The Permanent Handshake

The Permanent Handshake

At the end of the stairs is a symbol of the union between East and West.

The Permanent Handshake bronze sculpture in Dr. Sun Yat Sen Municipal Park in Macau signifies the friendship between Portugal and China.

The park, which is named after the first president and founding father of China, is situated near Macau’s border with China where thousands of mainland Chinese cross everyday to gamble.

Device: iPhone 4s

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Liberty Shines Through

Liberty Shines Through

If Liberty were placed in a box, she would still shine through. That’s what my photo aims to represent.

I took the image of this miniature replica at the museum inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in Liberty Island, New York. A lot more can be learned about the history and construction of the monumental icon of freedom through the displays in the exhibit. Though I’m not American, I felt moved by what I saw as anyone who understands the meaning of freedom would.

Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be. – Daniel J. Boorstin

Freedom is the open window through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit and human dignity. – Herbert Hoover

Device: Digicam

A Colonial Plantation Resort

Plantation Bay

Jump into the clean and clear freshwater lagoon (man-made beach) from the veranda of some of Plantation Bay Resort’s guest rooms (as in my photo). Arguably the most popular resort in Cebu, Philippines, the 5-star Plantation Bay possesses one of the largest privately-owned waterways in the world and presents a low-rise colonial plantation (village style) theme within its 11.4 hectares area.

The minute I set foot inside the beach resort, I was mesmerized by its pleasantly unique design, eye-soothing ambiance, and tranquil environment that I wished to spend the next few nights there (we were merely passing by at the time). Though the resort seemed like someone’s private estate when we explored, it was welcoming to walk-in guests so it’s a place I’d like to keep revisiting whenever I’m in the city.

Device: Sony Ericsson w960i

Madinat Jumeirah, The Arabian Resort

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Madinat Jumeirah, another luxurious 5-star hotel resort in Dubai, exhibited a romantic glow amidst the dark night.

The resort, the largest in the UAE and adjacent to the Burj Arab, was designed to resemble an Arabian town (though apparently more lavish) and offers abra (traditional boat like the one of the left) tours around the complex and a souk (open-air bazaar) for shoppers. It felt like I was in a glorified setting of Aladdin when I was there as the place seemed dreamy.

Device: Sony DSLR

Soldiers Marching outside Tiananmen Square

Soldiers outside Tinanmen Square

Walked into a troop of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers marching outside Tiananmen Square, one of the largest public square’s in the world, during a Beijing tour with my family. Their drills, a precise 108 steps per min. and 75 cm per step, take place at sunrise and sunset for the flag raising and lowering ceremonies respectively.

It was unimaginable how in 1989 Chinese military men like these were ordered to enforce martial law to the point that they exerted violent means to control anti-government protesters and weaponless civilians. June 4, 2014 marked the 25th anniversary of that incident known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre or ’89 Democracy Movement.

Device: Sony Ericsson w960i

A Treehouse in the Middle of an Island

A Treehouse in the Center of a Small Island

Chanced upon this treehouse in the middle of a small island called Potipot in Zambales, Philippines. Growing up, I never saw a tree house so having found this as an adult was a delight as it reminded me of my childhood fantasies of going up in one. Unfortunately this was off-limits as the caretaker of the island stayed there and he wasn’t around at the time.

I rendered the photo in black & white to dramatize the nostalgic feelings the image drew upon me and as the tone seemed suitable in emphasizing the treehouse’s finely structured characteristics (it inspired me to sketch it in the past).

Device: Sony Ericsson w960i

A Panoramic View of Esplanade Theatres

A Panoramic View of Esplanade Theatres

Durian-shaped Esplanade Theatres in Singapore.

Here’s my first attempt at a panoramic shot using an iPhone featuring the Esplanade Theatres in Singapore. These structures that sit beside Marina Bay serve as a performing arts centre and also offer other lifestyle options (the usual dining & shopping). As their architectural design resembled durians (what locals colloquially call them), I intended my night shot to effect the same color as the tropical fruit yet a more radiant version.

Let me know if it looks acceptable. ūüôā

Device: iPhone 5s

Flower Displays at the End of a Show

La Reve flower displays

Flowers that came down at the end of the La Reve show in Wynn hotel theatre, Las Vegas.

A must-do in Vegas is to catch a show. I did when I watched my first water-based acrobatic stage show called La Reve (“The Dream” in French) and it was phenomenal from the choreography to the stunts to the props and displays. This photo (of flowers that came down at the end) is a sample of the stunning and colorful decors that were used.

The production was created by Franco Dragone, who famously directed most of the Cirque du Soleil shows, and is set in Las Vegas’ only theater-in-the-round (at Wynn hotel). Cushioned seats surround the circular stage and are no more than 12 rows deep so the audience can closely witness the spectacular action. In fact, we were so close (for half the price we sat on the first row which was the splash zone) that we got splashed on several times (over the towels we were provided with).

Nonetheless, I wouldn’t mind getting wet again if I catch La Reve a second time as it is re-choreographed every 6 months for a fresher audience experience.

Device: iPhone 4s

Luxury Cars in One of the World’s Richest Cities

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Luxury cars parked in front of Boulevard Plaza Towers adjacent to Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world) in Dubai.

