Qal’at al-Bahrain

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One of the goals I have set for myself is to visit 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites by the time I turn 25. I’m currently 23 and I have been to 11. The most recent one that I’ve been to is the Fort of Bahrain, which I visited with my family last month. I thought it was funny that I’ve lived in the Middle East for most of my life and this is the first time I visited a UNESCO Heritage Site in the area. We visit Bahrain on a regular basis, but we usually went there to go shopping or to watch a movie. in the 18 years I’ve lived in Saudi Arabia, it was the first time we went to Bahrain to go on a historical trip.

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Qal’at al-Bahrain or the Bahrain Fort has been built and rebuilt in the past and the fort currently standing has been around since the sixth century. It is considered as one of Bahrain’s most important archaeological sites. Bahrain is an island and the fort served as the region’s trading port from as early as 2300 BC. 

It was the first time I brought my family with me to a World Heritage Site visit. The previous times, I was usually alone or with friends. My family isn’t as into travel as I am but I’m glad that they were able to appreciate the history that surrounded the Fort. 

It wasn’t as grand as the other World Heritage Sites that I have been to but it’s amazing how well-maintained the fort is given that it was built around 2,000 years ago. What I noticed about myself whenever I go to these places is that I have a different energy in me. I feel stronger and more energetic and my family noticed this. I was able to go up flights of stairs with no complaint – something I dislike doing on a regular day because it tends to trigger my asthma. 

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I was able to climb up to the top of the fort and take a picture with the flag. The first thing I noticed when I got to the top was the contrast between the archaeological site I was standing on and the busy city center of Bahrain.  Image

 

When you enter the Bahrain Fort, you forget that it’s situated just 15 minutes away from the city center. The location feels old and it makes you feel like you’ve been transported to a barren desert land. It’s quiet and peaceful. There were not that many tourists visiting the area despite it being a weekend. I guess just like us, most people visit Bahrain for the malls and the city attractions. I’m so glad that I was able to visit the Qal’at al-Bahrain before leaving the Middle East. 🙂 

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On Nancy Binay

There has been much flak thrown at Nancy Binay, throughout the campaign period and even more so after elections when her name appeared in the Top 6. Personally, I did not vote for her, but the online criticisms seem to have gone too far with people not only attacking her credentials but also her character and appearance. 

We talk about Nancy Binay being undeserving as a Senator as if the Senate has until this moment been a sacred group of lawmakers who have done nothing but push for the betterment of our laws when in fact the Senate is filled with self-interested politicians who have already proven their ineffectiveness as lawmakers and yet are still able to reclaim their positions each time they run. Not to say that all of them fit that description, but let’s not fool ourselves into believing that Nancy Binay is going to be the virus that ails the legislative branch. 

There was a tweet about Bam Aquino where he stated that it was the perfect time to be a new politician because he isn’t used to the old politics. Perhaps this will work out for Nancy Binay’s benefit. We have attacked her based on her incompetence and lack of political (or even corporate) track record. Let’s stop and think about those who have previously served us, those who possess outstanding political and educational backgrounds. How exactly have they helped in the improvement of our country? That being said, why won’t we give this political neophyte the benefit of the doubt?

While I, like many, have my doubts on how she will perform as a senator, the attacks on her character and her skin color have reached the point of disrespect. We cry foul when people like Lucy Liu make jokes about looking a little Filipino and yet here we doing the same thing in the most malicious ways possible. For such an easily offended nation, we sure can be big bullies. 

Never imagined I would say this but let’s give Nancy Binay a chance. I didn’t support her with my vote but right now I actually want her to succeed just to prove her detractors wrong. 

(On another note, I know we’re disappointed that she got in the Senate over those who we believe are more capable. That’s democracy at work. Hopefully, those who have become critics during the elections won’t lose that fire as the years pass by. Our duty as citizens doesn’t end on election day)

Cliche as this may sound but one of the greatest things that has happened to me in the last three years was that I have been able to identify who my true friends are. Vida is definitely one of those people I consider to be one of my truest and bestest friends in the world, who has been there in almost every aspect of my life for three years now and I have nothing but appreciation and respect for her. Gah, I love you so much, Vida. The distance had only made our friendship stronger than ever ❤

Untying the Gordian Knot

 

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Because I have seen the prelude of your youth; as you grapple with life, navigating through halls. Corner to corner, you painted your world–as tiny as it may be– with a smile; an optimism I can only dream of having. Those who have threatened to inflict wounds on your already fragile ego, were deflected by your naturally good heart.

These, I saw. It was a privilege.

Beyond paragraphs and paragraphs, accompanied by thousands of revisions. Those endless nights of dreaming for a bigger life, meaning and purpose. The melodies and words. The reinterpretations and regrets. We have yearned to rewind and wished to fast forward.

I stood and applauded as they called your name. I was proud.

At the precipice of something great, you never forget to whisper it to me. Like some sort of secret-keeper. Miles, connected by wires, challenging the oceans, betraying the longitudinal differences. None, no…

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United Kingdom Days 4 and 5 – Westminster and Notting Hill

Westminster City is one of the most tourist-packed areas in London and it’s very understandable why! A lot of the usual tourists spots were just 5 minutes away from each other. The moment you step out of the Westminster Station, you’re already greeted by Big Ben, the Parliament Square, and Westminster Abbey. I didn’t know where to start! I decided to head to the Westminster Abbey first because it is incredibly beautiful from outside. There was service inside so they didn’t allow tourists to enter so I decided to go in and sit through an Anglican Catholic service. I couldn’t concentrate when I was inside! The walls were covered in gold. It was a really magnificent sight and I wish I was able to take photos but photos weren’t allowed during service so I guess I should just feel happy that I was able to take a look around. Inside the Cathedral, there were the graves of some prominent people such as Isaac Newton and David Livingstone. I’m sure there were more important people in there but those were the only two that I was able to take a look at from where I was seated. Most of the floor was covered in people’s graves and I was a bit paranoid about that, trying not to step on anyone’s grave while walking because that just felt a bit creepy. Other than that I was completely mesmerized by how the Westminster Abbey looked inside.

