Places

London Bridge in the US

London bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. London bridge is falling down, my fair lady. The rhyme dates back from the 1100s when the foundation of Old London bridge was being constructed, replacing the timber foundation. London bridge is a very important structure spanning the Thames River. It became a choice business and residential site in London. From the medieval times, there had been many calamities and repairs that undertook.

A bit of history here…

“In 1962, London Bridge was falling down. Built in 1831, the bridge couldn’t handle the ever-increasing flow of traffic across the Thames River. The British government decided to put the bridge up for sale, and Robert McCulloch, Founder of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and Chairman of McCulloch Oil Corporation, submitted the winning bid of $2,460,000.

The bridge was dismantled, and each stone was numbered. Everything was shipped 10,000 miles to Long Beach, California, and then trucked to Lake Havasu City.” – See more at: http://www.roadtripamerica.com/places/havasu.htm#sthash.7s6Dwnzv.dpuf

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Part of one of our camping hopping trips was supposed to be an overnight camping at Lake Havasu City. We didn’t like the Lake Havasu  State Park because of the ants that made the campground their home. The lake is stinky and the weather was so hot. There are times when in camping you hit the jackpot (when you have an awesome campsite). But this one was a bummer. Though it was not nice to be here on a 100+ degrees temperature, it’s nice to have a quick tour of this part of the city and learn history. Here are some of the pictures before we drive back to California.

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UK flag waving there!
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This area of the Lake Havasu City is a haven for people who loves to hang out in bars and water sports. There’s a lot of resorts in the area.
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US flag waving here!

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There’s a European feel around London Bridge in Arizona. They maintained European style of structures. Maybe it’s nice to explore some more next time but definitely in the fall or winter.
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Camping @ Flaming Gorge

I was hoping that this year will be a year of camping since we started early. In January, we went camping with the crossroads ministry. We are looking forward to this summer to go to the wilderness but circumstances won’t allow us so I’ll just write something about our extraordinary camping experience few years ago.

It all started upon learning that we will be going to Manila, Philippines. We decided to visit the other Manila, which is in Utah. Manila is a small town in the Northern Utah and Southern Wyoming boundary. It is named after the Philippines’ capital, Manila, in honor of the US victory at the Battle of Manila Bay.

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Contrary to Manila, Philippines, this Manila which is the home of the Flaming Gorge, is a less populated area. At 5pm we can only see a few people. I can’t believe that there were only 300+ people residing in Manila, Utah according to 2000 census. Let’s say it doubled in the next 10 years, it’s only 600 compared to Manila’s million population. Anyway, we love both Manilas.

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We camped at State Line Cove Campground on the sandy shore of Flaming Gorge on the boundary of Utah and Wyoming. But before we enter the campground, we literally went in and out of Utah and Wyoming border as we drove along curve roads.

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The scenic views and geological sites are plentiful. As the sky changes color from blue to gray then to bright sunny yellow, the views change as well as we drive along winding roads, from lush green to red/brown rock formations. flame4

I love trees! Any place that has beautiful trees such as this is a paradise for me. There is no entrance guard or staff here to check in so you’re on your own to find your reserved spot.
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I’m glad that my men know what to do. My husband is such detail-minded and good in logistics, so we just let them do their job while Mich and I explore and take photos everywhere.

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My husband checked the weather and it will be raining at night. We have to prepare for the challenge. Unfortunately, our camp spot was very open so this is the best location to pitch our tent. As usual the boys pitched the tent and the girls took charge of the kitchen to prepare our very fancy dinner, Spam. Haha! 😛flame6

These two young trees have proven themselves to be strong, resilient and dependable. I admit, I laughed and questioned their ability to withstand strong winds but I was reminded of the verse in the bible that says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Tim. 4:12. I should have not looked down on these skinny trees because God used them to protect us from calamity. flame2

This tent was not only a room for us but also a refuge. It shielded us enough and didn’t make us wet even under very strong winds and rain. It didn’t even get damaged or suffered any broken part. This tent has served us many camping trips until this day.  flame12

I don’t know if we should be glad that these friendly antelopes here were not intimidated by humans or should we be sorry that we were “intruding” their somewhat commercialized habitat. We didn’t know that there’s a lot of pronghorns and other types of deer and antelopes roaming around here.

