Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bishan Park

This beautiful park, with its lakes and bridges, colourful shrubs and lush greenery, is one of the largest and most popular parks in Singapore. Complete with cycling and running tracks and a delightful playground, it appeals to sports enthusiasts and children with boundless energies. Beautiful lakes and shaded lawns, offer some of the best scenic spots for picnics and family gatherings. Other features of the park include a Garden Spa, community gardens, an inline skates rental outlet and several F&B outlets.

Bringing Kallang river to Bishan Park

On 3 Oct 09, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officially launched the ABC Waters@Kallang River-Bishan Park project.

A joint collaboration between PUB and NParks, ABC Waters@Kallang River-Bishan Park will see the conversion of the concrete canal into a natural meandering river, seamlessly integrated with the park for the first time in Singapore. When completed in 2011, this will create more green and blue spaces in one of the most popular parks in Singapore.

The additional facilities in Bishan Park include a River Promenade, as well as three new playgrounds, each with a distinctive theme. The new Bishan Park will also be home to diverse wildlife with habitats created to encourage certain species to settle and thrive.

Skate and bicycle kiosk, Shelters, Restroom / Toilets with or without shower facilities, Playground, Jogging path/ running track, Garden spa, Foot reflexology footpath, Fitness corner/ stations & fitness equipment/ exercise station, Food & beverage area/ restaurant/ cafe, Dog run corner, Cycling track
Mawkdok Dympep Valley View

Location: East Khasi Hills District, Sohra

A few kms from Umtyngar, as one takes the right turn from the road junction, one comes across a beautiful bridge known to the locals as the Duwan Singh Syiem Bridge, that is the entrance to the Sohra tourist circuit. From here the landscape abruptly changes into picturesque deep gorges. The Forest Department has constructed a view-point where visitors can stop a while and enjoy the spectacular natural beauty.

sa i mikaSa-I-Mika Park

Location: East Khasi Hills District, Sohra

Located on the way to the world famous ‘Dainthlen Falls’ and about 3 kms before reaching Sohra town is Sa -I - Mika Park, a one stop tourist destination. Set amidst 69 acres of pristine surroundings, Sa -I - Mika offers not only accommodation but a host of activities that is caters to people from all ages and walks of life. At present there are four double bedded rooms with all modern amenities and two traditional cottages. On offer are well appointed rooms, hot and cold running water, room service priced at Rs.1200/- and Rs.1500/- per night. There is also a 200 capacity conference hall which is suitable for hosting cooperate and departmental events, seminars, workshops and concerts. On request, the management can also arrange to organise barbecues, bonfires, tour guides, traditional Khasi dance and local cuisine and drink.

The park has the distinct advantage of being located close to the waterfalls and one can arrange treks and tours to these places, as well as the caves and other areas of tourist interest. Since the management is closely associated with the community, one can also opt for a homestay in one of the villages, to experience life with a typical Khasi family.

dain thlenDain-Thlen Falls

Location: East Khasi Hills District, Sohra

Just before reaching Sohra, a road to the right, leads one to the falls which is 5 kms away. The waterfall derives its name from a Thlen or a snake of gigantic size which dwelt in a cave. Legend has it that the people destroyed the snake in order to rid themselves of its reign of terror. Adjacent to the very spot where the Thlen was slaughtered lies the Dain-thlen Waterfalls. Natural rock carvings of the episode draw visitors to see the image of the Thlen, the symbol of greed, corruption and evil.

nohkalikaiNoh-Kalikai Falls

Location: East Khasi Hills District, Sohra

A hauntingly beautiful waterfall, cascading down from the top of the gorge to the mystic deep green pool below, reminding one of the tragic legend associated with it, of a grief stricken mother who plunged to her death, unable to overcome her sorrow over the murder of her daughter by her husband.

Sohra cremationKa Kper Syiem Sohra (cremation ground of the Sohra Syiemship)

Location: East Khasi Hills District, Sohra

By the side of the Pomsohmen stream lies the cremation ground of the Sohra Syiemship (Cherra Chieftain). Cremation of the dead Syiem (Chief) of Sohra is one of the most expensive and intricate ceremonies. The body of the Syiem is normally kept for years together, if customary formalities are not performed by the Syiem-elect.


Location: East Khasi Hills District, Sohra

is about 2 kms south of Sohra, the place that the first Welsh Missionaries visited during the year 1942. Their visit not only enriched the life of the locals, but Khasi Literature was also enriched by the invention of the Khasi Alphabet by Thomas Jones. Thus the Sohra dialect became the lingua-franca of the Khasis. The mission started here in Nongsawlia later spread to many parts of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills.

