Too Early & Too Late for Tel Aviv Pride 2016

I arrived too early and left too early for the party.  Now I’m celebrating too late…

where fun is supposed happen! (in front of the iconic dan hotel)

where fun is supposed happen! (in front of the iconic dan hotel)

was too early for the party...

was too early for the party…

Here’s a bunch of beautiful people who were blessed to feel, see, smell and experience  the fun and excitement of this year’s Pride in the city that I came to love.

Hapi Prayd Tel Abib!

Chronicling a Momentous Holy Mass in Old Jaffa

According to history, Old Jaffa in Tel Aviv was a place that was monopolized by the Canaanites and Philistines.  It was also the ancient town brought to knees by Biblcal King David, ruled by King Solomon and vanquished by the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians and the Phoenicians.  It was the historic site where Alexander the Great stationed his troops.  And it was reconquered by the Jews through the Maccabean rebels and also fell into the hands of the Romans.  Old Jaffa is also where some of the stories in the Holy Bible about Jonah and Apostle Peter took place.

Old Jaffa is also even written about in some Egyptian letters by an ancient pharaoh.  It is also believed to be the place where Andromeda (of the Greek mythology) was chained to a rock by her king father so as to pacify the tantrums of Poseidon.

st peter's church

st peter’s church

amen!

amen!

my sister outside the st peter's church...

my sister outside the st peter’s church…

And in the event I happen to become very famous and significant, let me pronounce and put in writing (so that people would know) that this historic site is where I attended my first Holy Catholic Mass in Israel.  Not in Jerusalem, not in Nazareth neither in Bethlehem.  It is in old, historic and colorful Jaffa!  This I guess would be one notable event that will be recognized in the future!

And for the record, the Holy Mass me and my sister fortuitously attended was celebrated in the Spanish language.  It was a special Mass for some Latin American looking tourists. Too bad I did not intently listened to my profesora in Spanish language subjects during my schooldays, only little could I understand on what the priest was saying.

But since me and my sister knows the dynamics of the Holy Catholic Mass – when to say amen, when to kneel, when to do the sign of the cross, when to pray a specific/standard prayer, when to stand and bow the head, when to respond (our response was in English though), when to say “peace be with you”, etc. – the experience was as divine and as hallowed like attending a Holy Mass which we could totally understand.

No, I don’t have plans of conquering this awesome place but it can now be said that Old Jaffa is now a part of my soon to be famous life.  Or the other way around, that is, I have at least in some strange twist of fate have been part of the historic Old Jaffa.

took a shot while the first reading is on-going...

took a shot while the first reading is on-going…

the massive church was aptly called st peter's church because this is where st peter lived for a while (inside simon the tanner's house) and had a vision/dream which started the christian  catholic religion.  old jaffa is also where st peter raised tabitha from the dead

the massive house of prayer was aptly called st peter’s church because this is where st peter lived for a while (inside simon the tanner’s house) and had a vision/dream which started the christian catholic religion. this house is also where st peter raised tabitha from the dead

up the hill in old jaffa. behind me is the catholic church of st peter.

up the hill in old jaffa. behind me is the catholic church of st peter.

Parang gusto ko tuloy sakupin at ikongker ang baryong ito.

The Rare Remarkability of Old Jaffa

zodiac sign fountain inside old jaffa square

zodiac sign fountain inside old jaffa square

Old Jaffa is a very old port town situated in the south of Tel Aviv.  It is believed that this town was built by the son of Noah (Japheth) after the great flood.  Thus, this town is considered one of the oldest inhabited towns on the planet.

With the more than 3,000 years old history of this town, there is so much to see, hear, feel and smell in Old Jaffa.  This place is actually my most photographed place in my recent trip to Israel with my sister.  That is why this old town would definitely be one place in Israel that I will be back in case I will again be blessed to visit Israel.

Walking through the narrow streets and alleyways of Old Jaffa, it is very evident that the place is now a haven for artists and craftsmen.  The artistry of the people who presently inhabits the place are truly mind-blowing!

With the rich and remarkable history of Old Jaffa, there is indeed so much to write about this ancient place.  Yet, I could not seem to focus on what to say and write about this beautiful town.  I guess I was too mesmerized by the special remarkability, rich exceptionality and the rareness of the magic of Old Jaffa.

this art piece is called "gate of faith"

this art piece is called “gate of faith”

there's so much to see, feel and smell...

there’s so much to see, feel and smell…

super nice!

super nice!

my sister love the colors of this artpiece

my sister love the colors of this artpiece

i love this place!!!

i love this place!!!

mesmerizing!

mesmerized!

Ibang lebel ang historik at kulchural ng baryong ‘to

Craved for Rice & Shopping Mall in Tel Aviv

My being a Far East Asian cracked up and transcended when me and my sister were in Tel Aviv.  First was when both of us were craving for rice, the staple food of Far East Asians.  After a couple of days gobbling over falafels, hummus, schnitzels and loads of bread and pastry varieties, part of my sleep were dreams about munching on a bowl of hot and freshly cooked rice.

