All posts filed under: History

Petra Jordan by Jojie Alcantara

The Treasury (Al Khazna)

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

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, …

Of ancient ruins and eternity

“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

Kids running in the corridor © Jojie Alcantara

When kids stay positive

“Children are happy because they don’t have a file in their minds called “All the Things That Could Go Wrong.”― Marianne Williamson

Gone to sea

“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

Sunrise seascape, Davao City © Jojie Alcantara

Speck in the universe

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)

Head of the Sandstone Buddha

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.

Ancient Kingdom of Ayutthaya, Thailand © Jojie Alcantara

Wat Mahathat

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.

No Te Vayas de Zamboanga

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.

Finding Vivian Maier in me

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.