Friday, November 30, 2012

The Lion City

Friendship Gift Postcard, Sender: My twin, Wan
Sent from Singapore, Singapore, Sent on 11 June 2012
Received on 20 June 2012, Traveled 2,392 km in 9 days

I got this as a 'welcome back to Asia' card after an almost one month visit to Scotland and the United Kingdom. I fell in love with the places I visited there. Edinburgh and Stratford-upon-Avon were my favorites. I told myself I would love to live in any of these two places. It was like being inside a fairy tale with the ambiance there.

Then, exactly one month ago, at this very same hour, I was preparing for my early morning flight for Singapore. I had a four-day experience of Singapore, the 'Lion City' and I told myself, I want to relocate and would love to work and find advancement with my profession there. Singapore is more a reality to me than living in Edinburgh and/or Stratford-upon-Avon. It's almost industrial and commercial landscape all over the place, but it still remains clean and green. Despite the busyness, one can still find zen in the midst of tall buildings and continuously buzzing people and transportation because there are nice and relaxing gardens and lots of tress everywhere. I think it's a really nice place to make professional dreams coming true while being able to stay healthy inside and out as a person. The biggest considerations, the western competitive vibe for continuously working hard for a good quality of life is there but, this place is less expensive than US/UK/Europe, very much closer to home, and the weather is very similar to the Philippines.

Chinatown Food Street dining experience with my twin / bestfriend Wan 
(who sent the postcard and who invited me to visit Singapore).

I am a 'can-never-tolerate-the-cold' person having been raised and lived in a tropical country for 20+ years. An airconditioning temperature lower than 18 degrees Celcius makes me shiver already! I realized it would be an extreme torture for me to permanently live and work in the cold western countries, especially during the during winter. Plus I would be too far from my family and friends here in the Philippines. Family is very important for me and also my most trusted friends are staying here in the Philippines (like my bestfriend who would be a lawyer here and she can't be a practicing lawyer somewhere else without additional years of studies and qualifying exams).

Given the chance to live and work outside the Philippines, I realized I would prefer another country which is closer to home (read: where plane ticket to fly back to Manila whenever necessary is a lot cheaper :p ). 

One simple realization but it taught me some things which are substantial. Sometimes, we imagine ourselves in fairy tale dreams. We love these dreams because of course, fairy tales are always beautiful and are always coupled with 'happily ever after'. But then, how about our personal realities? Are they fit to let us truly enjoy a 'happily ever after' in the fairy tales we dream and imagine for ourselves?

It also taught me that yes, sometimes it helps to wander far to discover where the heart truly belongs. But in that quest, we should always remember who we truly are and what will truly and completely make us profoundly happy at the end of the day. And with that, I wish everyone a nice Friday and a relaxing weekend ahead! 


p.s. I still dream about Edinburgh and Stratford-upon-Avon. Not the thoughts of relocating there anymore, just that it would be nice to experience being in a fairy tale place once again for a few days in this lifetime! :p

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Breclav, Czech Republic

CZ-154420, Sender: Pavel
Sent from Louny, Czech Republic, Sent on 22 Dec 2011
Received on 19 Jan 2012, Traveled 9.909 km in 28 days

Written in English at the back of the card:
The old Breclav roadside shrine / A glass of wine decorated for a festival / A pair of dancers from Breclav-Postarna / A girl in the traditional costume of Lanzhot / Breclav lace.

Pavel wrote:
Hello Maria, I found for you a postcard with costume from South Moravia. I visited this region with my girlfriend in the autumn, where there took place 4th Czech postcrossing meeting.

Thanks so much Pavel for sending me a card from my wishlist!

I love that Breclav heart design on the bottom right of the card and I'm entering that to Clytie's Guest Heart Thursday. It's a holiday tomorrow so I'm off to a long slumber, folks! :)


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ciudad Murada

Ciudad Murada means 'walled city'. The fortified place was Maynilad, the core of everyday activities in a Muslim settlement by the river in the 16th century. When Miguel Lopez de Legazpi came to the place, he decided to make it as the center of Spanish activities in the colony. A pentagonal wall was built by the Spanish to ward off Chinese invaders. It encloses a .67 square kilometer of what was called Intramuros, Latin word for 'within the wall'.

Access to Intramuros is by gates or puerta, with draw bridges. This is the reason why I thought of the similarities between Viseu and Intramuros in my previous post.

Though severely damaged during the World War II, Intramuros remains as the center of cultural heritage to what is now cosmopolitan Manila. 

Uncle Wiki said that Intramuros is listed by the Global Heritage Fund as one of the 12 worldwide sites on the verge of irreparable loss and destruction. This is really making me sad as I've been into Intramuros so many times (atop it's walls is one of my silent sanctuaries in this busy city of Manila), I know there's so much truth in it... now I don't want to touch something political here so I wish I can won the lottery so I can donate my winnings for the restoration of this national historical monument.


Porta do Soar, Viseu

PT-227143, Sender: Ricardo
Sent from Viseu, Portugal, Sent on 10 March 2012
Received on 22 March 2012, Traveled 11,935 km in 12 days

This postcard makes me dreamy, it would be a real pleasure to walk around this place for sure with it's medieval charm.

