Thursday, September 30, 2010

Accidental Tourist

by Gary Orona

Unlike many, I did not come to Hongkong as a tourist.  I came here to work.  So I spend most of the time in the office, working.  But on the days that I am free, I make sure I become a tourist. 


During my "free days" I spend more time walking.  That's because Hongkong is such a small place with so many places and things to see.  And if you are a willing observer, you would really opt to walk so you will not miss a thing.   In one of my walks, I found this huge fountain along Queen's Road.  Huge as it is, I find it magnificent and worth a snap. 

                                                       After one shot, I stopped and looked around. I try to find other interesting things around the area surrounding the fountain. And I found some. The huge fountain is connected to a lower fountain flanked by zinc dolphins spitting waters on the pond.  They looked classical and architectural. These two connecting fountains are complementary to the building that built them, The Grand Millenium Plaza.

Given the fact that I am here because of my job primarily, makes me an accidental tourist.  I like that.


Subject: The Grand Millenium Plaza Fountains
Location: Queen's Road, Central Hongkong



Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Last Leaf

"The fall of a leaf is a whisper to the living." -  A Russian Proverb


Nothing lasts forever. Life is short.
So make the most out of it.
Leave something behind worth remembering.

- gary orona


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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

One of the Few


The girl in the flower shop was kind enough to let me take a few snaps.
This is one of the few.



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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Within These Walls

by Gary Orona

Entrance to the Kowloon Walled City
Since the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the walled city of Kowloon has witnessed many important events in the history of Hongkong.  A military post in the 17th century. The establishing of coastal fort in 1810. The Treaty of Nan Jing in 1842. The Tai Ping Rebellion in 1854. The Convention for Extension of Hongkon Territory in 1898. The Triad in 1950's. It later became an urban settlement that housed people from all walks of life involved in many crimes, until its demolition in 1987.



Now, with the help of Hongkong Antiquities and Monuments Office, The Kowloon Walled City was preserved and is now a garden that speaks not only of nature but Chinese architecture and culture. Each detail has a story to tell.  They need not talk, nor write, nor explain anything to you.  You only need to look and see. And by simply looking, enjoy every moment, every detail and feel the story of what transpired within these walls.


   
Kowloon Walled City
Kowloon, Hongkong

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Pocket Garden

by Gary Orona

Main entrance to the Hollywood Road Park

Just walking along Hollywood Road, I chanced upon this "pocket" garden called Hollywood Road Park. 

It is such a small park but whoever thought of building it managed to make it worked.  A lotus pond with kois, a pavilion, a garden.  Nevertheless, a place where one can find a moment of peace and relaxation.                                        



Between the 1960's and 1970's, this place used to be called "poor man's nightclub" .  A popular bazaar market, showcasing old Hongkong style street entertainments where people can find and enjoy the night market, affordable food and watch free entertainment. Well, it used to be.

Hongkong will find a way to green its jungle of skyscrapers. Wherever they can put one.


Location: Central, Hongkong

Friday, September 24, 2010

Children


"If you feel lonely, talk to a child."  - Gary Orona



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Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Wishmaster's House

by Gary Orona
Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin
Right in the heart of Kowloon is a complex housing a temple, halls dedicated to gods, and a garden with a wishing well.  This temple preaches three traditional religions - Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism.




This Temple is dedicated to the famous monk Wong Tai Sin (AD 328) who became a deity in his later life.  In 1915, a sacred portrait of Wong Tai Sin was brought to Hongkong by a Taoist priest, Liang Ren-An. So many petitions and wishes have been granted through prayers to this deity that eventually, a magnificent temple was built in his honor, The Sik Sik Wong Tai Sin Temple.

Many people come to this temple to worship and offer thanksgiving to the deities as well as the gods of their choosing. But most of all, many of them come to ask to grant their wishes - be it good health, fortune, lovelife, or long life.

As the well in the complex's garden says, "every wish can come true".  Wong Tai Sin, the deity, has become the Wishmaster.

