Texture 3: Negros Occidental, Dear Departed Dad’s Home Province

This week’s WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge is “to share a texture found in an unexpected place.” Self took all the pictures below in Dear Departed Dad’s home province in the Philippines, a place where private residences teem with the unexpected and the fantastic. The old homes are veritable museums.

J & L Marañon House, Bacolod: Would you believe, this is a private residence?

J & L Marañon House, Bacolod: Would you believe, this is a private residence? Representations of ancient Greek gods and goddesses sit cheek by jowl with effigies of Roman Catholic saints, even a recreation of the Pieta.

Window Blinds, Bacolod

Textured Window Blinds, Bacolod, Negros Occidental

Kitchen Floor, Gaston House, Manapla, Negros Occidental

Kitchen Floor, Gaston House, Manapla, Negros Occidental

California Highway 1: The Lure

Self is headed back to southern California pretty soon.  She loves, loves, loves it.  Just the feeling of driving, never mind that the freeways feel bigger and everything’s so much farther apart than in the San Francisco Bay Area. (No, self likes that places are farther apart!  She can take longer to get there!)

Condé Nast Traveler’s July 2014 issue has a letter from the editor about what California’s Highway 1 means to her.

Well, it means something to self as well.  When self was 13 and her Dear Departed Sis 14, our parents took the whole family for a driving vacation in the States.  We lived in Manila, but Dearest Mum’s parents and younger brother and sister lived in San Francisco. Dear Departed Dad always had this dream of taking us on a cross-country road trip — in an RV. This was a sort of specious dream, since self’s Dear Departed Dad had no idea how to change a flat tire or how to hook an RV into one of those things that drains waste. And he’d also never driven anything bigger than a club wagon, and we all know that an RV is a completely different animal from a club wagon.

Anyhoo, we did make that driving trip, borrowing a car from self’s maternal grandparents, and we snaked down Highway 1 all the way from San Francisco to San Diego, then snaked east towards Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. And Dear Departed Dad allowed self to choose the stations we listened to, and self fell in love with America’s “Horse With No Name.”

Son attended Cal Poly/San Luis Obispo, but only once did we ever venture farther north than San Simeon on Highway 1. And oh man. We got stuck in a humongous traffic jam, that took hours to sort itself out.  And son swore that would be the last time — ever — he would take Highway 1 to the Bay Area. Self felt rather demoralized by the incident, to tell you the truth.

The last time self was on Highway 1 was just recently.  She was lost.  She was coming from Skyline College, took a wrong turn somewhere, found herself on Highway 1, then just kept driving south.  The views got more and more spectacular, and self was all excited, wondering if she’d actually make it as far as Big Sur.  But she didn’t.  Anxiety began to creep in, and self doubled back and went home.

Here’s what Pilar Guzman, Editor-in-Chief of Condé Nast Traveler, has to say about her memories of Highway 1:

There is something about a road trip in one’s home state with a sibling or childhood friend that makes you feel like you’re 17 again.  We packed a cooler, sang along to Adele’s “Someone Like You” over and over, and analyzed our parents for the umpteenth time, telling the defining stories of our childhood to each other as though for the first time.  It always strikes me that no matter how many digital memory-keeping advances we make, a family’s mythology only really evolves in an oral tradition.

After the Squaw Valley Writers Conference, self was on an absolute high.  The last day of the conference was on her birthday. She drove down with another conference participant, Heather Lee.  Heather just sent self a CD where she put all the songs we listened to on the drive from Squaw Valley.  It includes songs by Pherrell Williams, Johnny Legend, Coldplay.  Self likes to think of that CD as her “Happy” CD. She’s just decided she’ll bring it along with her to southern California this time.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Zigzag 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

For today, self decided to focus on gestures of the human body:  bent elbows, bent knees, and so forth.  Because the human body, too, can be sort of zigzagg-y!

So, here’s what she came up with — in terms of the human body bending etc — from her various peregrinations:

The Red Mosque, Old New Delhi, After Prayers:  January 2012

The Red Mosque, Old New Delhi, After Prayers: January 2012

Niece G and Self, after a reading in the San Francisco Main Library:  September 2009

Niece G and Self, after a reading in the San Francisco Main Library: September 2009 (Funny:  Self JUST noticed the bent elbows of the model on the street posters behind!)

Street Musician, Venice, April 2013

Street Musician, Venice, April 2013

Like the elbows theme, dear blog readers?

Self loves how having the prompt makes her look at photographs she’d never ordinarily have thought to post here!

Stay tuned.

Zigzag 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s photo challenge on the WordPress Daily post is ZIGZAG:

Share a photo that foregoes the straightforward.

Self’s grandfather, Generoso Villanueva, had this house built in the 1930s. At that time, it was the tallest structure in the city of Bacolod, the capital of Negros Occidental. It had a working elevator, and a spiral staircase that wound up three floors.  The floors were Carrara marble, shipped from Italy.

