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Showing posts from February, 2018

Paris in Winter

If winter is about grey skies, showers and chilling temperatures, then there's all that in Paris in January. So why go at such an inhospitable time? Because Paris in winter is moody (great for photo ops), less frantic, the bi-annual store sales are irresistible, and you don't have to fight with the swarm of selfie indulgent tourists.

There is no absence of color beneath the threatening cloud cover.

These pastel painted houses were my neighbors during my stay in Paris. I counted five visitors here, myself included. 

I was at once elated, captivated and saddened to see Notre-Dame de Paris again. Elated that I could behold her in festive finery, captivated by her timeless beauty but saddened by the reality of the threat of terrorism.  For a moment I felt fear when I saw policemen dressed in combat gear with high powered rifles patrolling the cathedral. We shouldn't have to accept this as the new norm. But life must go on.

The sixth of January is the feast of the Three Kings. The …

Islas de Gigantes

This trip to Islas de Gigantes sat long on the planning stage. But one fine day in October, we finally made it there. And it was everything I had heard and read about. The image above shows our approach to Cabugao Gamay Island.


This is the iconic photo of Islas de Gigantes. We scrambled up a hill to get this unobstructed view of Cabugao Gamay and the Visayan Sea. It's a good thing we arrived early in the morning before the selfie crowd got in.


This is the hue of the sea taken from Cabugao Gamay. How it nurtures the blue mind!


The white sand beach of Cabugao Gamay is free from debris. 

Bantigue Island and its sandbar rises from the sea like a mirage. We stopped here for lunch of rice and fish.

The Tangke Saltwater Lagoon on Gigantes Sur is surrounded by towering limestone cliffs. It was still low tide when we got there.

Scallops are only one peso each. But at Bancal Port in Carles, you can buy them by the bucket. And it is so succulent.
How to get there: The closest gateway to Islas de Gig…

The Morning Comes Before the Sun

Slow buds the pink dawn like a rose
From out night's gray and cloudy sheath;
Softly and still it grows and grows,
Petal by petal, leaf by leaf;
Each sleep-imprisoned creature breaks
Its dreamy fetters, one by one,
And love awakes, and labor wakes,
The morning comes before the sun.

What is the message from the light So fairier than light can be?
Youth stands a-tiptoe, eager, bright,
In haste the risen sun to see;
Ah! check thy lunging, restless heart,
Count the charmed moments as they run,
It is life's best and fairest part,
This morning hour before the sun.


When once thy day shall burst to flower, When once the sun shall climb the sky, And busy hour by busy hour, The urgent noontide draws anigh; When the long shadows creep abreast, To dim the happy task half done, Thou wilt recall this pause of rest, This morning hush before the sun.

To each, one dawning and one dew,
One fresh young hour is given by fate,
One rose flush on the early blue.
Be not impatient then, but wait!
Clasp the sweet peace on earth an…

Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

"My past, O Lord, to Your mercy; my present, to Your love; my future, to Your providence." Padre Pio

Padre Pio entered the Capuchin Order in 1903 and was ordained in 1910. He was assigned to San Giovanni Rotondo in 1916 where he remained until his death in 1968 when he was 81 years of age. In 1918, Padre Pio received the grace of the stigmata (wounds of Christ) which remained with him for fifty years. His bleeding hands were kept bandaged and covered with mittens. Pope John Paul II canonized Padre Pio in 2002. 

Padre Pio initiated the construction of the hospital, Home for the Relief of Suffering, in San Giovanni Rotondo. The hospital has over 1,000 inpatient beds and is widely respected in Italy and around the world for its modern and state-of-the-art facility, medical services and clinical research in genetics and hereditary and familial diseases.

*The Sanctuary was designed by Renzo Piano, the foremost Italian architect. It seats 6,500 people and has standing room for 30,000…