These was further amplified when both of us where hankering whether a shopping mall exists in Tel Aviv.  Yeah, the biggest shopping malls on the planet are found in our part of the world!  Thus, a week without going to a shopping mall for Far East Asians like me and my sister makes us intensely loony.

So as to resolve our impending bouts of madness we scrambled on googling the net so as to determine where’s the nearest mall and where rice are most likely sold.  Thanks to the ever reliable google and google map we found Dizengoff Center, the first mall in Israel.  Luckily, this mall was only a couple of minutes walk from our hotel.  In this mall was when our rice-cravings was resolved.  My theory that Filipinos loves or needs shopping malls was validated because in Dizengoff Center did we saw the most number of Filipinos in Israel.

craving for rice, we passed by dizengoff square a few steps away from the dizengoff center

craving for rice, we passed by dizengoff square a few steps away from the dizengoff center

having fun inside a tel aviv bus!

having fun inside a tel aviv bus!

And after a couple of days, me and my sister bravely rode a bus and headed to the most modern and one of the biggest malls in Tel Aviv known as Azrieli Center.  This complex houses three iconic modern towers of Tel Aviv simply known as the Circular, the Square and the Triangular towers.  Circular Tower is the tallest building in Tel Aviv and at its top-most floor is where the breath-taking Azrieli Observatory is located.

a ceiling shot of the mall... now try to find the triangulat, square and circular towers

a ceiling shot at the center of the mall… now try to find the triangular, square and circular towers

spectacular view from the Azrieli Observatory. The Mediterranean Sea at the far end!

spectacular view from the Azrieli Observatory. The majestic Mediterranean Sea at the far end!

beautiful!!!

beautiful!!!

pa-kyut

pa-kyut

jackpot!

jackpot!

2 happy pinoys in tel aviv

2 happy pinoys in tel aviv

I love Azrieli Observatory!!!

Discovering the malls of Tel Aviv by ourselves was one advantage of not booking a tour package for our entire stay and trip to Israel.  Going and planning on our own, enables me and my sister resolve these kinds of insane issues.  I’m pretty sure those expensive yet inflexible tour packages basically offers the more popular Israeli destinations which of course would not include moments inside a mall.  And those who availed those rigid package tours failed to see other dimensions of what Tel Aviv or Israel as a whole got to offer.

Without rice and the absence of a shopping mall experience for the entire trip to Israel could have made me and my sister gone mad and demented at the end of the trip.  Thanks to Dizengoff and Azrieli Centers for keeping the both of us sane.

‘Yun nga lang, walang Tosilog sa mol nila.

A Refreshing Day at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art

hunter's moon 2007 by jim dine

hunter’s moon 2007 by jim dine

 

With the rich and complex history and events that took place that resulted to a worldwide belief, culture and conviction, Israel in itself can be revered as a living or breathing museum.  Every street corner seem to have a history connected either to Islam, Judaism or Christianity.  Every crook, bend or junction seem to have something interesting to tell.

And when I was in Israel, I thought visiting a museum seem no longer noteworthy unlike the way I would usually require myself to visit at least one museum every time I got to go to a foreign country.  The feeling of being in Israel itself was like being in a museum 24/7.

But when I got a good window of a time to go to an actual museum, I was hesitant at first but nevertheless, pursued with my commonly known “cultural day”.  I did visited the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

The vibrant mix of pieces featured in Tel Aviv Art Museum are poles apart from the arts and artifacts seen in the old streets of Israel.  The art pieces were not of a biblical, dogmatic or spiritual in nature.  Instead, featured art were more of an intense personal expression, more of an eclectic retrospect and view and more of a strange emotional articulation.  Its novelty-ness, freshness and innovation are awesomely high!

awesome collection!

awesome collection!

super pop art entitled "shit boy showers" part of the rosenfeld gallery collection

super pop art entitled “shit boy showers” part of the rosenfeld gallery collection

sensory overload!

sensory overload!

refreshing!

refreshing!

cool ink works by justine frank. i want these printed on shirts and wear it!

cool ink works by justine frank. i want these printed on shirts and wear it!

my personal favorite entitled: "construction workers" by moshe matosovsky

my personal favorite entitled: “construction workers” by moshe matosovsky

the hallways of the museum are already a modernism form of art itself

the hallways of the museum are already a modernism form of art itself

the massive entrance hall along with some of the awesome art pieces!

the massive entrance hall along with some of the awesome art pieces!

The modernism are so breath-taking I could not control myself from saying “Wow!”  The visual art pieces were so cool and fresh, I want it printed on shirts and wear it!  Tel Aviv Museum of Art indeed is a remarkable representation of modern Israel.

Kakaiba ka!