Mawmluh CaveMawmluh Cave

Location: East Khasi Hills District, Sohra

Access to the cave is via the river, which lies to the south east of the Cement Factory. The entrance is about 10 ft. above water level. A single entrance leads to a double passageway, where the upper portion in certain areas have caved in due to the intensive quarrying of limestone above the cave. The river enters the cave and forms pools of water within the cave. This cave stretches for about 4,500 meters but is marred by pollution entering the cave from the cement factory. Locally known as Krem Mawmluh, it is one of the longest caves in the Indian subcontinent.

Eco Park SohraEco Park

Location: East Khasi Hills District, Sohra

A large "Eco Park" established by the Meghalaya government in the plateau, which hosts several hybrid and indigenous orchids in the Green House donated by Shillong Agri-Horticultural Society. Also the Eco Park offers breathtaking view of distant Sylhet Plains of neighbouring Bangladesh.

Mawsmai CaveMawsmai Cave

Location: East Khasi Hills District, Sohra

6 kms from the Sohra market to the south lies the village of Mawsmai in the direction of Bangladesh border. At the village crossing, one passes grasslands surrounded by forests, ending in a clearing. From this clearing, a concrete pathway through the jungle leads up to the main cave entrance. This cave is the only cave that is fully lighted. The cave can be divided into two parts (old and new). Of the two, the new cave is yet to be lighted. It has impressive formations of large passages and chambers.

nohsngithiangNoh-Sngithiang Falls

Location: East Khasi Hills District, Sohra

also known as Mawsmai falls, is 1 km south of Mawsmai village and derives its name due to the fact that the waterfalls are situated in a south westerly position and get illuminated by the sun from dawn to sunset. The vibrant colours of the setting sun on the waterfalls make it beautiful to behold.

thangkharangThangkharang Park

Location: East Khasi Hills District, Sohra

Managed and well maintained by the State Forest Department, this park on Mawsmai - Shella Road - about 8 kms from Sohra is a popular tourist spot. There are many rare and exotic orchids and some rare species of plants endemic to the area. A panoramic view of the plains of Bangladesh is clearly visible on a clear day from the park.

Thangkarang Park laid on the high rocky cliffs overlooks the plains of Bangladesh. You can spot the imposing Kynrem falls cascading down majestically in three stages. The bird sanctuary at nearby Thangkarang with the awesome view of the imposing waterfalls set against the backdrop of Bangladesh plains is a bonanza for tourists, both foreign and domestic.

khoh ramhahKa Khoh Ramhah

Location: East Khasi Hills District, Sohra

also known as Motrop, is an imposing single rock formation in the shape of a giant cone. According to folklore, this was the fossilized cone shaped basket of an evil giant. It lies in close proximity to two other very similar rocks standing like a pair of giant sentinels. During the heavy monsoons, water flows between the two rocks and the cascading waterfall presents a breathtaking sight. The place attracts a lot of visitors throughout the year and is an idyllic picnic spot.

kynrem fallsKynrem Falls

Location: East Khasi Hills District, Sohra

The highest waterfall in Meghalaya, it cascades down in three stages from the top of the hill and overlooks the Thangkharang Park.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sohra (Cherrapunjee)

Location: East Khasi Hills District, Sohra

Sohra, previously known as Cherrapunjee, a Sub-Division in the East Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya, is set upon a plateau on the southern slopes of the state. Sohra is dotted with waterfalls cascading over deep gorges. The swift flowing rivers and streams flow in a southernly direction to the plains.

Sohra is 56 kms from Shillong and is literally the high point of any visit to Meghalaya. One of those ultimate eco-friendly destinations, a place renowned all over the world for having the privilege of receiving the highest rainfall in the world. Set against the backdrop of breath-taking landscape, it is a place to discover the Indian summer monsoons. An unique annual meterologicai phenomena directly influenced by the south west monsoon and the north east winds. The heavy monsoon rains over these mountains undoubtedly creates in Sohra one of the rarest bio-diverse vegetations in the world. Truly a beautiful corner in north-east India, waiting to be discovered and explored.

The four main seasons of Meghalaya are Spring (i.e. March to April), Monsoon (May to September), Autumn (October to November) and Winter (December to February).

