Archive for the ‘ Travel ’ Category

Snapshots of Manila

Reading Mary’s awesome “closing” post on the Kiva Fellows Blog reminded me that I still had a bunch of pictures from our Manila get-together last November that I meant to put up, but never did. Here are some of my favorite photos from this bustling metropolis of contrasts (and contradictions?)

Snapshot of Manila - Mural

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Obscura Day 2010 – William Ricketts Sanctuary

This past Saturday my boyfriend and I joined Wayne and two of his friends at William Ricketts Sanctuary for the Melbourne Obscura Day tour. Getting to the Sanctuary took about 1.5 hours by train and car from the center of Melbourne, and it actually would’ve taken even longer if Wayne hadn’t generously responded to my last minute cry for carpooling (thanks Wayne!) – but seeing the Sanctuary definitely made up for every minute of travel time. When I first read about William Ricketts Sanctuary on Atlas Obscura, I knew immediately that I wanted to go there for Obscura Day because it looked so beautiful. And the Sanctuary was not only enchanting and serene, but almost mystical as well. William Ricketts, the artistic mastermind behind the Sanctuary, had a profound respect for nature, aboriginal culture, and the divine – and the Sanctuary was the embodiment of his philosophy.

William Ricketts Sanctuary - "Atirantuka Winged Figure"

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Snapshots of Cebu – Day Two

Continued from Day One… after grabbing a quick breakfast, Ed and I hopped into a taxi and headed to Mactan Island. I was determined to get in the water and do some snorkling on this trip, having been thoroughly tempted by all the shiny brochures about the beautiful reefs around Cebu. We hadn’t done any planning beforehand, so we picked out a dive shop on our tourist map of Mactan and hoped for the best.

Snapshot of Cebu - Snorkeling!

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Snapshots of Cebu – Day One

Backdating – over Halloween and All Saint’s Day last year I took advantage of the long three-day weekend to meet up with Kiva Fellow/compatriot in the Philippines Ed Coambs, and we proceeded to have a good time in Cebu. My overall impression of Cebu was otherworldly – especially in comparison to Cagayan de Oro, where I had been living. There weren’t many beautiful old stone churches in Cagayan like the Basilica of Santo Niño.

Snapshot of Cebu - Basilica of Santo Niño

Complete with many landmarks commemorating the landing (and death) of the great European explorer Ferdinand Magellan, the weighty layers of history made themselves felt as I walked through the streets of Cebu. In a way Cebu is like a mash-up of Boston, for the history, and Miami, for the beautiful beaches nearby and modern amenities – including the biggest SM City mall in the Philippines, as my HSPFI co-workers informed me. You really can’t ask for any better than that.

Snapshot of Cebu - Beach

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Snapshots of Bukidnon (from a Bus Window)

Three weeks ago on our way back from HSPFI‘s Valencia Branch, I handed my camera to Corroi, HSPFI’s Kiva Coordinator. She had been telling me all sorts of stories about Bukidnon province (which was her home), and because our departure from the Valencia office was delayed we couldn’t do some of the sightseeing in Bukidnon that she had originally planned. So I asked her to take some pictures of Bukidnon as our bus rumbled its way back to Cagayan de Oro. This turned out to be an inspired move as she took tons of awesome landscape photos, which I hadn’t done as good a job of documenting. And they were kinda artsy to boot, because of the movement blur and interesting lighting from our bus window.

Snapshot of Bukidnon (1)

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What Can A Kiva Fellow Learn About HSPFI Project Officers?

A HSPFI Lending Team Update.

I was just two days off the plane and back in the Philippines when I heard that HSPFI’s 2009 Q4 Project Officers Meeting would be taking place the next day. I really wanted to make something for the POs as a small token of thanks, so I threw a video together and showed it the next day to whoops and cheers. I actually think this is the best Kiva/HSPFI video that I’ve edited to-date, so I was really glad to see it well-received.

A bit of context – the first part of the video is mostly made up of footage from the HSPFI 2009 Staff Christmas Party. The day kicked off with gift exchanges and team-building/general bonding activities at a nearby resort; the night activities took place in the HSPFI office and consisted of a big delicious dinner and the HSPFI staff dance competition (and videoke/impromptu dancing). Having seen how hard HSPFI staff works on a regular basis, it was really cool to see the organization give back to dedicated staff members on the ground with a kickass Christmas celebration.

(Video Background Music: Allison Crowe – “Immersed” and “Midnight”, available on

Other footage used in the video were taken from the 2009 Q3 HSPFI POs Meeting & After-Party; Iligan Branch’s 15th Anniversary and 2009 Client Christmas Party; and Gingoog Branch’s 2009 Client Christmas Party. I also threw in some of my favorite photos from various branch visits/field travels with awesome HSPFI POs.

Enjoy 🙂

It's Harder to Be Christian During Christmas in the States?

Ok, I admit that I mainly wanted to practice writing a “catchy” title for this post. I’m sure that people who know me are thinking something along the lines of “but you’re not even Christian!” And I’m not in the U.S. right now either. But I did just read a fantastic TIME article about how Christian church groups are standing up against the insane commercialization of Christmas in the States, offering some proof that this title might not be as outrageous as it appeared at first glance.

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