When I said there were a ton of places to get a good view of Barcelona, I wasn’t kidding. Tibidabo was one of those places, and most definitely the one with the highest viewpoint. This is, after all, the tallest mountain in the area.

At the top of the mountain is the Sagrat Cor Church next to the 100 plus year old Tibidabo Amusement Park (Europe’s third-oldest). Most of the rides in the park were still original. It was closed for the most part, unfortunately. But still, we got to climb to the very top of the Sagrat Cor church.

So funny story… transportation to the top was kind of a hit or miss. You’d have to take the metro, then a tram and then a bus to get there. The first time we got there, it was a little late, but I wanted to get a nice night shot of Barcelona. Unfortunately, it was so late that by the time I finished, the church had already closed.

So what do we do? We head back there on our last day in Barcelona. We had left over time, so why not?

And let me tell you, that peak point right by that statue of Jesus at the very top? Extremely windy! But so worth it!

So this was our last stop in Barcelona. It was a fitting place as we got to see the best view of the city that I came to love with the most gorgeous sunset.

No, this isn’t my last of my Barcelona shots. I got more. So ha!

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Inside Sagrada Famila

The inside of Sagrada Familia is all Gaudí and no other artist or architect.

Nature and religion are the two biggest influence of his work and you can see it here in the surroundings. The colorful lights are all natural lighting from the stain glass. The pillars were all inspired by trees, branching out to the ceiling.  It’s quite spectacular. Seeing this place had always been a dream of mine. I even got to climb up to the towers (they got elevators, so ha).

Now I can’t say I know much about Gaudí. I know he was somewhat of an introvert. He always kept to himself to the point where people often mistook him for a blunt, arrogant and anti-social man,  but his closest friends described him as faithful, friendly and kind. It kind of paints a picture of some people I know. He once portrayed himself as a new-moneyish type of guy where he tried to show off how well off he was during his early successes, but later lived a more humble, frugal lifestyle in his later years to his death. Humility was something he lived by. He intended for Sagrada Familia to reach nearly the heights of the Montjuïc mountains, the highest point of Barcelona, only to be short by one meter because he believed that nothing man-made should ever be higher than God’s work. When La Sagrada Familia is completed, it will have 18 towers. 12 of the towers will represent the apostles, four of them will represent the evangelists, one will be designated for the Virgin Mary, and of course the last one, the highest one in the middle, will represent Jesus Christ. However, right now there are only eight towers.

Gaudí passed away in 1926, a few days after being struck by a tram. Because of his humble, meager appearance, no one recognized him as the architect behind the most renowned structure in Barcelona. He is now buried in the crypt of Sagrada Familia.

There is more I would like to say about Gaudí as he is the most central figure in Barcelona, but hey, his works are all over Barcelona and I’ve got three more posts about it. But as I’ve said before, this is his most signature work so yeah… look at it!

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Sagrada Familia

So this is the structure that started my fascination with gothic architecture. It’s not quite the traditional kind. It is, after all, fairly new, following along the lines of Catalan modernism, but definitely heavy with gothic influence.

As I mentioned before, I was first introduced to Sagrada Família from an architecture book I came across while working at the campus library during my college years. It was one of those photographs where I had to do a double take. At first quick glance, it was just another one of those typical cathedrals, until I started noticing all the unusual details about it. There was definitely nothing traditional about it. On one side, it was ornate and over-the-top, the other was sharp and simple. I was intrigued.

From what I’ve read back then, Sagrada Família is the largest unfinished church in the world. Construction started in 1882 and is still ongoing. There are three planned facades based on the life of Christ (or the three original mysteries, if you’re Catholic), two of which are already constructed. One is the Nativity and the other is the Passion, both designed by two completely different artists, an architect and a sculptor, separated by two generations.

The original architect, Antoni Gaudí, died from an accident in 1926, just after the crypt, apse and part of the Nativity facade were completed. The sculptor who designed the Passion facade, Josep Maria Subirachs, was a bit more controversial as his sharp, angular designs were a huge contrast to Gaudí’s designs. I’m sure this bothers some people, as it does interferes with the continuity in the designs, but Gaudí had intended the Passion facade to be more on the simpler side. And considering the differences between the two narratives, I thought it was kind of fitting. Opulent and ornate for birth of Christ, sharp and cutting for the crucifixion. Very fitting.

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Near Culloden is the city of Inverness. This was where we stayed at when we visited the areas around Culloden. It’s an old city, very picturesque and pretty. The one-way streets, though, are rather strange and kinda stressful. I don’t know how to describe it. They’re one-way, but used as a two-way, but you have to wait your turn. I don’t know…

Anyway, we took a stroll around the area the day we left and climbed up to the hill where the Inverness Castle stood. The castle is, unfortunately, not open to the public and is actually currently being used as a courthouse.

One thing I noticed, most of the building and houses in Scotland were built with stone walls or tiny-pebbled roughcast, very different from England where most of the houses and buildings were built with bricks. I likes.

Also worth mentioning, the Scots were some of the  friendliest, most helpful and welcoming people I’ve ever came across, very similar to the Irish. Despite the constant gloomy weather, we haven’t came across anyone grumpy or unpleasant. Very refreshing.


Well, that was a downer

People have asked me if I have ever been to Hawaii. I tell them no. Why go to there when I can get that piece of paradise in the motherland?

These photos were taken a year and half ago in Bohol, Philippines, one of the smaller islands in the middle of the archipelago. Some of these I’ve posted before.

These two were taken from Baclayon Church, a 200-300 year old structure with an exterior facade made of corals, built by the Spanish missionaries. The chandeliers were small, simple and aged, but from underneath, they looked spanking new.



This other one was taken from Loboc Church, another 200-300 year old church built by the Spaniards and villages and carved out of coral beds. It stood next to the river where I had watched fireflies gather in clusters like Christmas lights very late at night.


As of last night, these churches are gone. Here’s what’s left of them.

This is the Baclayon Church…


…and this is the Loboc Church.


These two other photos were also taken from Bohol.



These are known as the Chocolate Hills. Every summer, the sun and the heat dries off the green, baking the hills into a deep, dark chocolate brown, hence the name. This location was right next to, if not right on the epicenter of the quake. The viewing hill from where I took this picture was also heavily damaged along with the rest of the hills.

The earthquake was a 7.2 magnitude, nearly as strong as the first and last earthquake I ever felt in the Philippines. Nearly a hundred are dead and counting, which is the worst news of all.

So yeah, it’s a pretty depressing day.

If you would like to donate to the Philippine Red Cross, please do so here.
It’s the least I can do.