It was monumental. Grand. And I was awestruck at the spaciousness of the interior of the Dôme des Invalides. From the paintings of Charles de la Fosse at the underside of the dome, finished in 1705, to the ornate baldachin at the altar. So grand and spacious that visitors, including me were all dwarfed. But I wasn’t here to hear mass, the space, a former royal chapel built at the southern part of the Hospital des Invalides upon the orders of Louis XIV, was converted,…Continue Reading “Looking down on Napoleon Bonaparte at the Domes des Invalides”

The breeze was cool and comforting, as I gazed down the Han River, enjoying a quite afternoon in Jeoldu-san. The promontory has great views of this part of Mapo-gu, in Seoul. The trees provided a much needed shade, rustling gently while the sound of birds and vehicles passing the motorway merged. Although serene and peaceful, Jeoldu-san has a dark history, going back to the 19th century when Catholics were being persecuted. In fact, Jeoldu-san, literally means beheading mountain, when it was used in the 1860s…Continue Reading “Peace & serenity in Jeoldu-san, Seoul’s beheading mountain”

I started out early from my hotel in Kyoto and went to Kyoto Station and head to Fushimi Inari Taisha, the very popular Inari shrine made famous for its vermilion torii tunnel which is just very close by. The morning was cool with sunny blue skies and there were already several visitors to the shrine when I got there. I stopped to admire the massive torii at the entrance and it marks the boundary of the mundane with the spiritual. It signals that you are…Continue Reading “Under the vermilion torii gates of Inari Shrine”

They come in different sizes, from the size of one’s palm to huge ones, standing 10 feet in height and painted in different colors. Don’t blush though, but these wooden penises, offerings left by usually female devotees, are there, crowded under the spirit tree or placed near the spirit house while larger ones, those that are as tall as a man, stand proudly, erect, err, at attention. The Tuptim Shrine is dedicated to Chao Mae Tuptim, whose devotees visit and offer wooden penises for good…Continue Reading “The very unusual phallus shrine of Bangkok”

Most Filipino tourists skip Nagoya or the Aichi Region in general and usually do the three city circuit of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Even in my first trip to Japan last July 2015, I essentially followed this circuit, entering Tokyo and exiting Osaka within 8 days. Good thing that with flights from Manila to Nagoya, exploring this city and its region is easy and convenient. Although it’s a big region and still so much to do, allow me to show you ten places that you…Continue Reading “10 places to visit in and around Nagoya”