Friday, October 30, 2009

Winter Adventure Memories Recalled

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

My prince just informed me that it is the end of the US Daylight Saving Time (DST) and to me that means he will be 13 hours behind (or it would be 8am for him in NY when it is already 9pm for me here in the Philippines) and that is somewhat a difficult mathematical computation for me I guess ( just because I am a lawyer, haha!!). Turning off of the DST also means the official onset and the kickoff time for that exciting, coolest winter adventure.

I still remember my very first taste of winter in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2000. Whooa! It was cold but I had a great time playing in the snow in the front yard. The wonderfully thick snow and beautiful mountain scenery lends itself to a truly real winter excitement.

Over the years, I counted up those opportunities I have to experience winter all around the globe - US, Asia, Australia and Europe. Though the temperature lingers around freezing (especially for a tropical blooded creature like me), I looked back with passion the wondrous marvel and exhilarating experience of winter months.

Winter in Park City, Utah USA

Winter in New York, USA

Winter in Boston,USA

Winter in Pennsylvania, USA

Winter in Beijing's Summer Place

Winter in Tasmania, Australia (it is in July though)

Winter in Ackersjon, Sweden

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Corregidor: A Correct (if Not Perfect!) Destination

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Corregidor comes from the Spanish word "corregir" meaning to correct. But while there are so many things to correct, that hopefully may change the course of history and avoid the outbreak of the Pacific War, I cannot think of any other room for improvements as regards the way the tour is organized by Sun Cruises. It is simply perfect from the ticketing, ferry transfers, bus guided tour and buffet lunch! It is for this reason that I took the Day Tour to Corregidor twice to date and still see myself bringing my other friends in this beautiful tadpole - shaped island in the future.

Last January 2008, my prince and I took the Corregidor Day Tour. It was my first time there since college days. Although the World War II took place more than 60 years ago, I could still hear the thunderous roar of the guns especially during the 30-minute light-and-sound show at the Malinta Tunnel.

Yesterday's visit of Corregidor with my mission mate Darin Humphreys and bumping into Church Office friends, President Amistad of the Church Educational System with his wife Laura and CES Director from Salt Lake City, Bro. Joseph Monsoon, reverberated the same thunderous roar of guns during this whole new adventure in the island.

Malinta Tunnel

The 30-minute light-and-sound show written and directed by National Artist Lamberto V. Avellana as his final tribute to Valor, Peace and International Understanding, chronicles the significance of the place as it served as center of American operations during World War II. Inside the tunnel, former President Manuel L. Quezon and Vice President Sergio Osmena (the school with his name sake is my alma mater!)took their oath on December 30, 1941 to begin their second term in office. The tunnel has several laterals which was converted into a hospital, arsenal and fuel reservoir where thousands of Filipinos, American and Japanese died.

Mile Long Barracks

This barracks is a 1,520 feet and served as quarters of some 2,000 U.S officials including General DOuglas Mac Arthur.

Pacific War Memorial

The Pacific War Memorial is the monument that you can see from a distance from the dome I was sitting on. Yea, this one is a no-no picture and I should correct it next time. I totally forgot that it is "bawal" to sit on the dome. I saw the sign after the picture was taken (ouchhh). The Pacific War Memorial located at the highest point of the island is the one of the only two memorials built by the US government to mark the war, the other is at Pearl Harbor.

Spanish Light House

In 1836 the lighthouse (which according to my friend Darin was so heavy) was built. It was replaced in 1897 and the remainder was used until the outbreak of Pacific War. This lighthouse was used to be a checkpoint, which alerts Manila of an approaching galleon. Atop the lighthouse (I am there with Sister Laura Amistad), we had a magnificent view of the Manila Bay, the South China Sea and the whole island.

Batteries (Battery Way, Battery Geary,Battery Hearns & Battery Crocket

The Americans built a total of 20 batteries and are distributed in different parts of the islands. Battery Way is armed with four 12-inch mortars that can fire in any direction, Battery Hearn's seacoast gun is the longest, Battery Geary has the most effective guns and Battery Crocket has two 12-inch gun that disappear behind a parapet.

Filipino Heroes Memorial
In this landmark you can see the 14 murals by sculptor Manuel Casal. The murals depict some of the country's historic battles from the Battle of Mactan in 1521 to the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986.

