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Metro Manila Philippines Travel

Manila: Simbang Gabi and some Christmas Wishes

Manila Cathedral Simbang Gabi
Manila Cathedral Simbang Gabi

First let me greet you all a blessed Christmas. It’s been a crazy year with a lot of highs and lows. But Christmas is here to remind us to count our blessings instead and see the world in a different perspective. I can’t say that things have all been good seeing the tragedy that happened to our brothers in Mindanao. But it shows that there is hope for humanity seeing the great outpour of support from people giving what little they can offer. This season, I revisit Simbang Gabi on some of the popular churches in Manila to capture a Filipino tradition.

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Camarines Sur Metro Manila Philippines Travel

In Transit: Manila to Naga via the Revived PNR Bicol Express Connection

The revived Bicol Express Train
The revived Bicol Express Train

I hear the heavy clacking sound of the engines as it starts and the loud honk of the train signalling any living beings to move away from its path. There’s a low grumbling noise under my feet as if something just woke up from a long time slumber. Yes, the Philippine National Railways has revived the Bicol Express and just last night, it started its first commercial run in years. Like a dragon that just woke up, the train howled as it cuts through urban Manila as it heads to Naga City in Bicol.

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General Metro Manila Metro Manila Philippines Travel

Metro Manila: Ironwulf Wishes Everyone A Merry Christmas

Ayala Triangle Festival of Parols
Ayala Triangle Festival of Parols

Christmas is changing. Honestly, I wish I would be in a place where Christmas is celebrated stripped off the commercialism and senseless countdowns and save some people some stress during this season. I asked a cousin of mine who has been around the world what he thinks about Christmas. I remember him telling me one of the best places he spent Christmas was in Papua New Guinea. People there don’t have much. They don’t have to worry about buying gifts to people and their only concern is coming together as a family, celebrating with what they have. Isn’t that ideal?

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Metro Manila Metro Manila Philippines Reviews Stay

GoHotels, A Budget Accommodation along EDSA Metro Manila

The Twin Room at GoHotels Pioneer
The Twin Room at GoHotels Pioneer

I must admit, I find Manila lacking on budget or backpacker accommodations. One reason why most backpacking or budget travellers skip Manila or Philippines is the lack of facilities to accommodate these kind of tourist. In the age of cheap airline travel, I won’t be surprised if budget accommodations would follow. Taking on the Tune Hotels model of Malaysia, GoHotels recently opened their first branch along EDSA Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong City. I was able to try them out during their soft opening period and here’s what I think about the place.

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Metro Manila Philippines

Pasig: Rainforest Park Macro

Butterfly zipping nectar on a Lantana

Butterfly zipping nectar on a Lantana

(Update April 16, 2014: Check out the updated post on RAVE of Pasig here)

Before I start on the series of my recent travels, I’d like to get this one out of the way first. I am fairly new to the world of Macro Photography. And I think this kind of photography is a world of its own. Seeing those minuscule details just blow up on your pictures is both exciting and fascinating. So armed with a 35mm Macro Zuiko Digital for my E500, I did some experiments on shooting a lot of flora, which is quite a popular subject in Macro Photography. So I hope you enjoy the images here which are all RAW processed and un-cropped.

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