The Daku Balay:  Burgos Street, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines

The Daku Balay: Burgos Street, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines

The old houses in the province of Negros Occidental tended to look like this (He was such a groundbreaker, self’s grandfather!):

Zigzag Wooden Bannisters:  Lacson House, Talisay, Negros Occidental

Zigzag Wooden Bannisters: Lacson House, Talisay, Negros Occidental

And this last picture was from a trip self took to northern India in January 2012.  The story of how self got to this precise location — well, that’s a book.

Self flew into New Delhi, accidentally wound up alone in the hinterlands of Himachal Pradesh, and then hired a car and driver to head due north, eventually arriving at — TA RA! — Dharamsala.  Which was a weird place, full of Korean tourists.  And red-robed monks caressing white Akitas.  Self remembered buying a box of tea that supposedly had calming properties.  Honestly, the entire trip was like a hallucination.  Only she had these great photos to show afterwards.

On the road to Simla: the road hugs a steep cliff: January, 2012.

On the road to Simla: the road hugs a steep cliff: January, 2012.

 

Zigzag: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The WordPress Photo Challenge this week is Zigzag:

The instructions are to “share a photo that foregoes the straightforward in favor of the twisting and winding.”

(After pondering the three photographs from her archives, self realizes they are more about “crosshatchings” than about zigzags.  The WordPress Daily Post instructions seem to be asking for photos of “crooked,” and none of the below are that.  Oh well, she’ll just keep trying.)

Photo # 1 is a sketchbook belonging to one of the Squaw Valley Writers Conference participants.  During readings, she’d busy herself sketching and drawing and coloring.  Below is a sample page of her sketchbook.  There’s a lot of cross-hatching in the depiction of the trees, which is why self chose this photo as her first “Zigzag” entry:

Sketchbook Belonging to a Squaw Valley Writers Conference participant

Sketchbook Belonging to a Squaw Valley Writers Conference participant

Self took Photo # 2 on a recent visit to son and Jennie in Claremont.  Jennie and self were wandering around a mall when self saw this interesting ceiling. For sure, there are lots of zigzags depicted here!

Mall Interior, Montclair, Southern California

Mall Interior, Montclair, Southern California

Finally, here are some zigzagging stage lights at the Button Factory Music Centre in the Temple Bar section of Dublin.  Self was attending a fundraising benefit in which one of the musicians she got to know at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre was performing.

Self attended a fundraising concert at the Button Factory in Dublin, in June.

Self attended a fundraising concert at the Button Factory in Dublin, in June.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Virtual Blog Tour: 2nd Introduction

One of the rules of participation in the Virtual Blog Tour is to tag three other people.

Self’s first tag was poet and teacher Luisa A. Igloria.

Here’s self’s second tag:  Kathleen Burkhalter.

She was Dear Departed Sister’s  friend before she was self’s.

Dear Departed Sis died December, 1991.  Self lost touch with Kathleen, but when self started this blog, in 2006, Kathleen found her.

The internet has saved self in so many ways.

Now, look at that face.  Isn’t it just pure radiance?

Kathleen Burkhalter: Writer, Mother, Friend

Kathleen Burkhalter: Writer, Mother, Friend

Kathleen Burkhalter grew up in Baguio in the Philippines and spent summers in La Union on the South China Sea. After many life adventures she found herself happily married to Bud Bell and became the mother of six extraordinary children.  She has two degrees from Harvard, the most recent one a masters in Journalism.

Her personal ghost story collection, Through a Glass Darkly, came out last Halloween.

She has a blog, Cresta Ola, and lives in New Bedford, Massachusetts with Bud, the family pets (four cats and a yellow lab named Cleo Pan de Sal), and the children, who are constantly stopping over at the family home on their way to big adventures.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Books for the Reading List: A Look at Niece G’s Stash

When Niece G left San Francisco to work in New York, and then moved again, this time to Manila, she left a Big. Fat. Read the rest of this entry »

Summer Lovin’ : WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge — Summer Lovin’ — is a super-fun (and easy) one for self.  Summer is her faaaavorite time of year.  She has lots, LOTS, of Summer Lovin’ pictures!

Summer is when Cancer, self’s sign (also son’s), rules!  Both self and son are July babies.

Another reason self likes summer so much is that colors really pop.  Bright colors seem even brighter, and there’s a sharper contrast between sunlight and shade.  Which all adds up to:  MORE VISUAL DRAMA.

Stafford Park, Wednesday evening:  There are free concerts every week throughout the summer.

Stafford Park, Redwood City, Wednesday evening: There are free concerts every week throughout the summer.

Chalk Drawing is a big part of the Palo Alto Arts & Crafts Festival, held every August.

Chalk Drawing is a big part of the Palo Alto Arts & Crafts Festival, held every August.

