longwood garden (winter 2015)


yellow flower macro

It has been months since I visited this website, funny thing, this is my website. I really thought that I would be able to put stuff up in here about photos I took and write up a little something, but it was easier said than done.

The picture above and the pictures in the gallery link were taken last year at Longwood Garden. We took my mother-in-law and her grandson to this garden last year when they arrived from the Philippines. It was my first time in a long time that I held my Sony A900.

Aside from the camera, I brought with me a monopod, an off-camera flash, and wireless trigger (forgot that I only took the lens that was on my camera at that time – 100 mm f/2.8 macro lens). I took obligatory shots of people I was with at that time. However, I was on my own most of the time and was taking pictures of anything that interested me. I hoped that I had brought my tripod with me to get tack sharp macro pictures of flowers and plants.

I only hope that after a long time of my hiatus that I can still take good pictures. I also hope that I will pick up my camera more often and practice more. I have heard that to be good at something, you need to do it a lot (say invest 10,000 hours).

I miss going to Gloucester County Photography Club, the people there are awesome. One of these days, I will stop by and pay them a visit to get motivated and boost to pick up my gear and just shoot.

Don’t Steal My Bicycle

chained bicycle

chained bicycle

It was during Pope Francis visit to Philadelphia when I took this picture. It was Saturday and we rode the PATCO from Lindelwold to Philly. Security was tight at Lindenwold and Philadelphia was so much more. There were a lot of armed security from all branches of government (uniformed and non-uniformed).

Well, strolling along the city was some what a joy because there were no traffic in the streets but there were a lot of pedestrians. My kids and myself were walking towards the park in the middle of the street like everybody who visited. I happened to see this chained bicycle to a light post and what struck me was the wheel was bent and I thought to myself that even if was not chained I would not think somebody would steal it.

Was the person who rode that bicycle got into an accident and just chained it with the intent of retrieving it later or was it caused by some person with no regard to personal property. In any case, it was worth the shot for any purpose, but at the moment for the purpose of jump starting my blog.

When I was not working it was difficult to work on my blog because I was so busy looking for a job and attending classes. However, when I finally found a job it was the same thing, I was busy adjusting with my new job and learning things that were still new to me. In addition to taking work home to get ahead.

I need to get back into shooting as well as getting my pictures off the card and process them. Me and my excuses.

williamsburg 2015

jamestown port

jamestown port

We went back to Williamsburg, VA again this year. The plan was to go to Massanutten Resort but I forgot to reserve. Apparently, I need 30 day notice to use my fixed time share. That policy was crap, when you have a fixed week that should be fixed whether you use it or not or traded it which should show up in their system. If it’s floating then that’s a different story. Sad to say I just forfeited our fixed week stay and my kids were looking forward to go back after more than five years.

It was a good thing that Diamond Resort, who was the new owner of Powhatan Plantation resort at Williamsburg, had an availability. I used up our points which was expiring this year for this vacation.

We have been to Williamsburg, Virginia several times in the past 10 years and stayed at the same resort. This resort to my opinion was situated in a perfect spot. It’s close to a church and it’s close to all the historical sites: Williamsburg; Jamestown; and Yorktown. If you want to go to the beach then Virginia beach is just an hour drive not considering traffic. Powhatan Plantation was also close to Busch Gardens and Water Country USA.

After spending a few days visiting the historical sites, my wife and daughter wanted to go to Virginia beach. We visited Air and Space Museum at Hampton on our way to the beach but decided just to look in Hampton for beach instead of driving through traffic to Virginia Beach. We found one and it was very quiet and my wife and daughter swore that it was good, less crowd and the beach was awesome and it was close the parking.

Another common thing we always do in Williamsburg was to dine at “The Cheese Shop“. This is a nice store where you can order sandwiches and enjoy it inside the store or outside. I recommend this place. I tried different sandwiches every time we visited and sampled the local beer as well.

Click on the picture above to see the rest of my pictures I took.

eagle rock 2015

eagle rock

eagle rock

This picture was taken late winter this year. The Butic family and our family went to visit this place to take advantage of our benefits since we were both property owner at Eagle Rock.

Eagle Rock is located at Hazleton, Pennsylvania. It is gated community with a lot of amenities for property owners. What they boast is the golf course designed by Arnold Palmer. They also have well known Filipino celebrities like Manny Paquiao and Lea Salonga. Though, I could not confirm or deny because that was told by the sales agent.

