Philippines


The Philippines is a land of contrasts. An archipelago of more than 7,100 islands with almost 100 million inhabitants, it is the most Hispanic nation in Asia but a place all its own. From shades of Spanish culture, Roman Catholicism and Islam, American-style malls and fast food, and its very name in honor of King Philip II of Spain, the country has long been shaped by foreign influences. Combined with its indigenous heritage, the Philippines has become a nation diverse and unique. From the millions of Filipinos who work hard around the world to provide for their families back home to the tragedy of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) that devastated the central part of the country in November 2013, the Philippines is a land filled with resilience and hope. Poverty and an increasing sense that life is getting better for most. Beauty and bad traffic. Gorgeous volcanoes that wipe out cities and villages. Delicious food cheap and fattening. Warm and friendly people who live life and make the best of what may come, for better or for worse. If you have the chance to visit the Philippines, take it. But don’t simply head to a beach resort for scuba diving and a tan. Hop in a Jeepney and go off the beaten path. You’ll never know what you’ll find in this incredible archipelago.

More About the Philippines

A View of Taal Lake and Volcano Island in Tagaytay

2014_04_12 Philippines Tagaytay IMG_9287-1

Sunset over Manila Bay

2014_04_11 Philippines Manila IMG_8095-1

Entrance Gate of Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila

2014_04_13 Philippines Manila Intramuros IMG_9456-1

Kilometer Marker 21 of the Bataan Death March and Mt. Samet on the Bataan Peninsula

2014_04_14 Philippines Bataan IMG_9686-1

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Verda


“Verda” is one of the stories in Real Dreams:  Thirty Years of Short Stories. It is also available to read on Wattpad. Visit www.mgedwards.com for more books, stories, and travelogues from author M.G. Edwards.

verdacover

She rises in the evening sky like a beautiful green gem glowing in the early twilight. Watching over the earth, she bathes it in verdant light at the end of each day. She lies closer to our world than her barren twin, Luna, who shines brighter when the twilight turns to night. She is Verda, the green-tinged moon that orbits the earth. Also known as "Earth’s Sister," the small moon has long been an object of human obsession. For millennia, people have gazed up at her and wondered what secrets she has hidden in her veiled green atmosphere. It was not until the late twentieth century at the dawn of the Space Age, however, that many of her secrets were revealed.

Visit MG Edwards or Wattpad to read more of “Verda.”

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© 2014 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Cover photo licensed from iiuri courtesy of Shutterstock.

Bataan Death March, Philippines (Video)


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During my 2014 trip to the Philippines, I retraced the route of the infamous Bataan Death March on the Bataan Peninsula on Luzon Island north of Manila. It was fortuitous that I followed the route on the 72nd anniversary of the March.

2014_04_14 Philippines Bataan IMG_9684-1

After the surrender of the U.S.-Filipino Bataan Defense Force during World War II to the Japanese on April 9, 1942, thousands of American and Filipino prisoners were force marched 102 kilometers from Mariveles and Bagac on the Bataan Peninsula to San Fernando in Pampanga. An estimated 60,000-80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war endured the seven-day Bataan Death March. Those who made it to San Fernando on April 17, 1942, were loaded onto train cars by the hundreds and transferred by rail to the concentration camp at Camp O’Donell. Approximately 2,500-10,000 Filipino and 100-650 American prisoners of war died  from execution, exhaustion, injury, thirst, malaria, and other causes along the way. Survivors were held prisoner until Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II in September 1945.

This video footage shows what the route of the Bataan Death March looks like today.

Route of the Bataan Death March, Philippines

No longer a dirt trail, much of it is now the Bataan Provincial Expressway. It begins at Zero Kilometer Death March Marker (Km 00) Memorial in Mariveles. A second route from Bagac, a district in the interior of Bataan Peninsula where thousands more prisoners were forced marched, merges with the Mariveles branch at Kilometer 23. The highway continues north to San Fernando with dozens of markers and memorials along the way.