The temperature starts warming by the third week of May and continues right to the end of September and sometimes gets extended well into the middle of October. The average rainfall is 12,000 mm a year, with the maximum rainfall occuring over the southern slopes of the Khasi Hills in Sohra. The highest recorded total annual rainfall was 24,555 mm in 1974. The maximum for a single day was recorded in 1876 in Sohra, when 1,040 mm fell in 24 hours. Sohra also holds the World Record for a month's rainfall when 9,300 mm fell in July 1861.

The old Cherra or Sohrarim was the original Cherra village but with the coming of the British who set up their headquarters further south, the village came to be known as 'Sohra' or present day Cherrapunjee. It was here that the British realised the enormity and intensity of the rainfall and set up a meterological office for measuring the rain.

Sohra was declared by the British to be the capital of Assam in 1832, which was later shifted to Shillong in 1866 due to the inclement weather.
Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa, is also popularly known as the "Temple City of India". Being the seat of Tribhubaneswar or 'Lord Lingaraj', Bhubaneswar is an important Hindu pilgrimage centre. Hundreds of temples dot the landscape of the Old Town, which once boasted of more than 2000 temples. Bhubaneswar is the place where temple building activities of Orissan style flowered from its very inception to its fullest culmination extending over a period of over one thousand years.

The new Bhubaneswar with its modern buildings and extensive infrastructure perfectly complements its historic surroundings. With facilities to cater to every type of visitor, Bhubaneswar makes an ideal tourist destination.

Bhubaneswar Airport

Approach: Bhubaneswar is well connected by air, rail and road to the rest of India. The modern Biju Patnaik airport is being extended to receive wide bodied aircraft, and one may well see international charters landing here soon.

Best time to visit: Bhubaneswar can be visited round the year, but the ideal time, especially for visitors from colder climes, would be from October to March.

Stay: With numerous hotels as well as the Orissa Tourism Development Corporation's Panthanivas, Bhubaneswar is well equipped to accommodate every type of visitor. The list of the major hotels with their phone numbers is here.

Handicrafts of the Region: Silver filigree, Stone and Wood carving, Patta paintings, Tie and Dye textiles, bamboo basketry, brass and bell metal work, horn work, and many other famous handicrafts of Orissa can be selected as souvenirs from the local markets. Purchases can be made from Utkalika (run by the Department of Handicrafts) or at the many privately run shops.

Some of the other important tourist spots of Bhubaneswar are:

The twin hills of Kumargiri and Kumarigiri known as Khandagiri and Udaygiri contain varieties of rock-cut caves, built mainly for the jain monks around 1st - 2nd century B.C.#The thirteen years lithic record of King Kharavela engraved in Hatigumpha (elephant cave) is a magnificent specimen of Pali records so far found in India.

Khandagiri and Udaygiri

Cactus Garden

Cactus garden situated close to the 'Ekamara Kanan' in Bhubaneswar, the Cactus Garden, with its huge collection of Cactii should not be missed.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Most Beautiful Places to visit in China


Shichahai is ascenic area of history and culture in Beijing and one of its historicaland cultural protection zones. It lies in Xicheng District, the centerof the city, and is close to its central axis. With a336,000-square-meter water-covered area connected with Zhongnanhai, itis the only open scenic area with a wide expanse of water in the city.

Badaguan in Qingdao

Badaguanin Qingdao This scenic spot gets the name for there are eight streetsnamed after eight great passes in ancient China (Shanhai Pass, JiayuPass, Wusheng Pass, Ningwu Pass, Juyong Pass, Shao Pass, Zijing Pass,Zhengyang Pass). In fact, there are another two: Hangu Pass and LinhuaiPass.

The Historic Centre of Macau

TheHistoric Centre of Macau is the product of over 400 years of culturalexchange between the western world and Chinese civilization. Thearchitectural heritage, predominantly European in nature, stands in themidst of traditional Chinese architecture in the historic settlement,providing contrast. ”The Historic Centre of Macau” is the oldest, themost complete and consolidated array of European architectural legacystanding intact on Chinese territory.

Suzhou Old City

SuzhouOld City One of the key cities in the Yangtze River Delta, Suzhou is arenowned cultural, historic and tourist city. The city is located inthe southeast of Jiangsu Province, bordering Shanghai on the east,Zhejiang Province on the south, the Taihu Lake in the west and theYangtze River in the north.

Gulang Island

Theoriginal name of Gulang Island was Yuanshazhou (Round Shoal). In theMing Dynasty, it was renamed Gulang, meaning “drum waves”, because areef in the southwest of the island hit by the waves of flood tide makesounds like the drum beating and was named “drum wave stone”.

