Sunday, October 25, 2020

Strolling at the Garden of Dreams


A Garden in the city makes life more balanced and achieve a healthier lifestyle. A breath of fresher air amidst the toxicity.

And with an urban garden in the city center, I was fortunate to have an afternoon stroll in the fully restored Garden of Dreams in Kathmandu, Nepal in August 2013; just 6 years after it was reopened to the public after several decades of closure.

Kathmandu's lifestyle may not be as lavish as compared to big cosmopolitan cities, but it has the best of culture and its people. 

The entire city of Kathmandu is a blend of a  cultural heritage and a modern society due to its preserved structures like monuments and temples and the restoration of public places like the Garden of Dreams and other modern infrastructures.

As I troll inside the walled garden, I was greeted with serenity due to the absence of noise surrounding the bustling city. It was just about 5-minute walking distance from the hotel where I stayed, so I got the chance to visit and unwind.

The walled Urban Garden

What's noticeable about the garden is its European style architecture since it was restored with the help of the Austrian Government. It has features like 6 pavillions which represents the '6 seasons of Nepal' and where the place got its second name, the "Garden of the Six Seasons." 

The garden has a veranda, balustrades, fountains and pergola giving its European vibe. Also, the Ampitheater is where visitors can sit or lay down to have some chat or to read book. Such a relaxing scene.

The Ampitheater

European-inspired pergola

The flowers, shrubs and trees makes it greener and beautiful as it is well maintained by the number of caretakers. It's clean, green and rejuvenating.

I appreciate arts and so, I spent some time at the art gallery and had a conversation with the locals. That was a meaningful encounter as I have learned more about their culture. 

Café by the garden

That was a delightful afternoon stroll at the Garden of Dreams and before leaving, I had a cup of cappuccino as I reflect and plan for my next journey around Kathmandu.

The Garden of Dreams is true to its name. It's really a sophisticated garden of its time, and became more beautiful when it was fully restored. Urban dwellers need a green space for leisure and hopefully more cities will adopt to this kind of garden offering respite to the people from the hustle and bustle of a city life.

The Garden of Dreams. The Garden of the Six Seasons. A garden for the soul.

©️ 2020 Del Cusay

Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Gaddi Tribe of Naddi Village

 

When I stepped foot in Dharamshala, I feel that I'll be having a great vacation with its pleasant vibe. That was a long 12 hours of bus ride from New Delhi, India, and I made it sure that my stay would be worth it; like a vacation of a lifetime.

The emotion is still alive whenever it flashes back the soulful journey I had in the lower Himalayan foothill of Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh. Seven years have passed, but the memories still lives on.

At the bus station in McLeod Ganj, a little rain greeted me as I look for a taxi heading to the hotel in Naddi Village -- the home of the Gaddi Tribe.

That was a cold and shivering early morning check-in at around 7 a.m. and so I unpacked my things, had a little rest, enjoyed a freezing cold shower, had my first breakfast, and get ready for for my first day of tour and adventure in the land of the Tibetans-in-exile in McLeod Ganj.

I spent 4 days of exploring McLeod Ganj and had the opportunity to see and hear from The Dalai Lama when he had a talk in his place in Tsuglagkhang temple.

McLeog Ganj was the the town center, but it was in Naddi Village where I enjoyed the serenity. That was truly a blissful experience.

Just few steps away from the hotel where I stayed is the home of the sweet and gentle Naddi tribe. I've met several Gaddi people including children and adults, learned about their culture, their livelihood and living condition. A little interaction, but a meaningful observation.

A very simple, yet joyful and soulful living in the mountains. The Gaddi people mostly shepherds are taking care of their flocks and doing their morning activities when I met them on a downhill.

Little kids are courteous with their rosy cheeks and smiling faces. For sure they are now grown up to be a refined young lady and gentleman. 


In Naddi View Point which is just nearby the hotel is where I finally had a closer view of the Dhauladhar range. I had never seen such a beautiful and breathtaking mountain. A solemn moment; so peaceful and the snow-capped mountain is just wonderful.

I can't get over of that experience even when I'm back on the hotel. I've been to some of the mountains in the Philippines, but seeing the Dhauladhar range is purely captivating

I was finally at the Middle Homalaya... A dream turned into a reality.


A heaven on earth experience that I'll cherish and reminisce for a lifetime. From then, I made a promise that I'll be back in the future, and that I just hope it will come true.

In the hotel's roof deck restaurant is where I get to have the most beautiful view of the Dhauladhar as I have a breakfast. It's a picturesque view as if heaven is for real. India is truly Home of the Gods and I felt the Divinity of the place. A soulful solitude in a paradise closer to heaven.


I will never forget Dharamshala... A wondrous place in the Indian State of Himachal Pradesh. I will never forget the beautiful and natural scenery, and I will never forget the Naddi people of Naddi Village.