Shown here is a part of the historical old walls of Viseu, Portugal. This is Porta do Soar or Porta de Sao Francisco. According to my readings, this is only one of the two existing doors (from an original count of seven) leading to the city of Viseu. This gives me the impression that during medieval times, Viseu was a city within the walls. Which is, similar to our very own Intramuros, the old capital of Manila. 

I think that just make someone raise a brow due to confusion, so I'll post an Intramuros postcard after this one :)

Moving forward, I am pleased that this card was sent by a 12-yr old who told me, "Do you know that Maria is a Portuguese name, too?" -- Yes, Ricardo I do. Many given names here in the Philippines are Spanish/Portuguese sounding. This is because we were a Spanish colony for 333 years.

Obrigado! Gracias! Salamat for the card.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Prague of the Vltava River

Facebook Postcard Swap, Sender: Veronika Ticha
Sent from Tachov, Czech Republic Sent on 30 April 2012
Received on June 29 2012, Traveled ~10,113 km in 59 days

Veronika wrote on the card:

Hi Maria, Prague is the capital and largest city of the Prague Republic and fourteenth largest city in European Union. It's situated on the Vltava River. Prague is home to a number of attractions including the following: Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, the Jewish Quarter, the Lennon Wall, and Petrin Hill. Since 1992, the historic centre of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of WHS. 

Another UNESCO WHS card for me. Yey! :D 

To read more about Prague, here's the link for the dedicated page on the UNESCO WHS list.


Tapis de fleurs, Grand'Place

BE-145593, Sender: Ferro
Sent from Brussels, Belgium, Sent on 7 April 2012
Received on 27 April 2012, Traveled 10,557 km in 20 days

Here is my first and only official postcard from Belgium. 

Featured on the card is the Flower Carpet, an event/artistic installation at the Grand'Place made every two years. The flower carpet is made of millions of begonias. It usually covers 77 x 24 meters. The very first flower carpet was made by the landscape architect E. Stautemans in 1971.

Raquel, with the username, ferro on postcrossing sent me this card, saying at the back: because UNESCO is at the top of your list. Thank you Raquel! I'm really trying to collect as much UNESCO WHS cards as I can :)

The UNESCO WHS describes Grand'Place as "an outstanding example of the eclectic and highly successful blending of architectural and artistic styles that characterizes the culture and society of this region. Through the nature and quality of its architecture and of its outstanding quality as a public open space, it illustrates in an exceptional way the evolution and achievements of a highly successful mercantile city of northern Europe at the height of its prosperity."


Monday, November 26, 2012

La plus belle avenue du monde.

Friendship Gift Postcard, Sender: My twin, Wan
Sent from Paris, France, Sent on 10 March 2012
Received on 22 March 2012, Traveled 10,908 km in 12 days

Avenue des Champs-Élysées, said my twin at the back of the card, 'is as famous to the French as the Epifanio delos Santos (EDSA) is to the Filipinos'. Champs-Élysées of the French is witness to many historic events, with the Arc de Triomphe at one end of it (shown here on the card), built to honor the victories of the famous Napoleon Bonaparte. EDSA Avenue is an eternal reminder to the Filipinos and the world, of the very first ever peaceful people power revolution.

This card fashioned to the '80s, marks the time when the avenue  transforms into commercial vibe from what was once fields and market gardens. Today, Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous and most expensive strip in the world for upscale shopping. Hence, the name la plus belle avenue du monde or "the most beautiful avenue in the world".

Hope each of us is having a beautiful start for the week! Beautiful Monday, readers!


Icebird, from Kalevala-sarja

Friendship Gift Postcard, Sender: Tuija Thil
Sent from Kuopio, Finland, Sent on 04 July 2012
Received on 28 Jul 2012, Traveled ~9,160 km in 24 days

And here we are, on the last week of has been busier than it normally is here and yeah, shame...I've shared just one postcard so far for this month. Ok folks, I don't have any scheduled fieldwork this week so I'll make it up with all of you by sharing two cards per day. Yep, you read it right! :)

A month ago, my bestfriend and I organized my postcards. I realized I've already got a lot (!!!) and that I've really been behind in posting my cards here so this week is the perfect chance to catch up.

The first card for sharing this week is from my Finnish penpal, Tuija. I posted the scan of the back of the card cause there's a lot of information on it, plus I really love Tuija's penmanship. I wish I can write as legibly as her! 

*shuffling through my pile of postcards, watch out for the next one*


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Folk Costume from Lowicz

Facebook Postcard Swap, Sender: Patricia Krasnawska
Sent from Gdansk, Poland, Sent on 16 Oct 2012
Received on 12 Nov 2012, Traveled 9,512.2 km in 20 days

Again, it's been quite a while since my last post here...browsing two of my favorite blogs, that of sisters Beth & Clytie, I've learned that their dad had gone ahead of us to rejoin The Almighty. My prayers for their family that they may be comforted as they mourn and pray for the passing of their dad.

Beth and Clytie, the beautiful embroidered heart of flowers and leaves on black velvet at the back of this folk costume from Lowicz, Poland is for both of you and your families -- lots of love and prayers from Manila, Philippines.