Benxi Water Cave

TheWater Cave is lying by the bank of Taizi River in Benxi City. It isfamed for its water scenery and has the longest boat passage of anyshow cave in China. The cave passage is wide, with fantastic views onboth sides. With many twists and turns, it is named the ”Nine-curveSilver River”.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wine country tours

Napa Wine Tours by the Wine Country Tour Shuttle are the most unique tours in Napa Valley from San Francisco. On this wine country tour, we will take you to all of the premier Napa wineries. The tour includes a picnic lunch, four winery stops, a ride over the Golden Gate Bridge and then a 50-minute relaxing Ferry/Bay Cruise back to San Francisco.

Interactive Wine Country Tours: 4 Napa Wineries, 1 Picnic Lunch, 50-minute Ferry/Bay Cruise and mix of red, white and sparkling wines from 4 strategically selected wineries. On this tour, you will taste premier Cabernet Sauvignons, Cabernet Francs, Pinot Noirs as well as reserve bruts from the best known wineries in Napa.

Picnic Lunch - Napa Valley
Upon entering V. Sattui, you will be greeted with complimentary cheese and food samples in a European-Style Marketplace. Here, you will have the opportunity to shop the gourmet cheese market & deli before venturing outside to sit with the rest tour group or by yourself on a wooden picnic table and look out into the beautiful vineyards and winery grounds. We highly recommend meeting some friends on the tour and sharing a bottle of wine during lunch. While the special deli provides a wide variety of food choices, some people just get bread, cheese and wine for thier picnic lunch.

Ferry/Bay Cruise
It's not just any Napa Wine Tour from San Francisco. On this tour you will take a ferry cruise from Napa Valley back to San Francisco as the sun begins to set. You can go outside or inside the boat during this 50-minute calm boat cruise across the bay back to the Ferry Building. This ferry cruise is key because it completely avoids bad traffic back to San Francisco.

From the Ferry/Bay Cruise you will get close to Alcatraz, the Bay Bridge, the city of San Francisco, as well as the Golden Gate Bridge from a short distance away. Thus, during the Ferry/Bay Cruise portion of your wine country tour, it will be at this point, you will know you made the right choice!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Places to Visit Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is renowned for its natural beauty and rich built heritage. NIEA owns and manages a wealth of places where you can enjoy great days out. These include Country Parks and Countryside Centres, Historic Monuments and Nature Reserves. Many of these are open to the public all year round and knowledgeable and friendly staff are located at the main sites, some providing guided tours.

To find out more about walks in the Northern Ireland countryside, see the Countryside Access and Activities Network website

* Country Parks and Countryside Centres

NIEA manages seven Country Parks and two Countryside Centres making the countryside accessible to everyone. As well as the facilities available at most Country Parks, the Countryside Centres offer innovative and award-winning exhibitions and audio-visual displays to assist the visitor's understanding of the countryside and of wider environmental issues in general.

*Historic Monuments

The Historic Monuments in state care are of huge importance to visitors both as places to visit in their own right, as tangible reminders of their cultural heritage and as features to be appreciated as part of the landscape.

* Nature Reserves

NIEA is responsible for the designation of statutory nature reserves and for ensuring their appropriate management. These reserves have been selected from among the very best sites in Northern Ireland for natural habitats, wildlife or geological features. Access to these sites is promoted alongside the need to protect and manage them for conservation.

Friday, May 14, 2010

VIisit the Beautiful Fox Theater

Designed by the firm of Batch and Stanberry, this Mission Revival theater opened as a combination cinema/vaudeville house. With the death of vaudeville, the space formerly occupied by the large stage was converted to a cinema, fronting Seventh Street, in 1942. Due to its proximity to Hollywood, the Fox served through the 1960's as a choice motion picture preview house. The first public screening of "Gone With the Wind" took place in this building.

