Up, up and away!

Flying is definitely one of the best sensations in the world. And the best view, I think, is the sea of unassuming puffy, white clouds against a blue backdrop.

2012 has been really good to me. It’s just October and so far, I’ve been to 12 flights:

  • Dec 31/Jan1: NYC to Beijing; Beijing to Manila
  • Feb: Manila to Singapore; Singapore to Manila
  • Feb: Manila to Tagbilaran City; Tagbilaran City to Manila
  • Feb: Manila to Beijing; Beijing to NYC
  • Apr: NYC to Zurich; Zurich to NYC
  • Aug: NYC to Chicago; Chicago to NYC

Funny that in 10 out of those 12 flights, I was completely on my own. And I really don’t mind traveling alone. In fact, in a weird sort of way (that many people might not completely understand), I actually enjoy it. I appreciate that I get to think things through and evaluate my life and the choices I’ve made.

In my flight from NYC to Beijing, I was seated beside a Chinese tattoo artist who works in Chinatown. He showed me samples of his work and what an artist he really was! Beijing to Manila was unforgettable – I arrived in Manila thirty minutes after New Year, and seeing Manila and its flickering lights, with my family at the airport patiently waiting for me, was such a wonder to behold.

My trip to Singapore was also unforgettable. I remember booking my trip six months in advance, overly excited to visit some good friends I haven’t seen in years. I was supposed to make a detour to Malacca and Kuala Lumpur, but maybe it wasn’t meant to be – my passport was forcibly destroyed and I had to cut my trip short and go home, apply for another passport if I wanted to go back to NYC. The trip to Tagbilaran City and Panglao was really awesome, as I got to be on a vacation with my block mates from college. Oh, I could still feel the fine, white sand in my bare toes and the heat of the sun giving me a glorious tan. On the other hand, the trip to Beijing then to NYC was something that I truly despise. NAIA Terminal 1 clearly is one of the worst airports I’ve been to (Kyiv airport takes the number one spot) – and I hope it gets renovated in the coming years. However, I’m still thankful for the safe and uneventful flight and for being able to try Air China for once.

I’ve always held my flight from NYC to Zurich very close to my heart, just because Switzerland for me is the most beautiful country there is. I recall missing the check-in luggage deadline, that’s why I had to give away the liquids and toiletries I had in my luggage back then. Zurich to NYC was such a sweet sorrow, for I had to say goodbye to Switzerland while I looked forward to my graduation a week after I came back to NYC. Lastly, I went to Chicago last August to attend my roommate’s second (yes, second!) wedding and to meet up with a good friend of mine. It’s really awesome to be friends with a flight attendant! Haha.

I look forward to being at the airport and the plane again, anxious to board my flight and to embark on another adventure. No matter where I am or where I’ll be or who I’ll become, I’ll always be that same girl who took the first step of traveling halfway around the world to study again, to explore what’s out there, to make her dreams a reality.

Giant Pinwheels

Just a 2-3 hour drive up from Vigan City in Ilocos Sur (click here to view my previous post about this UNESCO Heritage Site) sits the quiet little town of Bangui in Ilocos Norte.

Facing the South China Sea (or “West Philippine Sea”) is the Bangui Wind Farm in Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. The first of its kind in the Philippines, this wind farm consists of 20 wind turbines which line up along a nine-kilometer stretch off Bangui Bay. An average of 20 typhoons (or tropical cyclones) enter the country in a given year – just imagine the potential to create more sources of clean energy!

My family and I arrived at the wind farm just a little before dusk. We missed the sunset; the tide was high and the clouds were heavy and dark, almost as if rain’s about to fall. So after taking in the beauty before our eyes, we headed to a beach resort in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, where we spent the night.

The beach resort provided a great vantage point for these towering beauties! I’ll put off the details of my day at this beautiful beach for another blog post so I’ll just tell you more about the time when we stopped by to see the windmills on our way back to Manila.Got a little lost for a while.

Then we’ve reached it finally!

We knew then that our luck has turned around – the sea looked really calm and postcard-pretty.

Do you want to know how it feels like to stand next to one of these wind turbines? It felt awesome, because I knew that these generate clean energy that supplies a chunk of the electricity needs of the province. But how exactly? On the other hand, I felt a little nervous. It might sound funny, but I had this image of being blown away into the sea tattooed on my mind (I don’t know how to swim).

Here are some more photos:

The wind farm is located in a little fishing community and the only establishments around were these little huts wherein souvenirs were being sold.

We just can’t leave without buying our own souvenirs.

My mom bought two large souvenirs and four small ones. I guess in her mind she wanted those to represent our family. (A little FYI: it’s customary to hang a rosary on the rearview mirror in the PI.)

Good bye, giant pinwheels! You are well worth the ride from Manila!

A fleeting moment

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream! —
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

~A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

White, puffy, and light

I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
         And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
         I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
         The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
         Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
         And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
         I arise and unbuild it again.
~ Excerpt from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “The Cloud”