only house in the world covered in mirror mosaic – the Mirror House.
Setting off to a distant island across rough seas and under intermittent weather in the wee hours of the morning aboard a large fishing vessel may sound like a romanticized adventure. But that’s exactly how our journey to Seco Island began. Well not exactly, it’s actually a clumsy ride on a flat boat that held everyone’s breath as we grope for balance to transfer from the shore to the big boat. I’ve only seen flat boats used here heavily in Antique, but these outrigger-less, flat surfaced geometrical boat is a challenge to balance on water especially with a number of people inside. But it did wake us up under the starry night sky and kept us alert as we boarded the shipping vessel for a 2-3 hour ride.