Survey Description

This large theater building is composed of a central block with a parapet, two-level roof, and fly tower surrounded on the two street sides by a Spanish Colonial Revival entry and storefront section that has typical features of the style such as smooth plaster wall, red clay tile roofs, exposed rafters, look-out beams, arches, and timber lintels. The ground plan is essentially rectangular with a main auditorium and lobby forming the central portion. The structure is dominated by a four-story tower at the corner. The most significant aspects of the Fox Theater are the Market and Seventh Street facades which flank the main auditorium structure. The deeply-shaded street-level arcade, arched openings, second-level balconies with iron rails and paired-wood casements, tile roofs, gabled-ended entries, and central-tower entry provided a unified street presence. Each arcade is constructed of masonry piers which support bay arches covered with white plaster. The Seventh Street arcade has nine arches while the Market Street arcade has six. At the end of each arcade is a front-gabled two and a half story pavilion. Both pavilions contain two of the arcade arches on the first level. The shops along each arcade, or cloister, have wood trim moldings around the doorways and red tiles covering the walkway. Colorful Spanish tiles are mounted on the base of the wall. Details on the first story level include brass escutcheon hardware, wood mullions, and molding around the windows. The second story is supported by the arcade walkways of the first story. The second floor of each pavilion features two sets of paired casement windows with wooden mullions that are fronted by Spanish wrought iron balconies. The gabled attic of each pavilion exhibits an inset quatrefoil window with grill. The Seventh Street second-story facade has seven pairs of casement windows that are identical to those found on the pavilions. It also has a balcony with half piers that seem to be an extension of the cloister below. The Market Street second-story facade has four sets of windows fronted by an iron balcony and concrete posts which support the overhanging grill work. The three-story octagonal tower, located over the entrance at the junction of Seventh and Market Streets, is a continuation of the two wings with minor architectural differences. The ground floor has piered arches on each side, but the entrance is set diagonally to the five pairs of metal-and-glass doors which complete this level. On the second floor, a set of three casement windows with moldings are found on each side of the tower. The tower itself is decorated with Spanish motifs at this level. At the third level, a large quatrefoil window and grill is featured, and three tapered steps on each corner mark the transition from the four-sided tower to the octagonal bell-tower base. The bell-tower is a cupola, or vault, with an added open arch on each face of the turret with iron grillwork underneath. A belfry is situated on top of the cupola with a flagpole emanating from the structure. The theater ticket office is located under the tower arch, within the exterior facade. The visible sections of the roof are covered with red barrel tiles. These sections include two shed roofs over the Seventh and Market Street arcades, the front-facing gabled roofs over the two pavilions, and the two octagonal roofs of the central tower. The two rear facades which face north and west are of poured concrete and are completely void of architectural decoration. The north facade faces a narrow alleyway, while the west facade faces a small parking lot. The foundations for the entire theater building are reinforced concrete, surface-spread footings.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tripura Sundari Temple

This temple is one of the 51 pithasthans in India as per Hindu mythology. As per mythology, Lord Vishnu had cut off the body of Mata Sati into 51 pieces by Sudarshana Chakra and all these pieces fell at different places throughout the country and these places are known as pithasthans. It is said that 'right foot' of Mata Sati fell at Matabari.

This pithasthan is also known as Kurma Pith because the shape of the temple premises resembles to that of "Kurma" namely tortoise. Inside the temple, the idol of Maa Kali is kept which is made of 'reddish black Kastic pathar.' Maa Kali is worshipped in her 'Soroshi' form in this temple. There is an idol of smaller size of Maa Kali called 'Chotto Maa 'and this image used to be carried by Maharajas of Tripura during "Mrigaya" namely hunting and also during war.

The temple consists of square type sanctum of the typical Bengali hut type structure with a conical dome. The temple was constructed in 1501 A.D. by the then Maharaja Dhanya Manikya.

In the eastern side of the temple there is a famous Kalyan Sagar where fishes and tortoises of huge size are found and devotees feed them with "muri" and biscuits. No fishing is permitted in the Kalyan Sagar.

Every year on Dewali, a famous Mela takes place near the temple which is visited by more than two lakhs pilgrims.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wild life attraction in Rajasthan

In spite of a comparatively hostile terrain, Rajasthan surprisingly is the abode of a number of mammals and birds. Its vast size and latitudinal variations above the sea level of 1,700m provides it with varied vegetation. It provides semi green forests of Mount Abu to dry grasslands of the desert, and from the dry deciduous thorn forest of Aravali to wetlands of Bharatpur.

The sanctuaries attract herds of species from all over to their temporary habitat that provides comfortable subsistence. During the season, the whole place echoes with enchanting sounds and fascinating visuals against the sprawling meadows of flora. Rajasthan is the haven of the tigers and many endangered species.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Adventure Sports in Andaman & Nicobar Islands

This is the closest you get to feeling like Robinson Crusoe. 362 volcanic islands scattered in the Bay of Bengal, with only 37 of these being inhabited. These lush green islands have colourful historical past, with strings of invasions by the French, Dutch, Japanese and British & raging wars between settlers and the native tribes. The Cellular Jail, where hundreds of Indian revolutionaries were imprisoned during the Indian freedom struggle, still stands tall. Descendents of these political prisoners and the local tribes of the area are the inhabitants of modern day Andaman and Nicobar.

