Saturday, October 21, 2017

Hello from Purdue University!

This is definitely long overdue. I've been putting off further studies for the longest time. But I finally made that giant leap, dropped everything in the Philippines, and left to pursue my PhD in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Hello from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, USA!

I have been here for a little over two months now, which makes it the longest period I've ever stayed outside the Philippines, and counting! And I still have a long way to go!

It was a challenge to shift from the professor role back to student mode, especially after eight years teaching at the Asian Institute of Tourism, University of the Philippines, Diliman. But the experience has been very memorable so far, as I work on earning my PhD at Purdue's School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

There are so many people and institutions to thank for making all this possible: the University of the Philippines System, UP Diliman, Asian Institute of Tourism, Fulbright Scholarship Program, Commission on Higher Education, Philippine-American Educational Foundation, and Institute of International Education. And of course, thank you to Purdue University for the opportunity to study in such a great campus!

Here is some trivia about Purdue University:

1. Purdue University was founded in 1869 with land and funds donated by Lafayette businessman John Purdue. It is best known for its Engineering and Agriculture programs.

2. University Hall is the only one of the six original buildings that remains standing. I have classes here twice a week. Another trivia about Purdue's buildings is that except for two, all the buildings, both old and new, are made of bricks or have bricks in their designs.

3. Purdue has produced 23 astronauts including Gene Cernan, Neil Armstrong, and Gus Grissom.

4. Purdue University has its own airport. Amelia Earhart worked at Purdue because it was the only US university with its own fully equipped airport at that time.

5. The school colors are gold and black.

6. Purdue students and alumni are called Boilermakers. Boiler up! BTFU!

7. It is part of the Big Ten Conference and thus takes its football very seriously! I finally got to watch my first American football game!

8. The school mascot is a train called the Boilermaker Special. The school's athletic mascot is Purdue Pete.

9. The 10-foot drum of the Purdue "All-American" Marching Band is the world's largest bass drum. The marching band has more than 380 members.

10. Purdue's Hospitality and Tourism Management Programs (Undergraduate, Masters, and Phd) are ranked number one in the US by several peer-reviewed studies in the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Education.

Hope to see everyone back home soon. In the meantime, this will be my home away from home!

Monday, July 24, 2017

National Cultural Treasures and Important Cultural Properties declared by the National Museum in 2016

The National Museum recently released its list of declared National Cultural Treasures and Important Cultural Properties for 2016. A feature of the 2016 declarations is that the NM also included contents of the buildings, related structures, and buffer zones that are included in the declarations. These properties become part of the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property.

National Cultural Treasures
1. Pagsanjan Boundary Arch in Pagsanjan, Laguna (MD-8-2016)
2. Colonial Monuments of Manila: Rey Carlos IV Monument, Simon de Anda y Salazar Monument, Conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legaspi y Fray Andres de Urdaneta, and the Reina Isabel Segunda (Queen Isabel II) in Intramuros, Manila (MD-9-2016)
3. Puente de Paoa-Ayusan (Paoa-Ayusan Bridge) in Vigan, Ilocos Sur (MD-18-2016)
4. Nuestra Señora de Candelaria Church (Silang Church) including the Retablo Mayor, Retablo Menor I, and Retablo Menor II in Silang, Cavite (MD-20-2016)

