The Goldwell Open Air museum is located outside Rhyolite which is a ghost town connecting up to Death Valley in California. This philanthropic museum was built in the year 2000 by the late Charles Albert Szukalski. This place was transformed in such a way by the Belgian artists who were the disciples of this remarkable artist. Charles Albert Szukalski has created marvelous artworks in the Mojave desert. Goldwell Museum has artists visiting this wonderful place from around the world who comes to residency programs at the nearby Red Barn Art Center. Even today the place has attracted a lot of visitors and you can see the place always busy flooding with artists and tourists from various parts of the country. This sculpture museum is open to artists and visitors throughout the year.
These are people on boats, popularly known as “sea gypsies. We often see them on piers or ports. They sail near arriving or departing roll-on-roll-off ships or other sea vessels transporting passengers from one island to another. They are expert swimmers and divers, who can dive so fast to retrieve coins thrown by ship passengers. They usually shout “hagis!” (throw) for people on board the ships to throw them some money usually coins because paper bills can be swept by the wind or be wet when it touch the water.
As you can see in my photo, they swim or sail next to passenger ferries to beg for money or for some loose change. I pity them to see them struggling to dive especially if passengers throw small coins or smaller denominations of money. If they throw bigger denominations of coins like PhP5.00 or PhP10.00 even PhP1.00, it will be easier to dive for it. It sinks slower too, and from the ship, the thrower or giver can see the coin sinking slowly in a zigzag manner, not sinking directly down the bottom of the sea. So the “sea gypsy” easily catches them.
I wonder how much they can earn from departing and arriving ferries. The government has banned travelers from throwing money to them because a “sea gypsy” died some years ago when he got trapped in the ship’s motor blades. Maybe he tried to retrieve a coin near the blades, and when the motor is running, it can hit the diver or he could be stucked in there!
The local governments through the Department of Social Welfare had offered livelihood opportunities to the “sea gypsies” to prevent such accidents, and for them not to risk their lives trying to dive for coins for a living. This is the reason why travelers were also banned from throwing them coins, so they no longer find it lucrative to beg for money in the ports.
Though ferry or ship passengers are already prohibited from throwing coins to the sea beggars, some could not resist, or they are too soft-hearted or kind-hearted to share some of their loose change to them.
After a long vacation of day dreaming, running around and almost losing your mind over admissions, visas and God knows what-not, you just can’t wait to begin your new life, isn’t it? The fun, the parties and the freedom you have always dreamt of is just a few days away, and we know you can’t stay still anymore.
While we expect nothing else from you after you have worked so hard to study abroad, we are here to caution you about the various threats, difficulties, and safety measures you ought to keep in mind as a student who has decided to embark on a journey of independence, which of course comes with its own price.
When you go to a country, make sure you are aware of the customs and the culture of that particular place. Learn about their dressing norms, what kind of clothes are viewed as acceptable, the gestures used and the meaning they convey, etc. Remember that while some gestures are acceptable and maybe even welcome in your country, it may not be the same case in others.
For e.g, in Paris, eye contact is considered rude and is generally not acceptable. Not only that, unnecessary eye contact with strangers is generally a call for trouble.
In Spain, it is customary to give a two slight pecks on the cheeks when you meet someone as a sign of good manners.
Basically, it is a good idea if you are well versed with the customs and manners of the place you plan to live in previously by some prior research. Make Google Baba your best friend!
Try to Fit In
When you travel to an unknown place, try to observe the locals and fit in the crowd as soon and as easily as you can. Remember that tourists are always easy to target and a young student may be an almost ideal target for any notorious people.
If you are going to a country where English is not the main or first language, it is advisable you have prior knowledge of the language of that area.
Also, while moving around, try to keep a map and rely mostly on your instincts to find your way. In case of help, it is advisable to ask families or women for directions.
Behavior, Instinct and Alertness
Your BIA is your secret mantra!
You must behave smartly, and judge people before getting too close to them. This is especially important if you are a female student. Do no divulge your personal details to people in the first or second meet, and also choose the people you wish to surround yourself with wisely.
