Sunday, March 25, 2012

Flowers of the earth

We're having an odd summer here in the Philippines. It has been raining at days when the sun is supposed to be showcasing its boldest grandeur...and ok, I stumbled upon this English proverb:

April showers bring forth May flowers. ^____^

Aha! That doesn't make me so grumpy about the rain and the floods anymore. Yep, May will be here soon. The young children will need an abundance of blooms to offer to the Virgin Mary every evening. Flores de Maria had always been something for me to look forward into for summer breaks from school.

My grandparents from both sides of the family grew flowers and vegetable garden. I remember both the impatience and amazement in watching the buds becoming more beautiful each day. I also remember the disappointment when the flowers are starting to wilt. How I wished the flowers would stay vibrant forever...held by sturdy stems. But they didn't and they won't. I guess that's life. But with every dying flower is a promise of another beauty waiting to be discovered somewhere in the garden :)

So much for my recollection and back to the topic: SUNDAY STAMPS :D I was unable to post stamps for quite a while now. I'm making up for that today. Since it's flowers/spring theme in Viridian's this week, here are the rest of the flower stamps from my collection:

My favorite! Red tulips are associated with eternal true love.

A 2007 flower stamp from Czechoslovakia. 
Cylamen is both a scientific and common name.
It is also called sowbread, persian violet, or primrose.

Issued in 18 March '09 under the Holy Days & Celebrations.
I wish someone can tell me what flower is this exactly...please.
I am taking a wild guess that it belongs to the genus Tagetes.

I need help on these stamps, too. I don't know how to read Japanese characters :(

My grandma's favorite!
 The flower that knows its chemistry --
The petals would be pink, purple, or blue depending on the soil's pH.

I was searching for info about this stamp, and here's what I found:

The deep blue color of the iris is associated with nobility --
its three petals symbolizes valor, wisdom and faith.
In mythology, Iris is the goddess of the rainbow.
In historical context, it's the fleur-de-lis of the French monarchy.

The greater pasque flower is listed under 'Jewels of Nature' 

And here's a flower art in stamp from Croatia. The design was made by
Orsat Frankovic and Ivana Vucic. This was a part of the 
Croatian Ethnographic Heritage - Posavina series.

I hope you enjoyed these flower stamps. Happy Sunday everyone and have a great week ahead!


p.s. If you want to see some flower stamps from my country, find them here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Climb Your Way Up & Claim the Prize

Travelling to Germany today for the World in Postcards 'Unusual Swap'
I find it rather unusual on how those kids are able to climb all the way up the 
pork-fat greased bamboo pole and claim the prize on top...


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Star Ferry from Hong Kong

Salamat po (thank you), Jocelyn for inviting me to join in your 'Our Wonderful World Tuesday' blog fest :) I'm following your lead for my first entry in participation to that -- here's a card of the Star Ferry that I got from a private swap. The card arrived last week and it's definitely making me miss Hong Kong more and more.

I was lucky to spend a one-week vacation in Hong Kong and Macau in Nov 2009. The Star Ferry rides are one of the most memorable experiences. I am scared of ship rides, no matter how short the distance. The Star Ferry rides were particularly dreadful. The water in the Victoria Harbour on which it travels is always busy; the ship tilts a lot from left to right!

But what makes me wanna repeat the experience again is I feel like I'm being part of something important in the history of navigation. A part of history that will always remain alive, and I would know that I was also a living part of it. Haha! I wish I was able to phrase it nicely that would properly convey what I wanted to mean with it. :p

According to the Star Ferry Company website, The National Geographic Traveler named the ferry crossing as one of the 50 places of a lifetime.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Johnstown Castle, Ireland

I've been enchanted by castles lately. And the passion just got more real this evening after watching the film, 'Mirror Mirror' as a Friday treat to myself. I was intrigued as to why the castle in an English film is very evident of Indian architecture...thanks to Mr. Imdb -- he said it's because the director is Indian. Ah! Got it.