So, if you come to Hongkong and visit the Wishmaster's House, be careful what you wish for.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Far and Away


Take me far and away. But not too fast.
I want to see, I want to listen to --- everything.
So when I come back, I will have some stories to tell.
- Gary Orona


Subject:   A Chinese Junkbooat
Location: Star Ferry Pier (Hongkong)

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Closer



"Look closer. What you often see may deceive you. What you don't see may surprise you."
                       - Gary Orona



This is my entry for the Macro Blooms Meme at Depth of Fields... and Words. For more Macro Blooms entries... check out Depth of Fields and Words blog.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Bench

by Gary Orona

How many stories has it heard?
How many lovers have made memories?
How many joyful moments have friends shared?


How many sad souls were comforted?
How many tired back have rested?
How many sleepy hours have it offered?


Bench.
Something you can depend on. When you're alone. Or with someone.
A shelter when it rains. A roof when the sun is piercing hot.
It's like a good friend you can count on.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Walk

I love to walk.  And I take it slow, because I want to enjoy it and I don't want to miss a thing.  I want to see every detail of what I see around me. 
- Gary Orona

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The House With No Nails

by Gary Orona

The gate of Chi Lin Nunnery

Situated  at Diamond Hill in Kowloon,  The Chi Lin Nunnery is an old structure founded in 1934 and rebuilt in 1990 following the style of Tang Dynasty traditional architecture.

A spacious court lined up with beautiful bonsais will lead you through the main gate of the Chi Lin Nunnery.  This entrance opens up to a grander court where a huge lantern welcomes you.  The court is also lined up with potted bonsais.  The Nunnery is flanked by two Lotus ponds.                                              Passing the huge lantern, the grandeur of the nunnery is a feast to the eyes.  It is a masssive structure and each part is magnificently done with perfection. The wood frames of the buildings were built without the use of any iron nails.   This type of construction is based on the traditional Chinese architecture that uses special interlocking systems cut into the wood to hold them in place.The parts are joined together with wooden pegs and dowels and cut with presicion.


Although Chi Lin Nunnery is mainly a Buddhist temple, and as it is, a nunnery, it is open to the public to showcase the fine Chinese art and culture.  It boasts of its serene gardens, ponds and serves as an outdoor museum to present Tang Dynasty's unique and beautiful style of architecture.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Today

by Gary Orona

Today, I was surprised to see a present on my desk this morning.  I did not expect it and I did not even know who sent it to me.  There was only my name on it, and some Chinese characters that I cannot understand. I was so happy to receive such gift, especially that I am not a Chinese and I am the only Filipino in our workplace. It's a box of Mooncakes!


Then I realized it's only a week before the Mid-Autumn Festival.  So I also did what the Chinese do.  I shared the box of mooncakes to my Chinese colleagues.  It was fun to eat the mooncakes together.  For a while, I am able to appreciate another culture that is very Chinese. I did try to find out who sent it to me so I was able to thank the person at least via e-mail.


The Mid-Autumn Festival or Mooncake Festival  is a big event in China and Hongkong.

Chang'e with mooncakes on the moon
It is the time of the year that the Chinese commemorate the legend of Houyi, an immortal, and Chang'e a beautiful young girl, attendant to the Jade Empress.  Because of the envy of other immortals, Houyi was slandered before the Jade Emperor.  That time Houyi is already married to Chang'e. They were subsequently banished from heaven and were forced to live on Earth. Houyi then became a hunter in order to survive and eventually became a skilled and famous archer.

Because of his fame, he was then summoned by the Emperor of China and promised to be rewarded with a pill that could restore his immortality upon completion of task. The Emperor advised Houyi not to swallow the pill immediately but instead to prepare himself by praying and fasting for a year before taking it. So he kept the pill and waited. Unfortunately, his wife Chang'e discovered the pill, swallowed it and immediately found that she could fly.

Mooncake

This legend is the inspiration for the much loved, much enjoyed cake  in Chinese culture,  the Mooncake.  Through the years, it has evolved in many varieties and flavours, and in many beautiful expression of Chinese art on the gift boxes that often present the image of Chang'e flying on the moon with the pill represented by the mooncake. During the Mooncake Festival, Chinese families will gather and eat the mooncakes together while they watch the moon.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to all! Or, shall I say, Happy Mooncake Festival! ?

Look Thru

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
- Buddha




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