Saturday, July 30, 2011


One of the highlights of my trip to the States this year was visiting the RONALD REAGAN Presidential Library and Museum at Simi Valley, California. There was so much to see and capture on my camera that I decided to make 2 blogs on the Reagan Presidential Library.... Come and join me as I wander around this 100 acre site which also houses the Air Force One ( the presidential plane ) and final resting place of President Reagan.

This library is one of California's most beautiful and unique destinations. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library is about 50 minutes away from downtown Los Angeles --- perched on a mountaintop with fantastic views of the surrounding mountains, Simi Valley and the Pacific Ocean. I would advise you to allot at least 3 -  4 hours just walking around the whole place. The museum is opened daily from 10am till 5pm. There is an entrance fee  ( $ 12 - for visitors , $ 9 - for senior residents and FREE for all children below 10 years old ) you pay before entering the library. Guides will greet you at the reception desk to show you where to start your tour around the Library and where you can rent an audio phone to help you as you go on your tour. There are 18 galleries that pay tribute to Reagan. You can act in a movie with Reagan, deliver his inaugural address with a teleprompter ( this is fun), set the table for a state dinner, learn about Reagan's economic policies in interactive games, read his handwritten diary, ride a horse alongside Reagan at Rancho del Cielo, and much, much more. There is also a full-scale Oval Office replica of when Reagan was president and a 9 1/2 foot section of the Berlin Wall on display in the  garden.

Before entering the Main Hall --- you will be greeted by a life size statue of Reagan.. and a big photo which Reagan used as his official photo during his presidency.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

RED ROCK CANYON - A Rock Climber's Dream

For anyone who appreciates natural beauty and being one with nature, I strongly recommend that you visit Red Rock Canyon. It is approximately 30 minutes away from the Las Vegas Strip. Red Rock Canyon or "Red Rock " as it is known to the locals, got its name from the 3,000-foot high red colored sandstone formation embedded in the mountains of the Mojave Desert.

The view from any part of the park is breathtaking!!! If the temperature is extremely hot ( like the day when I together with my friends went to the park )----- climbing, hiking  or biking throughout the park is not recommended. Another way to get around this park is to take the 13 mile paved loop around the whole  area...  there is a small entrance fee ( $7.00/car ) at the gate. This scenic 13 mile loop goes only ONE WAY -- so I would advise you -- when you reach the view points along the way -- make sure you take all the pictures right away....

After you pass the entrance gate of the park--- you will have to drive up to the Visitor's Center where you will be provided with information on the area history, geology, flora and fauna of the Red Rock Canyon. Here you can pick up a map of the park with detailed hiking routes ( beginner, intermediate and advanced levels ). The ratings are based on the ability of a person who hikes frequently. Your ability may also be affected by the weather, the condition and steepness of the trail, having enough water and your physical condition on the day of your hike.  In case you are interested in climbing at Red Rock you will have to get a permit ( at least 7 days in advance to advise them of your  climb ). To date, Red Rock Canyon has 19 hiking trails which ranges from Easy --- Moderate --- and Strenuous. There are Rangers at the Visitor's Center who offer guided tours at no charge.

Inside the Visitor's Center you will see the panoramic view of Red Rock Canyon.. No matter how wide your lens are-- you will never be able to capture the whole scenery in your camera. At least I tried... but didn't quite get the whole picture.

There are a lot of things to do in Red Rock Canyon. If you like to hike, take spectacular pictures or learn more about the desert ---- you need to plan to spend more time here. Red Rock Canyon has a lot to offer. Some of its activities are horseback riding, go on a picnic in one of the view points  ( during cooler months ) but the most popular sport is rock climbing.

At one of the view points on the scenic drive --- I even watched a rock climber climb to the very top of the mountain and got down as quickly as he climbed. If you look well at the picture below you will see the climber on his way down from the mountain.

Even if you don't rock climb or hike --- Red Rock Canyon is still a good place to visit especially when you want to get away from the casinos on the Strip and explore. Red Rock is beautiful!!!!! This place has got to be one of the most beautiful natural places I have ever seen. No camera can capture the beauty of Red Rock Canyon... It is definitely a MUST SEE on a trip to Vegas.

The scenery is breathtaking! It was hard for me to believe that this natural wonder existed. I could not stop thinking about the way the mountains were formed...

I would say this visit will stay with me always. The most simple pleasures in life are the BEST... " Don't Miss This !! ".... Red Rock Canyon is for those who love nature and need a break..This is a trip everyone should make!


