Posts Tagged With: Animals

Water for Elephants

During my trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand this year, I visited the Phutawan Elephant Camp where i get a close encounter with elephants. When we arrived at the camp, we crossed the hanging bridge to get to the other side of the river where the elephants are taking their afternoon baths in the river.  One elephant caught my attention…splashing water, rolling around and just being playful while taking a bath.  Here are some of the photos I took on that day:


elephant 2

elephant 3

elephant 4

elephant 5

elephant 6

IMG_0163elephant 9elephant 10elephant 11elephant 12elephant 13

Categories: Asia, Thailand | Tags: | Leave a comment

In Memory of Priscilla, the alcoholic Princess of the Paddock pig

One of Australia’s quirkiest pubs is located in Tasmania’s East Coast hinterland. The Pub in a Paddock, as the name suggests, stands alone in the middle of a paddock in the valley of South George River in Pyengana, a beautiful valley just a few kilometers away from the St. Columba Falls. Aside from offering hearty country meals and cold drinks, Pub in a Paddock also provides budget accommodation.


However, aside from its quirky ambiance, the pub is well known for its pig who had downed 76 bottles of beer in one session.


Meet Priscilla, the Princess of the Paddock.


Random tourists coming in and out with beer all day making Priscilla an ‘alcoholic’ pig! Tourists buy stubbies of beer from the bar. The beer is a special blend specifically made for pigs.

pub in the paddock

Tourists can get a chance to hold the stubby while the pig slurped the beer within seconds!


For some, this could be an experience of a lifetime, something to remember but for others, this is something to forget.

Personally, I do feel bad for the pig being penned up all day drinking beer as a big draw-card for tourists. Tour operators (like ours) has made this as one of the stopover tourist destination usually done during lunch time.

Ive read that The Pub in the Paddock was put on the market in 2012 for $838,000 which includes the beer-swilling pig. Sadly though, Priscilla has passed away and was replaced with a new one…..another ‘trained alcoholic’ pig!


Categories: Australia, Oceania, Tasmania | Tags: | 9 Comments

Being In Tune With Nature

On my previous post, In the Midst of Hardship, I described the difficulties I have encountered in the field while on deployment for a humanitarian mission in South Sudan.  Towards the end, I discussed some of my coping mechanisms.  One of these is being in tune with nature.  How do I do that?

Every morning, I am awakened by the sounds of my ‘little’ friends.  Their presence give me a reason to get up.  They actually push me to wake up every morning!    Why? Watch this and LISTEN!

Who would not want to wake up with their charming tweets and chirping sounds?  Their soothing and calming natural sounds help me connect to nature and the world outside.  And when Im out to greet them, they always make me smile with their colorful looks.  Guys, meet my very cute ‘little’ friends!

south sudan birds

Every morning, they come and visit me at the campsite.  I am not familiar with bird species but I have not seen such kind of small little birds in different colors in its natural habitat.  (I only see birds like these in pet shops or inside a cage kept as pets at homes).  They do look like the bee eaters but I am not sure.  Although they have their local names, I prefer calling my ‘little friends’ according to their colors.

Yellows (photos above) are often my morning companions.  They come in groups as early as 5:30 am.  They often stay on top of the trees or shrubs and sometimes join me while I drink my coffee outside my tent.

Blues (birds below) are my companion at work.  I always see them around when I am visiting the communities, usually distracting me when they start flapping their wings and create their unusual tweets.   One time, I was giving a Risk Education session and I saw one on top of a branch making funny posses as if catching my attention.  I couldn’t stop myself from admiring my ‘little’ friend that I had to excuse myself from my participants just so I am able to take a photo of Blue.

south sudan birds

Blacks are my afternoon companions.  I often see these little fellas when I go for walks in the village or to watch the African sunset.

South Sudan Birds

And finally, Reds, my favorite traveling companion.  I see them often in the bushes along the roads.  They distract me from the tough rough roads that I had to endure traveling in far flung villages.  Sadly though, I was not able to take loads of good photos of Reds because of road security issues, we can’t stop regularly just for picture taking.


South Sudan birds

South Sudan offers a variety of Bird life because of the presence of wetlands.  It is one of the things that I love traveling in the field.  However, because of insecurities, cultural considerations and the kind of work that I do, I am not able to practice photography using my DLSR camera. Good thing I brought my compact digital camera with a very good Leica lens.  (There are a lot of places especially in the main towns and cities where taking photos are prohibited.  I was once caught by an undercover National Security personnel while taking photo of the River Nile. I had to delete the photo in front of him while explaining that I was taking photos only to show to my family because of its biblical relevance.  Since then, I am careful of taking photos particularly in the city/town proper!)