The tropical rain forests that loom close to the seashore are home to unique species of birds, and to tribes that still haven't learned to use fire. Andaman is an experience quite unlike another. And if you find yourself using more mosquito repellent here than even before, you'll be using a lot more camera rolls as well.

Dive Sites:

Around Port Blair

The waters around Andaman have spectacular bio-diversity, and dive conditions that are ideal for an experienced diver.

Cinque Island

One of the best dive destinations in the island, it has clear emerald waters with a visibility of up to 80 feet. The deep dive offers a terrific variety of marine life including back coral and sightings of sharks, and is ideal for the experienced diver.

Rutland Island

The shallow waters here have a good representation of most small fish and coral, and is a good place for training open water divers.

Snake Island

Awesome rock faces and a spectacular dive landscape. Marine life includes Trigger fish, Grunts, Goatfish and Rays.

Havelock Island

This island is located approximately 4 hours from the Port Blair airport by inter-island ferry. The dive centre located on the island offers a wide range of largely unexplored dive sites rich in underwater marine life.

Kulinarya Food Trips

ASIDE from the country's well-known diverse natural and man-made attractions, the Philippine food remain one of the country's best -kept secret which is relatively unknown in many parts of the world.

As if to corroborate the saying "the surest way to a man's heart is through his stomach," the Department of Tourism under the stewardship of Secretary Joseph Ace Durano recently launched Culinary Tourism dubbed as Kulinarya Filipina as part of the Cultural Tourism Program. This program hopes to introduce the Philippine flavors to domestic and international scene and aims to promote the country as a culinary destination.

The Philippine cuisines feature a spicy blend of various cultures - a legacy left by past colonizers. The mixture of Malay, Chinese and Spanish influences have complemented the Filipino's way of traditional cooking style, which resulted in a uniquely Filipino gastronomic treasure. Popular dishes adopted from Chinese are "lumpiang shanghai" and "pancit". While several traditional dishes still retain their Spanish names such as "mechado," "menudo," and "pochero."

There are only few destinations in the country that are well- known for its food. For instance, Bicol, Pampanga, Bulacan are famous for its sweets, while, Negros and Iloilo, Cebu are known for lechon and otap. On the other hand, Antipolo is popularly known for its suman, kasoy and mangga and Ilocos for its longganisa, and pinakbet.

Each region has its own treasure to boast, such as the freshest fruits and vegetables grown in nearby Trinidad Valley in the Mountain Province. Pampanga, is known for its sweet meat, such as "tocino," Batangas is famous for its tender juicy meat, "bulalo" and robust Batangas coffee beans. Bicol's most popular cuisine "laing" and "bicol express" is known for the use of coconut milk and lots of spices. Cebu and Palawan serve fresh seafoods, seaweed salad; and sweetest mangoes. Iloilo is popular for its "pancit molo" and "la paz batchoy." Davao is famous for its "inihaw na panga" and exotic fruits like "durian," "pomelo, " mangosteen" and "rambutan" while, Zamboanga serves some of the most delicious prawns, crabs, lobsters and "curacha."

One of the recently developed KULINARYA tour packages focuses on the Province of Quezon which is already a popular tourism destination.

Quezon Province is not only well-known for its harvest festivals during May but also for its culinary specialties such as longganizang Lucban (native sausage), Pancit Habhab (native noodles eaten directly from a banana leaf), the kiping (both a delicacy and ornament during the Pahiyas festival) and Broas (local ladyfingers). Also worth watching is the Pandanggo-Awit, a traditional practice to welcome guests that features the lambanog- a local vodka-like drink which is one of the province's most popular products.

Other itineraries being developed are the Kulinarya Bicol Tour which offers visits to the provinces of Albay and Sorsogon. The tour also allows the tourists to taste the region's specialties such as Pinangat (native foie gras), Bicol Express ( a native dish cooked with lots of hot chili peppers) and desserts made with pili nut.

Other modules being developed are Kulinarya Batangas which will have two modules 1) Lipa- to feature lomi (native noodles soup) and sinaing na isda (steamed fish) with an optional visit to The Spa at San Benito & 2) Taal which will feature tawilis and the various sweets such as panutsa (caramel peanuts) and the bukayo (sweetened coconut).