To take part in the celebration of Lá Fhéile Pádraig, here's a castle card from Ireland. Saint Patrick's Day is a religious holiday in Ireland, most popularly characterized with wearing green -- since I don't have a particular card like that or a card with shamrock, here's a card with green grass, shrubs, and trees instead :D

Back to the castle, the back of the card reads: The silvery towers of Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford are enchantingly reflected in an ornamental lake. The 1840 Gothic Revival castle stands in a lush setting of ornamental trees and shrubs. The variety of mixed planting around the lake, which include noble firs, Japanese cedars, Atlantic blue cedars, copper beaches, golden Lawson cypresses and holm oaks, provides a very satisfying range of color through the year.

This post is for the Postcard Friendship Friday, sorry for the delay in posting. :( My internet connection has been acting up lately and the photo of the card didn't want to attach to this post. Anyways, good vibes...good vibes! Great week for everyone. :D


Postcard ID: IE-32097
Traveled 10,959 km in 9 days

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Crystal Concert Hall - Sapporo Snow Festival

This is a replica of one of Japan's concert hall during the 49th Sapporo Snow Festival. The festival ran from 5-11 February 1998 with 330 snow and ice sculptures in display.

I wish I have the readily-available knowledge to determine exactly which concert hall in Japan this crystal ice replica is, but I don't :( Mr. Wiki has a list of different concert halls in Japan, though.

What's more impressing about this card was the message at the back:

"Thank you for fund-raising and the rescue for the earthquake on 3.11. Japan revives without fail. Please come to Japan to play someday! -Your Japanese friend, Midori"

I am delighted to know that the the efforts of Filipino soldiers sent there to help during that state of calamity in 2011 was appreciated. Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of that day, I hope that affected places in Japan have remarkably recovered by now and that we, and our neighboring countries would continue to help each other in times of need. 

And yep, I would really want to visit Japan to see all the picturesque places described by one of my favorite authors, Haruki Murakami in his novels. Or perhaps, time my visit with the next Sapporo Snow Festival? (My, my!! I should have went there on my birthday for the opening event! The festival ran from 6-12 Feb this year! Oh! I'm dreaming. :)

This post is for Beverly's Pink Saturday blogfest, because who doesn't love the idea of all pink and lovely on a weekend when it's time to rest and unwind? ;) Go check out her page to make your weekend more lovely.


I'm delighted to feature the Backyard Neighbor, Jeanne for the Pink Saturday weekly challenge. Check out her page for pink tulip memories. :) And may I mention, tulips are in my favorite flowers list. I wish I can receive a postcard with tulips soon!

Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!

~ maria

Russian woman in costume

Pardon me, folks! I'm a day late in greeting every female, HAPPY International Women's Day! I was swamped at work yesterday and I had a problem with my bank account (but happy that it was sorted out -- thanks to the bank's assistant manager, another female!).

In honor of the women's day, I am sharing a Russian countrywoman in her ornate costume postcard for Beth's Postcard Friendship Friday. The postcard came from Russia, many thanks to Uliana of Novosibirsk. 

The woman is wearing a peasant dress, sarafan with the traditional Russian blouse. This clothing style is no longer commonly worn, except for the sarafan, that is now used as a summer dress. The entire ensemble however can still be seen during folk music and dance performances or as souvenirs. I wish I can step into one and try wearing it myself! :D

Happy Postcard Friendship Friday, dear readers and blog hoppers!

~ maria

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Miag-ao Church, UNESCO Heritage Site

Miag-ao church is listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site under the 'Baroque Churches of the Philippines' category. It was built in 1786 by Spanish Augustinian missionaries. The bas-relief facade features a large coconut tree -- the tree of life. It also features native dress, and native flora and fauna. The church was meant to defend the local people from Moro attacks. Hence, it's made of thick walls and secret passages.

This card will travel to India tomorrow for a private swap. :) And here's a prayer inspired by this card & the recent happenings in my life:

Lord, in the hustle and bustle of my life,
I admit that there are moments when my faith falters
Thank you for even in my moments of weakness,
You kept Your faith and never left my side.

Most of all, let me thank you for the people --
Who are truly good at heart and hard to come by in this world
Yet You showed me the way, and our paths inter-fold
Now I believe, kind souls are ample.

~ maria

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Philippine Jeepney

Here's another card for a private swap that will travel to Poland tomorrow.

Jeepneys are the most affordable means of public transportation here in the metro (national capital region -- Manila). Undoubtedly, this is true for other busy places in the country. Is it because of its flamboyance? Check. Because it allows you to travel at a low cost? Check.

