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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Visit To The US Naval Academy

Annapolis, Maryland's capital for more than 300 years now - is the home of the United States Naval Academy. One of the many reasons why I am always proud to be a Marylander :)

The academy is not only an educational institution but also well known for history, culture, recreation and fine arts.

The US Naval Academy has an outstanding location, surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay, Severn and Magothy Rivers.

The scenic grounds of the Naval Academy, known as the Yard has an amazing contrasts in architecture reflecting its distinguished history. It offers tree-shaded monuments commemorating courageous graduates and non-graduates and their contributions to naval history. The first Naval School was established by George Bencroft, Secretary of the Navy at Fort Severn, Annapolis in 1845. There were 50 students taught by 4 officers and 3 civilian professors. The school became the United States naval Academy in 1850, the undergraduate college of the US Navy.

During the Civil War, the Academy moved to Newport, R.I. and was re established in Annapolis in 1865.

In 1933, an act of Congress authorized the Academy to confer the bachelor of science degree. As it grew over the years, the Academy expanded from 10 acres to a 328-acre complex, from 50 midshipmen to a brigade of more than 4,400 midshipmen.

That's me fronting the Bancroft Hall
Bancroft Hall is named after George Bancroft, the founder of the school in 1845. It is now the current home for more than 4,400 midshipmen, containing approximately 1,700 midshipmen rooms, has actually 5 miles of corridors and about 33 acres of floor space. All facilities for recreation and all basic facilities of midshipmen's daily living needs are found in this hall.

pretty architectural design!

At the Memorial Hall

Some areas of Bancroft Hall are off-limits to visitors but other areas such as the vast Rotunda and Memorial Hall dedicated to alumni who gave their lives in the war are open for the public.

It was such a miss not being able to visit the Naval Academy Chapel which was unfortunately closed that day due to holiday :(.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Discover Atlantis Tour

This narrated guided tour is one of the highlights of our Nassau experience in the Bahamas. It is one great opportunity to explore the famous Atlantis Resort.
This tour only includes visits to The Dig, Predator Lagoon, the Atlantis Casino and the Royal Towers architecture.
Take note that there are a lot to visit at the Atlantic and one of those is the huge Aquaventure Water Park. Depending on what tour you prefer doing, you are free to choose excursions that include your site of preferences.
Since most visitors are cruisers, the only downside at times is the time, particularly if the ship docks for only a few hours. So you sometimes have to choose shore or land excursions that are within your time limits.
The "Discover Atlantis Tour" is 2 hours and 30 minutes the most, but can be finished earlier.
It starts with a short transfer (a mini bus) from the ship to the Atlantis Resort in Paradise Island. We started at the Atlantis casino showcasing dazzling decors of the glass masterworks of Dale Chihuly. Other amazing architectures were shown as well such as those magnificent murals encircling the colossal lobby dome.

The Ruins Lagoon came next. This is a place where the lagoon was recreated, - the sunken streets of mythical Atlantis. Then, came our exploration on the ruins of ancient Atlantis at "The Dig", - a replica of an archaeological excavation site.
The Dig reflects the lost city of Atlantis wherein you will be led to view some mythical artifacts into ancient passageways, hieroglyphics, Atlantean inventions and view the stunning main life in the ocean's depths at the Predator Lagoon. You will view barracudas, sharks and many marine creatures on giant-sized aquariums.

