trip to tagaytay


Last year, my wife and I went home to the Philippines to celebrate my father’s 70th birthday. My father was not big in celebration and somewhat introvert. I guess I took to my father. Did not like being in a crowd and did not care much for celebrations either. If he had his way, he will just stay home and find something to do. Well, it was not up to him and we ended up in a restaurant with family and friends.

After a few days, we celebrated my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. I regretted not giving them a planned celebration since that was a milestone in their lives as well as ours. They just had a church blessing and had a small reception afterwards.

My wife and I brought our parents to Tagaytay for an overnight stay. I guess they need to get away even just for a day. My mother cannot leave their dog for a long time as well as her orchids. With the help of Ellen we booked at Taal Vista, famous hotel overlooking Taal volcano.

I remembered that day was not a good day to take pictures because it was foggy and the weather was just awful. But I still managed to snap a couple of pictures of my parents overlooking the volcano. We strolled along the mountain side and sat down to relax. That night, we went out to Pamana restaurant, a Filipino celebrity owned restaurant. The decor brings nostalgia and the food reminded me of home cooked meals.

After dinner we brought our parents to visit a casino, but none of us are gamblers, so we just walked around and sat at one of their slot machines and dropped about $20 (this is the most I would like to spend at a casino anyway). The casino was like a mom and pop store compared to casinos here in the states.

I guess it was getting late for my parents and we went back to the hotel. After we dropped our parents back at their room, my wife and I grabbed a few drinks at the hotel’s music lounge.

The next day was a breakfast feast at the hotel, we enjoyed the authentic Filipino breakfast. Mind you Filipinos like to eat a lot. Americans will just have bagels and coffee, Filipinos will go overboard. It is really the only way break your fast. It was a sunny day and an opportunity to take some pictures with the volcano as your background. Being with family is always priceless. Click the picture to see the rest of the pictures or just click here.


williamsburg VA day 2

the griffon

This was day 2 on our Williamsburg VA vacation. My wife’s cousin and her family arrived last night to join us. The first thing in the agenda was to get our children to the theme park, kinda like to get this over with before we hit the historic spots.

This was our second time in Busch Gardens and I have to admit that I liked this better than the other theme parks I have been (Euro Disney, Tokyo Disney and Six Flags). I have to ask my wife and kids if they like this better than the theme parks in Orlando FL because I have not been there yet.

For those who has not visited Busch Gardens here is a short description: the park is divided into countries like Germany, Italy, Ireland and I think France; and in each country they have different attractions, rides, shows and food; the park caters to old and young as well as for none riders and extreme riders.

Since I no longer ride, I was just taking pictures of people riding this awesome roller coaster. I was very fortunate that I was able to take this picture with my children with their auntie and cousin. Since I don’t have any means to know when their turn was, I took lots of pictures and went through each one during the post process to check if I got them in the shot. I also decided to create this collage to show the perspective of this ride. Click on the link to see more day 2 pictures as well as day 1. Thanks for visiting.

williamsburgVA day 1

historic powhatan plantation

Vacation time! We drove from NJ yesterday to Williamsburg VA and it was a nightmare. It took us more than 6 hours to drive down to Historic Powhatan Plantation in Williamsburg, Virginia. Thanks to the traffic that lasted almost forever from the DC area up to Fredericksburg. Also, thanks to our TomTom GPS that gave us that route instead of just taking the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel.

We just grabbed a quick dinner at Hardee’s before heading to the plantation. When we got there we thought it was different from the one we stayed the last time we visited Williamsburg, but it was not. It was the same one except for a new owner (we found out the next day during the owners meeting).

The picture above was taken the next day when I decided to take a stroll while they were still sleeping. When I got back they were still in bed sleeping.

This marked the first day of our vacation.

eagle rock

eagle rock

ISO 200 F/4 1/40 second

Last September we were invited by Len, a resort owner at Eagle Rock Resort at Hazleton, Pennsylvania. The resort is a gated community built and maintained by Double Diamond Corporation. The resort boast a golf course designed by Arnold Palmer, ski resort, man-made beach, hike and bike trails and lots of amenities for owners and guests. We spent our weekend in the resort and stayed in two residences which by the way were free. Each of the family were give a $200 vouchers, and spent the vouchers for massage. We enjoyed our stay because of the scenery as well as the free activities that were available for us.

I enjoyed the hike and took photos on my way to the beach. It was a long hike and I even forgot to bring even a bottle of water. I just brought my tripod and my camera with the 100 mm prime lens. It was a good thing that my company decided to drive to the the beach and picked me up along the way. I would love to go back again either this coming fall or winter to enjoy more picturesque scenery.


trip to maine (running away from irene) part 2

boston harbor pylons

ISO 200 F/11 1/250 second @ 50mm

After spending a night in Boston last 25 August 2011, we were preparing to check out and head out to see the city since yesterday was not enough. That day was not doing so well either since it took us a while to check out. We grabbed a late breakfast, around 10 AM, and we were discussing how to tour the city on a limited time. We were choosing between the duck tour or the trolley tour, and we thought that the duck tour was better because we will be able to see the city and the harbor.

We went to the duck tour after breakfast and only to find out that the wait time for the ride is around 4PM which was not good because we still need to drive up to Maine that same day. We were still wanting to see the city so bad despite of the short time we had, hence, we went to the trolley tour instead because the timing was good and there is a bonus of a free harbor tour just the same.

The bus tour was better because we were able to get off on each stop to enjoy the scene and then get on to another trolley. However, we were not able to do that since time was not on our side. We just stopped at the pier to get on to the boat tour of the harbor then get on again to see the remainder of the city. Yes, we just saw boston from inside the trolley and learned about the city from the tour guide who was also the driver. We just found out that more than 70% of the city was reclaimed, the bus driver/tour guide showed where the old city ends and starts as compared to the rest of the new city. Our driver/tour guide also informed us that the population of Boston increased by 200,000 during school season because of the number of schools in and around the city.

What hits us by far is that the city smelled better than New York and we did not see any homeless people loitering the city. The city also has a network of undergound roads which our guide informed us that it may present difficulty for new drivers in the city. Like New York there was a problematic area in Boston, the main artery that leads commuters south to Boston, about 3 hours drive time to get out of the city.

Our short stay in Boston gave us some sense that we may be coming back for more of it. Personally, I would like to live in Boston rather than New York, I don’t really care what others are saying about New York City but there is something magical about Boston. After our trolley tour my wife decided to stroll the mall in the Prudential Center before we drove ourselves out of Boston and on to Maine.