Friday, July 20, 2012


Kalesa in Manila (Rizal Park)
(When this picture was taken, the horse was not forced to carry these passengers.
It was purely for picture taking purposes only, hence, very quick.)
"Kalesa" in Sapporo, Japan (Photo Courtesy of Ricardo Perdigon)

Old Hokkaido Government Building

Welcome to Akarenga! The flyer says.

The Former Hokkaido Government Building, whose red appearance  contrasts beautifully in every season, has gained wide popularity with its nickname akarenga, or "Red Bricks." Completed in 1888, the American neo-baroque-style brick building was designed by engineers of the Hokkaido Government and was constructed with many local building materials.

Photo courtesy of Ricardo C Perdigon
It played a pivotal role in Hokkaido over the 80 years until the new government building was constructed. Measuring 61 m in frontage, 36 m in depth and 33 m in height up to the tower top, akarenga is equivalent in size to a present-day 10-story building.

At that time, it was one of the largest buildings in Japan. The octagonal dome towering on the building was constructed in 1873 according to the plan by Capron, an American advisor to the Development Commission, modeling for the octagonal dome of the Hokkaido Development Commissin Sapporo Main Office, which was burned down six years later.

Photo courtesy of Ricardo C Perdigon
In those days, an architectural style of topping buildings with domes was popular in the U.S.A. as the symbol of independence and enterprising spirit. In 1886, the Hokkaido Government was established and first Governor Michitoshi Iwamura, nostalgic about the octagonal dome, ordered the construction of a dome on top of akarenga when the government building was built.

Although the inside of akarenga was burned by a fire in 1909, the red brick walls luckily sustained little damage. Restoration work was initiated the following year and was completed in 1911.
Photo courtesy of Ricardo C Perdigon
In 1968, it was restored to its original state in commemoration of the centennial anniversary of Hokkaido and its permanent preservation was determined.

Today, there are few western-style architectural structures from the Meiji era as fabulous as akarenga in Japan and it was designated as a National Important Property in 1969.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Odori Park

I wish you were with me in this romantic place, Odori Park.
Oh sweet Japanese corn! TV Tower at the back. 
Free flowing water (left) and maple trees (right).

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Three Cycles

I have been to some parts of the Philippines. Public utility vehicles may have common features - the jeepney, the bus, the van, the FX, the taxi - similar. However, of the different land transportation vehicles that abound the country, the three-cycles come in variety. Different forms and even vary from seating capacity. Just like this one in General Santos. It is like a cute jeepney at the back but is is a tricycle.
Photo courtesy of Ana Santos

Sea of Pineapples

What it takes for a single pineapple out of the fruit stand? Maybe not so much for a wide variety of fruits along the stretch of South Cotabato road network. However, if you will ask how many mouths are being fed by pineapples in this part of Mindanao, it really makes sense.

Photo courtesy of Marichelle Collado

We visited the DOLE plantation in Polomolok, South Cotabato, Philippines. It was like a Pacific Ocean of pineapples.
Photo courtesy of Analisa Santos (with Marichelle Collado on the left)
The pineapple plantation stretches even at the foot of Mount Matutum.
Photo courtesy of Analisa Santos
Giant snakes and ladders

Who would ever expect a community in the middle of the pineapple plantation than a first time visitor like me? Thanks, indeed, to the greatness of the people who brought us here.