As you go explore The Dig, - it will be your witnessing experience to see an 11,000 year-old lost continent. Here as well will be a home of the world's most exotic creatures such as the Zebra shark, bow mouth guitarfish, grunts, jacks and manta rays, which will be in the Ruins Lagoon.
Take note that these ruins are only replicas!
The Predator Lagoon is an acrylic tunnel that offers unique views of goliath grouper, smalltooth sawfish, blacknose shark, tarpon and Caribbean reef sharks.
After the tour and you still wish to hang and go around to explore more, you have to take note that going back to your ship on your own via taxi will be at your own expense.
If you wish to go back to the ship within the allowable time, there are buses available to take you back at certain given times. Your tour guide will give you time information for this.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Finding Your Homes and a Mortgage Broker in New Zealand

One of my dreams would be to find a home that is worth it for a memorable vacation and a complete R & R. I think we all deserve to enjoy this to get out of the daily stress at work.
I saw this link,  for highview apartments in Queenstown New Zealand. Wow! Amazing views, really! It's a great place to be at peace just by looking at the view and breathing some fresh air. It would surely help for those who are battling anxiety and stress like me.

But if you are tight with budget, you might want to check Home Loans Christchurch to see what are your best options. It's just comforting to know that with the price of so many houses nowadays, going up, there are still mortgage brokers out there who are willing to help and offer free home loan advices for people who need it most. They are the perfect help for those people who wants to buy property for the first time as well as for those who want to protect their assets. Whether be an investment, a refinance or buying a second or third home, a professional advice is essential.
It would be just worth it to seek advice with qualified brokers such as this company. So check them out as to what they can be of help for you.

If you are searching for vacation homes in New Zealand, visit Holiday Homes Auckland online. You can conveniently find your dream home right on theri friendly search website :). You can get in touch with them if you prefer to call them by phone or by emailing them. Checkout those amazing views as well! They are breathtaking!

I wanna visit New Zealand someday. I know it's been a dream for me, but in the right time, I should be visiting this place someday. I travel a lot and I love doing it so far ;).

By the way, for the dog lovers, I also saw a link where you can probably check; - Cavoodle Puppies for Sale! They are cute! I love puppies too! This is the perfect site whether you are looking to adopt one or selling some.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The S.S. John W. Brown Living History Cruise Experience

John W. Brown ship at the background and me :)

John W. Brown is a World War II Liberty Ship and making its 25 years of living history, from 1988 to 2013. It was built as a general cargo ship in 1942.

Way back since its voyages during and after the war, it was restored to operating condition back in 1991 and was made as a memorial museum ship and as a living history cruise ship, dedicated to the men and women who built, sailed and defended the WWII Liberty fleet.
They call these hanging beds as tween decks.
The John W. Brown was launched on Sept. 7, 1942 at Bethlehem-Fairfield I Baltimore. The ship is now celebrating her 70 years of service (1942-2012) and celebrating 25 years of "Living History" (1988-2013). Although the public is encouraged to experience the Living History Cruise aboard the ship, this ship is NOT a cruise ship! It is not designed as a comfort luxury ship, but still preserved the way it was, where some construction can be of hazards and some areas can be steep or slippery.

As you go aboard for the cruise experience, you will learn more about John W. Brown, - you can choose to do the self-guided "Blue Line Tour" onboard (guides are provided), or you can just walk at your own pace and visit any area you want to see.

There is also a magazine publication that are given onboard, which tells about the ship's history, voyages, etc...
Be sure to read the safety information as well because not all areas are equipped with safety devices.

The cruise will proceed down the Patapsco River, towards the Chesapeake Bay, and back.
While on the way, guests can tour the ship, watch and enjoy the entertainment with classical music by Manhattan Dolls, Calliope, "Abbot & Costello", etc...

A lunch buffet is served on board as well.

The highlight of the cruise is the Air Show, so watch the skies!;) Some restored WWII vintage aircrafts will be flying over the ship during the cruise. There will also be what they call historical re-enactors that respond by manning the guns and defend the ship, just like a simulation of what the war was like before.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hotel Supplies By Peach Suite

Two weeks ago, I and my husband was in Atlanta. Of course, it was a work trip. (still not losing hope to get that pleasure trip I have been dreaming of).
But anyway, we spent 9 days there and with that we had 3 different hotel check-ins! Downtown hotels in Atlanta are really good. I think we got one of the best rooms in all of the hotels we stayed in, plus the air of southern hospitality by people around us...priceless!