Go with your instinct! If you do not like someone’s behavior or feel uncomfortable around someone, immediately back off. Make your feelings clear and do not be ashamed to be blunt, even if it leads to you having fewer friends. Sometimes, it is the smarter thing to do.
When you reach your destination, be alert and the first thing you must look for is the nearest police station and hospital. You must keep any numbers in handy, and make sure you take full advantage of the local security, the organizations for foreign students in you University and any help lines.
New to a place, being a boisterous or flashy is the last thing one would want to be. Your clothes, watches, accessories and jewellery should be adequate and not over the top, especially if you have gone to a country where levels of poverty, theft or danger are high.
It is also advisable to carry more of credit cards and less cash, if otherwise, you must be discrete about your money at all times.
For e.g, if you are paying for something, do not open your wallet so that the people around you can peep into it. It is always better to remove the money previously and kept separately so that it is handy.
While attending parties or going to discs, make sure you are accompanied by people you trust. Refrain from drinking, especially if you are one of those who can’t take drinking!
Avoid getting drunk or doing something stupid, and DO NOT ACCEPT DRINKS under any circumstances from anyone but the bartender.
Another point you must remember is to keep your address private, this is especially important for females. Do no invite or allow people into your home/apartment/room easily and you can wait to chill with your friends once you know them better.
All in all, a little common sense, responsibility and alertness are enough for you to take care of yourself.
Now that your parents are not going to always be around you for that, you can get into the habit of being responsible. Once you have figured out your life, you can relax around a bit and enjoy more, always with your eyes and eyes open.
Good luck and happy traveling!!
My family went on a week-long vacation to an island we longed to visit for a very long time.
It was fun, and so nice to ride a roll-on-roll-off ship, or an inter-island ship which is a common mode of transportation in-between islands in our country. It is relatively cheaper than riding a domestic flight, or in an airplane.
I enjoyed watching the blue sea, the small waves, and the mountains and small islands we passed by. It calms the spirit; it is so relaxing to feel the cool air touching my face. The inter-island ship has an air conditioned area for passengers’ seats, but I preferred to sit at a bench outside that area, where I can watch the sea and the beautiful mountains dotting the skyline.
I caught almost everything in my tablet camera, photos and some videos of it, so I could “review” what I had seen along the way.
We were on the ship for about three hours. Some of my family members just slept all along the trip, but I just watched the beautiful scenery. It is indeed so beautiful; the contrasting colors of the deep blue sea, the green mountain ranges, and the white clouds above. From time to time, I could see some houses dotting the mountain sides, or resorts near the beautiful shorelines. I was so sorry I failed to bring along my binoculars so I can see the view at a closer range.
When traveling by boat or ship, I always wonder what people along the way are doing. I enjoyed watching fishermen on their small boats; some using only paddles, while others have motorized bancas so they could move at a faster speed.
It was so good to travel by sea during the dry months in our country because the sea looked so flat; so silent and so still. I wished I could spot any big fish or dolphins, but there was none. Some years ago, I spotted a group of five dolphins that “followed” the ship we were riding. It was such a beautiful sight!
Before May ends, we are again planning another vacation; and I think we will ride an inter-island ship again.It is so exciting to experience traveling by sea!
In 2013, I had the chance to travel in Barangay Tulgao East and West. My friends and I decided to find the main source of water of these two barangays. Motorbikes are the only available transportation from Poblacion to reach the community of the Tulgao tribes. The timeframe takes for about more or less thirty minutes.
As soon as you arrived in the boundaries between Barangay Tulgao East and West, the adventure starts to hike in the mountain. Then, it takes a matter of time to reach the community of Tulgao East tribes. It wasn’t easy since there are no available pathways going to the water source and see the improvement of Chotar Communal Irrigation System (CIS). It was a project wherein the local tribes of Tulgao East and West decided to have as the community project at that time.
The local tribes of Tulgao East had the chance to lead the trail going to the Chotar Mountain. It is the main water reservoir for the community between Barangay Tulgao East and West. Half-way travel in the mountain, the modern gadgets cannot have their signals from different networks. That’s the point of time to enjoy the scenery as continuing to penetrate the untouched mountains.