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There’s plenty of them around the campground. And Mich tried to follow them. flame9

This was the last picture taken before we sleep. Dark clouds gave us warning about the coming rain. We were joking and laughing. We even played bingo and watched a movie inside the tent. Would you believe that? We were just so secured that God will not let any harm to go near us. Psalm 4:8 says “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Thankfully, God allowed us to have a good night sleep and let the storm pass in the morning. That night we kept our belongings inside the car and left only what’s needed inside the tent. A tray of Red Ribbon ensaimada (so every time I see this bread, I am reminded of manna from heaven) given by a friend and some bottled water saved us from hunger during the raging storm. As far as I can remember, we were the only tent in that area of the campground. The nearest to us was a small RV camper that left earlier than us. Around 8 AM, the storm was gone. The sky was clear and the sun shone brightly as if nothing happened. We prayed and thanked God for His covering, protection and provision.

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Four Corners USA

Interestingly, there’s a place in the US where you could be in four different states at one point. It’s called Four Corners. Since we love to explore and we love geography, we took the time to visit this place. There’s not much to see but to feed your curiosity and experience how it’s like to be there is enough.
4corners6 Most of the Four Corner regions belong to native Americans like this one, Navajo Nation. So when we entered this area, we are in a semi-autonomous native American governed territory. According to wikipedia, The Navajo Nation has one of the largest and most involved North American tribal governments, with organic institutions that include a judicial system, and large law enforcement and social service agencies.

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To support the native American businesses, we bought some souvenirs and the necklace Mich is wearing in the picture above. It took us a lot of time for her to pick what she likes best. That has always been the hard part every time we ask her to choose. She has a lot of things that she wants to buy including an archery set. No Hunger Games that time yet but she wants a bow and arrows. 4corners1

So when you visit a native American territory be sure to follow the rules. As long as you don’t violate their rules and you are kind and sensitive to their beliefs and culture you’re welcome to enjoy their land. Visitors are always welcome. navajonation 4corners2 This is the most important photo op. Adrian’s left leg is in New Mexico, right leg in Arizona, right hand/arm in Utah and left hand/arm in Colorado. How cool is that? :) We got here earlier than most visitors so we had the chance to have photos one by one.

4corners4But when it’s about time for family picture, there’s a lot of photo bombers.

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This rock formation is one of my favorite sight in our road trip that day. I remember after taking this photo, we saw a McDonalds in the middle of nowhere and we were surprised. It was time to recharge our bodies with fast-food and use our cellphones because mostly there were weak signals or none at all.

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Pier 39

A multitude of bees can tell the time of day, calculate the geometry of the sun’s position, argue about the best location for the next swarm. Bees do a lot of close observing of other bees; maybe they know what follows stinging and do it anyway.” – Lewis Thomas

A quick visit to Pier 39 includes people watching. We, or I in particular, love to see diverse people and observe what they do, what they buy, what they eat and many more. I love to see colors and life in every stores and things sold everywhere from souvenirs to candies at Pier 39.

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I would encourage our kids to buy local fruits than candies. But kids are kids. They’re attracted to candies especially the weird ones.

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Funny as it seems, the main reason why I want to go here was to see sea lions but we only saw one. A lazy looking sea lion. Looks like they all walked out. :) Maybe we missed the right time to see them here.

Anyway, to compensate the missing sea lions, here’s one of the best sunsets in the Bay Area. Dining to a very dramatic sunset was a treat!

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Yummy food from Pier Market. It was a long wait because of too much people that time…

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(2 years ago from the time of posting)

Feeding the Seagulls

by Michelle

Birds are interesting animals. So are seagulls. One time, my family and I went to a beach, and there were two other men who were feeding the birds. My mom brought chips, and we fed the seagulls until we ran out. Whenever I threw part of a chip to the back of the birds, they were ready to fly away. But as soon as they saw the food, they darted straight for it. It was just so fun! I tried making a path of chips so the birds would get closer to me, but I couldn’t, because it was windy. I was disappointed when we had to leave, but it was still fun.

I remember when I was still sitting in the car. I wasn’t sure when my mom said,”Come on, Michelle! It’ll be fun!”(or something like that). Soon, I found myself feeding birds, and having fun! While we were feeding the birds, I saw a man holding a “to-go” box with leftovers, then he tossed it to the birds. When he left, I saw a huge brown seagull swoop down and grab the box. Another time, my brother, Adrian, throw a chip at the birds, then two birds ran into each other, because they were heading for the same chip!

911 Memorial Visit

Eleven years ago, when my husband and I got home from an evening class in Taft, Manila, we saw on TV what seems like a scene from a movie. The World Trade Center towers collapsing, smoke coming out of the rubbles and tiny images of people jumping to their deaths were repeatedly shown. We could not believe that was really happening. 
 
