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Traveling and experiencing the beautiful and vibrant albeit very varied cultures of the world is one of the most rewarding pursuits of my life. I have been quite blessed to be able to visit some of the most gorgeous places on this planet, man-made and natural. What I found during these journeys is that while we are all so different, at the primal level, we are actually quite homogeneous. One such commonality is that most people worship a higher being, a deity of some sort. For today’s blog, I put together a photo collection of my visit to some of the world’s most sacred grounds.

JAPAN

Japan is probably my favorite Asian destination. Among other things, I love the near perfect east-west harmony of this country. It is enigmatic and fascinating, a land full of oxymoron – the very contradiction within itself is as interesting as the culture and the people. 

[Click on picture for a bigger view]

Kinkakuji temple Japan

Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) Temple, Kyoto, Japan

Golden Pavilion temple Kyoto

Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) Temple, Kyoto, Japan

Byodo-in temple garden Japan

Byodo-in Temple, Japan

Byodo-in temple Japan

Byodo-in Temple, Japan

ITALY

Italy is probably my favorite European destination to date. It’s rivaled only by Spain and Barcelona. I love everything about it: food, fashion, culture, arts and the people. I’ve been fortunate to visit Rome, Amalfi Coast, Capri, Florence, Cinque Terre, Pisa and Tuscany. To complete my Italian bucket list, I just need to visit Lake Como, Venice and Milan.

Il Duomo di Firenze Santa Maria del Fiore Florence Italy

 Il Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore) , Florence, Italy

Piazza della Signora Florence Italy

Piazza della Signora, Florence, Italy

Basilica of Santa Croce Florence Italy

Santa Maria Croce, Florence, Italy

FRANCE

Our first visit to France (Paris) was almost disastrous. My extremely high expectations were met only by a somewhat banal reality. It was like I was set up on a blind date with Brad Pitt but somehow Jack Black showed up. Perhaps it was also the length of time we spent there. I should give it a second try in the future. I’m sure a visit to Provence and Nice will change my initial impression.

Sacre Coeur Paris

Sacre Coeur, Paris, France

 

SPAIN

Visiting Espanya is akin to meeting the mother I always knew I had – a mother I thought we all hate. However, I realized how she is so much like me and I love her. We speak the same language, we love the same food, we have the same warmth, we love the beach and life. Barcelona is one of my favorite cities. She is the very glorified vision of Manila had Philippines remained a province of Spain. Looking at her is like taking a peek at Manila’s golden age. She’s beautiful, full of life, laughter, culture and grace. We are both hopeless romantics and passionate about a lot of things in life. 

La Sagrada Familia Barcelona Spain

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

La sagrada familia interior Barcelona Spain

 La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

Catedral de Barcelona Spain

Catedral de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

ISRAEL

Of all my trips around the world this is one I will never forget for I have been dreaming about this since the day I was conceived. Jerusalem, if I forget you may my right hand forget what it’s supposed to do.

“Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
The God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic”

Western Wall Hakotel Jerusalem Israel

Western Wall (Hakotel), Jerusalem, Israel

Christian church Mount Olives Jerusalem

 A church on Mount Olives overlooking the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, Israel

Mount of Beatitudes Galilee Israel

Mount of Beatitudes, Galilee, Israel

Russian Orthodox church Mount Olives Jerusalem

 Russian Orthodox church, Mount Olives, Jerusalem

TURKEY

Turkey sits at the crossroads of East and West. Both cultures’ influence on Turkey is visible at every turn. It’s European and Middle Eastern, traditional and modern all at the same time. For this reason and more, I love this country!

Blue Mosque Istanbul Turkey

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sofia Istanbul Turkey

Hagia Sofia, Istanbul, Turkey