Likewise, the Department also explores the possibility of launching and marketing culinary tours to other well-known culinary centers of the country such as Manila, the Ilocos Region, Pampanga, Bulacan, Iloilo, Negros and Davao.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Maldives - The Summer Life

The Maldives has always been a unique nation. Apart from a period of Portuguese domination in the Sixteenth century and carrying the status of a British Protectorate from 1887 to 1965, the archipelago has been an independent archipelago for at least twenty-five centuries.

The Maldives is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth and the Non-Aligned Movement. The Maldives maintains a very cordial relationship with the international community and the Maldivians themselves take pride in their hospitality and friendliness!

The population of the Maldives currently stands slightly in excess of a quarter of a million. A common language (Dhivehi) and a religion (Islam) have been two blessings that unite the people into a cohesive and peaceful society. Pride is taken in tradition though not at the expense of development and modernization.

Maldivians are generally not race conscious, perhaps because the country has been inhabited for centuries during which visitors from as far apart as China, Africa, Arabia and Persia have been assimilated into the society. This tradition of welcoming visitors continues?..

We dare you to come here and count exactly how many islands there are in the country. They say that counting the islands including the sand spits is like trying to count how many stars there are in the sky! So, the commonly agreed upon figure of 1190 is but an approximation. These islands are grouped into natural atolls that are protected by surrounding reefs. The islands are of pure white coral sand are low lying, the highest point on any give island being no more than a meter and a half above sea level. Coconut palms and an abundance of tropical plants make these islands an idyllic place for your holiday if you want to see nature at its best.

The Maldives actually straddles the equator. The climate is tropical with no major seasonal differences. Though the southwest monsoon does bring most of the rain, mostly around June and July, tropical rain showers can occur any time! The skies are usually clear and the sun shines brightly. That is when the cooling sea breezes, about which poems have been written, bring about the romantic in you.

If you are a surfer you will find just the right waves in some places. If you are a divining enthusiast, be prepared for a binge! The white coral beaches are simply unbelievable. The fishing is out of this world. Perhaps because of this, the Maldives is increasingly becoming one of the most sought after holiday destinations in the world. We chip in by making our tourist resorts provide all the mod cons to make you all the more comfortable.

And coming here is as easy as catching a plane. Catch one of the many scheduled or charter flights operating on a regular basis from points of origin in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. You, as our welcome guest, are issued thirty-day tourist visa on arrival at Male? International Airport.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Top Destinations in Nigeria

Owu Falls

Located in Kwara State of Nigeria, it is the steepest natural waterfall in West Africa and is surrounded by tropical rainforest in which can be found a wide range of animals and plants not seen in other parts of the world.

Ikogosi Warm Springs

This is a natural warm spring that flows and mixes with cold water issuing from another spring. This place atracts tourists from all over the world.

Eleko Beach

Eleko, down the Lekki Peninsula about 30 miles from Lagos is peaceful, tranquil and ideal for privacy

Lekki Beach

There are several beaches along the Lekki Peninsula, the foremost being Lekki Beach, located a few miles from the city centre. Lekki Beach is another of Lagos' attractive beaches and remains popular with foreign tourists. Beach shelters made of palm fronds and umbrellas, available for rent, keep the sun at bay, as well as provide a place to enjoy snacks or refreshments sold by local traders

Calabar Beach

This beach, at the mouth of the new Calabar River, is uninhabited save for a solitary fisherman\\\'s hut. The beach is virtually isolated and lends visitors the luxury of privacy in a beautiful setting off the beaten path. Since the beach is flanked by a swamp and can only be reached by boat or canoe, getting there is half the fun and enhances one\\\'s fascination with this enchanted locale

Tarkwa Bay

Tarkwa Bay is a sheltered beach along the Lagos harbour. It is accessible by boat from Maroko or from under Falomo Bridge on Victoria Island. This beach provides a pleasant outing with safe swimming conditions, even for small children.

Bar Beach

Bar Beach, also known as Victoria Beach, is the most popular beach among Nigerians. The main beach on Victoria Island is located along Ahmadu Bello Way opposite the Federal Guest House

Coconut Beach

Coconut Beach is a beautiful beach in the coastal town of Badagry, west of Lagos. The beach is attractively set in an area surrounded by coconut trees. About 20 miles towards the border of Nigeria and the Republic of Benin, Coconut Beach is accessible through the Lagos-Badagry expressway.

