May Kwento Ako #7 : Torcello

In a not so distant past, a friend who has long been based in Venezia took me around some of the sights most have yet to discover.  Makes it more interesting for me, a budding photographer.

Like a little boy, I followed.  As we rode the vaporetto then walked quite a bit, we got to the place and then, he says this is the Torcello Cathedral.  Also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta or the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta.  Before Venezia’s famous St Mark’s Basilica was built.  He knows my fondness for chapels, churches and basilicas.  Architecture, in general.   The older, the better.

Founded in 639 A.D.   While the original church was smaller, it forms part of what we see today.  I cannot imagine the full history that this Basilica has been a witness to.  A refuge to many.  Throughout the wars, the plagues.

I am glad that people have continued to care for this Cathedral.

May Kwento Ako #6 : Detaxe ?



Why, oh, why do they have to have three DIFFERENT drop boxes for your Value Added Tax/VAT refund ?!!    This process allows a non-EU traveller to get back the VAT on the purchases beyond a certain amount.

Note to self, should I have anything to drop, make sure that I have completely filled up the forms BEFORE leaving for the airport.  And watch the drop boxes.  The yellow VAT refund drop box is tiny compared to its blue and orange brothers.

This applies if you want your detaxe monies credited back to your Credit Card and not want them back in cash.

Also, the new procedure is as follows :

  1. go to the Check-In counter and inform the ground crew that you need to go for “detaxe” after check in, present your passport and follow their instructions
  2. take all your suitcases and handcart with you and proceed to the Customs Office
  3. Customs Officer will study the forms
  4. After detaxe forms have been processed, the Customs Officer will take all your suitcases and continue the check in process
  5. You now have to look for these detaxe dropboxes
  6. MATCH your envelope with the correct detaxe dropbox.


These drop boxes are not next to the Customs Office but “nearby”.


May Kwento Ako #5 : La Porziuncula

In recent years, I have stumbled upon Roman Catholic churches with incredible stories. Upon entry, I immediately saw the sign that photographs are not allowed.  I asked politely and luckily, was granted permission to take these photographs.

Below are photos of La Porziuncula  ( meaning a little portion of land ) or La Porziuncola, a chapel built in the 4th century which was donated to Saint Francis of Assisi sometime in the 13th century.  GGTPE9096

Fast forward, a Pope had this basilica built over this chapel in honor of the good Saint.

La Porziuncula2 (1 of 1)

A sneak peak at the interiors of the Chapel.

Do say a prayer for Saint Francis and for a loved one.

La Porziuncula1 (1 of 1) copy


May Kwento Ako #4 : La Fontana


I walked passed this fountain or fontana many times.  Initially, it intimidated me.  For someone who is Asian living in a third world country, I thought that this was such a waste of precious water. But it looked nice.

After some research and asking around, I gave this a try.  It was cool and tasted refreshing.  And the minerals were definitely there.  Each time I pass one, I refill my water container.  Water in this city, Rome is safe for drinking.  After all, their Emperors built the aqueduct as early as 572 B.C. from 7 springs outside of the metro for all to enjoy, regardless of sex, status and economic rank.  Not more than 80 meters away from each other, there were 1,352 water fountains built for people to fetch, wash or drink.

The Emperors ruled that water is a public resource and not be privatized.

Ingenious engineering, too!

May Kwento Ako #3 : My 1st Indie Film.

One cold morning, in a distant yet mystical land, a beautiful couple wed.  The views were spectacular.  The architecture old but solid.

Noticed lots of “tears of joy” shed.

I was happy for them.  And happy for the opportunity to capture and create my first short film.

May Kwento Ako #2 : Ariccia

One evening, a friend mentioned Ariccia, a commune south of Rome.  Intrigued, I googled this place.  Looked up how to get to this place.  And discovered that this is a favorite place of retreat of Popes.

Meanwhile, the exterior architecture of this Palace seemed spartan.  Void of the usual ornate and colored details that are typical of its communes, towns and cities.  I was intrigued that perhaps, there wasn’t going to much to see.

Inside the Palace was definitely another story.  It turned out to be a really grand place.  Not Parisian grand but still one grand place that has some of the best surprises I have stumbled upon.

May Kwento Ako …. ( I have a story ) #1 : Who wins at a Raffle, right?

I have long wanted to create my own except that I had mixed feelings about it. Torn between being shy, lazy and busy.  A friend has and she’s quite good at it.

But last July, I won my first grand raffle prizes!  I won three!  And this paved the way for the contents of this blog.  Now, on to sharing these blessings through my stories. It is also my journal for when I get old and tired, I will have these stories to go back to.

At the 55th anniversary of the Philippine-Italian Association at the Rigodon Ballroom of the Peninsula Manila, my raffle ticket was selected in a most dramatic way. And it certainly was a night that I will remember for a very long time.

With Juan Torres, the country manager of Etihad Airways in the Philippines and with Jean Lugan and CoraLee Tan, the country representatives of the Fidenza Village Outlets of Fidenza, Italy ( an hour train ride from Milan, about 15 minutes from Parma ).  I will write and post about my visit to this Shopping Outlet.

Below, with the sponsors of my next adventure!post

Below with Señor Juan Torres, Country Manager of the Etihad Airways, Philippines.For more information,

 pia 55 4 (1 of 1)

Below, with Ms Jean Lugan and Ms CoraLee Tan (rightmost), representing the Fidenza Village Outlets in Fidenza, in Northern Italy.  For more information,

Below, with Signor Alessandro Milani, the General Manager of the Philippine-Italian Association ( ) and the beautiful host of the evening’s grand affair.

With my beautiful “Mamita”, as her favorite number 8, Mrs. Nellie U. Bengzon, who coincidentally sits as a member of the Board of the Philippine Italian Association, her daughter and a dear friend, Mrs Lin Bengzon-Liboro and her apo, Miss Paola B Liboro, who is now in Lyon, France pursuing further studies.

pia 55 10 (1 of 1)

Maraming salamat po, Lord and to the Philippine Italian Association. 🙏🏼🍻💐