Planning to Retire Soon!

If you are planning to retire in the Philippines soon, I suggest you visit several excellent websites on pro's and cons of retiring in the Philippines. However if you want to retire in the provinces, where life is simple, standard of living cheaper, less traffic congestion and pollution, availability of fresh seafood and vegetables compared to the big cities, my island province is the place for you! If this is your first time in my site, welcome. Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news in the right side bar of this blog. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on the infringement of your copyrights. The photo above is the front yard of Chateau Du Mer-Our Retirement Home in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines

Monday, January 31, 2011

Petrified Forrest National Park, Arizona


Petrified Forest National Park is a U.S. national park in Navajo and Apache counties in northeastern Arizona, United States. The park's headquarters are about 26 miles (42 km) east of Holbrook along Interstate 40 (I-40), which parallels a railroad line, the Puerco River, and historic U.S. Route 66, all crossing the park roughly east–west. Named for its large deposits of petrified wood, the park covers about 146 square miles (380 km2), encompassing semi-desert shrub steppe as well as highly eroded and colorful badlands. The site, the northern part of which extends into the Painted Desert, was declared a National Monument in 1906 and a national park in 1962.

About 600,000 people visit the park each year and take part in activities including sightseeing, photography, hiking, and backpacking.

Averaging about 5,400 feet (1,600 m) in elevation, the park has a dry windy climate with temperatures that vary from summer highs of about 100 °F (38 °C) to winter lows well below freezing. More than 400 species of plants, dominated by grasses such as bunchgrass, blue grama, and sacaton, are found in the park. Fauna include larger animals such as pronghorns, coyotes, and bobcats; many smaller animals such as deer mice; snakes; lizards; seven kinds of amphibians, and more than 200 species of birds, some of which are permanent residents and many of which are migratory. About half of the park is designated wilderness.

The Petrified Forest is known for its fossils, especially fallen trees, that lived in the Late Triassic, about 225 million years ago. The sediments containing the fossil logs are part of the widespread and colorful Chinle Formation, from which the Painted Desert gets its name. Beginning about 60 million years ago, the Colorado Plateau, of which the park is part, was pushed upward by tectonic forces and exposed to increased erosion. All of the park's rock layers above the Chinle, except geologically recent ones found in parts of the park, have been removed by wind and water. In addition to petrified logs, fossils found in the park have included Late Triassic ferns, cycads, ginkgoes, and many other plants as well as fauna including giant reptiles called phytosaurs, large amphibians, and early dinosaurs. Paleontologists have been unearthing and studying the park's fossils since the early 20th century.

The park's earliest human inhabitants arrived at least 8,000 years ago. By about 2,000 years ago, they were growing corn in the area and shortly thereafter building pit houses in what would become the park. Later inhabitants built above-ground dwellings called pueblos. Although a changing climate caused the last of the park's pueblos to be abandoned by about 1400 CE, more than 600 archeological sites, including petroglyphs, have been discovered in the park. In the 16th century, Spanish explorers visited the area, and by the mid-19th century a U.S. team had surveyed an east–west route through the park and noted the petrified wood. Later roads and a railway followed similar routes and gave rise to tourism and, before the park was protected, to private removal of the park's fossils. Theft of petrified wood remains a problem in the 21st century.
The Tepees

Note: This is No.21 of a series of articles on national park in the US.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park,Coastal Region-Pacific Coastline
Olympic National Park is located in the U.S. state of Washington, in the Olympic Peninsula. The park can be divided into three basic regions: the Pacific coastline, the Olympic Mountains, and the temperate rainforest. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt originally created Mount Olympus National Monument in 1909 and after Congress voted to authorize a re-designation to National Park status, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the legislation in 1938. In 1976, Olympic National Park became an International Biosphere Reserve, and in 1981 it was designated a World Heritage Site. In 1988, Congress designated 95 percent of the park as the Olympic Wilderness.