These luxury cars drove in and parked outside the Armani Hotel in Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world). Having toured Dubai a bit, I noticed how commonplace high-end vehicles were that even the police force used the most expensive sports cars. They now have a multi-million dollar fleet of droolworthy exotic supercars comprising of a Bugatti Veyron (the world’s fastest reaching 267miles/hour), Mclaren, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, and more, for better PR (locally and otherwise) and to make it more difficult for criminals to outrun them. The prevalence of luxury vehicles is just one example of day-to-day life in one of the world’s richest and most extravagant cities.

Device: Sony DSLR

A Beach in the Biggest Island in Paradise

Natnat Beach in Cadlao Island

Natnat Beach in Cadlao, the largest island in El Nido, Palawan.

El Nido was proclaimed as the Best Beach and Island Destination in the Philippines by CNNGo (the international news agency’s travel website) and one of the best travel destinations in the world by NatGeo traveler’s magazine in late 2007.

With its sparkling clear blue-green waters (the cleanest I’ve seen), white sand as fine as flour (you can roll around without feeling dirty), spectacular limestone cliffs (rugged and sharp), and lush forest covers (some with nature trails), it is undeniable why the breathtakingly scenic El Nido is often called a Heaven on Earth. I myself was captivated by its astonishing natural beauty that I fell in love and vowed to return to it some day.

Device: Sony Ericsson W960i

Camouflaged Tree Stilt-Walker

Camouflaged Tree Stilt-Walker

We sensed something tall moving behind us as we strolled around Disney World’s Animal Kingdom park a while back. We turned around to find this camouflaged tree stilt-walker lady who stopped to pose for us as her intricately designed foliage costume blended with the surrounding flora. We were all amused and thought she was a majestic representation of nature in human form. Her dignified look also exuded a reminder to connect with and to revere the natural world.

Device: DigiCam

The Shanghai Bund

The Shanghai Bund

This was the Shanghai Bund before winter from my trip some time ago. (Shanghai, China)

It was only then that I realized the European influences on Shanghai from the early 20th century due to past British settlement. The Bund comprises of many historical buildings and headquarters of major financial institutions in China fronting the Huangpu River. I was impressed by the developments in the vast city… but this was before it became notorious for the smog.

Device: Sony Ericsson W960i

Marina Bay Sands at Night

Marina Bay Sands at Night

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Here’s my rendition of Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and ArtScience Museum (lotus-inspired design) at night. I was surprised to learn that MBS, as per Wikipedia, is the world’s most expensive building and the most difficult project to carry out. Atop the three towers is the guests-only SkyPark that resembles a cruise ship and holds an observation deck, infinity pool, and restos & bars. One could catch a great view of Singapore’s CBD from there.

Device: iPhone 4s (tough to get a clear night shot using this)

A View of Parrot’s Beak

A View of Parrot's Beak

Parrot’s Beak in Mt. Pico de Loro in Cavite, Philippines.

Getting to the peak of the mountain (where I took this shot) took us more than 3 and a half hours. Unfortunately, we didn’t proceed to the monolith which was around 60 meters tall due to scarcity of time and lack of preparation (it’s either we rock/wall climb or use the rope there to reach the top). Maybe next time…

 

Device: Iphone 5s

A Dazzling Asian-Inspired Galaxy Hotel

Galaxy Hotel Macau

Galaxy Hotel Macau side entrance in Taipa, Macau

Drive in to the Galaxy Hotel Macau, a fully-integrated resort and casino hotel in Cotai, Macau. The name suggests an outer space theme but actually has a dazzling white and gold Asian architecture and feel inside.

 

Device: iPhone 4s

Prayer after Dune Bashing

 

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After the Desert Safari in Dubai, U.A.E…

In keeping the faith or ritual, the Arab driver knelt down to pray outside the camp site after half an hour of dune bashing to give tourists an ultimate desert safari experience. He did this privately behind the open driver’s side door of the 4-wheeled sports utility vehicle (Toyota Land Cruiser).

 

 

Device: Sony DSLR

The Northeast Entrance to The Cosmo

Northeast Entrance to The Cosmo

The northeast entrance to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas or The Cosmo displays a mural of colorful street art that is sure to catch the attention of passersby along the Strip.

The clustered artworks are an impressive design concept for the exterior of a luxury hotel that boasts of even bolder and magnificent interiors. Conversely, the cleaning lady who was throwing garbage outside the entrance at 6am (when I took this shot) might not be able to enjoy its glory.

 

Device: iPhone 4s

A Breathtaking view of a Lagoon in Coron

Lagoon near Kayanga Lake, Coron

Lagoon near Kayangan Lake in Coron, Palawan, Philippines.

Whenever I see or hear a reference to Coron, the image of this breathtaking scenery (captured using my old camera phone from some time ago) always comes to mind. One can catch this view halfway en route to Kayangan Lake, which is said to be the cleanest lake in Asia. Coron is one of the places in the Philippines I’d highly recommended tourists to visit, next to El Nido (also in Palawan).

 

Device: Sony Ericsson w960i

Former Convent turned into a Lifestyle Centre

Chijmes

CHIJMES (Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus) is a historic complex in Singapore that now serves as a popular entertainment or lifestyle centre.

Its charming architecture and warm lighting in the evening set a romantic tone for its visitors.

My photo shows the back side of the Gothic chapel and the dining area within the complex.

 

Device: iPhone 4s