Bataan Death March Route

The video begins at Zero Kilometer and follows the Bataan Death March route from kilometer 4 to 13. The shaky cam from an air-conditioned vehicle doesn’t convey what prisoners of war endured during the March, but it will give you a sense of the challenges they faced en route.

2014_04_14 Philippines Bataan IMG_9467-1

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Straight from the Headlines: Sakhalin and Kurils Secede from Russia


Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia (RFN) – The Russian Far East islands of the Kurils and Sakhalin voted to secede from Russia and rejoin Japan.

An overwhelming majority in the Russian Far East federal subject of Sakhalin Oblast, better known as the Kurils and Sakhalin, voted today in a controversial election to leave the Russian Federation and rejoin Japan. Exit polls indicated that 99 percent of voters favored secession from Russia and annexation by Japan, which had governed the islands from 1807 until the end of World War II. The referendum called “hasty” and “illegitimate” by critics was held ten days after former Sakhalin Oblast governor Alexander Khoroshavin and his top aides fled to Moscow following a period of political unrest in the islands’ capital, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

Russia Red SquareThe Sakhalin Oblast government led by interim governor Shigeru Kayano defended the vote as free and fair. “The will of the people is to rejoin the Motherland, Japan. The Russians are constantly trying to drive us into a corner because we have an independent position, because we maintain it, and because we tell it like it is and don’t engage in hypocrisy. But there is a limit to everything. Russia has crossed the line, playing the bear and acting irresponsibly and unprofessionally.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin and critics called the referendum a “sham” and a violation of international law. Election monitors banned from Sakhalin indicated that a large number of foreign workers in the local oil and gas industry were seen at polling stations. Some observers accused the interim Sakhalin government of preventing Russian voters from going to the polls and refusing to give voters the option to remain a part of the Russian Federation instead of independence or annexation by Japan.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denied his country’s involvement in Sakhalin’s move to return to Japan. The Japanese Diet is expected to approve the annexation, and Abe is scheduled to deliver a speech to the parliamentary body on the matter.

Putin decried the movement of ships in the U.S. Pacific Fleet off the coast of Sakhalin as a “dangerous escalation” to enforce the handover. U.S. President Barack Obama denied the claim and stated that the American fleet had been coincidentally carrying out pre-planned military drills in the Sea of Okhotsk. Putin warned that the moves could draw sanctions or a stronger response from Russia.

Before the March 21 disappearance of Khoroshavin and his $2 million Horch 855 Spezial Roadster, the Sakhalin Oblast government had been under pressure from foreign workers and indigenous minorities to ease up on “anti-non-Russian” political restrictions. After thousands of Ainu, Oroks and Nivkhs and foreign workers in the Sakhalin oil and gas industry took to the streets of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in early March, violence erupted when pro-Russian forces tried unsuccessfully to dislodge the protesters occupying Lenin Square. Interim governor Kayano chided the Russian government for what he called “heavy-handed tactics” and stated that “Russia pressed the spring too hard, and it snapped back.”

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ACLU Seeks an End to April Fool’s Day

Los Angeles (RFN) – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), citing possible civil rights violations on April Fool’s Day, set up a hotline to help end the practice of perpetrating practical jokes on unsuspecting fools the first day in April. The ACLU asks those who are potential victims of April Fool’s Day pranks to contact the April Fool’s hotline at their earliest convenience. The ACLU will prepare cases for eligible claims in an effort to combat this offensive practice. If you believe you have wrongly duped by an April Fool’s Day joke or prank and seek redress, contact the ACLU at 968-3665 (YOU-FOOL).

Visit RFN for all the latest news and information affecting your world.

RFN – We report.

You deal with it.

Click here to read the original article on MG Edwards. Visit MG Edwards for more great travelogues, photos, and video from around the world.

Cedar Breaks National Monument (Video)


Cedar Breaks National Monument in southern Utah was one of the travel destinations my family and I visited in the United States last summer. Here’s a video clip showing different views of Cedar Breaks from the rim. It’s not very big but has spectacular views. Have a look; I think you’ll agree.