Mount Olympus on Winter
The Rain Forests

This is No.20 of a series of articles on national parks in the US.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky


Mammoth Cave National Park is a U.S. National Park in central Kentucky, encompassing portions of Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system known in the world. The official name of the system is the Mammoth-Flint Ridge Cave System for the ridge under which the cave has formed. The park was established as a national park on July 1, 1941. It became a World Heritage Site on October 27, 1981, and an international Biosphere Reserve on September 26, 1990.

The park's 52,835 acres (21,382 ha) are located primarily in Edmonson County, Kentucky, with small areas extending eastward into Hart County and Barren County. It is centered around the Green River, with a tributary, the Nolin River, feeding into the Green just inside the park. With over 390 miles (630 km) of passageways it is by far the world's longest known cave system, being well over twice as long as the second longest cave system, which is South Dakota's Jewel Cave with just over 150 miles (240 km) of known passageways.


This is No. 18 of the series of articles on national park in the US.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lassen Volcanic National Park, California


Lassen Volcanic National Park is a United States National Park in northeastern California. The dominant feature of the park is Lassen Peak; the largest plug dome volcano in the world and the southern-most volcano in the Cascade Range. Lassen Volcanic National Park started as two separate national monuments designated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907: Cinder Cone National Monument and Lassen Peak National Monument.

The source of heat for volcanism in the Lassen area is subduction off the Northern California coast of the Gorda Plate diving below the North American Plate. The area surrounding Lassen Peak is still active with boiling mud pots, stinking fumaroles, and churning hot springs. Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the few areas in the world where all four types of volcano can be found (plug dome, shield, cinder cone, and strato).
The park is accessible via State Routes SR 89 and SR 44. SR 89 passes north-south through the park, beginning at SR 36 to the south and ending at SR 44 to the north. SR 89 passes immediately adjacent the base of Lassen Peak.

There are a total of five vehicle entrances to the park: the north and south entrances of SR 89, and unpaved roads entering at Drakesbad and Juniper Lake in the south, and Butte Lake in the northeast. The Park can also be accessed by trails leading in from Caribou Wilderness to the east, as well as the Pacific Crest Trail, and two smaller trails leading in from Willow Lake and Little Willow Lake to the south.
Mt Shasta as seen from Lassen National Park
A large lodge (the Lassen Chalet) with concession facilities formerly was located near the south-west entrance, but was demolished in 2005. A new, full-service visitor center was constructed in the same location, and opened to the public in 2008. Near the old lodge location was also located Lassen Ski Area, which ceased operation in 1992; all infrastructure has been removed.

This is No.17 of the series of articles on national park in the US.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

King's Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, California


Kings Canyon National Park is a U.S. National Park in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Fresno, California. The park was established in 1940 and covers 462,901 acres (187,329 ha). It incorporated General Grant National Park, established in 1890 to protect the General Grant Grove of Giant Sequoias.The park is north of and contiguous with Sequoia National Park; the two are administered by the National Park Service together.
Kings Canyon had been known to white settlers since the mid-19th century, but it was not until John Muir first visited in 1873 that the canyon began receiving attention. Muir was delighted at the canyon's similarity to Yosemite Valley, as it reinforced his theory regarding the origin of both valleys, which, though competing with Josiah Whitney's then-accepted theory that the spectacular mountain valleys were formed by earthquake action, Muir's theory later proved correct: that both valleys were carved by massive glaciers during the last Ice Age.

Then United States Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes fought to create the Kings Canyon National Park. He hired Ansel Adams to photograph and document this among other parks, in great part leading to the passage of the bill in March 1940. The bill combined the General Grant Grove with the back country beyond Zumwalt Meadow.
Kings Canyon's future was in doubt for nearly fifty years. Some wanted to build a dam at the western end of the valley, while others wanted to preserve it as a park. The debate was settled in 1965, when the valley, along with Tehipite Valley, was added to the park.