Xoho Café: A Funky Treasure in Tel Aviv

One of the many beauties of travelling in a foreign land without a set and pre-arranged tour package is that you got to explore and discover treasures of the city that you visit.

Case in point was the first breakfast me and my sister had here in Tel Aviv.  Armed only with a google map, a dash of courage and heaps of appetite, we walked through the city streets of Tel Aviv to get to Xoho Café, the ranked number one recommended breakfast café in Tel Aviv by Tripadvisor.

Discovering Xoho Café was a bliss.  As soon as we entered the café we were barged with a laid back yet cool and hip ambiance and deco. And from the funky interiors itself, it looks like the owner is someone who is so young, vibrant and creative I stopped wondering why this establishment was ranked number one by Tripadvisor.

thank goodness we arrived early, people were queuing up when we left the cafe

thank goodness we arrived early, people were queuing up when we left the cafe

nice...

nice…

lata!

lata!

funky toilet

a collage of the super funky toilet

My beautiful first impression of Xoho Café was even substantiated by the divine dishes that me and my sister ordered.  When I asked the young server what to recommend, she simply stated that the Juanito Burrito was something not to miss in their café.  My sister on the other hand settled for the delectable Sunny Side Up served with a bunch of toast, labaneh, olive oil and zaatar.  The food was fantastic!

heavenly, juanito burrito!

heavenly, juanito burrito!

yum!

yum!

xoho cafe experience!

xoho cafe experience!

Upon stepping out of Xoho Café with the smile on my face, I can simply say that this café is a perfect combination of good food and funky design.  Thank goodness to Tripadvisor, google map and our heaps of appetite, we discovered a treasure called Xoho Café.

Mapapa-shalom ka sa sarap!

Bound for Israel: A Rare Airport Security Experience

snoozing inside el al air

snoozing inside el al air

Prior to leaving Manila (with a connecting flight in Hongkong) for an exciting adventure, I have been told by few friends on how stringent the security is prior to entering the Holy Land of Israel.  I was told that prior to being allowed entry inside the state, questions asked at the immigration could be very stern, firm and exacting.  Thus, prior to leaving my apartment in Manila, I internalize and assumed the thoughts of a beauty pageant contestant.  Armed with a smile like that of a docile idiot, I guess talking about hope, happiness and world peace would be the best answers for the Israeli immigration officer to allow me in.

But what surprised me about the exceptional and unique airport experience I had on travelling to Israel was the time when I and my sister (whom I am travelling with) needs to get our El Al (Israeli Airlines) boarding pass at the Hongkong Airport.

All passengers of the El AI flight were gathered and escorted to W1 desk where the boarding pass will be issued.  But prior to the issuance, I then have encountered the rarest airport experience I had.  All of us passengers would first have to line-up so that we would have to be interrogated one-by-one by an Israeli airport security (I suppose).  The questions were so plenty, we have not even landed to Israel!

inside ben guiron airport towards immigration for another round of interrogation

inside ben guiron airport towards immigration for another round of interrogation

shalom!

shalom!

Tons of questions were thrown at me and my sister – how are we related, who packed our luggage, when did we packed it, do we know someone in Israel, what are we gonna do in Israel, if we live together in one house, is the lock of our luggage is key operated or of a number combination, are the luggage keys complicated or plain and simple, etc.  It was so plenty, I never had the chance to incorporate hope, happiness and world peace in my answers.

To add more rarity to the experience, we were then ordered to show then surrender our luggage keys to the solicitous interrogating officer.  He gently explained that our luggage would have to be opened and rigorously inspected (because someone in transit might have planted a bomb inside) before it be towed inside the plane.  Thinking of rather being safe than sorry, we of course issued our respective keys and were told to claim the same at the gate prior to boarding. We were then pointed to proceed to the W1 desk for the issuance of our respective boarding passes.

The only usual thing I experienced inside Hongkong airport was the grumpy face and cantankerous attitude of the Hongkonese issuing our boarding pass.  While asking this Hongkongnese to make sure that I and my sister be seated together preferably at the aisle, I was actually thinking of rather answering the countless questions of the calm and mild Israeli security than that of talking to the rude and impolite Hongkonese airport staff.

thanks to my japan and new york exposure, riding the tel aviv train was a piece of cake

thanks to my japan and new york exposure, riding the tel aviv train was a piece of cake

safe & secured... on our way to our hotel

safe & secured… on our way to our hotel

When we arrived in Ben Guiron Airport in Tel Aviv, we again were barraged with multiple questions at the immigration desk before we were allowed inside Israel.  I was actually not irritated nor upset.  I in fact appreciated the rigorous (yet smooth) security measures that the Israeli Security carries out.  Knowing how crazy the world – the universe rather – that we live in right now, these safety efforts and security measures would really be something worth appreciating.

Gusto ko pa naman sabihin yung… “byuti wid a hart” Hahaha!