A Celebration of Harvest: Pahiyas Festival Lukban, PH

Lukban, Philippines – Dry season has come to the main Philippine island of the Luzon and with it celebrations in thanksgiving for harvest, family and life. In particular, the town of Lukban hosts “Pahiyas” or the citywide San Isidro harvest festival. Located 26 Km northwest of Lucena City or 160 Km southeast of Manila, Lukban’s nearest attraction is Mt. Banahaw (2,158m). However the town is bustles as a hub for livestock trade and local production of native handcrafts. These products are sold locally as well as exported worldwide. But really Lukban’s breadbasket is harvest time with the bountiful crops grown from rainy season into the dry. Pahiyas rejoices this plenty.

Manila rally hopes to spark protests world round

Manila, Philippines — Tentions between the Phillipines and China are escalating as hundreds of Philippino protestors took to the street again on Friday noontime in front the Chinese Embassey in the Makita area of Manila. Officals of both countries are stuggling for control over Scarborough Shoal and Huangyan Island in the center of the South China Sea (West Phillipian Sea). The dispute began over a month ago as both nations have ships station in a show of sovereignty.

The Opinionated Traveler: San Francisco, Day #6

I wanted to bookend my trip, primarily for the travelers out there. While San Francisco is not a very distant destination for us, it’s still a world away for those trapped by their regular lives in LALA land and the gold we’ve found is worth sharing for others who may venture down these steep, endlessly winding streets in Northern California (or “Nor Cal”, as many a t-shirt and hoodie annoyingly announce).

No trip to San Francisco is complete without a trip to Berkeley and no trip to Berkeley is complete without a trip to Dark Carnival Books (and now comic shop as well, two doors down!).

The Opinionated Traveler: San Francisco day #1

The first night in San Francisco in what, just about five years. It’s good to be here, it is a reminder of what it’s like to actually travel. San Fran is one of those cities – like New York, Baltimore or Minneapolis even – that feels like a world city, as opposed to my two mainstays, Chicago and L.A. both of which I love, but both of which are more like glorified suburbs to the eyes of folks who have spent any time out of the country (Britain especially – the British ‘flavour’ is strong in cities like San Fran and New York. These cities are literal melting pots and they feel that way).

The Value of Nature – Mallacoota

The southeastern most tip of Australia provides a wealth of history, knowledge and enjoyment. Gippsland is the area and if you check good’ol Google maps you’ll find the Mallacoota Inlet (map). Situated just south of the New South Wales and Victorian border, the Mallacoota Inlet displays stunning sights and boasts numerous fun activities but it’s importance lies in the function it serves to the environment.

Fuel for Thought: LPG

LPG v Petrol

Why can Australia effective use LPG for public consumption and the US not? (image courtesy of drive.com.au)

A right-handed turn from the left lane. Around the roundabout to turn around. Yielding to electric trams as they stop to pick up passengers. Yep, just a few of the challenges a driver will face in Melbourne, Vic. Not to mention paying on average AUS$1.37 per liter which equates to nearly US$5.20 per gallon at the current exchange rate. yikes.

But the right-sided steering column is not the only thing different between Australian and United States automobiles. How about cars that supplement their fuel usage with Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)? We have school buses, heavy machinery and public worker fleets that run on it in the States, why not cars?

Is there really a choice?

I’ve spent the past year and four months (with a one month lapse in New Zealand) under the Victorian and Australian parliamentary system. I’ve had to brush up on my Sophomore year political knowledge for sure. In that year of high school in Chicago, at least if you are on the “university” track, one studies European history which would include a few lessons on England’s current system of government. Australia is not that far off in their structure of houses, organization of parties and selection of ministers. Well, except for one small detail…voting is compulsory down under.

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