Note: This is No. 16 of a series of articles on popular national parks in the US. Macrine and I with the Katague children visited these two parks in the late 1970's.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Joshua Tree National Park, California


Joshua Tree National Park is located in southeastern California. Declared a U.S. National Park in 1994 when the U.S. Congress passed the California Desert Protection Act (Public Law 103-433), it had previously been a U.S.National Monument since 1936. It is named for the Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) forests native to the park. It covers a land area of 789,745 acres (319,598 ha). A large part of the park is designated to wilderness area—some 429,690 acres (173,890 ha). Straddling the San Bernardino County/Riverside County border, the park includes parts of two deserts, each an ecosystem whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation: the higher Mojave Desert and lower Colorado Desert. The Little San Bernardino Mountains run through the southwest edge of the park.




This is No.15 of a series of articles on popular national parks in the US.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park


Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, established in 1916, is a United States National Park located in the U.S. State of Hawaiʻi on the island of Hawaiʻi. It displays the results of hundreds of thousands of years of volcanism, migration, and evolution—processes that thrust a bare land from the sea and clothed it with complex and unique ecosystems and a distinct Ancient Hawaiian culture. Kīlauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the most massive, offer scientists insights on the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and visitors' views of dramatic volcanic landscapes. In recognition of its outstanding natural values, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park has been designated as an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980 and a World Heritage Site in 1987.

The park includes 505.36 square miles (1,308.9 km2) of land. Over half of the park is designated the Hawaii Volcanoes Wilderness area and provides unusual hiking and camping opportunities. The park encompasses diverse environments that range from sea level to the summit of the Earth's most massive volcano, Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet. Climates range from lush tropical rain forests, to the arid and barren Kaʻū Desert. Active eruptive sites include the main caldera of Kīlauea and a more active but remote vent called Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The main entrance to the park is from the Hawaii Belt Road. The Chain of Craters Road, as the name implies, leads past several craters from historic eruptions to the coast. It used to continue to another entrance to the park near the town of Kalapana, but that portion is now covered by a lava flow.

Note: This is No.14 of the series of articles on popular national parks in the US. Macrine and I visited this park in 2007.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming


Grand Teton National Park is a United States National Park located in northwestern Wyoming, south of Yellowstone National Park. The park is named after the Grand Teton, which, at 13,770 feet (4,197 m), is the tallest mountain in the Teton Range.
The origin of the name "Teton" is not definitive. One possible origin is that it was the name given by French trappers in the area. ("Tetons" means breasts in French) Another possible source is that the mountains derive their name from the names of one of tribes in the Sioux Nation. Grand Teton National Park was established on February 26, 1929. The park covers 484 square miles (1,250 km2) of land and water.
There are nearly 200 miles (320 km) of trails for hikers to enjoy in Grand Teton National Park.

The rock units that make up the east face of the Teton Range are around 2500 million years old and made of metamorphosed sandstones, limestones, various shales, and interbeded volcanic deposits. Buried deep under Tertiary volcanic, sedimentary, and glacial deposits in Jackson Hole, these same Precambrian rocks are overlain by Paleozoic and Mesozoic formations that have long since been eroded away from atop the Tetons.

The Paleozoic-aged sediments were deposited in warm shallow seas and resulted in various carbonate rocks along with sandstones and shales. Mesozoic deposition transitioned back and forth from marine to non-marine sediments. In later Mesozoic, the Cretaceous Seaway periodically covered the region and the Sierran Arc to the west provided volcanic sediments.

A mountain-building episode called the Laramide orogeny started to uplift western North America 70 million years ago and eventually formed the Rocky Mountains. This erased the seaway and created fault systems along which highlands rose. Sediment eroded from uplifted areas filled-in subsiding basins such as Jackson Hole while reverse faults created the first part of the Teton Range in the Eocene epoch. Large Eocene-aged volcanic eruptions from the north in the Yellowstone-Absaroka area along with later Pleistocene-aged Yellowstone Caldera eruptions, left thick volcanic deposits in basins.