With a funny guide Bobby Fulcher (also known as Bobby Fisher) who by the way was the same tour guide we had last year, I will always look forward to visiting Corregidor and to me the same is the most perfect destination for a hassle - free tour for an educational experience amidst the luscious green hills and pristine blue waters.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Receiving my Early Christmas Gifts: A Conference Broadcast Post Thoughts

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Last weekend was our broadcast viewing of the 179th Semi-Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter - Day Saints at the Sampaguita chapel. My whole family was there and celebrated the second birthday of my niece Shanara Mae and my sister in-law's Ate Amy during the lunch break. We brought some treats so that those who didn't bring lunch or snack will be able to join us.

I was truly edified by the talks from Church leaders which speaks of forgiveness, temperance, service, charity, and a mighty change of heart. With the coming Christmas season, I feel like I found the gifts I am to give based on the poem of Oren Arnold entitled

"Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer,service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hanging In Singapore via Singapore Flyer: A One -Of-A - Kind Experience

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Ask about my one-of-a-kind experience while in Singapore last October 1-3, 2009? Well, it is taking a flight on the world’s largest observation wheel – the Singapore Flyer!

Our friend host Ate Tess Baldado works for Singapore Flyer and gave me and my four J buddies (Jean, Joseph, Judith and Jhoanna) free tickets to see Singapore’s magnificent cityscape inside the wheel capsule. At first I was very hesitant because I thought it is just like the ordinary ferris wheel. But I was wrong. Standing at stunning 165m, the Flyer is the height of a 42-storey building and there is no other place in Singapore that offers a breathtaking, panoramic views of Singapore. As the wheel turns, you’ll be treated to a visual 360° feast of iconic and historical landmarks and views from the Marina Bay to the Singapore River, Raffles Place, Merlion Park, Empress Place and the Padang.

Inside the Flyer, there is a free in-capsule guided tours that introduced me to surrounding landmarks and hear interesting stories about Singapore.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Skyride of My Life: A Sentosa, Singapore Experience

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

What a better way to celebrate my birthday than trying something for the first time at Singapore's must-visit destination for tourists, the premier island resort getaway known as Sentosa.

Sentosa is a 500-hectare island with a 3.2-kilometre stretch of white sand beach and a unique blend of leisure and recreational facilities. The island can be accessed by cable car, bus, taxi or car and open for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Sentosa offers a variety of experiences for all ages. For me though, Luge ride (which is said to be the first ever luge in Southeast Asia), is the best activity there. It’s a small bike which is partly go-cart, partly-toboggan that you can drive down the hill as leisurely or exciting as you please. It is my kind of thing!

But since Luge ride ticket is in set with Sky ride ticket, I can only do the luge after doing the sky ride.

Skyride is very similar to cable car ride, except that you are sitting on an open – air bench and takes you more than 100 feet above the ground to drop at the starting point of Luge ride! Wow, that’s scary! My knees were shaking just at the thought of doing it! But with my friends encouragement (pushing, that is!!) and the assurance I got from a five-year old who took the skyride with only his older brother as a companion, I found myself to another journey to gutsiness – my first ever Skyride!

Getting ready for the Sky Ride

Up in the Sky. I wasn't moving or breathing!

Enjoying the Skyride!

It was an amazing experience! Not only I got a great view of the island but I also felt good about myself for overcoming fear and stretching my physical limit. I felt a great sense of freedom trying things for the heck of it!

KL Sunway Lagoon: Where Fun Never Stops!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Sunway Lagoon, Malaysia’s first fully integrated multi-park destination of five (5) different parks with over 50 attractions is one theme park deserving of my high five!and Thumbs up!

Spread across 88 acres of land, the fun never stops at this premier destination.With its Water Park, Amusement Park, Wildlife Park, Extreme Park and Scream Park, there's something for every one as it encompasses the elements of fun, interaction and education. The park provides choices of adventure to suit every whim and fancy.

My friends (Jean, Joseph, and Judith) and I chose the three adventure ticket which consists of Wildlife Park, Amusement Park and Water Park for only RM 60 (Php 800) and wow,I really had fun!

Slip and Slide at the Water Park

Get Up Close and Personal with the Animals at the Wildlife Park

Experiencing the Thrills of the Amusement Park rides

Rev Up More Action At the Extreme Park

And Face your fears at Scream Park. With so much thrills and spills to offer , Sunway Lagoon is truly a place to be!

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