With most of the hotels there being wide and big, I am pretty much sure they have a Hotel Supply Online where they can get their complete supplies. And of course, purchasing by bulk can be done in a few single clicks online and orders would be coming right in just fast too! ;)

Atlanta Hotel Supply should be made sure everything is made of high quality supplies and yet getting the most out of them is at the best price.
Hotel Bar Supplies should be maintained as complete as possible as well. It would always be one of the busiest place in the hotel especially after office hours. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Visiting Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau is just one of the most famous as well as one of the often congested ports in the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Nassau is the capital of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
It is situated on a 21-mile long island of new Providence and is connected with a bridge to Paradise island, - which is also another popular attraction in the Bahamas.
It's just off the coast of Southern Florida and due to its central location, it makes it a very convenient mini-cruise port of call for all ships going towards Caribbean islands.
Typical sights you see in the city of Nassau are lavish casinos such as those you see in Vegas, streets lined with tropical trees, horse-drawn surreys with policemen wearing white starched jackets and colorful pith helmets, and ranges od duty-free shops. It's also an ideal  for catching ocean breezes or simply relaxing on soft-sanded beaches.
Those who love water adventures mostly head out to Atlantis in Paradise Island for boating, mini-cruises or dolphin encounters.
But just an important note to tourists in this area; - there is an increase in petty crimes, wallet lifting, there was a case in 2009 when cruise excursion groups were held at gunpoint and robbed of cell phones, cash, passports and personal items.
Ever since then, security officials are now focused on tourist safety.
But it's always good to be always aware and be alert. Know what to carry with you. Don't carry too much cash.
English is well spoken in the Bahamas. Currency accepted interchangeably is US dollar or Bahamian dollar.
If you're in a cruise, your ship docks at Prince George Wharf close to the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Rawson Square. Here, you can get copies of maps, brochures, etc.

If you want to hang around further, you have to pass through Festival Place to exit the port facility. In here, you can see tourism staff who will help you if you need to go somewhere else or interested to do land tours, etc...
Past beyond the internet café is a small shopping mall where most are artisan boutiques, as well as a food court and some stalls selling local conch. If you prefer getting around by car, there are available car rental companies right at Prince George Wharf, as well as in Paradise Island, but take note...they are expensive. And by the way, they have this left-side-of-the-road driving which can be a hassle if you're not used to it.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The CocoCay Nature Walk Excursion Experience

If you love nature and you want to know more about what kind of plants and trees are surrounding the island, as well as what animals exist in the island, this excursion is ideal for you. This approximately 3 quarter-mile walk into the remote island of Cococay will take you to learn interesting facts about Bahamian plants and trees as well as the medicinal properties they give.

Before taking this excursion be sure you are wearing your most comfortable shoes as there are uneven paths in some areas. You will be walking up and down on a hilly area with uneven rocks and flat dirt areas are common. Don't forget to bring with you a bottle of water, your hat, an insect repellant and sunscreen for skin protection, your sunglasses, and just wear light comfortable clothing. 

You'll also get the chance to visit a historical ruin on the island such as that of Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard). As you further explore your walk, you will see iguanas, some variety of birds and pelicans, then you will be introduced to sea stars, conch and the occasional stingray.

I saw an iguana!
The tour lasts for an hour 45 minutes, but it can be earlier, and ends at Barefoot Beach which is a 5-minute walk from the central area.

Monday, June 10, 2013

CocoCay Island, Bahamas

It was such an amazing experience visiting CocoCay in Bahamas during our cruise.

Me and my husband at Cococay Island, Bahamas

CocoCay is a private island exclusive for Royal Caribbean as well as for Celebrity Cruises guests. Both these cruise ships bring their passengers to the island by tenders.