The Teton Range started to grow along a north-south trending fault system next to Jackson Hole some 9 million years ago in the Miocene epoch. Then starting in the Pliocene, Lake Teewinot periodically filled Jackson Hole and left thick lakebed sediments. The lake was dry by the time a series of glaciations in the Pleistocene epoch saw the introduction of large glaciers in the Teton and surrounding ranges. During the Last Glacial Maximum, these glaciers melded together to become part of the Wisconsin glaciation, which carried away all soil from Jackson Hole and surrounding basins. Later and less severe ice ages created enough locally-deposited material in the form of moraines and till to repair much of this damage. Since then, mass wasting events such as the 1925 Gros Ventre landslide, along with slower forms of erosion, have continued to modify the area. On the floor of the Jackson Hole valley rise several landforms, one of the most conspicuous being Blacktail Butte.



Note: This is No.13 of the series of articles on national parks in the US.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Glacier National Park, Montana


Glacier National Park is located in the U.S. state of Montana, bordering the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. The park encompasses over 1,000,000 acres (4,000 km2) and includes parts of two mountain ranges (sub-ranges of the Rocky Mountains), over 130 named lakes, more than 1,000 different species of plants and hundreds of species of animals. This vast pristine ecosystem is the centerpiece of what has been referred to as the "Crown of the Continent Ecosystem", a region of protected land encompassing 16,000 square miles (41,000 km2).

The region that became Glacier National Park was first inhabited by Native Americans and upon the arrival of European explorers, was dominated by the Blackfeet in the east and the Flathead in the western regions. Soon after the establishment of the park on May 11, 1910, a number of hotels and chalets were constructed by the Great Northern Railway. These historic hotels and chalets are listed as National Historic Landmarks, and a total of 350 locations are on the National Register of Historic Places. By 1932, work was completed on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, later designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, which provided greater accessibility for automobiles into the heart of the park.

The mountains of Glacier National Park began forming 170 million years ago when ancient rocks were forced eastward up and over much younger rock strata. Known as the Lewis Overthrust, these sedimentary rocks are considered to have some of the finest fossilized examples of extremely early life found anywhere on Earth. The current shapes of the Lewis and Livingston mountain ranges and positioning and size of the lakes show the telltale evidence of massive glacial action, which carved U-shaped valleys and left behind moraines which impounded water creating lakes. Of the estimated 150 glaciers which existed in the park in the mid-19th century, only 25 active glaciers remained by 2010. Scientists studying the glaciers in the park have estimated that all the glaciers may disappear by 2030 if the current climate patterns persist.

Glacier National Park has almost all its original endemic plant and animal species. Mammals such as the grizzly and mountain goat as well as less common ones such as the wolverine and lynx are known to inhabit the park. Hundreds of species of birds, more than a dozen fish species and even a few reptile and amphibian species have been documented. The park has numerous ecosystems ranging from prairie to tundra and the easternmost forests of red cedar and hemlock normally found in large numbers closer to the Pacific Ocean. Though larger forest fires are uncommon in the park, in 2003 over 10% of the park was impacted by fires.

Glacier National Park borders Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada—the two parks are known as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, and were designated as the world's first International Peace Park in 1932. Both parks were designated by the United Nations as Biosphere Reserves in 1976, and in 1995 as World Heritage sites.



Note: This is No.12 of a series of articles on popular national park in US
Glacier National Park is located in the U.S. state of Montana, bordering the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. The park encompasses over 1,000,000 acres (4,000 km2) and includes parts of two mountain ranges (sub-ranges of the Rocky Mountains), over 130 named lakes, more than 1,000 different species of plants and hundreds of species of animals. This vast pristine ecosystem is the centerpiece of what has been referred to as the "Crown of the Continent Ecosystem", a region of protected land encompassing 16,000 square miles (41,000 km2).

