Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cormorants Playing Tug o' War

Cormorants Playing Tug o' War 4

It's amazing that you can go bird watching in an urban setting but it's possible to do just that in Oakland's Lake Merritt. When I went there, I chanced upon a group of cormorants who got fascinated with a rope in their "island". I really enjoyed watching them because it looked like they were playing tug o' war.
"Lake Merritt, home to large breeding populations of herons, egrets, geese and ducks, is the oldest wildlife refuge on North America. Countless migratory birds make the lake their home during the winter months. The birds get so accustomed to people that you often can see them at close range."-
Cormorants Playing Tug o' War 5

Cormorants Playing Tug o' War 3

Cormorants Playing Tug o' War 2

Cormorants Playing Tug o' War

Thursday, August 26, 2010

SF 49ers vs. Vikings

We went to see the preseason game between SF 49ers & the Vikings. It was a good game especially since the 49ers won. They're certainly looking better than the past seasons. Coach Mike Singletary has definitely motivated them to do better. I just hope our team would keep it up during the whole season.

Reviewing the playbook with the coach.

Watching the skies above Candlestick Park.

The bird's wingspan looks almost as wide as the length of the plane.
(Uh-oh, watch out for the giant birds!)

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Pistahan 2010


It was the 17th Annual Pistahan Parade and Festival last Aug. 14-15 at Yerba Buena Gardens. "Pistahan" literally means fiesta which involves celebration of good food, culture and tradition.
"Over the past 17 years, the Pistahan Parade and Festival has honored the customs and traditions of Filipino Americans through arts, crafts, performances and cuisine. This is an event that promises a wonderful glimpse into the exciting and vibrant experience of the Philippine culture that San Franciscans and the surrounding Bay Area have come to appreciate everyday."- excerpt from Mayor Gavin Newsom's Letter to EXPO Magazine


The Singkil recounts the epic legend of the "Darangan" of the Maranao people of Mindanao. The dance takes its name from the bells worn on the ankles of the Muslim princess. This epic, written sometime in the 14th century, tells the fateful story of Princess Gandingan, who was caught in the middle of a forest during an earthquake caused by the diwatas, or fairies of the forest. The crisscrossed bamboo poles represent the trees that were falling, which she gracefully avoids. Her slave loyally accompanies her throughout her ordeal. Finally, she is saved by the prince. Dancers skillfully manipulate apir, or fans which represent the winds that prove to be auspicious. Royal princesses to this day in the Sulu Archipelago are required to learn this most difficult and noble dance. -Noel's Pilipino Folkdance Glossary


This looks like the "Kinakulangan". The royal walk or "kini-kini" of the Maranao women is illustrated in the Kinakulangan dance. Male attendants follow the ladies as they gracefully manipulate mosala, or scarves, displaying their elite social upbringing.


Looks like the Maglangka Folk Dance.
"Literally meaning "to dance," the maglangka is used to mold the adolescent girls into ladies of good breeding and accomplished dancing skills. The girls are strictly taught to gracefully execute movements imitating birds in flight, fish swimming in the sea, or branches swaying in the air while remaining in the confines of a square cloth. these movements require intense concentration and innate style as the ladies express emotions and entertain guests."-


It's always uplifting to be surrounded by familiar things like our native food & language. It feels like I didn't leave Philippines at all.


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Thursday, August 19, 2010


It was cloudy that day in Half Moon Bay but we stayed to watch the sunset. Still viewed a spectacular display of half-light.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Wish Upon Many Stars

It's that time of the year when you can wish upon as many stars as you like. The time when natural fireworks would be on display. The Perseid shower! I learned that it would peak on the 12th & 13th of this month. So, we decided to watch it during the wee hours of the 13th.

Most of the time, stargazing goes hand in hand with camping. No, we didn't go camping outdoors. We did it indoors at our friend's house. sengihnampakgigi We roasted marshmallows & hot dogs in the fireplace. I finally had my first-ever s'mores.

We had so much fun making & eating it.

We headed out around midnight. Our friend suggested that Mt. Diablo would be a good place to watch the stars. Great elevation & no light pollution.

"Several colorful yarns describe how the mountain got its name. The most popular account supposedly arose from an 1806 expedition of Spanish soldiers from San Francisco Presidio who marched into the area to do battle with the local Indians. In the midst of the fighting, a shaman clad in striking plumage appeared on the mountain. The Spaniards were convinced they saw El Diablo—The Devil—and quickly retreated."-

We met fellow stargazers at the mountain & we had a quick look at the stars through their scope.

Oh well, that's all that I could capture. My camera didn't have the bells & whistles to photograph the night sky. Just use your imagination & picture a cloudless sky with a clear view of the milky way. I wasn't greatly disappointed because I have all the vivid pictures in my own memory drive, embedded in my mind. For those who haven't seen it, here's the link to National Geographic's Meteor Shower Photos.

We chose a spot & waited patiently. We got to see at least 30 stars for an hour & a half. Wish away! menari

(Many thanks to our friend, Gary who hosted the event.)

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Kite Ballet

These are sport kites flown in aerial ballet competition. I recorded this when we went to the Berkeley Kite Festival. We're very impressed after watching dancing kites during the "Team Kite Ballet". This one was performed by team iQuad with Stairway to Heaven as background music.

"Kite competitions have much in common with figure skating, with competitors being judged on their performance in compulsory figures as well as a "ballet", which involves artistic interpretation of music. Performances are done as individuals, a pair of pilots, or as a team. Team flying is typically the most spectacular, with up to eight pilots, their kites flying within inches of each other and narrowly averting disaster, while performing all manner of figures and formations in the air."-

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Berkeley Kite Festival 2010

The Berkeley Kite Festival is usually held every year at the end of July. The Berkeley Marina is an ideal place to fly your kites all day long while enjoying the sun and the sea-breeze.

The "Octopile" (giant octopus kites) is the signature piece of the Berkeley Kite Wranglers. Each giant octopus kite is 20-feet wide and nearly 100 feet long.


The Berkeley Kite Wrangler Giant Show Kite team joined forces with the Gomberg Kite Production team & other local fliers. They broke the world record for the largest number of Giant Octopus Kites ever flown together anywhere. There was a total of 22 giant flying octopus!


Of course, we had to fly our own kite too! My hubby is relaxing and enjoying the kite views.


So, Nemo's dad can spot him miles away.


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