CocoCay is surrounded with bright blue waters in the middle of the Bahamas, and situated about 45 miles north, northwest of Nassau.
This island was used to be called "Little Stirrup Cay" before the Royal Caribbean Cruises assumed the lease of the island for exclusive use. It used to be a deserted island that has white sand beaches.

After Royal Caribbean Cruises acquired the lease, and was renamed CocoCay, the company started renovating the island and became a tropical paradise.

Nowadays, it is now equipped with new and modern aquatic facilities like scuba-diving and snorkeling facilities, renovated nature trails which are one of the island's attractions, new dining shelters such as bars, restaurants and shops like the Straw Market that are in cottages and artisan huts.

Other famous activities are kayaking, swimming, parasailing and more. If you prefer to relax, the island is also equipped with benches and special seating areas along the beach and trellises for shady sanctuaries.

Before catching up your tender going to the island, be sure you are ready for the choices of any excursions or tours that you wanna do. 
There is an excursion desk in the ship and they can help you with some lists of activities you want to do in the island. You need to sign up first before going to the island, as they don't accept walk-in tours once you're there.
Otherwise, you should have already included your excursion itineraries before you board the ship for the cruise.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Boracay Adventures (2nd Time Around)

I guess there's no need to be describing in details about Boracay island, when it comes to activities you can do when you're in the island. Of course, Boracay has been starting to become famous due to its white sand and torquoise waters. Being recognized as one of the top beaches in the world, it will be easy knowing about the island when you search it online.

One thing is for sure...that you'll never run out of activities while enjoying the island has to offer. Whether you love to surf with the waves, snorkel, parasail, boating, island hopping, or just want to enjoy food and entertainment, this is the place you should be. You can be an adventurous visitor or just somebody who would prefer quiet moments with the island's nature whispers.

I didn't even expect myself to become adventurous, but I did one activity unexpectedly...parasail! Was scared to death, but got the hang of it later on.

Me and sis-in-law! Brave gurls!

I tried sports activity as well...go karting! Oh yeah! I am not used to this, but enjoyed it even when it poured heavily. The boys had more fun, I think. 
Then, there was a newly opened museum adjacent to the go karting place, which was perfect to see after that. We were soaking wet from the rain, but we didn't mind. The museum ( Trick Arts Museum) was great and fun. It was amazing taking photos, then from your photos, you can see where and what the trick is!

Fun, Fun, Fun!

Go karting

There's the trick!

Real or unreal @ the Trick Arts museum

tried the hair braiding

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bearland Paradise Resort

This resort is one of the newest destination in Iloilo, 20 minute drive from the city of Iloilo. It is exactly located at barangay Tanpael, Tigbauan, Iloilo.

One of the attractive featured amenities of the resort is the cerulean infinity pool that has a good overlooking view of the sea. They also have a jacuzzi pool if you want to relax, and a kiddie pool for smaller kids.

Kiddie pool

Jacuzzi pool

The sunken bar is also an attraction which is fronting the infinity pool. It is placed between the kiddie and infinity pool. The sunken bar is equipped with bar lounge chairs in the inside fronting the pool, and permanent  bar stools in the pool. The stools are under the water and swimmers can sit there and order their drinks without needing to get out of the pool. Customers can order alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks whichever they prefer.
By the way, in our case, we ordered our mango shake drinks and two plates of french fries...the wait was like forever! I asked what is taking them so long, and one worker told me they are short of staff workers that day.

For those that don't want to stay overnight, sun loungers with umbrellas are provided (with a minimal fee), some of them just fronting the kiddie pool, and some along and around the infinity pool. 
There are bathrooms provided for changing but they don't have showers inside if you prefer to rinse in a more private location. I noticed there are faucets on the sinks, but they were not working. There are 2 public showers located near the bathrooms but since they are public, you can't take a good rinse well, not unless you want to go nude in!

On the sides are sun loungers(white tents) fronting the kiddie pool.