The region that became Glacier National Park was first inhabited by Native Americans and upon the arrival of European explorers, was dominated by the Blackfeet in the east and the Flathead in the western regions. Soon after the establishment of the park on May 11, 1910, a number of hotels and chalets were constructed by the Great Northern Railway. These historic hotels and chalets are listed as National Historic Landmarks, and a total of 350 locations are on the National Register of Historic Places. By 1932, work was completed on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, later designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, which provided greater accessibility for automobiles into the heart of the park.

The mountains of Glacier National Park began forming 170 million years ago when ancient rocks were forced eastward up and over much younger rock strata. Known as the Lewis Overthrust, these sedimentary rocks are considered to have some of the finest fossilized examples of extremely early life found anywhere on Earth. The current shapes of the Lewis and Livingston mountain ranges and positioning and size of the lakes show the telltale evidence of massive glacial action, which carved U-shaped valleys and left behind moraines which impounded water creating lakes. Of the estimated 150 glaciers which existed in the park in the mid-19th century, only 25 active glaciers remained by 2010. Scientists studying the glaciers in the park have estimated that all the glaciers may disappear by 2030 if the current climate patterns persist.

Glacier National Park has almost all its original endemic plant and animal species. Mammals such as the grizzly and mountain goat as well as less common ones such as the wolverine and lynx are known to inhabit the park. Hundreds of species of birds, more than a dozen fish species and even a few reptile and amphibian species have been documented. The park has numerous ecosystems ranging from prairie to tundra and the easternmost forests of red cedar and hemlock normally found in large numbers closer to the Pacific Ocean. Though larger forest fires are uncommon in the park, in 2003 over 10% of the park was impacted by fires.

Glacier National Park borders Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada—the two parks are known as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, and were designated as the world's first International Peace Park in 1932. Both parks were designated by the United Nations as Biosphere Reserves in 1976, and in 1995 as World Heritage sites.



Note: This is No.12 of a series of articles on popular national park in US

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Video of Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort and Conference Center




Here's a short video of Chateau Du Mer for your viewing pleasure.

Everglades National Park, Florida


Everglades National Park is a national park in the U.S. state of Florida that protects the southern 25 percent of the original Everglades. It is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, and is visited on average by one million people each year. It is the third-largest national park in the lower 48 states after Death Valley and Yellowstone. It has been declared an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance, only one of three locations in the world to appear on all three lists.
Wildlife in the Park
Unlike most U.S. national parks, Everglades National Park was created to protect a fragile ecosystem instead of safeguarding a unique geographic feature. The Everglades are wetlands created by a slow-moving river originating in Lake Okeechobee, fed by the Kissimmee River, and flowing southwest at about .25 miles (0.40 km) per day into Florida Bay. The park protects an interconnected network of marshland and forest ecosystems that are maintained by natural forces. Thirty-six species designated as threatened or protected live in the park, including the Florida panther, the American crocodile, and the West Indian manatee. The park protects the largest U.S. wilderness area east of the Mississippi River, is the most significant breeding ground for tropical wading birds in North America, and contains the largest mangrove ecosystem in the western hemisphere. More than 350 species of birds, 300 species of fresh and saltwater fish, 40 species of mammals, and 50 species of reptiles live within Everglades National Park. All of South Florida's fresh water, which is stored in the Biscayne Aquifer, is recharged in the park.

Although humans have lived in the Everglades for thousands of years, not until 1882 did the region begin to be drained for agricultural or residential use. In the 20th century the natural water flow from Lake Okeechobee was controlled and diverted to the explosive growth of the South Florida metropolitan area. The park was established in 1934 to protect the quickly vanishing Everglades and dedicated in 1947,the same year massive canal-building projects across South Florida began to divert water away from the park. The ecosystems in Everglades National Park have suffered significantly from human activity, and the repair and restoration of the Everglades is a politically charged issue in South Florida.


