Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is a UNESCO World Heritage Site made of copper donated by the people of France to the United States of America.  It was built by Gustave Eiffel from the design of Frederic Auguste Bartholdi.

To get there, we parked our car in the Liberty State Park and boarded the Statue Cruises for $18 to see the the statue's pedestal.  There were two stopovers: Ellis Island and Liberty Island.

The cruise took around 25 minutes.  All visitors had to passby metal detectors and e-ray machines for security purposes. Here's a video I took of Lady Liberty while on our way back to New Jersey.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Caledon’s Cheltenham Badlands, Canada

We drove a couple of hours to reach Caledon to see the bizarre spectacle, Badlands.  "Badlands are a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water." 

When we learned that the place was going to be fenced down and its going to be close to the public, we hied off right away.  We arrived early morning and there were no guards so we were free to roam and walk around the reddish grounds.  The place reminded me of the Chocolate Hills of Bohol, Philippines.  

"The reddish hue of the Queenston Shale is caused by iron oxide, while narrow greenish bands show where groundwater has transformed the rock from red to green iron oxide. The cause of this phenomenon was poor farming practices in the 1930’s which caused overgrazing of this land and the resultant exposure of the Queenston shale that supports little or no vegetation."

A vertical panoramic shot of the beautiful barren landscape...

After our visit, we got the news form the Ontario Heritage Trust:

The Cheltenham Badlands are temporarily closed to the public. A protective fence has been erected to restrict access and prevent further damage to the Badlands while a Master Plan is being developed to guide future conservation and public access to the site. The area will remain closed for several years while consultation, planning and fundraising are underway. For more information, visit:

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge, Canada

In Campbellford, walking on the Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge looks scary but once you set your foot on the 30-feet high suspension bridge, you're in for a pleasant treat!  On both sides of the bridge are great scenic views.  Here are time lapse videos shot on opposite sides.

The bridge is not wobbly and yes, you can jump up and down without any fear. You can also see water rushing under your feet.  

Perfect, serene nature trip!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Crowe Bridge Park, Canada

It was one sunny Saturday in Spring that we hiked off to the Crowe Bridge Conservation Area.  "The weir dam located in the Crowe River creates a wonderful swimming area with peaceful picnicing spaces and hiking trails."  It is open to the public.  We chanced upon a family eating around the river and a couple dipping on the water.  Located in the Municipality of Trent, Hills, Canada, the Crowe Bridge Park is a relaxing place for everyone.  I shot this in slow motion to see the beauty of the water's rhythm. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

ST. PIO OF PIETRELCINA and the Filipino pilgrims

Trailer of "Into The Light"

My second European trip became possible because of "work."  We were to shoot a documentary about the relationship of St. Pio to the Filipino pilgrims.  I first "met" St Pio at Greenbelt Chapel, a high-end commercial mall surrounded by classy restaurants and expensive shops.  He was in front of the altar, bust-sized, wearing a brown clothing being a Capuchin.  I didn't take him seriously because he looked funny to me.  Why would I pray to a statue who doesn't look like a saint? I kept on laughing inside the chapel.  My friend who played St. Pio in a theatrical play explained that the beloved saint was a bi-locator.  He can be seen at many places at the same time.  He knows all your sins even if you haven't confessed it and he bore Jesus' stigmata.

One afternoon, I got a phone call asking if I'm available to shoot a documentary on St. Pio at his hometown in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy.  I didn't have second thoughts.  I said 'YES!' right away.

Behind-the-scenes interview with the Hospital Director 
Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, a hospital built by St. Pio
A Filipino pilgrim is in deep prayer.
Ms. Boots Anson Roa is an acclaimed actress and devotee of St. Pio. She is the host of the documentary.
After making the documentary, I became to know St. Pio intimately and we are now best friends! Hahaha.  I do not make fun of him anymore. I am in awe with his generosity and service to humanity.  He always listens.  I count on him every time my life is being tested and he delivers.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Images in Europe

My last European trip brought me images that have been stuck in my mind for years and I wanted to share them with you. 

The images will speak for themselves---no words to explain its significance :)

Intense prayer at the Our Lady of Lourdes grotto in France.
A Mime in Spain!
Tourists at the Vatican City.
The view from the very serene Montserrat, my favorite mountain.
A surprising rally emerged while our tour bus was waiting at the parking lot.
Hello there!
Leaves are starting to fall---a change in season.

Walking around the streets of France at night greeted me with this gigantic artwork.

The Sacred Heart in France. I think "Amelie" was shot here during their "hide & seek" game.
The Eiffel Tower during a foggy morning.
I can't pass the chance to see the Eiffel at night so I made sure I visited it during day time too.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal

A visit to Portugal led us to one of the world's most sought after pilgrimage site, Our Lady of Fatima.  In 1917, three children---Lucia and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco were herding their sheep when a bright light led to an apparition of Our Lady. 

Our Lady was dressed in all-white, came with a brilliant flash of light and talked to the children.  She shared the three secrets of Fatima.  The first secret was a vision of hell.  The second secret included Our Lady's instructions on how to save souls and convert the world to Christian faith.  The third secret was a vision of the death of the Pope and religious figures.  The prophesies gained fame throughout the world because of its mention of a possible world war and the conversion of Russia.

Hundreds of thousands pilgrims gather every May 13 and October 13 to pray and take part in the processions.  In 1930, the visions of Fatima were officially declared "worthy of belief" by the Church.

The Holy Rosary is also propagated that "there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families in the world, or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations, that cannot be solved by the Rosary."
Basilica of the Rosary

Tourists can also ride this mini train/shuttle to tour the small village where Lucia and company grew up.    Below is a small chapel built in Lucia's home town.

A lot of souvenir shops selling religious items and statues of Our Lady of Fatima are all over the streets of Portugal. I got this hand-painted necklace as a special remembrance for this trip.

What struck me was seeing the image of Our Lady of Fatima upclose and personal.  She looks so simple but her essence is one beautiful woman.  Her purity is astonishing.  There are things that cannot be explained---one just have to trust and believe.

This is the prayer that Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco recited during one of Our Lady's apparition:

"O my God, I believe. I adore.  I hope and I love Thee.  I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee."