Sunday, September 20, 2015

The View from the Hills of Sagaing (Myanmar)

I crossed Ayeyarwaddy River to get to Sagaing. Like Bagan, I could see several Buddhist structures rising from the hill and down below. Unlike Bagan, these structures were white pagodas, were newer, and were mostly white with golden peaks. An old kingdom, Sagaing has had 7 kings during the reign of the Sagaing Kingdom: from Sawyun of 1315 to Minbyauk Thihapate of 1364. And then there was King Naungdawgyi who reigned in 1760.

While riding my "tuktuk", I was in awe of the gorgeous queue of pagodas from the hill. It was something you don't see everyday in your short life span - and it was beautiful. Like a very fast slideshow that displayed magic. I was on my way to a couple of pagodas - the U Min Thonze Pagoda and U Pon Nya Shin Pagoda accessible through a covered staircase that ran up the 240 meter (787 feet) hill. It would be a harrowing climb if you think about it, but the ascent is gradual, and you can take your sweet time to get there. From the top, I could see Ava Bridge crossing Ayeyarwaddy.

Sagaing is located 20 kilometers southwest of Mandalay. It is 566 kilometers north of Yangon, roughly a 7-hour bus ride from Mandalay.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Friday, September 4, 2015

A Corner of Bali in Davao City

Bali? Nu-uh. It's an odd fountain-cum-pond standing in front of a chapel at the GAP Farm Resort in Davao City. Located along the Diversion Road (a few kilometers from D' Japanese Tunnel), the place is a recreational and leisure center with agriculture and Philippine History as its theme.

The air in this little corner is fresh. I could sit on a bench and allow my mind to wander. This is a great place for that. There's a parade of busts of Philippine presidents and heroes. Gabriela Silang lead the pack; her bolo waved on the air as she mounts an emaciated horse. Elsewhere, there's a fascinating, albeit comprehensive list of Mindanao's indigenous tribes and their corresponding statues and costumes - and to my knowledge, no other place has done this.

But let me get back to my peaceful Balinese corner, standing awkwardly in front of a chapel. Here, my mind can travel farther than any distance.

This is the Eye in the Sky!