Note: This is No.11 of the series of articles on popular national parks in US

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Denali National Park, Alaska



Denali National Park and Preserve is located in Interior Alaska and contains Denali (Mount McKinley),the highest mountain in North America. The park and preserve together cover 9,492 mi² (24,585 km²).
The word "Denali" means "the high one" in the native Athabaskan language and refers to the mountain itself. The mountain was named after president William McKinley of Ohio in 1897 by local prospector William A. Dickey, although McKinley had no connection with the region. The name is only used by those outside of Alaska. Charles Alexander Sheldon took an interest in the Dall sheep native to the region, and became concerned that human encroachment might threaten the species. After his 1907-1908 visit, he petitioned the people of Alaska and Congress to create a preserve for the sheep. (His account of the visit was published posthumously as The Wilderness of Denali, ISBN 1-56833-152-5). The park was established as Mount McKinley National Park on February 26, 1917. However, only a portion of Mount McKinley (not even including the summit) was within the original park boundary. The park was designated an international biosphere reserve in 1976. A separate Denali National Monument was proclaimed by Jimmy Carter on December 1, 1978.

Mount McKinley National Park, whose name had been subject to local criticism from the onset, and Denali National Monument were incorporated and established into Denali National Park and Preserve by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, December 2, 1980. At this time the Alaska Board of Geographic Names changed the name of the mountain back to "Denali," even though the U.S. Board of Geographic Names maintains "McKinley". Alaskans tend to use "Denali" and rely on context to distinguish between the park and the mountain. The size of the national park is over 6 million acres (24,500 km²), of which 4,724,735.16 acres (19,120 km²) are federally owned. The national preserve is 1,334,200 acres (543 km²), of which 1,304,132 acres (5,278 km²) are federally owned. On December 2, 1980, a 2,146,580 acre (8,687 km²) Denali Wilderness was established within the park. The national park is located near Denali State Park.

Denali habitat is a mix of forest at the lowest elevations, including deciduous taiga. The preserve is also home to tundra at middle elevations, and glaciers, rock, and snow at the highest elevations. Today, the park hosts more than 400,000 visitors who enjoy wildlife viewing, mountaineering, and backpacking. Wintertime recreation includes dog-sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling where allowed.



Note: This is No.10 of the series of articles on popular national parks in US

Friday, January 7, 2011

2011 Rental Rates of Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort and Conference Center






2011 Rental Rates at Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort and Conference Center

As of this writing Date, the dollar to pesos exchange rate is about 1 to 43.

1) CONFERENCE HALL

Day Rental: P7000 up to 300 persons additional P1000 per 100 above the 300

Night Rental: P8000 up to 300 persons additional P1000 per 100 above the 300

Add P1000 for Garden or Beach Wedding Ceremonies or one Night stay at the Beach House for 1-2 persons


2) BEACH HOUSE

TOP FLOOR: Fans, hot water shower, microwave oven and small refrigerator

1-2 Persons= P 3000 or its Dollars Equivalent
3-4 Persons= P 4000 or its Dollars Equivalent
5-6 Persons= P 5000 or its Dollar Equivalent ( 4 Adults and 2 Children)

BOTTOM FLOOR: Air conditioned, dormitory style with bunk beds, hot shower

6 ADULTS for only P 4000 or its Dollar Equivalent

This room can served as a small meeting room for 30 people ( 30 chairs and 3 round tables.