Along the seaside (you have to go down shorter steps from the pool area), are cottages made of bamboo and woods. These are ideal for larger groups such as group picnics, excursions or any other big activities.

As of the last time that we were in the area, the Pavilion was still under construction. It will be a 2-storey building that would include a function room, a restaurant and a gym.
Rates of rooms, if you want to reserve for overnight purposes are just a bit pricey, so check your budget upfront before getting rooms. I haven't tried their rooms, nor saw what are the amenities inside, so I can't share about them.

One side of the jacuzzi pool are also couches, chairs and tables made of rattan/bamboos that serve as lounge area for those who want to relax or hang out with their friends. The area seems to be like an eating place, but didn't see one eating there. The resort has a free wi-fi as well but you can't get through it unless you know the password, and you won't get the password until you ask them. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Jefferson Memorial

The 19 ft.tall bronze statue of Jefferson

Another one of the most impressive sites worth visiting in DC area is the Jefferson Memorial, a presidential memorial built in honor of the 3rd US president, - Thomas Jefferson, - also known as the American Founding Father. It is one of the most popular attarctions in DC, the fact that is is also located on the shore of Tidal Basin and surrounded by trees that becomes very beautiful and attractive every spring during the Cherry Blossom season!

One of the excerpts from Jefferson's writings

The shallow dome that can be seen above and inside the building.

The memorial is a dome-shaped rotunda, composed of circular marble steps with a round colonnade of Ionic order columns, a portico and a shallow dome. One of the best views of the White House can be seen from the top steps of the memorial as well.

At the center of the dome, is a 19 ft. tall bronze statue of Jefferson. Surrounding his statue are the excerpts and passages from his writings and from the Declaration of Independence.

Monday, May 6, 2013

"The Avenue of 444 Flags"

If you are in the vicinity of Hermitage, Pennsylvania, it can be easy to locate where this park is because of the striking view of the flags. Its actual location is at Hillcrest Memorial Park, in the city of Hermitage, Mercer County in PA.

The memorial park has a picturesque 71-acre space with winding paths, where you can see monuments that reflect achievements and sacrifices of veterans of wars. Instead of upright monuments, only flush bronze markers are used instead.

Some call this park "444 Banners of Freedom", "The Avenue of Flags", or "The Avenue of 444 Flags." Many would perhaps know the park by simply mentioning Hillcrest Memorial Park too.

The avenue of flags was erected during the hostage crisis in Iran in 1979-1981 honoring the American diplomats that were held hostage. The crisis triggered a resurgence of patriotism in the US because of a hostage crisis for 53 US citizens that went on for 444 days, thus the 444 flags, with each one representing one day of captivity.
These flags then became the recognized symbols of American support for the hostages and the hope for their safe return.

An eternal flame burns steadily in front of an erected monument dedicated to the 8 members of the US armed forces who gave their lives in the ill-fated attempt to rescue the prisoners on April 25, 1980.

But those days of captivity finally were over and the hostages regained their freedom, but the memory of those fateful days with a fire of patriotism still live on.

The park can be visited all year-round and is always open for public.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial)

Another famous memorial in Arlington, Virginia is the US Marine Corps War Memorial also known as Iwo Jima Memorial.

The statue which is a 32 ft.-high sculpture was inspired from the iconic photo of "Raising The Flag on Iwo Jima" depicting the scene of the flag raising by 5 members of the Marines and a Navy hospital corpsman, symbolizing the successful takeover of Iwo Jima island.
At the middle of the six men is a 60 ft. flagpole from which the US flag can be seen waving up high 24 hours a day. At the base of the memorial is a Swedish granite that has inscriptions of the names and dates of the US Marine Corps members and has the engraving words; - "In honor and in memory of the men of the United States Marine Corps who have given their lives to their country since November 10, 1775."

Monday, April 22, 2013

Rapid Auto Title Loans

Car loans can be sometimes tough particularly if you have bad credits. But that depends on what company you are choosing, and the requirements, etc... No matter how bad your financial situation is, there is always that one company that is perfectly right for you.