Shere Hills

Natural. Shere hill is about 1829m above sea level. It is recognized for its good sporting activities. It is found in Jos, Plateau state.

Imoleboja Rock Shelter

This is a massive granite rock with inner apartments capable of accommodating a large number of people. In the local dialect of the people it means ‘God has built a house’. It is found in Odo-Owa, Kwara state.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Colors of Warka highlights formerly hidden talent

Artwork in a new exhibit in Washington has travelled a long way: from the imaginations of women in Iraq’s province of Muthanna, who originally had doubts about showing their work publicly.

U.S. and Iraqi officials organized the artists to show their work publicly in 2009 for what was believed to be the first exhibit mounted by female artists in the province.

Coordinated in partnership with a local group, “The Colors of Warka” first debuted in January 2009 during then-U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker’s first visit to Muthanna province. At this opening, the Muthanna Provincial Reconstruction Team distributed art supplies to the women in preparation for a larger exhibit, held in March 2009, that toured the three largest cities in Muthanna. Each of the artists was told to feel free to paint whatever she liked — even if it did not flatter the United States.

Today, select works from “The Colors of Warka: Paintings by Iraqi Women of Muthanna Province” are on display at the Department of State in Washington. On March 8, the exhibit was opened with the women who earned the 2010 International Women of Courage awards in attendance.

The annual International Women of Courage Award was started in March 2007 to recognize women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating women’s rights and advancement. This year’s 10 honorees were presented with awards by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on March 10.

It was fitting that Women of Courage winners were present at an event to honor the artists, for courageous is the word that best fits these Iraqis.

In one of Iraq’s most conservative provinces, the artists who participated in this exhibit demonstrated great courage, not only by presenting their work publicly, but by volunteering to be interviewed on television about their paintings. For many, it was the first time they had shown their paintings to anyone outside their homes and for almost all it was the first time they had been interviewed on camera.

The paintings showcase a range of styles and subjects — and do not shy away from challenges presented in Iraqi daily life.

As an Iraqi female painter said at the time of the exhibition’s opening in Iraq, “Through our paintings, everyone will know our stories. They will know we are here.”

Monday, May 03, 2010

Climate change is Real, Make a Difference

Climate Friendly Actions
The National Park Service, as one of the nation's leading resource stewardship agencies, is developing management practices that lead by setting a good example through conservation and education. Many parks are actively engaged in an array of green practices; other parks are just now getting on board. Here are some climate friendly activities we are undertaking.

1. Purchasing energy efficient products, such as ENERGY STAR® approved office equipment and light bulbs and provide guidelines for reducing energy consumption.
2. Converting to renewable energy sources such as solar or wind generated power.
3. Developing and utilizing "green" designs for construction of new or remodeled buildings.
4. Providing alternative transportation options for within-park commuting for staff and visitors, such as shuttle services or another form of alternate transportation for travel to and within the park.
5. Purchasing hybrid electric or propane-fueled vehicles for official use.
6. Using teleconferences or other forms of modern technology in place of travel to conferences and meetings.
7. Engaging partners and enlist their support (e.g., tribal neighboring agencies, private land-holders) in climate change discussions, responses, and mitigation.
8. Developing management guidelines for managing uncertainty surrounding climate change effects in parks. Incorporating anticipated climate change impacts, such as decreases in lake levels or changes in vegetation and wildlife, into management plans.
9. Actively engage in research and scientific study in parks.
10. Designing work projects around renewable energy, moving away from projects that rely solely on fossil fuel-based transportation and infrastructure.
11. Providing recycling options for solid waste and trash generated within the park.
12. Initiating restoration efforts as a means for enhancing species’ ability to cope with stresses and adapt to climatic and environmental changes. Through restoration of natural areas, we can lessen climate change impacts on species and their habitats. These efforts will help preserve biodiversity, natural resources, and recreational opportunities.
13. Restoring and conserving connectivity within habitats, protecting and enhancing instream flows for fish, and maintaining and developing access corridors to climate change refugia. Restoring natural hydrologic functions of coastal wetlands to help protect coastal areas against hurricanes and flooding.
14. Posting climate change information in easily accessible locations such as on bulletin boards and websites.
15. Training park employees and partners on the effects of climate change on resources.
16. Incorporating climate change research and information into interpretive products and making staff available to help visitors make the connection between reducing greenhouse gas emissions and resource stewardship.