There is an adjoining 18 square meters Patio with Ocean Views and Two Marble Tables

TO HOLD A RESERVATION: MINIMUM DEPOSIT OF P1000 IS REQUIRED

CONTACT PERSONS: SIONY JAMBALOS –(Boac) 02-332-1754
EDWIN LARIRIT ( AMOINGON)-02- 332-1338
DAVID B KATAGUE (US)-916-961-3365

http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com
e-mail: tagaboac@comcast.net or tagajaro@comcast.net

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC


Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a United States National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site that straddles the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are a division of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. The border between Tennessee and North Carolina runs northeast to southwest through the centerline of the park. It is the most visited national park in the United States. On its route from Maine to Georgia, the Appalachian Trail also passes through the center of the park. The park was chartered by the United States Congress in 1934 and officially dedicated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1940. It encompasses 814 square miles (2,108 km²), making it one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States. The main park entrances are located along U.S. Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Road) at the towns of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Cherokee, North Carolina. It was the first national park whose land and other costs were paid for in part with federal funds; previous parks were funded wholly with state money or private funds.


Note: This is No.2 on a series of articles on national parks in the US!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Selected Photos from the First Beach Wedding Ceremony at Chateau Du Mer













Last December 22, the first beach wedding ceremony was held at Chateau Du Mer. The bride was originally from Marinduque and is an OFW worker from Canada. The groom was originally from Pampanga is an OFW worker from South Korea. The wedding ceremony started at 9AM and ended two hours later. This was followed by a lunch reception at the Conference Hall for around 100 guests. The newly weds are Rick( Richard Servano) and Tin( Catalina Montales).
In preparation for this beach wedding, I had two workers cleaned the beach, raked the beach and placed about 50 chairs under the Talisay trees in front of the beach house. With clear ocean waters and azure blue skies, that day was a perfect day for a wedding ceremony.
Above are some selected photos of this historic event at my beach resort.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona


Grand Canyon National Park is one of the United States' oldest national parks and is located in Arizona. Within the park lies the Grand Canyon, a gorge of the Colorado River, considered to be one of Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The park covers 1,902 mi2 (4927 km2) of unincorporated area in Coconino County and Mohave County.
Most visitors to the park come to the South Rim, arriving on Arizona State Route 64. The Highway enters the park through the South Entrance, near Tusayan, Arizona, and heads eastward, leaving the park through the East Entrance. All park accommodations are operated by the Xanterra corporation. Park headquarters are at Grand Canyon Village, a short distance from the South Entrance, being also the center of the most popular viewpoints. Some thirty miles of the South Rim are accessible by road. A much smaller venue for tourists is found on the North Rim, accessed by Arizona State Route 67. There is no road connection between the two within Arizona except via the Navajo Bridge, near Page, Arizona, entailing a five-hour drive. Otherwise, the two rims of the Canyon are connected via Las Vegas, Nevada, and the Hoover Dam. The rest of the Grand Canyon is extremely rugged and remote, although many places are accessible by pack trail and backcountry roads.

Grand Canyon National Park became a national park in 1919. So famous is this landmark to modern Americans that it seems surprising that it took more than thirty years for it to become a national park. President Theodore Roosevelt visited the rim in 1903 and exclaimed: "The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison--beyond description; absolutely unparalleled throughout the wide world .... Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. Do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity and loveliness. You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is to keep it for your children, your children's children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see".
Despite Roosevelt's enthusiasm and his strong interest in preserving land for public use, the Grand Canyon was not immediately designated as a national park. The first bill to create Grand Canyon National Park had been introduced in 1882 and again in 1883 and 1886 by Senator Benjamin Harrison. As President, Harrison established the Grand Canyon Forest Reserve in 1893. Theodore Roosevelt created the Grand Canyon Game Preserve by proclamation in 1906 and Grand Canyon National Monument in 1908. Senate bills to establish a national park were introduced and defeated in 1910 and 1911; the Grand Canyon National Park Act was finally signed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919. The National Park Service, which had been established in 1916, assumed administration of the park. In 1979, UNESCO declared it as a World Heritage Site.
The Grand Canyon itself, including its extensive system of tributary canyons, is valued for the combination of large size, depth, and the exposed layering of colorful rocks dating back to Precambrian times. It was created through the incision of the Colorado River and its tributaries after the Colorado Plateau was uplifted and the Colorado River system developed along its present path.
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The United States has 58 protected areas known as national parks, which are operated by the National Park Service, an agency of the Department of the Interior. National parks must be established by an act of the United States Congress. The first national park, Yellowstone, was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872,followed by Sequoia and Yosemite in 1890. The Organic Act of 1916 created the National Park Service "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." National parks usually have a variety of natural resources over large areas. Many of them had been previously protected as National Monuments by the President under the Antiquities Act before being upgraded by Congress. Seven national parks are paired with a National Preserve, six of which are in Alaska. While administered together, they are considered as separate units and their areas are not included in the figures below. The newest national park is Great Sand Dunes, established in 2004.

