Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wanderlust Series : South Korea Day 1

And so my visa was approved to visit the Land of the Morning Calm, South Korea.

I packed lightly, without even thinking about the current weather in South Korea, it's November 23 and winter is about to begin. Knowing that the current one degrees Celsius or less coldness cannot even make me killed,  with less than 2 thick jackets, I went to the airport at 10:00 PM with much excitement for this will be my first time to ever come to South Korea. 

Flight OZ710 of Asian Airlines, part of Star Alliance took me from Cebu to Incheon. Since I'm a planespotter, being on anything that flies excites me. Being in foreign airports excites me even more.

onboard flight OZ710 RPVM to ICN

I arrived at Incheon at around 7:00AM and the coldness of the atmosphere could be felt after opening the Exit gates. It was a bit dark when I first land in South Korean soil and the coldness woke up my soul with no sleep. My destination was Pyeongtaek-si, a city of Gyeonggi Province located in the southwestern part of the province. My mission : business trip to our HQ.  Boarded in Airport Limousine, from Incheon to Pyeongtaek took nearly two hours via  the Incheon Grand Bridge. Oh, did  I mentioned that the sun was rising by the time we were travelling? Oh yes, on my first day in South Korea, the universe conspired to let me see the sun on a different side of the world, it allowed me to witness why this country is called The Land of The Morning Calm. 

The mighty sun did a grand welcome for me on my first day at South Korea

Sunday, November 17, 2013

It was a Dream come true : meeting the An-225 Mriya

So I was plane-spotting again. This time, with one aircraft in mind : Antonov An-225. 

I'm a new member of  a  group called PPSG - Philippine Plane Spotters Group and I was a bit amazed that I found a herd of spotters who are so fascinated with planes, different kinds of aircraft, airports and anything about aviation. Members are not just spotters but pilots, flight attendants, air traffic controllers, ground crews, aspiring students, even an airport general manager and people like me who simply love anything  that flies. Some spotters have been searching and patiently monitoring rare flights and aircrafts in their respective areas. Some members especially the young ones are into flight simulators, some are building their own prototype airports, some are sharing  aviation news that might be useful to the group and others are sharing their spotted planes elsewhere. 

And when the group discussed about the Mriya rumored to land first time ever on Philippine soil and dig this --- it was scheduled to land in Cebu,  I wasted no time. I had to capture her. 

November 12,2013 was just an awesome day for me. Her ETA as earlier discussed was around 6:30 to 7:00 AM, I decided not to go the office for 3 hours that morning. Asgard, the spot  Mark, Gerald (fellow spotter we met a few days ago spotting Emirates 4858, a B777 aircraft which also landed first time at RPVM), and I named, was my spot to wait. It was raining when I got there and I was lucky that the guys from the Fire Station, which was stationed near Asgard, facing the terminal, took me in for shelter. I waited along with the firemen who then got excited when I told them my purpose of being there. Worry washed over me when it started to rain again and the runway has gone into an incoming zero-visibility state. Then it cleared again; past aircrafts had landed and took-off, those were the longest hours in my life, but I waited. We waited until 9:02AM and she arrived. Boy, was my heart jumped for joy? 

Antonov An-225 Mriya

Paradise Island Beach Resort, Samal Island

And so I was in Davao City again for three days.  

I just realized that I have  been to Davao three times this year --- friend's wedding on January; planned vacation in July which ended on taking care of Mark at a hospital;  this October, Mark's post-birthday treat for me. Davao has been my favorite place to stay, mainly because of the people, climate, food, places to roam around, good and systematic way of governance and of course, wonderful beaches. Mark decided that the family must go to Samal Island that day. 

We came here on a very, very hot day. But who cares? We are bound to have fun here. 

Boats were already stationed at Sasa Wharf which will take you to the resort in roughly 10 to 15 minutes