Important Cultural Properties
1. Puente de Ayala (Ayala Bridge) in San Miguel District, Manila (MD-01-2016)
2. Puente Colgante (Quezon Bridge) in Arroceros District, Manila (MD-02-2016)
3. Pao Ong Hu Taoist Temple including the Pau Kong deity, and Virgin Mary deity (Guanyin-like image) in Sta Ana, Manila (MD-03-2016)
4. Manila Boat Club including ten rowing boats in Sta. Ana, Manila (MD-04-2016)
5. White Cross Buildings (four buildings) in San Juan, Metro Manila (MD-10-2016)
6. Façade of Michael Apartment in Manila (MD-11-2016)
7. Heritage Stadiums of Rizal Memorial Field: Rizal Memorial Track and Football Stadium, Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium, Rizal Memorial Tennis Stadium, and the Rizal Memorial Swimming Stadium in Manila (MD-13-2016)
8. Heliograph Towers: San Isidro Heliograph Tower and Sta. Cruz Heliograph Tower in Magalang, Pampanga (MD-14-2016)
9. Life Theater (Old Villongco Building) in Manila (MD-12-2016)
10. Nuestra Señora de Asuncion Church Complex (Bulakan Church) including the Camposanto de Nuestra Señora de Asuncion and Assumpta Academy in Bulakan, Bulacan (MD-15-2016)
11. Bayombong Old Provincial Building in Bayombong, Nueva Viscaya (MD-16-2017)
12. St. John the Baptist Church Complex (Camalig Church) in Camalig, Albay (MD-17-2017)
13. Querubin Ancestral House and Aljibe in Caoayan, Ilocos Sur (MD-19-2016)
14. Old Municipio of Jaro, Iloilo (Old Jaro Municipal Hall) in Jaro, Iloilo (MD-21- 2016)
15. Old Iloilo Rehabilitation Center (Iloilo Provincial Jail) in Jaro, Iloilo (MD-22-2016)
16. Site Remains of Fort San Pedro in Jaro, Iloilo (MD-23-2016)
17. Balobok Rock Shelter in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi (MD-24-2016)

To nominate a site for declaration, you may fill out the form that begins on page 65 of the NM Cultural Properties Division Manual. The checklist that begins on page 71 outlines the process for nomination and declaration.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Thank you, 2016! My favorite travel photos to remember the year!

This is my year, summed up in 35 Instagram photos. I finally decided to teach full-time at the University of the Philippines. But thanks to the many conference and study mission invitations, I still got to travel somehow. Thank you, 2016! I'm so looking forward to 2017 as a major, major (yes major) change is in the offing.

I added Pakistan and Hawaii, USA to my travel list. This year included visits to Seoul, Taean, and Busan, South Korea; Washington DC, Grand Rapids, Chicago, and Honolulu, USA; Bali, Indonesia; Saipan, Northern Marianas; Osaka, Koyasan, and Kyoto, Japan; Langkawi, Malaysia; Bangkok, and Ayutthaya, Thailand; and Islamabad, and Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Japan adventure from Osaka to Kyoto! Ohayo!

There is a temple for everyone in Kyoto, Japan. There is a golden pavilion, and a silver one too. Many temples have beautiful Zen gardens. There are picturesque mountain temples, that become even more stunning with the colors of fall. And there is an iconic temple with thousands of vermillion gates. In fact, there are more than 1600 temples in Kyoto.

A visit to Osaka will not be complete if you don't venture to Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, and a World Heritage Site. My Japan adventure continued as I hopped from Karaksa Hotel Osaka to Karaksa Hotel Kyoto. It was a good thing they had train directions handy, which I was easily able to follow to get to Kyoto.

As soon as I arrived in Kyoto, I went straight for the food. What I like about both hotels is that they have customized food maps that help you explore the different restaurants around the neighborhood.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Here’s why your next trip to Japan should be to Osaka

Osaka has become a popular destination for Filipinos, especially for second time visitors to Japan who have already been to Tokyo. Universal Studios is a major draw, especially for families. Plus the city is also the gateway to the historic capitals of Kyoto and Nara.

For my recent trip, I was hosted by Karaksa Hotels, a new hotel chain, and a partner of, where you can book accommodation for Osaka and Kyoto. The hotel’s sister company, Karaksa Tours, arranges tours for the Southeast Asian market. In fact, it was the Karaksa Tours van that picked me up from the Kansai International Airport (Cebu Pacific flies direct from Manila to Osaka). It was very comfortable and equipped with WiFi, so you could update everyone that you’ve just arrived.
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