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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

James Dean Burial Site - Fairmount, Indiana

James Dean

Fairmount, Indiana.  This is no Pere Lachaise in Paris, France where Jim Morrison and Edith Piaf rest.

It is a small town between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne.  Not a destination in itself, but if you are driving in the area, it maybe worthwhile to detour.

Off Route 31 you get the sense of why James Dean escaped to Hollywood.

When you walk into the Fairmount Historical Museum, you will be won over. 

The museum is full of the actual items owned by James Dean.  There are four rooms packed full of James Dean's own clothes, letters, photographs, school reports, motorbikes, toys and other memorabilia donated both by the local community and by his film star friends.

Park Cemetery itself is a big place, far bigger than you'd expect of a town with a population of less than 3,000, so the map they give you at the museum is essential. And there it is: a modest headstone bearing his name and the years 1931-1955. Nothing more. It's no different from the hundreds of other headstones here, just as Fairmount's no different from thousands of other towns in the Midwest.

The 2011 James Dean Festival will take place from Thursday, Sept. 22nd through Sunday, Sept. 25th. The festival's main attractions will be the Annual Museum Days and the Annual James Dean Run.

Museum Days, a four-day long remembrance celebration, will feature live music performed on the Main Street stage; free showings of "East of Eden," "Rebel Without a Cause" and "The Giant;" James Dean look alike contest, dance contests, and a number of other events and activities suitable for children and adults of all ages.

The James Dean Run will take place at Fairmount's Playacres Park and feature car judging, flame throwing contests, music, trivia and much more.

The James Dean Festival is the quintessential festival for fans that wish to honor and celebrate the young actor who personified what it meant to be "cool" - James Byron Dean.

Monday, July 25, 2011



Intramuros Front Gate
My office in 2009 through 2010, was in the port area of Manila, Philippines and right outside of this gate of the old walled city.  Intramuros is the oldest district of the present day city of Manila, the capital of the Republic of the Philippines. Nicknamed the "Walled City", Intramuros is the historic fortified city of Manila during the Spanish Colonial Period. Located then along Manila Bay and south of the mouth of Pasig River, its thick defensive walls were built by the Spaniards in the 16th century to protect the city from invasion. Its name in Spanish, intramuros, literally "within the walls", meaning a city enclosed by thick, high walls and surrounded by moats.

Old City Map

Often, I would go there to conduct business such as work permits and banking.  My fiance, now my wife, suggested we tour Fort Santiago.

Pearl at Fort Santiago Entrance

The fort was the site of several key battles over the years.  Built in 1571 it was destroyed in 1574.
Pearl at the cannon
Me at the cannon

Golden Foot Print of Rizal
1896.  A national hero of the Philippines, Jose Rizal, was held prisoner by the Spanish and executed nearby on December 30, 1896.  Moments before his execution by a squad of Filipino soldiers of the Spanish Army, a backup force of regular Spanish Army troops stood ready to shoot the executioners should they run awry. The Spanish Army Surgeon General requested to take his pulse: it was normal. Aware of this the Sergeant commanding the backup force hushed his men to silence when they began raising "vivas" with the highly partisan crowd of Peninsular and Mestizo Spaniards.  His steps are traced in gold.  It was powerful to see.

Unlikely Soldier
Later, after the Spanish-American War, Intramuros was the headquarters of the US Army.  The US trained Filipino soldiers and we got to try on their uniforms.

Pearl looks serious
In 1941, the Japanese invaded and kept many prisoners in the dungeons of Intramuros.

Pearl in the Dungeon

Pearl in front of Casa Maynila
After touring Fort Santiago, we headed over to Casa Maynila.  It is a reproduction of how people lived in the 1800's Reproduction because, during the Battle of Manila in 1945, every building was destroyed.  Not many pictures on the inside because it was forbidden to take photos.  We would have done it anyway, but the guards haunt you.  I guess they get a bonus if they catch you.

Pearl at the garden of Casa Maynila

I highly recommend the Carlos Celdran tour.  We caught the last bit of this one as we had to go work an overnight shift.   Carlos Celdran is not only knowledgeable but he is hilarious and some of routines make the history come alive.  You can book him here.  Overall, the tour of Intramuros was inexpensive and historical.  We made a lot of our own fun.  We went in January so it was cooler than usual.  But still beware the tropical sun and drink plenty of water.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Philippines Travel Guide - Palawan

Palawan Province

The history of Palawan may be traced back 22,000 years ago. The discovery of bone fragments of the Tabon Man in Quezon, anthropologists believe they came from Borneo. Known as the Cradle of Philippine Civilization, the remains of the ancient man were found along with his tools and a number of artifacts.

SPONSOR:  Princess Diana Dolls

To Do:

Puerto Princesa Underground River

Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines

Underground River on Palawan

A bottomless cave under the rocky marble and limestone sea cliff of Mt. Saint Paul  is also present on the Island, where an 8,000 meters underground river course exists.  It is known as one of the world’s wonders and also considered as the longest underground rivers in the world. The special feature of the park is to ride a boat and go inside the cave with a flashlight exploring the beautiful religious- like images of stalagmite and stalactite, which are all breathtaking views. 



Take the Sabang Beach Adventure Tour.

Overall great place to explore whether you are visiting the Philippines or already live there.