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SWALLOW’S NEST

Perched perfectly on the edge of the Aurora Cliff, overlooking the Black Sea, the Swallow’s Nest has appeared several times in Soviet films.Visitors can only go near the castle’s vicinity; visitors have been denied entry to the castle for more than four decades now after an earthquake left a crack on the Aurora Cliff.

Although this postcard came from Russia, Crimea is currently a disputed territory between Russia and Ukraine – which reminds me of an ongoing maritime dispute between China and the Philippines.

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Here is a postcard from Frisco, Texas. It has a matching stamp which reminds me of the recently held Earth Hour.

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If I made this post last week, right before the Earth Hour, that would’ve been on-point. Unfortunately, the Earth Hour wasn’t given much importance in the Philippines and I can tell that by how it was advertised. I DIDN’T KNOW IT WAS SCHEDULED ON THE 28TH OF MARCH. I know there’s an annual event called the “Earth Hour”, but I never came across any advertisement for this year’s. Not even a post on my timeline on the day itself made me aware of what was happening. I haven’t talked to someone who observed the Earth Hour. But deep in my heart I wish it was successful even without my cooperation.

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STUDIO GHIBLI’S SPIRITED AWAY

(Traveled from February 7 to February 28)

My second Studio Ghibli postcard came from Chang of Huanggong, China. Released in 2001 and written, drawn, and directed by Studio Ghibli’s then director Hayao Miyazaki (hailed by the New Yorker as the “auteur of anime”, Spirited Away was easily Japan’s highest grossing movie at the time, overtaking the Titanic, and went as far as winning an Academy Award. Disney was so impressed, they bought the distribution rights of the animated film, but on the condition that they would not cut or alter any part of it. The first screening was also held at the Pixar Studio in California. I cannot advertise this film enough, and neither could the Disney team. 🙂

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HRAD KOKORIN

(Traveled from January 18 to February 16)

After a break from blogging caused by misplaced priorities, I am eager to write about one of my favorite topics: castles! I hope you are eager to read too. 😉  The Kokorin Castle is a small Czech castle (as you can see) in the middle of a forest. Unlike the elegant castles I have featured on this blog, the Kokorin Castle is an abandoned fortress which has lost its beauty through the years. Before you blame the Czech government for its “abandonment” of such a historical architecture, here’s an excerpt from the Czech Tourism Website:


After the Thirty Years’ War the Austrian Emperor Ferdinand included the desolate medieval residence in “the cursed castles”, which were forbidden to be repaired.


Why it has been declared ‘cursed’ – I will leave that assignment to you.

The Kokorin Castle may be lacking in grandiose, but I believe it is still worth visiting. A little hike through the woods will lead you to a castle that is easy to capture whole due to its size. It might help to know that there are stairs leading to the castle. And did I mention that it is a few hours drive from Prague? Not bad if you are up for a side trip huh.

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Gasing, or top spinning, is a popular traditional game in Indonesia. It is also a traditional game in the Philippines. In the Philippines, we call this ‘trumpo’, and is usually made by local craftsmen. The common gasing or trumpo is made of wood, seashells, hard fruit,  and iron, and is spung with a string or a thin rope. To be able to play gasing/trumpo, one must know how to make a good throw.

The ‘trumpo’ has declined in popularity in the Philippines. The emergence of the Beyblade and with the shift to digital citizenship(? )may have contributed to its decline. When the Beyblade came to rise, almost every kid in the Philippines owned a Beyblade.  I had a wooden ‘trumpo’ and two Beyblades (one large and one small) back in primary school too. Now, even the Beyblade fever has been completely wiped out, but it seems that the iPads and gizmos are here to stay.

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(Traveled from January 4 to February 17)

A simple potato pancake may consist of potato, flour, egg, and chopped onions. Mix all the ingredients together – and you’ve got yourself a sumptuous appetizer! You know what the best part is? You can prepare this in approximately 10 minutes! Okay, I don’t cook. But when I was 14, I learned how to make croquettes by observing my aunt who introduced this food to our family. (Potato Pancakes and Croquettes are one and the same, right?). I was too shy to ask her about the ingredients. But when I got home, I looked for the recipe on the Internet. I didn’t put onions though, ’cause I hate them. Instead,  I put a good amount of pepper, cheese, and bacon, sometimes ham, to add flavors. You can top it with sour and cream or catsup to make it even tastier. It tastes like hashbrown actually – but better!


I received this postcard from an anonymous sender from Belarus. 😦 I hope to still discover the sender so I can thank her/him for this gastronomic postcard.

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CHRISTMAS (THE SHEPHERDS)

Reproduced from a stamp designed by Fritz Wegner 

November and December 2014 had been my most active months on the Postcrossing Facebook page, and this postcard from Wales made the cut! It arrived a bit late because it was missent to Thailand.  But with snail mail, you can expect mail to take months before it reaches its destination. You know what people say: Better late than never!