India has a big place in my heart. I have learned a lot about the places and have met soulful and endearing people like the Gaddi of the Naddi Village. When the Kingdom of heaven is on earth, it would have been there in the Dhauladhar, and I've met God in there and live forever here in my heart.

©️ 2020 Del Cusay

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Sweet Smiles of the Negrense

The Negros Island in the Philippines. Home of the sweet smiling people; or we call them Negrense or Negrosanon.

Back in December 2014, after my Journey in the city of Dumaguete in Negros Oriental, I took almost 7 hours of land travel going to the city of Bacolod; the capital city of Negros Occidental. 

From the Eastern to Western Negros, I had a journey after a fulfilled short visit in the "City of Gentle People" in Dumaguete.

No doubt, I was in the land of the 'sweet and charming' people since I was at the sugar center of the Philippines... The Negros Island. 

From Dumaguete to Bacolod, you'll see massive plantation of sugarcane on both sides of the road passing by several cities.

Yes, Negros Occidental is the province of the Philippines with the most number of city, primarily due to its rich sugar industry

The sugar industry is so huge that they supply the entire Philippines and even export it to other countries.

Arriving in Bacolod after a long journey on a bus, I was greeted with a Negrense brand of hospitality; the sweet smile and a pleasant melodious voice.

I'm in Bacolod! The City of Smile and the home of the famous "Maskara Festival."

That was my 5th time to visit Bacolod and I love to keep coming back to one of the highly urbanized city and one of the most livable city in the Philippines.

In Bacolod and the entire Negros, people are living a good life that no matter what challenges they may be going through, still they keep on surviving and never forget to give a smile.

My highlight of visit in Negros Island was a-day tour in "The Ruins" which is an Italian-inspired architectural mansion built in early 1900s and was burned during the world war 2.

Garden by the ruins

A mansion built with love of a wealthy Sugar baron to his Portugese wife. The love story is just as romantic as the heritage of "the ruins." 

Sweet as the Negrense, they really produce sweet products, and most of it is my favorite. The muscovado sugar is the healthiest of its kind and an ingredient in making sweet delicacy like "Piaya and Pinasugbo" which is two of the most popular and a-must try delicacy if you visit Bacolod and Negros Island. 

After the pandemic, I hope to come back and capture the sweet smiles again. When the world is losing its smiles, I believe the Negrense will always give their sweetest smiles to just anyone. During this time, that's all we need -- a sweet smile.

The people of Negros Island is one of the most refined and kind people I've met. Beyond their sweet smiles, they deserve a sweet life. A life full of hope, meaning and inspiration.

©️ 2020 Del Cusay


You May Read:

👉Campus Tour at the Silliman University

👉The Ruins and the Love Story


Sunday, October 4, 2020

Campus Tour at the Silliman University

In the Eastern Negros Island is where you can find the "City of gentle people" and it's the city of Dumaguete in the province of Negros Oriental, Philippines.

Back in December 2014, I've fulfilled my desire to visit Dumaguete and was able to see the first American learning Institution in the Philippines and in Asia -- the Silliman University.

Upon the invitation of the student government organization, I delivered a talk about "Balancing Life Strategies" and "Stress Management" to their officers and select staff.

That was a memorable talk with full attention and the desire to learn by the student leaders. If I had more time, I could have given another talk to some members of the faculty and staff. 

But a day visit at the Silliman University wouldn't be complete without a campus tour. From the entrance to the exit gates, the different departments, historical and iconic buildings, chapel, open grounds and the library. The campus is truly ideal and conducive place for higher learning.

At the Silliman University Library

At the Silliman Hall

I was impressed with the clean the green campus. The tree lined Acacia provides cool shade plus the windy breeze coming from the sea , truly they  have the best campus in town and one of the best in the country.

Siliman University is facing the sea. With just few minute walks, you can stroll at the baywalk along Rizal boulevard. That windy breeze makes a good place for walking along the boulevard. That's the place where I reminisced the time when I was a student in college. Those times when I had full of hope and dreams just like any student would do.

I hope one day to visit Dumaguete again and be able to step foot inside the famous Silliman University. To be able to experience politeness and friendliness of the students and their genuine hospitality.

As I remember, it's on a higher learning when we aspire for growth and have the burning desire to achieve our most cherished hopes and dreams. Those times when we have enough energy and passion for learning.

Those student leaders that I've met may now be achieving excellence in their chosen field. They may now be living their dreams and unleashing their untapped potentials. They may now be 'living their greatest life' and following their ultimate heart's desire.

Learning doesn't end after stepping out of the College or University. It's a continuous process and a lifelong journey. We continue to learn along the way as we embark challenges and achieve new milestones in our career and in life.

©️ 2020 Del Cusay