Twenty-seven states have national parks, as do insular areas American Samoa and the United States Virgin Islands. Alaska and California have the most, each with eight, followed by Utah with five and Colorado with four. The largest national park is Wrangell – St. Elias, at over 8,000,000 acres (32,000 km2), followed by three more in Alaska; the smallest is Hot Springs, at less than 6,000 acres (24 km2). The total area protected by national parks is approximately 51,900,000 acres (210,000 km2), for an average of 895,000 acres (3,620 km2) but a median of only 317,000 acres (1,280 km2). The most-visited national park is Great Smoky Mountains, with over nine million visitors in 2008, followed by the Grand Canyon, with over four million. Fourteen national parks are designated World Heritage Sites.

Note: This is No.1 of a series of articles about National Parks in US. In this series, I will be posting highlights on the 29 out of 58 national parks. Macrine and I had visited this park, North Rim in 2008.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico



Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a United States National Park in the Guadalupe Mountains in southeastern New Mexico. The primary attraction of the park for most visitors is the show cave, Carlsbad Caverns. Visitors to the cave can hike in on their own via the natural entrance, or take the elevator (the exit for everyone) directly to the Underground Lunchroom some 750 feet (230 m) below.

The park has two entries on the National Register of Historic Places: The Caverns Historic District and the Rattlesnake Springs Historic District. Approximately two thirds of the park has been set aside as a wilderness area, helping to ensure no future changes will be made to the habitat.

Peak visitation typically occurs on the weekends following Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. The park entrance is located on US Highway 62/180 approximately 18 miles (29 km) southwest of Carlsbad, New Mexico. The park participates in the Junior Ranger Program.

Carlsbad Caverns includes a large cave chamber, the Big Room, a natural limestone chamber which is almost 4,000 feet (about 1,219 m) long, 625 feet (190.5 m) wide, and 350 feet (about 107 m) high at the highest point. It is the third largest chamber in North America and the seventh largest in the world. The largest in the world is the Sarawak Chamber in Malaysia.



Note: This is no.7 of the series of articles on most popular national parks in US.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah


Bryce Canyon National Park (pronounced /ˈbraɪs/) is a national park located in southwestern Utah in the United States. The major feature of the park is Bryce Canyon which, despite its name, is not actually a canyon but a giant natural amphitheater created by erosion along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Bryce is distinctive due to geological structures called hoodoos, formed by wind, water and ice erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views for park visitors. Bryce is at a much higher elevation than nearby Zion National Park. The rim at Bryce varies from 8,000 to 9,000 feet (2,400 to 2,700 m).
The Amphiteatre

The Bryce area was settled by Mormon pioneers in the 1850s and was named after Ebenezer Bryce, who homesteaded in the area in 1874. The area around Bryce Canyon became a U.S. National Monument in 1923 and was designated as a national park in 1928. The park covers 56 square miles (145 km2) and receives relatively few visitors compared to Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon, largely due to its remote location. The town of Kanab, Utah, is situated at a central point between these three parks.

Macrine at Bryce Point, 2009

This is No.6 of a series of articles on popular national parks in US. Macrien and I spent one day at the park in the summer of 2009
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