Every winter season property owners get season tickets for ski lift. As you can see the newbie snowboarders and skiers rested after probably from a lot of spills and falls. Click the above picture to see more pictures.

the office

the office

the office

I really enjoyed watching the series of “The Office“, and today was the last episode. I was sucked into watching this when I saw my kids watching the reruns they recorded . They suggested that I need to watch it from the beginning to understand or try to understand what the show was about.

I usually am picky watching TV series because as what Sheldon Cooper said in one of the “The Big Bang Theory” episode, “it’s a commitment”. I was glad to see the whole series because of the story or even the characters the actors portrayed. There were some stand out characters in the series but other characters actually completed and complemented the main ones.

After watching the final episode, I was hoping that it did not end. The show was about shooting employees of a paper company for reality TV. The crew followed each and everyone of the employees in their daily routine in and out of the office. The show was an attempt to give the audience a glimpse of how to create a reality show. The show was scripted well to make you laugh, enjoy and in the cry. But don’t forget about the moral that you can take away. I could say more about the series but I don’t want to spoil this for others who haven’t seen the show.

Kid you not, this is like a really good book that you don’t want to put down until you finished reading the entire book. By the way, my kids told me that this was copied from the UK version of the same title. I have not seen that one yet and I may check it out.

Too Late

Christmas Group Photo 2014

Christmas Group Photo 2014

I fell off the grid.

I have not touched my camera in almost half a year because of a life changing event. I would like to put things back the way they were and hopefully by posting this picture I took last Christmas, it will ignite my passion back.

So much has passed and I cannot undo or get them back, but the only thing I can do is get up and start all over again.

This picture reminded me of what was and this picture was a slice in time that you cannot go back but only remember or reminisce. Some people you still see and others just fell off the way side, how you wished that things don’t change but they do. Because change is the only constant in our lives. The challenge is how to deal with changes that will come our way. Changes may be for the better or for the worse but just the same, changes. To those friends who I rarely see or has never seen, don’t be a stranger we are still friends. To see the picture bigger just click on it.

Here’s to starting my blog again and getting back into editing pictures.

a visitor from down under



Last year when I went to the Philippines for my mother’s birthday, my relatives from Australia also paid a visit. It was a sort of two birds with one stone kind of thing because it was also a reunion for all the cousins who has not seen each other in almost 25 years. My Aussie relatives arrived first and they stayed in Sofitel, then myself after a couple of days then my brother.

Well this blog is not about that but a plan I learned from my cousin Lolita. She was planning to visit the US of A that fall.

It was nearing her visit but I have not heard any chatter in my social media coming from Australia about her visit. My other cousin Charmaine mentioned that it was a 50/50. It was indeed a 30/70 split learning from Lolita when she finally made it to our home on Thanksgiving day.

I learned from the social media that she’s coming over when i finally saw her picture post at the airport. She decided to join her friends at San Francisco missing the LA leg of their trip. Then Vegas and after that to Miami then NYC. She has toured more in her stay here than myself being here for more than 15 years.

I was happy that she enjoyed her tour and her visit to our home, in New Jersey, was a subdued one compared to others. I was not much of a host during her stay because I really have no idea where to bring guests. I needed to ask my son where would be a better place to show my cousin since they were almost the same age and I am almost twice her age. Fun was not my middle name it was my brother’s. I am more of where do you want to go kind of guy. I only showed her Longwood Gardens at night, then shopped at Philadelphia Premium Outlets then a drive in Philadelphia at night with a stop at the iconic Pat’s Cheesesteak across Geno’s.

It was amazing shopping with her because she did not need Black Friday or Super Sale events to get discounts. She got discounts from men and women just because of her amazing looks plus throw in that Australian accent. The question is will I fare the same as her if and when I visit the land down under? I doubt it, though we’re cousins she’s the type of person who the camera would love and I on the other hand would rather be the one behind it.

Her stay was rather short but I just hoped that she enjoyed her stay. Click the picture above to see other pictures or just click here.

las vegas get-away day 3

fountain at the bellagio

fountain at the bellagio

We planned to drive to Hoover dam that day after our mandatory meeting with the Diamond Resort staff to brief us about our account.

Do you know Murphy? Well you should know him. If you think that nothing will go wrong, there will. That’s Murphy’s law. Well anyway, we got ourselves ready for breakfast and then one of the staff was assigned to us to talk about our account with Diamond Resort. We actually stated in the get go that we were not interested in buying more of what it was they were offering but it was a tough battle since it took us way past lunch time to get out of that meeting.