Clasico Gelato, Emerson Street, downtown Palo Alto. Every time she's in downtown Palo Alto, she stops by for gelato.

Clasico Gelato, Emerson Street, downtown Palo Alto. Every time self is in downtown Palo Alto, she stops by for gelato.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Kanlaon Was Nominated for a Liebster Award!

Self learned of the nomination a month ago, but she was in the midst of returning from Ireland and then setting off for southern California and then setting off for the Squaw Valley Writers Conference.

Nevertheless, here she is now, expressing her appreciation!

Self blogs a lot while traveling.  Because she firmly believes that one of the greatest pleasures of travel is being able to share one’s experiences afterwards.  It’s like re-living the moment, only better because you know you’ve survived the whatever.

So, THANKS THANKS MUCH to the blog Unexpected Wanderlust for the nomination.  Self deeply appreciates the honor.

And here are self’s answers to the questions posed by UW:

What is the most foolish thing you’ve ever done while traveling?

Wow.  This entailed so much reflection because self has done many, many foolish things while traveling.  Two years ago, she decided to join her friends on a bike ride around one of Amsterdam’s outlying islands, even though she hadn’t ridden a bike in almost 20 years.  That day almost killed her.  What’s worse, it made her lose her temper.  And we all know that when one is traveling, losing one’s temper is almost the kiss of death.  Because one should never, ever lose one’s temper in a foreign country.  Self’s just saying.

Who is the person you’ve met while traveling that you wish you could see again?

Another hard one.  OK, this:  the two German girls who accompanied self on the bus ride from the Marco Polo airport in Venice, all the way to the vaporetto in the Rialto.  Self bumped into them again outside the Frari church in Ca’ San Toma.  We had dinner.  Self lost the little notebook where she’d written down the girls’ addresses and e-mails.  She’s pretty sure she’ll never hear from them again.  But she thinks of them pretty often.

Where are you planning on traveling next?

Southern California.

If you had to settle down in one place and never leave it again, where would it be?

Oh gosh, why are all of these questions so hard?  San Luis Obispo, California.  Cambridge, United Kingdom.  Now if self could only find a way to support herself while living in these places . . .

How would you describe the perfect travel companion?

No question:  Son.  He was great.  Always.  Even when self was dragging him through the back alleys of Boracay in a pouring rain, and visibility was just a little above zero, and the water was sloshing up to our knees, and strange unmentionable objects were floating in said water.  He did express disgust (occasionally), but he never once lost his temper.

If you could be fluent in a language other than your mother tongue, which would it be?

Cantonese so that self could bargain in the Hong Kong night markets.  Gaelic because she was just in Ireland.  Spanish because she could read all the archives pertaining to Spain’s colonization of the Philippines.

What is your best travel tip?

Always travel light.  Plan on picking up things you’ll need along the way.  And never tote around more than two books at a time.

Have you ever felt more at home in a place that is away from your actual home?  If so, where?

Yes:  Bacolod City, Negros Occidental (Dear Departed Dad’s hometown)

Where have you had the best meal of your life?

  • The home of Irene Lacson and Zia Islam in Glendale, CA:  a Villanueva reunion in December 2012
  • Tender Greens, Spectrum Centre, Irvine, CA.
  • Van’s, Belmont, CA last January, to celebrate The Man’s birthday

What is the one piece of technology that you can’t live without during your travels?

No question:  Self’s MacBook Air

She’ll list her nominations in a separate post.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Containers: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is CONTAINERS.

And, as luck would have it, self stumbled across a series of shots she took in Glendale, December 2012, where one of her Villanueva nieces hosted a reunion of the Villanueva clan.  The day was an all-day eating marathon, a veritable cornucopia of gustatory delights.  People from Bacolod (Dear Departed Dad’s hometown) know how to live!

You’ll find a variety of containers below:

Brazo de Mercedes:  a butter and egg yolk filling is encased in an outer shell of light meringue.  Yummm!

Container # 1:  Brazo de Mercedes , in which a butter and egg yolk filling is encased in an outer shell of light meringue. Yummm! To spell it out:  self considers the meringue layer  the “container.”

Someone made individual portions chicken a la king -- using a muffin baking dish.

Containers # 2:  The muffin baking dish someone used to make individual servings of chicken a la king. Quelle ingeniousness!  Naturally, half the servings disappeared almost the minute the baking tray was pulled from the oven.

No one throws a feast like the Villanuevas!  Everyone at the party was either a cousin, a niece, or a nephew.

Containers # 3:  food serving trays.  No one throws a feast like the Villanuevas! Everyone at the party was either a cousin, a niece, or a nephew, or the partner of a cousin, a niece, or a nephew.  Southern California seems to be the Villanueva destination of choice!

Self so wishes there were a Reunion Part 2.  Or Part 3.

Hear that, Dear Niece Irene?  Time to start organizing another banquet!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

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