Last year, my family watched History channel’s documentary of 9/11 tragedy. It was the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack. We can’t help but cry seeing different angles of the story from how the terrorists entered the US and trained to be pilots in American soil, to the security head of World Trade Center predicting about terrorist attacks.
I never thought that we would be able visit the site where the tragedy happened. It gave me chills to remember the scenes from what I watched that are forever etched in my memory. 
 
Here’s to remember the lives of innocent people and salute the heroes who gave their lives to save others.
 

The Memorial closes at 8 PM. We were late so we just took some photos outside. We planned to go back the following day.

The buildings behind us are almost finished. Several buildings are being constructed within the World Trade complex.

We’ve learned that names etched on the bronze parapets were arranged meaningfully by the designer of  the Memorial. They were arranged by relationships and affiliations.

This reminds me of the plane that hit one of the towers.

She was not even born when that terrorism happened. I don’t know what’s in her mind but she was pretty serious huh?

This pool with cascading waterfalls was built on the exact location where one of the twin towers was located. 

We bought this medal from the souvenir shop. This was minted and made available to the public for sale to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Obverse design shows Lady Liberty holding the Lamp of Remembrance. Reverse design (not shown) depicts an eagle symbolizing the strength of survivors, families and Nation, against a backdrop of cascading water. 

This is the Survivor Tree that was burned, twisted and almost died but with a little TLC it was resurrected to life. The tree was replanted in Ground Zero memorial park. Really amazing tree! Life is still beautiful even after the tragedy.

Empire State Building

Perfect weather we had on our first day of tour. It’s better to walk wearing layers than sweating a lot under the sun. Our friend  was surprised to see few people visiting the tower today. It’s a jackpot for us that we don’t have to experience long lines to go up. See? We managed to have a photo op here, otherwise we have to go up immediately.

We went up knowing that it’s zero visibility. That’s the risk we had to take if we want to save time and tour the city more. Here are some pictures of what we saw:

Times Square

This place is so bubbly! By merely observing people here and there you will be entertained. We spent the whole night going around this side of Manhattan. Our eyes feasted on so much blings and lights of Times Square. So many things going on in different corners of this place. We’ve even followed the pursuit of a guy carrying a bouquet of flowers waiting for his girlfriend to propose to her. Sad thing was, the girl didn’t come. We don’t know if she was intimidated by the crowd that she didn’t want to show up.
 
Here is my New Yorker wearing her fuchsia hat with feathers. :) This hat attracted many ladies everywhere we go especially at the airports.    

Awwwww… This is super cute! But only in the pictures. I don’t like pets. Sorry!

We’ve been smiling for so long because we waited for the Times Square to flash on the screen. It took us a while! 

The ever busy Times Square plaza. So lively!

Thanks to de Guzman family for touring us around. We had a wondrous experience of NY.

A glimpse of Times Square later on. We stayed there til midnight. ‘Twas fun meeting friends and chatting with them here. 

Brooklyn Bridge

Based from my research, walking across the bridge of Brooklyn is a must when you are touring NY. The bridge is old (more than 100 years old!)and has its own character. It’s really beautiful.
I was satisfied to just see it because I know that kids were tired already. Glad to have them enjoy the moist and cold weather outside. 
 
 This is the view from the car lane.   
 
This one is for Spidey. Love, love the bridge.
 
 
Kids reading the tablet signage of the Manhattan side of Brooklyn bridge.
 
A leisure walk around 7 p.m. on a wooden pedestrian walkway. This part of the bridge is higher than the automobile lanes.
Group picture with our friends. Little Cyrus was awake!  
 
Husband took a photo of Optimus Prime’s head. I didn’t see it on our way. Let’s play a game. Spot the difference.
 

Field Trip to Singapore Science Center




Adrian’ head only? How was that? Quasi oh Quasi!

Mechanical works. The nose knows. Egg-hunter Mich.
One of our 7 days in Singapore was spent in Singapore Science Center. It was worth the time and travel. Our eyes and mind were filled with awesome things about science. From the optical illusions to nanotechnology to robotics and high tech house, we were delighted to see numerous exhibits of how science and scientific studies are used.
Not only that kids enjoyed talking with a 3 year old robot named Quasi, but we loved it as well. We were not satisfied talking with him just once but we went back to his station. Kids and adults love Quasi. Mich even asked Quasi to dance and Adrian taught Quasi some Filipino words like “paalam at salamat“.
While father and son went to experience the movie “Dinosaur”, Mich and mom toured the souvenir store and Mcdonald’s for some refreshment.
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