If water runs out while hiking to the peak of the mountain, then you can have natural water to drink coming from the running water in the mountain. It takes a few hours to reach the Chotar Communal Irrigation System (CIS). But the hiking escapade is worth to experience. It can be done if not going to hike the unpopular mountains above the Barangay Tulgao West.
There is no need to have extra effort when going down from the mountain. The unforgettable experience seeing a rainbow between the barangays. It is a place to have the best adventure for friends to experience.
Image Credit: Shavkat
The Kalinga’s pride is to showcase the beautiful places in the Tinglayan. It wasn’t easy to get to the Barangay Poblacion of the province. The travel time is only twice in the jeepney station in Bontoc Mountain Province. If you are lucky, then you can ride inside the jeepney. That would be comfortable for the passengers. But then, if the jeepney is fully loaded with the passengers and the baggage; you can just ride on the top load of the jeepney.
It takes three hours to Barangay Poblacion by jeepney. Along the main road, you can see the mountain terrains as traveling. Some local tribes are walking along the side of the road. It seems that they are so healthy enough to have a brisk walk under the heat of the sun. If things are getting hotter and hotter, then a jeepney driver will allow the passengers to have natural drink water from the mountain. It is the source of water for the local tribes to quench their thirst while on traveling going to their respective barangays.
After two hours departure from Bontoc, you can able to see the pride of the local tribes in Tinglayan Kalinga, the Sleeping Beauty Mountain. The mountain is easily located above the Barangay Ambato-Legleg. It is so mesmerizing mountain to see far from a distance. You can even appreciate the natural beauty if seeing it on Barangay Sumadel and Belong. The clear view is so fascinating if the fogs move and uncover the Sleeping Beauty Mountain.
The local tribes have the mythological stories of the Sleeping Beauty Mountain. There are so many versions of the stories. The typical story runs into the senses of the old folk tribes. A couple had undying love and been separated during the tribal war. “Dinayao” and “Binsay” had promised to be together after the tribal war. But “Binsay” never came back and “Dinayao” had waited and died in Patukan.
Image Credit: Shavkat
People have the passion for taking all the risk in travelinmg from one place to another. It takes a lot of courage to enter isolated places. Life is not at stake if you are so careful. The best reminder for the adventurous people is to research before setting off to the desired destinations. If you are a hiker, then it is best to climb the mountain of Tinglayan, Kalinga Philippines.
The most fascinating for naïve people, they thought that rice paddies are not existing in the mountain. The wrong notion will be cleared out when seeing the rice paddies in Ifugao. The Banaue Rice Terraces is well-known as the Seven Wonders of the World. It gives life to the farmers to produce local rice breeds and distributed to different places in the country.
Rice paddies are not limited only in Ifugao. It can be seen in the Cordillera areas. In Tingalayan Kalinga, there are twenty barangays that had created their own rice paddies for personal consumption. The local tribes had their time for planting and harvesting based on the seasonal calendar. It seems too high to hike the mountains but the beauty will be found if you had tried it.
The local tribes are so accommodating for the visitors that may want to witness the beauty in the mountainous areas in Kalinga. Most of the places are having the rice paddies to sustain their lives. There are some practices and cultures that the local tribes need to follow. You might want to discover how it was done. It can be found out by going through the steep mountain and hike up two or three mountains to reach the barangays.
There is no harm if you follow the social norms of the place. You need to understand the culture and the practice to live with the local tribes. You can be amazed at how they manage to live in the mountains.
Note: Rice paddies in Barangay Belong, Tinglayan, Kalinga Philippines.
Image Credit: Shavkat
In 23rd of February 2013, it was the day of visiting the sub-project of Barangay Ambato-Legleg, Tinglayan Kalinga, Philippines. The River Control Project was visited prior to the closing of the community’s accountability in the local government under the umbrella of DSWD-CAR. We, as a team walked along the main road of Poblacion. It was a rainy day that time but the activity of the team needs to push through, rain or shine.
It was a bit adventure to walk through the hanging bridge to Barangay Ambato-Legleg. Along the trail, you can see the farm fields of the local tribes. The rice paddies are the main source of food in the area. The Ambato tribes had decided to have the River Control to sustain the needs of water for the rice paddies. It was implemented in the early years with the fund from the local government agency. The funded money will be allocated for the said community project.
