Silhouette: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The Golden Temple, Amritsar, February 2012

The Golden Temple, Amritsar, February 2012

Young Monks Taking a Break, Palpung Sherabling Buddhist Monastery in Kangra Valley, Himachal Pradesh: February 2012

Young Monks Taking a Break, Palpung Sherabling Buddhist Monastery in Kangra Valley, Himachal Pradesh: February 2012

Entrance to Main Prayer Hall of a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery near Bir, Himachal Pradesh: January 2012

Entrance to Main Prayer Hall of a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery near Bir, Himachal Pradesh: January 2012

Because self visited so many monasteries in northern India, some people assumed self was “sick.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Texture: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is TEXTURE. It’s about “the designs created by the water and sand,” about “layers,” and “strata.”

Here’s self’s first take:  Ripples on the sea (Amsterdam);  feathery ferns (Scotland); a designer hat (by Jean-Paul Gaultier)

The Sea, on a Cloudy Day (Amsterdam, July 2012)

The Sea, on a Cloudy Day (Amsterdam, July 2012)

Ferns and Grass:  Hawthornden, June 2012

Ferns and Grass: Hawthornden, June 2012

Textured Hat, Jean-Paul Gaultier (de Young Museum, April 2012)

Textured Hat, Jean-Paul Gaultier (de Young Museum, April 2012)

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 5: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

These pictures are from a trip to Venice self took last year, April/May 2013:

Vine-colored Trellis, Restaurant in Venice: May 2013

Vine-colored Trellis, Restaurant in Venice: May 2013

More of that trellis . . .

Another angle of the trellis

Another angle of the trellis

And something a little different . . .

Padua, April 2013

Padua, April 2013: Self got to see the famous Giotto chapel. No photographs allowed, though, boo.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Condé Nast Traveler August 2014: The “Cruise Issue”

There is still time, dear blog readers.  There is still time to fantasize about taking a cruise this year.  One does not need to go all pity party and woe it sucks to be stuck at a desk job for the remainder of 2014.

According to Condé Nast Traveler, 49% of the magazine’s readers are planning to take a weeklong cruise in the next year (Rest assured, self is taking immediate steps to become a part of this demographic)

And here are several cruise recommendations, broken down by category:

For the Gourmand:

  • Celebrity Cruises’ “Top Chef at Sea”
  • Crystal Cruises’ “Microbrew Cruise”
  • MSC’s “Virtual Winery at Sea”

For the Workout Warriors:

  • Holland America’s “Great Alaskan Marathon Cruise”
  • Yoga Cruises’ Bend and stretch on the yachts Admiral and Atlantis
  • Crystal Cruises’ Golf cruises

For Music Lovers:

  • MSC’s “Holy Ship! Electronic Dance Music
  • Holland America’s “Country Music Cruise” on the Eurodam
  • Norwegian Cruise Lines’ “Grammy Festival at Sea: Women Who Rock!”

Some Really Specialty Niches:

For lovers of Steampunk:  Royal Caribbean

For lovers of Magic Shows:  Crystal Cruises

For indefatigable knitters (Caroline Kim-Brown, this one’s for you!): Ama Waterways

For Hobbit fandoms:  Royal Caribbean

For Nudists: Celebrity Cruise Lines

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.

Kanlaon’s Liebster Nominations (Travel Blogs That Take You There)

Two of the sites on her list — The Palladian Traveler and Ed Mooney — have already been nominated for Liebster Awards but self firmly believes that any site can never have too many Liebster nominations.

  1. The Palladian Traveler :  Elegant and inspiring
  2. Vela Magazine :  Awesome.  A blog that showcases women travel writers.  And boy did we ever need one.
  3. Ed Mooney Photography:  An examination of Irish places, via photography. Self was in Ireland for the first time, earlier this year. This blog was a splendid introduction.
  4. Lowestoft Chronicle:  An online literary magazine that self has been enjoying for a while now.  They publish humorous writing that has an “emphasis on travel.”
  5. Simbahan:  Not about travel per se.  Simbahan is the Tagalog word for “church.”  This blog is about “Philippine heritage churches and related structures.” That description sounds dry but this site is anything BUT.

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 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

What a good idea, Red Hen Press!

They promoted Type O Negative, Joel Tan’s poetry collection, by handing out these chocolate candy bars at the AWP Book Fair, several years ago.

Candy Bar Wrapper (designed after the cover of Joel Tan's new poetry collection!)

candy bar wrapper (designed after the cover of Joel Tan’s new poetry collection!)

Containers # 2 is a fresh coconut:

In the Philippines, there are roadside stands selling fresh coconuts with straws so you can sip the juice.  This was somewhere near Sum-ag, near Bacolod City.

In the Philippines, there are roadside stands selling fresh coconuts with straws so you can sip the juice. Self took this picture on a beach in Sum-ag, just outside Bacolod City.

In January 2012, self went to India for the first time.  She flew from San Francisco to New Delhi, and spent the next two weeks traversing Himachal Pradesh.  She made it to Dharamsala.  It was freezing cold.  These hot braziers were brought into the dining room of the Colonel’s Resort in the village of Bir.

It was so cold, self's last two days in Bir, that the Colonel had a fire brought in.

It was so cold, self’s last two days in Bir, that the Colonel had a fire brought in.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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