Thursday, April 5, 2018

Beautiful Butterflies

I have always loved seeing butterflies. I remember some of my sewing projects when I was in primary school involved butterfly designs. From ugly wriggly things they eventually blossom into wonderful fluttering creatures. There's something very zen about butterflies that simply makes me happy.

Taking photos of butterflies is a challenging task. I still try to capture them on camera though coz they are nice to use as a device wallpaper. Here's a few decent photos I took of butterflies (some may be moths!).

From the Changi Airport Butterfly Garden

From Davao Butterfly House

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Beautiful Churches Around the World (Part 1)

Our family traveled a fair bit when I was a child. One of the places my parents loved going to were churches. The most memorable one I remember visiting when I was a child was the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. I just remember being happy and excited to see the huge church and that was also when I learned about catacombs. Since then I made it a point to visit churches whenever I travel. Here's a few of those I've visited in the last few years -

Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, Singapore

This was the church where I first attended mass in Singapore. My brother had brought all of us to Singapore for a short vacation. This photo was taken last Christmas when we heard mass with Mom. The church underwent renovation for a few years and I heard won a heritage award. 

St. Bede's Church, Sydney, Australia

I immediately fell in love with this church when I heard mass there last December. It's a quaint, small church near where I usually stay in Sydney. It's a great place to worship and be grateful for the blessings God provides.

Myeongdong Cathedral, Seoul, Korea

I did not have the chance to enter the church since the steps were too steep for me. The church was really beautiful from the outside and I now regret not going in since the inside looks amazing based on the photos I saw on Google Images.

St. Francis Church, Melbourne, Australia

Heard mass in this church with my boys last May 2017. The church has a beautiful nook for Mama Mary which is worth another visit. I hope to visit this church again when I'm back in Melbourne. 

St. Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, Australia

One of the most beautiful church I've visited in my entire life. When you step in the church it's like going back in time. I am amazed how they had built a structure like this in 1788. We spent another hour after mass just exploring the church. 

Church of St. Teresa, Singapore

This is now where I regularly hear mass when I'm in Singapore since it's near where I live. I love that the church is bright and spacious. I always remember St. Teresa because my Mom is her devotee and my sister is named after her. The community is also awesome.

St. John the Baptist Cathedral, Kalibo, Philippines

This church will be forever in my memory because this is where I became a godparent for a wedding for the very first time. 

St. James the Great Parish, Alabang, Philippines

I always go to this church for weddings of friends. I think it's the perfect church for weddings.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Japan's Beautiful Cherry Blossoms

Hanami is a term used in Japan to refer to flower viewing (cherry blossom viewing). The blooming of cherry blossoms is said to mark the beginning of spring. Once a year families come together to celebrate and have picnics under cherry blossom trees. I learned though from a documentary made by BBC that cherry blossoms was not the original national flower of Japan. It was plum blossoms. Plum blossoms though were only found in the homes of the elite. Cherry blossoms eventually became a very important national symbol.

Last year I caught the tail end of the sakura season in Tokyo. I was ecstatic to see them in full bloom outside of our hotel window. We had the opportunity to to see it in its all-pink glory. A few days later though they were gone. I read that cherry blossoms usually bloom during the unpredictable weather period towards the beginning of spring.

I arrived today and stayed at another hotel. Outside my window I could see a street full of cherry blossoms trees that have just started to bloom. They are not even pink yet. I hope to see them in their super pink glory in the next few days.

One thing I like about the sakura season is the presence of many kinds of desserts made with cherry blossoms. Here's a few mouth watering ones I've tried -

The first time though I saw cherry blossoms was in Washington DC when I was a kid. I don't remember it much, but my Mom said that they were originally gifts by Japan to the US. Maybe someday I'll catch the trees in full bloom when I'm able to visit DC again.

Visiting Japan for the Sakura season:
The dates vary per area. Best to check the forecast to get the best out of your trip.