After hiking up the rice paddies in the Barangay Ambato, you can able to reach the Ambato-Legleg River. You can see the quick rush of the water current. It has been days that the place experiencing the rain pours at that time. The accomplishment of the River Control is safe to explore how the local tribes furnished the construction of the community project.
You can see how it was being constructed according to the requirements with the effort between the local tribes and the team. It wasn’t a good thing that this is the venue to educate the local tribes for having the community project. It is also the best venue to air out the difficulties in building their own project. The team will still continue to render their selfless services for the next community projects until the local tribes would be able to carry out the process of their own.
Image Credit: Shavkat
For some reason, I always take snapshots of the places I had been to. There are times that life can be the fruitful one seeing the beautiful hot spot of the places especially in the Summer Capital of the Philippines, Baguio City. It can be mesmerizing the tourist spots in the city. Whatever the place you are planning to go, take with you a camera and follow through documenting the places. These photos can bring back the memories from the past and reminisce whatever the main goal took place in the area.
When I was still working in the local government agency in the City of Pines, I took this photo while on the terrace of Hotel Veniz. I had my mobile phone with me and use the installed camera. I had seen how the sun rises in the morning and this photo showed a picture-perfect from dusk till dawn. It cannot be denied the natural scene in the mountainside.
At night, you can see the houses with lights in the mountainside. Most people described as the Christmas Mountains. The cold breeze sweeps your face can give the familiarity of the impulse that you are near the City of Pines especially if traveling from the lowland areas. People from different places flock in the city during the Summer season. It is only one thing for sure, the city is considered a tourist spot to experience the cold weather all year round.
The city has its pride of culture diversity. It has been once colonized by the American soldiers. Most of the old houses during the regime painted the same color and the style is in a uniform structure. Through the years, the structure of the houses had changed and it went along the touch of modernization. Despite the changes, the local people remained accommodating for the visitors from different places and it varies the population depending locally or internationally.
Image Credit: Shavkat
There are times when you have to travel alone either for business meetups or just for taking some time off from your busy schedule. Either way traveling is always fun and refreshing. Traveling not only makes you feel fresh but also makes you smarter and more open to trying new things in life. However safety is our first priority when traveling especially alone specifically for women travelers. So here are a few tips which will be helpful for you when you travel solo.
- When you check for reviews about a hotel check if it has good and positive reviews especially check for reviews about women safety. If possible ask some local people around the hotel about the place to get a clear idea.
- While getting a room make sure it is near the steps or the elevator so that in the case of any emergency you can be able to run quickly. Avoid rooms near any construction works or near the window.
- Dress down and dress to blend in with the people. Avoid wearing valuable jewelry. If married then that marriage ring is alone is enough.
- Avoid looking like a tourist with a map or guidebook in your hands. Read about the places in the map thoroughly in the room itself. Instead of maps try to use a smartphone. This will avoid unwanted attention.
- Pack things in a single bag or two. Don’t make it too heavy as you will have to carry it around. Don’t carry a lot of things as it will be inconvenient for you to look after and also there are chances of getting lost or stolen.
- As far as possible do not carry any valuable or precious things in the bag unless otherwise there is a necessity.
- Always go for a public transit and avoid taking cabs as far as possible especially if you are a woman. Even if you sense some danger scream as loud as possible which will alert the nearby passengers. Always have the police number on the speed dial.
- Have a copy of your valuable documents like passport, id, photo in a digital format in your mail. In case you lose it you can easily give that to the police to find out easily.
- Always take a busy and well-lit street rather than a lonely dark street. Don’t panic and keep calm when you sense some danger as it will give you time to think of solutions.
- Don’t carry hard cash in large amount. Try to use cards as far as possible for all the transactions. If you want to keep some money in your bag then keep the cash in between the clothes or else if you are a woman traveler then you can put the money in a tampon box for safety. But it is best to avoid having hard cash in hand.
These are some of the tips to be followed when you are traveling alone. I usually follow these tips that I have mentioned and I hope this is useful for you. Thanks for reading.