13-mile Scenic Drive
Red Rock Overlook on State Route 159

operating hours:  6:00am - 7:00pm ( March to October )
                           6:00am - 5:00pm ( November to February )

Friday, July 22, 2011

The COSMOPOLITAN a must see in Las Vegas

I heard so much about the COSMOPOLITAN--- which opened its doors to the public only this year... --It is the newest and most modern casino/resort hotel on the strip in Las Vegas. People who have gone to the COSMOPOLITAN are talking about the huge pink chandeliers ( which is definitely a must see )  when you visit the place. I made plans with Ernie and Lulu to go to the much talked about COSMOPOLITAN and have our little tour around this new establishment when we went to Las Vegas.

Before even entering the resort, we were blown away with the parking garage. Yes, I said parking garage! Each floor had there own murals done by professional artists. These are perfect for paparazzi shots with friends. Aside from that, which I find unique is the censored parking lights. Each stall has its own censor above showing either a red or green light. Red meaning: occupied, taken or unavailable. Green meaning: open, open... hurry its open! Pure brilliance. It was very convenient not having to drive repeatedly in every row stalking people for their parking spots. Just look for a green light and thats it.

The Cosmopolitan is amazing from the outside and the inside. Outside it looks like a small thin building and as we entered the parking structure huge silver letters spelling out COSMOPITAN greeted us... I immediately knew I would like this place. There were a million LED lights that lit up the basement parking.... it was simply amazing!!..

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My BORACAY Getaway 2011 What to do in Boracay

When you visit Boracay, you might want to try not limiting yourself to lounging on the beach the whole day. In Boracay it is not hard to find something to do. Some of the most popular water sports are parasailing, fishflying, paraw sailing, banana boat riding and jet skiing. It is easy to arrange for such activities as there are many island activity organizers on white beach who can help you.

Here are my favorite activities when I am in Boracay....


A tour around the island is 1500 pesos... The itinerary includes snorkeling at Crocodile island where you can explore marine life through clear blue waters, buffet lunch ( which you have to pay ), visit the crystal cave, bat cave and puka beach. We went from one end of the island to the other end.. The boat's captain showed us different resorts on the beach. There is an entrance fee of 200 pesos for the Environmental fee. If you do not have snorkels and a mask --- the boat man can provide you one at a minimum price. The island hopping tour lasts 4 to 5 hours... It is best to take this activity in the morning when the sun is not too hot. The island hopping tours starts at 9:00am.

He pointed out the private beach resort of champion boxer Manny Paquiao, West Cove which looked like it was carved out of the island.  The resort looked like a Gaudi - inspired architecture... I wanted to go and see the resort and possibly try and take some photos.... so the next day-- Iggy, Cris, Una and I tried to go Manny Pacquaio's West Cove--- we took a tricycle to Diniwid Beach and since the tide was high that day we had to walk pass over slippery rocks up to Nami Beach Resort... Since we had a small kid in tow--- we could not proceed to climb more rocks, enter a cave which has a stairway up to the resort. We turned back.

I was able to get a map showing where the West Cove is located... I could not understand why West Cove is not accessible by road. There are no roads leading to the resort....... ( please look at the map above )...  From where you get off your tricycle it is at least a 300 meter walk to the resort... I found West Cove not walk-in friendly especially if you have a 2 year old kid with you........You will have to go by boat to the resort if you want to go there. A few days ago, the " REAL OWNER " of West Cove, Cris Aquino, came out on television claiming that he OWNS the WEST COVE and not Manny Pacquiao. According to Aquino on national television, Manny Pacquiao and his brood stays there every time they go to Boracay for a R & R...

We stopped at a spot to go snorkeling. The boatman knew exactly where to stop. The spot was marked by buoys ( made of empty plastic water bottles ). I found out from the boatman --- that they are not allowed to drop their anchor for fear of their ruining the corals.

The water was so clear that you can literally see the fishes come up to feed on pieces of bread tossed by sightseers. .

While Iggy went snorkeling ... I saw a coconut vendor on his little banca selling coconuts--- this is another attraction to see . We hailed him to come over and bought his ware... 3 coconuts costs 100 pesos.
I watched him split the coconut husks. It was a very hot day and we were all thirsty.... drinking fresh coconut juice was indeed a welcome treat.

Catching the sunset on a PARAW

Paraw sailing is one of the most popular sports in Boracay. Paraws sail out in the afternoon taking people out in the ocean to view the majestic sunset. The best time to get on a paraw is between 4:30pm to 5:30pm. Paraw sailing while the sun is setting in Boracay is one of the things you should put in your bucket list.

The paraw owners usually rig the outriggers with netting, on which the passengers can lounge on. While riding the paraw-- it is best to bring a cooler and enjoy a glass of wine while cruising.

As you breeze through the waves and the wind... you will experience serenity to the fullest. It is the best way to end the day and enjoy the setting sun in Boracay. The price of the paraw ride is 800 pesos for an hour.

Boracay will always be in my mind. It is true that it has beautiful beaches and amazing weather... but what made this experience truly special was the people I spent my vacation with.

Thank you to my son,  Iggy, Cris and Una for making this vacation the best vacation ever....