On July 7, 2007, the ancient city of Petra in Jordan became one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and an even more famous tourist destination than when it was first shown in the movie Indiana Jones. Dating back to the first century AD, its design achievement reflects the advance civilization of the Nabataeans who perfectly carved their city in the rock mountains. The Treasury (Al Khazna) is the first stunning structure upon entering Petra. This masterpiece stands 150 feet tall and 100 feet wide. Petra is famously referred to as a “rose-red” city, but its reddish hue comes in the late afternoon. In midday, the monuments appear pinkish or yellowish depending on sunlight. ©Jojie Alcantara 2017
Halong City in Quang Ninh Province of Vietnam is a quiet but blossoming town right in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Halong Bay. Quite laid back from other touristy cities, the roads are wide and without traffic (maybe peak season is different). Apart from popular Ha Long Bay cruises, it also offers beach activities, nature treks, local food and night markets. Divided into two main areas: there is Hon Gai on the other side of the bridge where local life, culture and food can be experienced. These are Vietnamese girls in traditional dress called “ao dai”, in a backdrop of Ha Long Bay. Bai Chay is the central tourist area on the other side where Ha Long Bay is filled with luxury cruises or traditional junk boat tours. Other options are: an artificial beach, restaurants, cafes and varying structures from high end resorts to boutique hotels lined along the bay. © Jojie Alcantara This January, Vietnam was the host country of the 38th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2019. Held in Ha Long, …
“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.” ~Albert Einstein
The city of Tiberias in northern Israel was founded by Herod Antipas and named in honor of the Roman emperor Tiberius. It nestles lalong the significant Sea of Galilee (lowest freshwater lake on earth, sourced from Jordan River).
“When Moses was alive, the pyramids were a thousand years old . . . . Here people learned to measure time by a calendar, to plot the stars by astronomy . . . . Here they developed that most awesome of all ideas – the idea of eternity.” ~ Walter Cronkite
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985, Petra was named among the New7Wonders of the World in 2007 and chosen by Smithsonian Magazine as one of the “28 Places to See Before You Die”.
“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small.” ~Anthony Bourdain
“Children are happy because they don’t have a file in their minds called “All the Things That Could Go Wrong.”― Marianne Williamson
“Imagine if trees gave off wifi signals, we would be planting so many trees and we’d probably save the planet too. Too bad they only produce the oxygen we breathe.” ~ unknown
“Don’t take anything for granted, because one minute it can be there and the next minute it can’t, and it happens so quick. When the negative stuff comes around, just let it go. It all leads to the positive as long as you keep a positive attitude. Enjoy everything you get. That’s one of the most important things in life, is really appreciating it because we only get to do this once and it’s not for a long time.” ~Jay Moriarity, surfer
We are but mere specks in the universe, our lifespan a mere second on the whole time lapse of history that keeps unfolding. So let’s make the most of our millisecond here on earth as nurturing species. Share the love and compassion. Create a ripple so that mankind will be remembered. ~ Jojie Alcantara (Sunrise seascape, Davao City)
“May every sunrise hold more promise and every sunset hold more peace.” Stop the War.
Regatta de Zamboanga is a colorful banca race (carera de vintas) depicting colorful sails designed by the fishermen themselves and proudly displayed during the competition.
I’ve seen better days,
but I have also seen worse.
I don’t have everything that I want
but I do have all I need.
I woke up with some aches and pains,
but I woke up.
My life may not be perfect
but I am blessed.
This Bitaog tree (Calophyllum inophyllum) in Brgy. Caloc-an, Magallanes, Agusan del Norte was officially declared the oldest tree in the country in June 1998 by the Dept. Of Tourism.
One particular sandstone head fell into the roots of a banyan tree they call a Bodhi Tree, considered sacred and symbolic to Buddhism. Over the years, this head became miraculously embedded in the tangled overgrowth, which created a stunning and powerful imagery to what the historic war represented.
The historic City of Ayutthaya (1351-1767), was the second capital of a flourishing Siamese Kingdom (Thailand’s old name). For 417 years from the 14th to the 18th centuries, it grew to be one of the world’s largest and most cosmopolitan urban areas and a most important center of global diplomacy and commerce during its time. It was said to be beautiful, luxurious and fabulous… think wild Paris of ancient history.
“I’ve learned that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” ~ Andy Rooney
The playful Badjao kids of Zamboanga will jump overboard and retrieve the coins you throw at sea with remarkable agility and ease in a matter of seconds, earning the nickname “sea gypsies” for a reason.
I visited Zamboanga before and after a rebel siege in the city a year ago that left a portion of the central town bruised and battered, and kept many wary visitors away and in fear. Foreign travel advisories stay adamant. I expected to focus on remnants of a combat zone, but there were other things that captivated me more.
When it comes to street and documentary photography, I am a huge fan of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Steve McCurry, and the enigmatic Vivian Maier. Watching her documentary Finding Vivian Maier was overwhelming for artists like me, inspiring yet saddening to be discovered posthumously. We are so moved by the stunning photography that this quiet, reclusive nanny has sprung upon us unsuspectingly. And yet, where now is the privacy she so wished until her end?
Vivian Maier’s works are gaining recognition worldwide, yet the artist isn’t there anymore to accept or decline her fame. This very private person who grew old alone and died alone suddenly has her life exposed to the world, a past she so mysteriously guarded when she was still alive.