Cedar Breaks National Monument in southern Utah

Cedar Breaks is a short 25-mile drive on Highway 14 from Cedar City, Utah. It’s a great place to stop on your way to or from Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon National Park. The rock formations are similar to those of Bryce Canyon albeit on a smaller scale. If you don’t have time to visit Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks is a good alternate.

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After watching this video clip, why not subscribe to the World Adventurers Channel on YouTube? I have been posting video clips of great destinations and fun travel moments from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil, and much more. Stay tuned for more great travel videos.

More about the Colorado Basin in Utah and Arizona

Bryce Canyon National Park (Video)

What I Did Last Summer (Photo Montage)

WAfK Front Cover (mini)M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander, Ellie the Elephant, and Zoe the Zebra, three books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, and a 3-in-1 collection featuring all three. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Bryce Canyon National Park (Video)


Bryce Canyon was one of the national parks my family and I visited in the United States last summer. Here’s a video clip showing different views of Bryce Canyon National Park from the rim. The drive from north to south isn’t very long – about 18 miles one way – but the views are spectacular! Have a look; I think you’ll agree.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

After watching the video clip, why not subscribe to the World Adventurers Channel on YouTube? I plan to post travel video clips of the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and much more. Stay tuned.

WAfK Front Cover (mini)M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures and children’s books. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated three picture books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series:  Alexander the Salamander, Ellie the Elephant, and Zoe the Zebra. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

What I Did Last Summer


Dear Reader,

It’s been said that “life happens.” That’s certainly been true for me lately. Life has kept me away from blogging for a few months, but I’m glad that you’ve been enjoying my archived posts in the meantime. I plan to publish more new material soon.

After my last update in July, my wife, son, and I toured the western United States. We enjoyed three great weeks last summer in Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, and Utah. Here are some of the best photos from our trip.

Escondido, California

2013_07_23 California Escondido

San Antonio de Pala Asistencia, part of the historic California Missions

2013_07_25 California Pala

Bonners Ferry, Idaho

2013_07_28 Idaho Bonners Ferry

Kootenay River Gorge near Moyie Springs, Idaho

2013_07_28 Idaho Kootenay River

Glacier National Park, West Glacier, Montana

2013_07_29 Montana Glacier

Wild Horse Island State Park, Flathead Lake, Montana

2013_07_30 Montana Flathead

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

2013_08_03 Utah Bryce Canyon (IMG_7437)

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

2013_08_03 Utah Bryce Canyon (IMG_7410)

Click here to watch a World Adventurers video with spectacular views of Bryce Canyon National Park!

Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah

2013_08_03 Utah Cedar Breaks Sunset(IMG_7828)

North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

2013_08_06 Arizona Grand Canyon

2013_08_06 Arizona Grand Canyon

2013_08_06 Arizona Grand Canyon (3)

Beefaloes (bison/cow cross breed), North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

2013_08_06 Arizona Grand Canyon (2)

Zion National Park, Utah

2013_08_08 Utah Zion (2)

2013_08_10 Utah Zion

2013_08_08 Utah Zion

The cliché that pictures don’t do it justice is true. My family and I had a great time last summer. I hope you did too!

2013_08_08 Utah Zion (3)

Since returning home, I’ve spent much of my time writing two new memoirs. Eurasia:  Getting into Travel in Europe and Asia is a coming-of-age story about my journey as a college student through 20 countries in Europe and Asia. Vietnam:  On the Trail from Then to Now explores the legacy of the Vietnam War and my search to learn the true story of my late father’s time as a soldier in Vietnam. Both are scheduled for release as part of the World Adventurers Series in 2014.

I’ve also been busy promoting my new children’s World Adventurers for Kids picture book collection featuring the first three books in the series, Alexander the Salamander, Ellie the Elephant, and Zoe the Zebra. Sales and early reviews have been great. Do your kids a favor and pick up your copy today! Click here for a list of booksellers.

WAfK Front Cover (mini)M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures and children’s books. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated three picture books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series:  Alexander the Salamander, Ellie the Elephant, and Zoe the Zebra. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.