Instead, my photographic memories compensate to my lack of photographs.  Indeed, watching my ‘little’ friends in their natural habitat help me take my mind off my hardships. Their relaxing sounds help me fall asleep, unwind or wake up to.  They brighten my day and make my difficult situation a bit more pleasant to live with.


Categories: Africa, South Sudan, Wandering the Road Less Traveled: My Humanitarian Missions | Tags: | 4 Comments

An Early Morning Surprise

I was having coffee in the garden one morning when I saw a unique little creature crawling along an orchid’s stem.
worm 19

I went closer.  I was not sure what it was…a caterpillar perhaps?


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Categories: Asia, Philippines | Tags: | 11 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

One afternoon in Gaborone, I went out with a Serbian friend for a photoshoot trip.  Our first stop was the Gaborone Game Reserve.  We were hoping to find the rhinos.  It was the only ‘big five must see animals’ in Africa that I have not seen yet.  We were told the rhinos often are seen roaming around near the restaurant during winter, so off we went with our camera gears.  When we arrived, we were told that there was no sighting of rhinos around the vicinity since the winter season started.  We were dismayed.  So I went around to explore and take photos of flowers and fishes swimming at a nearby creek. Then I heard movements above me.  I looked up. To my surprise, there were hundreds of yellow birds building nests at the same time at a century old tree.  I called my friend and off we went to our photographic mode, both of us lost in one of nature’s best and most magnificent sights!

My entry for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Up …. I present to you the African weaver birds at work!

bird 1


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Categories: Africa, Botswana, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , | 10 Comments

A Cheetah in the Kalahari Desert


On the way to the northern part of Botswana, my colleague and I passed by Tautona, a private game reserve near Ghanzi to see the wild lions and cheetahs roaming around the 10,000 hectare of game farm.  I was lucky to get close with this Cheetah who was playing with two others.  I taught that they roar like the lions. I was surprised to hear them meow like cats!
Tautona game reserve also has a lodge for visitors who want to stay overnight.  It is situated 700km from Gaborone and 5km from the center of Ghanzi.
Categories: Africa, Botswana | Tags: | 8 Comments

Scottish Highland Cattle


One of the main highlights of my Scottish Highland Tour is seeing Hamish, the highland bull.  Although drenched in rain, I can still see the distinct characteristics of Hamish from other breed of cattle. It was the first time I saw a highland bull in its own homeland in western Scotland.  Highland cattle have double coat of long, thick, flowing hair that protects them from the harshest of environment like rain and snow.  Despite their majestic long sweeping horns, highland cattle are considered to be an even-tempered animal.  They are gentle and easily handled with superior intelligence and calm nature.  They come in various colors.  I also learned that they produce good quality meat with low levels of fat.

Categories: Scotland, United Kingdom | Tags: | 6 Comments

Lost in the Palace of the Lost City


I was admiring the towers of the Palace of the Lost City during a road trip when I saw this dove with an out-stretched wing.  For a while, it was not moving at all.  I thought it was part of the mosaic of the tower. Then, it moved its head. I took a quick photo capturing the bird’s unique position.

The Palace of the Lost City is one of the world’s most extraordinary hotels in the world.  Located in South Africa, the Palace offers 5-star service lavishing its guests with mystical ambiance and true luxury. The Palace is adorned with exquisite mosaics, frescoes, towers with elephant tusk embellishments, hand painted ceilings and expensive artworks. Room rates is from $330 to $1700 per night.



Categories: Africa, South Africa, Sun City | Tags: | 16 Comments

‘Wooden’ Bird on a Branch

I was taking photos of flowers in the garden of Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain when i noticed some movements on a branch of a rose plant.  At first i did not see the bird because its color is almost the same as the branches.  But then it moved again… and so is my subject in focus….

Categories: Granada, Spain | Tags: | 12 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

Donkey 2

Taken by Surprise by a Donkey’s Erection

The first time i saw a donkey with an erection was in Tsabong, Kgalagadi District, Botswana . We were

driving on the main highway when i saw this donkey in the middle of the road with a huge penis. I wasnt

sure what it was at that time. And when we got closer, i shrieked out. My colleague stopped the car

abruptly and we almost skidded down the road. He asked me what was wrong. I said, did u see that?

Is it what i think it was? (enphasizing the size of a penis using both hands) And he said, “You almost

got us killed because of that?” I replied, “but that was huge man…first time to see a donkey’s penis!”

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Categories: Africa, Botswana, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , | 19 Comments

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