Our Hoover dam plan seemed to be not happening. My wife and I decided to eat at Goldilock’s (another one of the known food places in the Philippines). To our surprise they had a nice spread for lunch and we ordered the lunch package for 4 and yet we were able to almost finished the entire thing, actually hold that, we actually did. We also found out that they serve breakfast (buffet style).

My wife decided to buy some pastries at Goldilocks’ since they’re famous for that anyway. She also decided to buy more at a local Filipino bakery close to Jollibee. I decided to stay in the car and wait for her, wrong decision. She came back after a long while with a lot of plastic bags and it filled up the back seat of the Yaris. I got surprised and told her that how will those things fit in our hand carry, long story short we were not able to make to the Hoover dam because it was close to 5 PM and I did not want to drive there and did not want to chance getting stuck somewhere out there in the dark. However, we did buy a box to put all that she bought. We went back to the resort to pack up our stuff and I disagreed with her when she bought all those stuff.

At night, we decided to eat dinner somewhere at the strip. We parked our rental in the Bellagio parking and started to walk around. It was pretty crazy walking at night along the strip because there were a lot of people and traffic was crazy. We decided to try to eat at Paris and then went back to Bellagio to watch the fountain show, twice. Then just before midnight we drove back to our resort. Click the picture above or just click here to see other pictures.

las vegas get-away day 2

welcome las vegas

welcome las vegas

Woke up and found that I slept well, I usually find it hard to sleep for a day or so in a new place, probably because of the flight and was just flat out tired. Went out the balcony and saw that there were already a lot of people in the pool below.

We had a full day a head of us and we need to get a good breakfast to start the day. My wife suggested Jollibee, I guess she missed eating the traditional Filipino breakfast, TAPSILOG (cured beef, fried rice and egg) or LONGSILOG (Filipino sausage, fried rice and egg). As for myself, it does not matter.

After breakfast, we planned to park our rented car in one of the hotels and just leave it there and walk around. We went to the Venetian and parked the car, it was really difficult to navigate at first but I got the hang of it after one wrong turn. We started our walk around tour using the app I downloaded. Being inside the hotel/casino, you will lose the sense of time and that was the design, I supposed. we were walking inside the Venetian for a long time and I found out that it was connected to the Palazzo as well. We decided to take the gondola ride inside the Venetian. We opted to share the ride with another older couple from Delaware, it’s cheaper that way compared to having the gondola just by ourselves. After, my wife went window shopping, and the trouble with that was, you are going to buy something, regardless.

Went out of the Venetian to walk to the other hotels, as soon as we got to the the exit the heat from outside was just too much. It was a dry heat, you don’t get sticky as much as you get in Miami or Manila. We stopped by a shop and bought a large piña colada with alcohol of course and we shared it. We were drinking while walking at the same time, I guess this was the only place you can drink alcohol and not hide it and not get citation.

We went to Ceasar’s next, but we were taking a lot of pictures using my Sony Alpha 99 and taking videos using my GoPro Hero. At the back part of Ceasar’s there was a huge aquarium and on top was some sort of statues that move. Apparently, these statues stay hidden at first and comes out during the scheduled show. The show was about how the Atlantis disappeared. It was okay for a free show.

Before we headed back to Cancun Resort, we stopped by the famous Las Vegas sign and the White Chapel. Got back to our room and we had to get ourselves ready for the show we booked for the night, Cirque Du Soleil – O. Since the show was not until 10 PM we attended a dinner/presentation for the time share owners.

The show was at the Bellagio and we got there just in time. The stage in the show was water and the platform appears and disappears. It was nicely done and choreographed. After the show, we missed the water fountain show outside the Bellagio, instead we went to the old strip at California Hotel and Casino. My wife’s friend suggested to try “bulalo” in a restaurant inside that hotel. It was a different experience at the old strip, the parking was paid and it was outside. Inside the hotel were mostly Filipinos and I was surprised that there was still a queue in the restaurant. My wife loved her order but I ordered steak but I could not eat it. I have to say that it was not appetizing to eat there, don’t know why but I guess it’s just me. I thought I was eating at Denny’s or IHOP, LOL.

It was early in the morning and we decided to go back to Cancun and end our second day at Vegas. Click here to see the pictures I took or click the picture above.



las vegas get-away day 1

cancun resort

cancun resort

My wife called me one afternoon on my way home from work and told me that the seminar she applied for at work was granted and she was flying to Las Vegas for a two day seminar. I suggested that I can fly over to meet her there if she can extend her flight back until Sunday of that seminar week.