After the service, I decided to walk around the area because there was really a lot to see just by walking. I passed by the Parliament Square and the Big Ben. When I passed the Big Ben, that is when I truly felt that I was actually in London! I couldn’t help myself, I kept taking pictures of the Big Ben from every angle I could. It was hard to ignore it because most buildings in London are not very high (one thing I loved about London, you can actually see the sky everywhere you go! I love the sky!) so you can actually see the clock tower towering above everything else and can easily take shots from many different angles.

I also got to go inside the Jewel Tower, which is one of the two remaining structures from the old Palace of Westminster! It was smaller than I expected it to be but it was still full of history. Going inside was like a real history lesson for me especially since they included a lot of information not only about the tower but about the government structure.

I did a lot of walking that day but I did not get tired at all because my eyes were too busy just observing the beautiful architecture not just of the historical sites but also of the regular shops that chose to maintain the old buildings that were first built where the shops now stand.

Something weird happened to me that day. I was walking down a street and two guys approached me asking to take a picture, as I went to take the camera from them they said, no we want a picture with you. What was that? Is that some sort of scam that they do like take something from you without you noticing? It was a bit creepy so I went away and walked really fast in case they came after me.

Anyway, after that, I decided to sit down and have lunch at 3pm. I was too busy sightseeing that I actually forgot to eat! I had my first ever Fish and Chips from a really nice tavern near Big Ben. It was actually pretty good. It was funny seeing tables of tourists all ordering the same thing I did!

After lunch, I just kept on walking from Westminster all the way to Trafalgar Square at the end of the road where they were celebrating the Hindu Diwali Festival. I didn’t stay long because there were so many people so I decided to walk all the way to Oxford Circus where I did a little shopping. I needed to shop because it was too cold and I didn’t bring enough covers for myself!
The next day, I went to Notting Hill, which is made famous by the movie of the same name starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. The houses were very pretty and colorful! It took me around 4 hours to walk to and from the end of Portobello Road which is filled with all kinds of shops. I managed to buy several things from there and it made me happy. I passed by the famous Blue Door from the movie as well! It was a really nice day to be a fan girl. Haha. I noticed that a lot of the sites I went to have relations to being a fan girl of something.

My next stop after visiting Notting Hill was Upton Park where the West Ham United Football Club is based but that was not the reason I went there! I went there to visit the Who Shop which I heard was the best Doctor Who Merchandise shop in London! I had to go there and glad I did because there were some things there that could not be found in the Gift Shop at the Doctor Who experience in Cardiff! I wish I could have taken home a Tardis Trashcan or a Doctor Who Monopoly board game but alas my baggage could only carry so much.

I had to get back home by dinner because I would have to pick up Ian from the Walthamstow Central Station! It was so nice seeing him again after two years! Wow! It’s been that long but despite the amount of time we have not physically seen each other I really do still see him as one of my closest friends.

(Not) Growing Up

 

Whenever I see a group of rude middle school students, it makes me sad because I realize these kids used to be sweet and adorable kindergarteners who would run to their teacher and give them a hug every day. I wonder how the kindergarteners this year will turn out after six years? What ever happened along the way? How did a sweet, adorable, angelic little kid grow up to become a defiant and arrogant preteen who disrespects and answers back to their teachers?

First Night Back

Glad to be back in Manila! It’s been 10 months and it feels like I’ve been here the whole year. Manila has that effect on me. I love how I always feel at home. I think it helps that I have awesome friends who are willing to pick me up from my house with a taxi just so that I can join them for dinner ❤ Thanks Kath and Tam for picking me up and Tyress for accompanying me back home 🙂

Welcoming Committee 🙂 Tyress, Enzo, Kath, and Tam!

Banquet 2012

The last time I attended a Bowling banquet was when I was younger and they made us dance for the intermission so I completely forgot how long the program is. Still, it was nice to get out of the house for non-work related things so I usually take every chance I can get. This week, no, month, has been rather stressful for me so it was nice to just sit and watch people receive awards. The food was really good. We’ve had the same caterers since forever but I really believe they have improved in the taste of their food (the options are always the same though, always.)

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Uom Ali, one of my most favorite Egyptian desserts!

Oh, and last night was also my chance to try out the new lipstick I bought in Bahrain in full force. It’s Midnight Rose from Lancome’s new line, Rouge in Love. I have worn it to work but not in its full intensity since it didn’t seem appropriate for the environment. Anyway, I’m extremely happy with it. I didn’t have to retouch the entire night even after eating 🙂

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Before the banquet (5:30pm)
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 After the banquet (10:00pm)
I haven’t done this in a while but, what I wore last night:
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Top from Centerpoint
Skirt from New Yorker
Shoes from Payless
Bag from Mango
To end this post, my brother and I playing around with the door prizes we received:Image

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

It’s a pretty nifty feature. Thanks for this, WordPress! Surprised I got 1600 visitors! Thanks to everyone who reads my blog :O

It’s my 9 day holiday and I’m going to spend it reading a bunch of books and watching old FRIENDS episodes. 🙂

Finally time to take a break and catch up on some sleep (can we really catch up on sleep tho?)

It’s kinda sad since there’ll be nothing else for me to do for 9 days! I mean there are already very little things I look forward to these days: weekly political debates with my friends, chatting with the 7 people who I’m online to on chat, and new episodes of the TV series I regularly watch.

Wow, I kinda miss the drama that college life had to offer.