Monday, January 28, 2013

Historical Event of the Day

I just got home from work when my mother-in-law gave me a call that I have to watch the news on the television at 7 o'clock in the evening. She said I have to watch it, because it is good for my Dutch integration. I checked my email and I also saw a message from Honnepontjie about the Queen of Orange.

I immediately turned on the TV and set it on Ned 1, the channel which they were going to broadcast the nationwide speech of Queen Beatrix. I set also my videocam to record this great historical event. I love history and it is nice to witness this fantastic event.

Image from  the web

Koningin (Queen) Beatrix announced that she is abdicating the throne for her son. The successor to the throne is her eldest son, Prince Willem Alexander. Not only that, this year is also the 200 years anniversary of the monarchy in the Netherlands. It is a double celebration. The coronation will happen on 30 April, which is known as the Queen's Day.  This day will be one of the greatest historical events I will experience here and I am excited.

It was 123 years ago, since the Netherlands had a king. King Willem III was married to Queen Emma, which is the mother of Queen Wilhemina. King Willem III died early and Queen Wilhemina became a queen on her early age, but Queen Emma, her mother acted as a regent, until she turned 18. Queen Wilhemina handed the crown to her daughter, Queen Juliana. Queen Beatrix became the next queen after her mother. She is now 33 years in the throne.

Soon we will have a king after three generations. Next year we will not have a Queen's Day, but a King's Day. We have to get used to it and it will be celebrated on 27 April.

I only see the Queen and the other members of the Royal Family on TV. I wish I could see them in real, especially the Queen or the next successor, Prince Willem Alexander.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Our Visit to Lucban

Our mother wished to visit the Kamay ni Hesus Shrine in Lucban, Quezon last year. She wanted to offer thanks for her successful recovery. It was precisely a year ago last 18 January.

The first time we visited the Kamay ni Hesus Shrine, it was not yet finished and that was way back 2004. Honnepontjie was also with me that time, when he first visited the Philippines.

Last year, during our vacation, we visited again the shrine and we were surprised, because it has changed a lot. The entrance road and the parking area are already cemented. There are many souvenir shops outside and inside the shrine. The church  and the resurrected Christ atop the hill are finished. The grotto became more beautiful and greener than before. There is a garden, where children can play and where adult visitors can rest and enjoy the lush green surroundings and shrines' peacefulness. Not very far to the garden is a big Noah's Ark, which is used as a retreat house or a place for religious gatherings.

The Kamay ni Hesus is founded by Rev. Fr. Joey Faller, a healing priest and a native of Lucban. The existence of this healing center was made possible by public donations. The shrine welcomes many visitors and devotees everyday. There are also frequently healing masses held in the shrine and many people from different parts of the Philippines come to witness the healing gift of Rev. Fr. Joey Faller.

During our visit, we told our mother that we would not climb up the grotto without her. Our mother just recovered from an operation and she dared not to climb up the hill. She is a brave woman, but she got phobias from what has happened to her. When she was already alright. We tried as much as possible to cast away her fears one by one.

My mother was holding my sister's hand tight. Her hand was sweating because of fear. But slowly step by step, she made it to the top! She conquered the grotto's 292 steps and we could hardly believe it, but we were all happy and proud of her. We asked her how come and she replied, "When I am with all of you, I can do everything. I become braver". It was a touching answer.

Thinking about our visit to the shrine. We fulfilled our mother's wish. I also saw two of the many important virtues we needed in our lives. Faith and Love.

Faith gives us hope and love makes us strong.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Berlin Trip

Last year I promised that I will re-post an entry about our experience in Berlin. I love this trip, because Berlin is rich in history and culture. No wonder why I placed it as one of my most favorite city trips in Europe.

DAY 1. Berlin, here we come!

We took the ICE train early in the morning from Utrecht to Duisburg. Our travel time was about one and a half hours. From Duisberg Hauptbahnhof, we waited about an hour for our connecting train (also ICE) to Berlin. Travel time from Duisburg to Berlin was approximately four hours.

The ICE train belongs to German railway company, Deutsche Bahn. This train connects all the major cities in Germany. It travels at speeds of up to 200 mph, fast though, you will not feel its speed. (It was fun to  watch its changing speed on the digital board hanging inside the train). It has also connecting services to other parts of Europe like Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and of course the Netherlands. 

The view along the railway was calm, colorful and mesmerizing, reasons why we always choose to travel in Autumn season.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Little People

I asked Honnepontjie to have a little walk with me last Wednesday. We always walk to the park, whenever we have time, but last Wednesday I requested him if we could go to the second hand shop nearby our house. We needed another bookshelves and maybe we are lucky to find a steady new-like bookshelves for our work room. Unfortunately, we did not find any bookshelves that we like, instead I found two dolls that I am collecting.

I visited a braderie five years ago.  Braderie is a street market held annually in summer months here in the Netherlands. Local vendors, other traders, craftsmen, and some individuals put up stands on the street to sell goods at a reduced price. The individuals that I am saying, sell used goods like clothes, toys, shoes, antiques, and other stuffs which are still new or still usable. These stands are customarily accompanied with various food stands, live music, people in traditional clothes and nice attractions for kids. Braderie is really fun, because you can buy things cheap and sometimes you can also find rare items for a friendly price. 

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Cube Houses

Kubuswoningen or cube houses in Rotterdam are one of the most interesting modern architectures  I saw here in the Netherlands. The designer of these modern houses is Architect Piet Blom. His design represents a village within the city. Each house symbolizes a tree and many houses together form a forest.

Each house is split into three levels: the first level is the living room and the kitchen, the second level contains the bedroom and the toilet, the third level can be used for other things, like for example it can be transformed into a recreational area or an extra little bedroom for kids.

These 38 cube houses are located on Overblaak Street, just beside the Blaak Subway Station, also nearby the old Rotterdam harbor. This modern architecture attracts many foreign and local tourists every year. Its charisma is very astonishing.

We went inside the complex and I saw different shapes and angles. It was quiet and you will actually not feel that you are in the city. I am really curious how is it to live inside the house. One cube house is open for viewing. It costs 2 euro per person. Unluckily because we were going to be late with our appointment, we did not have a chance to come and look inside.

Do you wish to live in one of these houses? We asked someone who just came inside the open house. It costs  about 200, 000 euro. Pricey for a little house, but this masterpiece is already a monument, it just deserves a worthy price.