Photography. Architecture. Design. Parenthood. Triathlon. And everything else under the sun

Travel

hermie the hermit crab

For some reason, my kids have always loved going to the beach. And what they love the most, even more than the usual swimming or sandcastle-building, is combing the shore to collect shells. They were doing the same thing in Boracay while I was simultaneously trying to get a good open water swim workout in, when I went ashore and out of the corner of my eye saw a small shell moving by itself. When I stood over it, it stopped. It was obviously a hermit crab and I picked it up and deposited it into one of the kids’ collecting pails. Needless to say, the kids were super excited about the latest find and Julia wanted to take it home to Singapore as a pet. My father-in-law and I patiently explained why she shouldn’t (and couldn’t) do that as it was illegal by law to take any shell from Boracay’s shores out. Finally we made a deal that we would keep the quickly-named Hermie as a guest in our hotel room for the next two days, and release him back on the beach before we went home.

On our last morning, everything went according to plan as we had breakfast with Hermie then ceremonially released him back into the wild after thanking him for spending a couple of days with us. It rained very hard pretty soon after, so we hope he is safe and thriving somewhere in that tropical paradise.

Freeeedom!

Freeeedom!


how have you been, Boracay?

Ah, Boracay. A tiny little slice of tropical paradise, home to one of the best beaches in the world and famous for its powder-like sand that you have to feel between your toes to believe. I built quite a few resorts here during my time in 2004-06 but haven’t been back in 6 years. In the interim my life and point of view has totally changed, and so has Boracay. Not necessarily for the better as overcrowding and an ever increasing amount of tourism has brought with it progress (new airport, bigger jetty, well-paved roads) and its attendant diseases (traffic, flooding, garbage). One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is the glorious sunrise and sunset along Boracay’s Long Beach. Worth getting up at 6am with a camera in hand for.

Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven

Early morning fun time along the beach

Early morning fun time along the beach

Just Run.

Just Run.

The Rock

The Rock

Summertime Sadness

Summertime Sadness

Beach Idyll

Beach Idyll

Between the sea and sky

Between the sea and sky


merry christmas, everyone!

Sun Worshipper

Merry Christmas from the island of Boracay, Philippines!


it’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s a… Supertree

Partial view of a Supertree, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Partial view of a Supertree, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

The main feature of the Gardens by the Bay, a new National Park in Singapore, are the ‘Supertrees’ which are actually metal, tree-like constructs planted with climbing vines and assorted other plants. Eventually they will become totally overgrown and look more like the real thing. But right now they look like giant high-tech Christmas Trees with all their lights. The funny thing is, despite all the money spent, I like going to the hundred-year-old, original Botanic Gardens than this shiny new thing. As is the case with a lot of new Singapore architecture, these Gardens are still seeking for their character and soul, which can only come in time.


how much is that doggy in the window?

We chose the Doubletree Phuket by Hilton because: a) it was walking distance to Surin beach and was close to my Ironman 70.3 race site (Laguna Phuket); b) the price was right and included breakfast and an extra bed; and c) it came highly recommended by two good friends of ours who work at Hilton. To our pleasant surprise, it had other perks as well, such as a great breakfast buffet with bacon (very important), a ground floor room with balcony exit to the pool area, where I could assemble and keep my bike instead of inside the room itself; and the best of all a huge, kid friendly pool area with two huge slides, animal inflatables and plenty of lounge chairs and beach towels, surrounding a very nice and well-staffed kids’ daycare center called Kids’ World. Even though we never actually used Kids’ World, we loved the option it afforded us if we had wanted to go out exploring on our own. I would highly recommend this hotel.

Pool, slide and Kid's World at Doubletree Phuket by Hilton

Pool, slide and Kid’s World at Doubletree Phuket by Hilton


ride till we run out of road

Went on an early morning ride in Phuket the day before the Ironman. It was hilly, windy and dangerous because of the twisting roads combined with unpredictable traffic. It was still a great experience though as you get to see so much more on a bike than you would on a car. Rode until the end of Surin Beach and couldn’t resist taking the bike all the way to the beach, even though I knew I would have to power-wash it afterwards.

Surin Beach, Phuket, Thailand, around 8am

Surin Beach, Phuket, Thailand, around 8am


sending our love to outer space

The entire family with the flying lantern

The entire family with the flying lantern

We have liftoff!

We have liftoff!

Looking good!

Looking good!

The launch is a success!

The launch is a success!

In orbit

In orbit

While having dinner at Surin Beach, we were approached by ‘flying lantern salesmen’ asking if we wanted to launch one ‘for good luck’. Since my Ironman was on the next day, we thought of getting one for its success. After bargaining down to half the original offered price, the guy patiently waited for us to finish dinner and lit four candles at the base of the lamp. It takes a few minutes for the lamp to ‘warm up’ and take shape. ‘This thing is gonna fly?’ I thought, because it basically looked like a sack of potatoes. But eventually it got going and floated slowly into the sky. The kids thought it would go all the way to the moon.


wordpress circa 1950

Was walking around old Phuket town when we stumbled upon this old Thai typewriter in a streetside cafe. My daughters asked me what was that machine and then I realized that neither of them had ever seen one. They were both so curious about it that they came back to the cafe a couple of times to try to use it. They said the sound it made was ‘kinda cool’.

Found this ancient typewriter with Thai characters in old Phuket town

Found this ancient typewriter with Thai characters in old Phuket town


hard earned shiny piece of metal

Just finished the Laguna Phuket Ironman 70.3 triathlon!

 

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At the finish line of the Laguna Phuket Ironman 70.3 with my kids


you just gotta ignite the light, and let it shine

Fireworks at the Beach
After a delicious (and cheap) dinner at a fantastic torch-lit beachside seafood restaurant called Pla at Surin Beach, we were surprised when fireworks started exploding over the water, for no particular reason. Luckily again, I was there with my ever ready camera…