This is my transportation from my apartment to work. The minimum fare is PhP8.00. When I first came here in Manila back in May 2003, it used to be PhP4.00. Despite the increase, I still prefer  riding a jeepney to riding a train. It's too crowded in the train and you have to stand from the origin station all the way to your destination. I am able to sit in the jeepney, travel time though is almost doubled. Hmm, I guess I love being stuck in traffic! Haha.

I am proud of the Philippine jeepney -- a product of the Filipino ingenuity; born out of Pinoy natural resourcefulness and creativity. The first jeepneys in the archipelago were transformed leftover military trucks of the Americans after World War II. Uncle Wiki describes this as an 'obiquitous' symbol of Filipino culture.


Vigan Heritage Village

This card of the Vigan Heritage Village will travel to Poland tomorrow :)

Vigan, Ilocos Sur is a UNESCO heritage site. It's a well-preserved example of European trading town in South East Asia. The place is a fusion of Asian building design and European colonial architecture and planning. The houses is of the traditional Filipino dwelling design, the nipa hut. A more detailed description of the place can be found here.

My first time in Vigan was February 2006. I enjoyed a dinner by candlelight for the Valentine's Day with my friends from the Philippine Normal University's Department of Science & Technology - Scholar's Association.  We there for an educational field trip. 

This card also shows a traditional type of transportation, the kalesa. It's a horse-drawn carriage that can usually fit 2 passengers plus the driver. I remember paying P20 when we were there for a kalesa ride from our hotel to the city circle. 

I am itching to visit Vigan again. I hope that the place is still as serene and tranquil as I remember it, when I actually have the chance to experience it again.


Sunset in Boracay

This postcard of one of the best beaches in the world, Boracay, will be travelling to Hong Kong tomorrow for a private swap :) 

It's 28-32 deg Celsius right now here in Manila. The summer days are here! For sure Boracay is starting to get noisy and busy with foreign and local tourists. I have never been there and I wonder when would be my chance to experience Boracay's fine white sand for real...


Friday, March 2, 2012

Childhood & absolute happiness.

Here's a card I received in July of last year from Moscow, Russia:

Tanya, the sender wrote:

"Here I send you a very special flower to me. My grandmother used to plant narcissuses, and we had these flowers every spring at home. It reminds me of childhood and absolute happiness."

Childhood and absolute happiness -- the nostalgia for chasing butterflies and playing with red and orange ladybugs in my great grandmother's garden, filled with the scent of her favorite flower, marigold.

I wish someone captured a photo of me back then...In my effort to frame the memories, I did the collage below. And realized, "Ugh! that's the narcissist in me!" :p

Kudos to for the photo of the marigold and the marigold petals with the ladybug.

I'm linking up with Beth @ The Best Hearts Are Crunchy for more postcards on a Friday! Have a great weekend everyone.

~ maria

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A light for you.

None of us is stranger to moments of low self-esteem and feeling disheartened. During these times, to whom do you run to? What helps you pick up your spirit and see the other side of life?

Together with prayers, here are 'foods for thought' that motivate me when I'm down:

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.
Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living the results 
of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's
opinion drown out your own inner voice. And most important,
have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
They somehow already know what you truly want to become.
Everything else is secondary.
-Steve Jobs

Be who you are and say and say what you feel
because those who mind, won't matter 
and those who matter don't mind.
-Dr. Seuss

Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see
the whole staircase, just take the first step.
-Martin Luther King

It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love
that is put into them that matters.
-Mother Teresa

We've all heard that we have to learn from our mistakes,
but I think it's more important to learn from our successes.
If you learn only from your mistakes, you are inclined to learn only errors.
-Norman Vincent Peale

When the going gets tough, I guess it's not being weak if you seek the wisdom of others (aside from keeping your faith intact) to boost your spirit!

I'm sharing this post with Michelle for her Thought Provoking Thursday theme. It was awesome to read what other thought provoking posts other bloggers have written up. Check out Michelle's page by clicking the red chair below. :)

ps. The text on the postcard above says, 'A light for you.' -- written in German, and was the inspiration for this post. I received it in August 2011 from

~ maria

Postcard ID: DE-991029
Traveled 10,326 km in 14 days