Rapid Auto Title Loans is currently helping a lot of Florida residents in getting their short-term cash loans on their vehicles. They specialize in providing car loans to their customers based on the vehicle's equity, instead of the customer's  credit, and the customer's resident and employment histories. 

Check out their low interest rate per month as well. Otherwise, visit the given link and you could reach them on their homepage for any further inquiries and information.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

US Air Force Memorial

The Air Force Memorial is located in Arlington, Virginia on the grounds of Fort Myer, overlooking the Pentagon, Potomac River and Washington DC.
The memorial is also very near the Arlington National Cemetery, between the street intersections of Columbia Pike and South Joyce St.

The Air Force Memorial can easily be recognized with its very distinctive design, - the three memorial spires ranging from 201-270 ft. high which appear to be soaring. This design was inspired by the Air Force Thunder birds performing their signature "bomb burst" maneuver performance in the air.
Beneath those spires is the US Air Force "star" embedded in granite.

Before the inscription wall, there are four 8ft. tall bronze statues depicting the memorial's Honor Guards. To the north of it is a glass contemplation wall, - a free standing glass panel with some images.

At each end of the central lawn are two granite inscription walls that measure 56 ft in length, 10ft. in height and 1 foot diameter thick.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The memorial was purposely constructed to honor members of the US Armed Forces who served in the Vietnam War. Currently, it consists of 3 parts, namely; - The Three Soldiers/Servicemen built with  life-size bronze statues, The Vietnam Women's Memorial and The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall which is the most commonly popular location visited by at least 3 million visitors annually.

The Vietnam Women's Memorial which is also nearby the 3 statues is a small memorial with sculptures of 2 women in uniform tending to a wounded male soldier while another sculpture of a woman is kneeling close to it.

The memorial black granite wall has a list of inscriptions of the chronological names of at least 58,272 Americans that were killed and went missing in action during the war. The stone used for the wall was bought from India which was chosen due to its reflective quality, so that when you look upon the wall, your reflection can be seen simultaneously with the engraved names, which is meant to bring the past and present together symbolically.

Me and my other me ;)
The strategical location of the wall is that one wall is pointing towards Washington Monument and the other one leads in the direction towards the Lincoln Memorial, which meets an angle of 125 degrees 12:
Along the base of this wall is a pathway that serves as walking path for visitors while reading and/or locating names, or just pray for them.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Korean War Veterans Memorial

This memorial was built to commemorate those who served in the Korean War. It is situated on West Potomac Park, southeast of the Lincoln Memorial and at the south part of the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall.

The memorial's structure is in the form of a triangle intersecting a circle. As you go further in the memorial, you'll see a wall measuring to 50 meters long,8 inches thick and built with more than 100 tons of highly polished "Academy Black" granite. On it are photographic images that depicts soldiers, and other people involved in the war representing land, sea and air troops.
The granite wall also reflects mural of the faces of 2,400 unnamed soldiers with a quote - "Freedom is not free."
Behind me is the wall with mural

Partial background are the 19 statues in full combat gears behind me...

At the center of the memorial are the 19 stainless statues of soldiers representing a squad on patrol from each branch of the armed forces, facing an American flag. These statues are dressed in full combat gears and are scattered standing each in between strips of granite, with juniper bushes that represent the rugged terrain in Korea.

It's also interesting to note that on the wall's reflection, there seem to be 38 soldiers, which represents the 38th parallel. The north part of the statues is a path that forms one side of the triangle. On the path lies the United Nation's Wall reflecting the 22 members of UN that contributed or offered medical support to the Korean war effort.
Philippines was one of the UN members who offered medical support during Korean War.

There is also a Pool of Remembrance with inscriptions listing the number of people killed, wounded, missing in action, and those held as prisoners of war. A plaque close to it reflects, - "Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met."