Philippine Earthquake And Tsunami Warning

Dinner was ongoing at home when the ground started to shake tonight at almost 9:00 o' clock in the evening. Initially thought that it was the common shaker we experienced previously but it got stronger and stayed on longer. We rushed out of the house carrying nothing. Along with the neighbors we spilled out in the street, prayed and waited. My mother was trembling while praying. Eventually, the ground got steady and we slowly got in. I know it was strong quake and true enough, the news confirmed that it was 7.9 magnitude with the epicenter at sea located at the Eastern Samar.

Tsunami Warning is up at these areas.

Update: As of 1210am September 1, 2012, tsunami warnings for the Philippines has been lifted. Philvocs advises that aftershocks may occur.


Where Is Davao?

Early this month, we traveled the Philippines for just a little less than two hours.  We were at SM Mall of Asia’s SMX Convention Centre attending the Philippine Travel Mart 2012.  The entrance venue was P50 and it was worth it because there were giveaways, promo packages and there were booths and pavilions that beautifully showcased the different parts of the country.

We had fun having our photos taken at the Banaue/Sagada booth along with the real Igorots in their G-strings and their wooden scooters.  We marveled at the Higantes and stood beside the Roman soldier-dressed and masked guy of the Moriones festival. We pretended we were newly weds at the Bohol area and then, played with the windmills of Ilocos region but where is the Davao’s booth? We wondered. Retracing our steps, it took us a while to find it. Pearl Farm Resort had a small booth and it was an ordinary-looking one and that was it?? Undaunted, we searched more only to find out that the Region XI Department of Tourism booth was right there beside Pearl Farm Resort’s booth. Except for a long table and several handouts on it, the DOT Region XI booth was almost bare. Taking its picture was not worth it.   What a disappointment! What happened to the organizers of the said booth?

The other region’s pavilions or booths were really cool. They really showed the attractions of their provinces and it was obvious that they really prepared for their respective booths/pavilions. Can’t say the same to our region’s booth though. Hopefully, they shall do better next time. If they shall not, it is already a big injustice considering Region XI as well as the whole island of Mindanao has so much to offer to visitors from all over the world. The negative flak sometimes gets


Tuesday Travels#42 Sayaw Mindanaw 2012

Every 3rd week of August, all roads lead to Davao City. Flights and hotel rooms are fully booked months ahead and the city streets of Davao are colorfully decorated with the colors of the Kadayawan festival.

One of the major events in the Kadayawan festival is the Sayaw Mindanaw (Mindanao Dances). The event showcases the Southern Philippine dances as presented by different group-participants from all over Mindanao.

If not for my photography group, I would not have gotten into this particular event much less into the first row of the venue. I really thank God for the opportunity. I saw first hand how beautiful, amazing and colorful our native dances from the South were. I am truly proud of all the participants who came from all over the Southern Philippines just to showcase our beautiful heritage.

This year's Sayaw Mindanaw (Mindanao Dances) was held in connection with the Kadayawan Festival at the SM Davao Annex last August 16, 2012. There were about 10-15 group participants. The performances were really intense, fast-paced, intricate and fascinating. The costumes and the props were beautiful, indigenous and colorful. What made me really more proud was that most of the participants if not all are in their teen-age years. I am now more hopeful that our native dances will survive for far longer into more generations.

Here are some photos of the participants:

 First Prize winner (Open Category): Kadanao Theater Collective of Butuan City

One of the participants in the children's category. 


Busy With Kadayawan

This year's Kadayawan festival feels somehow different for me even if I'm always excited about it. There's pressure this year. Our photography group is one of the assigned groups to take photos of the festival's events. So, as members we were assigned events to take photos of. Unlike before wherein I can just take Kadayawan photos whenever and wherever I like, now I have some assignments. Ugh! pressure!

 So, I should be at Sayaw Mindanao (Mindanao Dances) on August 16, 5-8pm at the SM Davao-Annex. On the next day, the Hiyas ng Kadayawan finals shall be held at the Davao City Recreation Center (formerly Almendras Gym) at 7pm. Of course, the Kadayawan weekend events are the most anticipated ones so I should be there no matter what. On Saturday, August 18, is the Indak-indak sa Kadalanan (Kadayawan street dance). It shall start around 8am along Roxas Ave and will culminate at the Rizal Park. In the afternoon, the participants will present again at the Rizal Park for their final performance. Sunday, August 19, is the Pamulak sa Kadalanan (floral float parade). Again, the same route as that of the street dance.

My, what a tiring schedule. But hey, am having so much fun!


Tuesday Travels#41 It's Kadayawan Month

It's August once again. Rainy days are here. The city is always flooded because of it. But, the celebration is moving along as the Kadayawan festival's week-long celebration officially started last August 3. The opening ceremony was led by no less than the City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte. Along with the tribal leaders and city officials, the colorful opening ceremony was held at the People's Park.

Here are some of the photos I took on the said event:
 Mayor Sara Z. Duterte leading the opening ceremonies for the Kadayawan festival. There was an amusing moment when she was about to start her speech though. She was facing the audience so the photographers were scrambling for an angle but she realized that the light was at her back. So, realizing that it was a disadvantage for the photographers, she moved around to face the lights commenting that it's all about documentation.

 The bounty basket, touted as the biggest in the world. I'm inclined to agree cause at about 6 feet in height, the fruits inside the basket went deep right up to the ground.

 One of the Hiyas ng Kadayawan paritcipants being presented to the media at the opening ceremonies of Kadayawan festival.



What to expect aboard the Norwegian Epic

You may already know some of the basics about the the Norwegian Epic, the newest, largest and certainly the most extravagant ship within the Norwegian Cruise company's fleet, but let's see if we can't inform you a little further. First of all, as its name suggests, the Epic is a substantial craft to say the least. It stretches out to over a thousand feet in length, sits 28.5 feet wide and can cater for up 4,100 guests at any one time.

And the scale of the Epic means it can accommodate a vast array of attractions and activity areas designed to keep every member of any family, couple or group of friends more than happy for the length of their stay. Naturally enough, the destinations that the ship visits and the excursions you can choose from on dry land will contribute to much of the excitement on-board but nonetheless every effort is made to make sure guests are as well looked after and entertained as they can be.

Another important element of the Epic's offering is its capacity to more than match the energy levels of even the most boisterous young children. There are clubs and activity areas designed especially for them and Norwegian is the only cruise line to have enlisted the help of none other than 'Sponge Bob Squarepants' to keep children and perhaps the more incorrigible adults entertained. Meanwhile, there is a quite splendid variety of dinning options for adults and families to choose from and you could comfortably pick a new restaurant each evening and still leave more to try when you return another time.   

Of course, Norwegian isn't the only cruise-line out there offering enticing package holiday deals and UK consumers should perhaps always consider the latest offers being made on Royal Caribbean cruises, wherever in the world it is you're hoping to visit next time around.