That night, she told me that her request had been granted. I hustled to book a flight with the same return flight as hers, found one and booked it. I contacted Diamond Resorts, our time share resort, and asked for an availability in Las Vegas on the said dates. I was told that there were a couple, I chose Cancun Resort and booked it using our banked points, no cash out. The only cash out was the plane ticket and the car rental, Hertz.

Heck, this was my third time this year flying: Philippines; then Dominican Republic; and Las Vegas. And I am not fond of flying. My wife flew out on a Tuesday and followed that Friday. My son dropped me off at the airport early in the morning and I did not want to go later because of the security. I only had one hand carry and my camera bag.

The flight was great and my experience with Delta Airlines was so much better compared to US Air. I was seated close to the front of the plane because I find it better compared to the tail section. I had a nice chat with an elderly lady (she was with her husband) who were attending some sort of a reunion with their children in Idaho. I saw her reading the daily bible reading and asked her if she was a Catholic and she nodded. I showed her my daily reading application in my tablet and told her that this was handy and it contained so much more, she countered that she finds the book better. We had a small chat and got to know something about each other. I told her about my kids and she did the same. She also mentioned that her kids were not her biological children, they were her husbands from the first marriage. She told me that she used to be a nun and was teaching were her husbands kids were going. She was friends with her husbands first wife. She moved back to Pennsylvania when her husband’s first wife died. Her husband and kids would visit her in Pennsylvania and after several years they fell in love and she left being a nun and got married. I would think that they were already older when that happened since she did not have any biological child of her own.

The pilot announced that we were passing Salt Lake and I opened the window shade and saw how magnificent the lake was. We landed at Salt Lake and we said our goodbyes and wished each other a nice time. I had to hurry out since I did not have much layover time at that airport. I quickly bought some quick lunch that I can eat inside the plane or probably while waiting for boarding.

It was just an hour flight from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas and I thought that I was going to be bumped for the next flight because I over heard the ground stewardess that it was booked flight. My ticket did not have a confirmed seating assigned. I was given a seat at the last row of the plane, but I was lucky enough that my seat was by a mother separated from her daughter who was seated in row 16. The mother asked me if I mind to switch place with her daughter, I said I did not mind but in my mind I was so happy I did not have to seat at the back. Looking out at Las Vegas from a window plane, you will find out that the whole city’s surrounded by solid rock mountain ranges and no trees in sight except for the palm trees they probably brought from other places.

Landed at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas, the first thing that will hit you was the presence of slot machines all over the airport terminal. Welcome Las Vegas! Walked out of the airport, it was a breeze since I did not have any checked in baggage, and the dry heat was so overwhelming. Got in the shuttle to the rental car place and picked up my rental car. All I can say was that I will not be using Hertz next time. I was told the only thing they can give me was Toyota Yaris, thinking at that time that it was comparable to what I booked online I accepted. When I got to the car,I found out that the car was much smaller than I booked and it did not even have a power windows and it did not have a remote control lock (I had to use the key to open and lock that damn car). Heck, Budget rental was cheaper and they usually upgrade you without additional charge. I also found out that I was spoiled, and those small features in the car I cannot live without.

Drove to Cancun Resort and I found out that it was not that far from the airport. I checked myself in and went to the room which was outdated. What struck me was the swimming pool and the massive Aztec pyramid. The resort was along Las Vegas Boulevard (the strip), and about a couple of miles or so away from the famous Welcome Las Vegas sign.

Grabbed my camera bag and drove to the closest IN-N-OUT burger joint. I ordered a double and milk shake, I was surprised that it only cost me less than $5. I then stopped by Target which was in the same location of the burger joint, to buy some water and velcro as well as car charger (i forgot mine, or the one I had did not work).

Talked to my wife and she told me that I can pick her up. They were staying at Red Rock Resort which was more than 10 miles away from the strip. I find it easier to drive in Las Vegas compared to New Jersey, however, their roads were not painted but rather used the reflectors. I would think that it would be a challenge driving in the rain. Picked up my wife with her new found friend who asked for a ride back to the airport.

Since it was still early for her friend’s flight, they suggested to eat something at the nearby Jollibee and Chow King. Then we dropped her friend at the airport and we headed back to Cancun Resort.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Click here to see other pictures or just click the picture above.