Travel

Holy Land Photoblog: Cana in Galilee

Cana is another significant place in the Bible because this was where Jesus performed His first miracle of turning water into wine.

Greek Orthodox First Miracle Church (across the street from the Franciscan church)
Greek Orthodox First Miracle Church (across the street from the Franciscan church)
The Franciscan Church at Cana
The Franciscan Church at Cana

It was drizzling when we arrived. I managed to take these photos of the surrounding areas before we were all called in to one of the chapels where the ceremony for the renewal of wedding vows would take place.

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Part of the services they offer is video coverage of the wedding ceremony (hence the camera and screen). They burn it into a DVD which you can pay for before you leave.
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Our spiritual leader Pastor Larry leads the ceremony for the renewal of wedding vows
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Some of the brides waiting for their turn to walk down the aisle
The grooms waiting for their brides
The grooms waiting for their brides
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The couples gathered together before Pastor Larry
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Our spiritual leader, Pastor Larry Pabiona
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Since there were a number of us singletons, kami taga-applause and picture ๐Ÿ˜€

When the ceremony was done, Pastor Larry gathered usย singles and prayed for us.

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Happy singles satisfied with the love of God ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks for praying for us Pastor Larry!
Travel

Holy Land Photoblog: The Nazareth Village

Nazareth isย the place where Jesus spent most of his childhood years and is also the place where the Angel Gabriel appeared before Mary to tell her that she would be carrying the Son of God in her womb.ย Herod the Great was King of the Jews at that time and in the Book of Matthew, it is mentioned that he ordered the killing of all boys aged two and belowย out of fear that he would lose the throne. Before the violent massacre took place, Joseph was warned by an angel in a dream to takeย Mary and Jesus to Egypt where they would stay for a fewย yearsย until the death of Herod.ย IMG_6254-001

We visited the Nazareth Villageย in Galilee, on open-air museum which is a re-creation of what Nazareth was like during the time of Jesus.
IMG_6309-001The Nazareth Village is a non-profit organization that is able to operate through contributions, entrance fees and gift shop sales. Below are names of people and groups who have shown their support through the Builders’ Walk. If you wish to contribute a gift of $250 or more, you get a stone engraved with the words of your choice and then it is installed permanently in the Builder’s Walk.

P1140651-001Daniel Stanger, Tour Manager of the Nazareth Villageย talked about how they run the organizationย and also shared some “nerdtastic” stories about what life was like in the first century. My inner archaeologist hungered for more.
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Matthew 7:13-14 13 โ€œEnter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Matthew 7:13-14
13 โ€œEnter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

After the indoor museum tour,ย we stepped into a farm lined with olive trees.P1140594-001

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Just me and an olive tree
“Baa baa baa” says the sheep
Standing on a wine press.
Standing on a wine press.

We also met some volunteers who play Nazareth villagers and illustrate what daily life was like back then.

They call this beautiful lady Rebekah.
They call this beautiful lady Rebekah.
David teaches Mommy Yason how to bear holes in wood
Joseph teaches Mommy Yason how to bear holes in wood

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A sample of an ancient scroll and oil lamps
A sample of an ancient scroll and oil lamps

Here’s the video of our visit:

Check out more videos from the Nazareth village:

#PracticalTravel, Egypt, Egypt, Israel, Israel, Practical Advice, Travel

Souvenirs from Egypt, Israel and Jordan

Souvenirs are a must for every traveler. In the all the places I’ve been to, I’ve purchased magnets, accessories and local products that are unique to the place. Whenever I feel the urge to over-spend, I tell myself two things: baggage limit and storage. When I went to Egypt, I knew that I had to get papyrus paper. Of course in my head I was thinking it’s light, it’s thin, it can easily fit into one of my flat luggage pockets. When I got to the shop, I was enticed to take home not just plain papyrus but those with Egyptian hand-painted illustrations.
Papyrus Paintings

You can’t just slip paintings like that into pockets right? The good thing is, Golden Eagle Papyrus has a special way of storing the paintingโ€”you roll up the papyrus paper, put it in a circular cardboard case and slip it into your bag.
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My friends know that I am such a sucker for aromatherapy. Lavender and mint are my favorite essential oils because they give off such a clean, calming scent that puts me to sleep easily. Purchasing these oils weren’t part of my original plan. I walked into the oil shop, listened to the demonstration and like most of my companions, I walked out of the store with these bottles:
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SHOPPING IN ISRAEL
Since we were to spend five days in Israel, I expected to spend more on souvenirs. When we took a dip in the Dead Sea, I thought โ€œMaybe I should gather some of the mud and take it home!โ€ I was told by our travel coordinator Tita Mina that someone from the previous Holy Land trip did take some of the mud but they weren’t even done with the trip when it started to stink. As tempting as it is to take the free-flowing Dead Sea mud, we have to first learn how to handle and preserve it correctly. So really, Ahava products are the closest you can get. They’reย manufactured in Israel and they’re much cheaper too.

Free flowing Dead Sea mud
Free flowing Dead Sea mud
Of course I had to try it on. This is one Israel experience I won't forget! I had the mask on for about 15-20 minutes (we only had an hour to spend). My skin was baby-smooth and lovely to touch when I washed it off! Imagine if I left it on for about 30 minutes!
Of course I had to try it on. This is one Israel experience I won’t forget! I had the mask on for about 15-20 minutes (we only had an hour to spend). My skin was baby-smooth and lovely to touch when I washed it off! Imagine if I left it on for 30.

Our first legit souvenir stop was at the Nissan Brothers Store in Bethlehem. They had so much to choose fromโ€”olive wood Bibles, olive wood carvings and sculptures, crosses, jewelry and gemstones, holy water, holy oil, holy soil, olive oil products, Dead Sea Salt products, the list goes on and on.
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Eilat Stone pendants
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Israelis usually press their own olive oil right in the comfort of their own home.

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Anointing Oil in different scents. $6.99 a box

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Olive wood Bible
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The Olive wood Bible in Spanish
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Miniature model of the Temple

We went to a lot of tourist spots after that, of course there were small stores selling souvenirs but they pretty much carried the same items found at the Nissan Brothers Store.

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That evening, my companions discovered the shops at the lobby of the Hotel Rimonim. They were fixated on the jewelry being sold because the prices were remarkably cheaper than the other places we’ve been to. Other than jewelry, I saw more interesting shirts, camel leather products, sculptures, figurines, magnets and even bags.
Israel Necklaces
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I bought camel leather wallets for my dad and brother and cross necklaces for me and my Lola.

I also got myself a Star of David pendant from a store in Nazareth, Jerusalem pouches from a small stall outside Cana (the place where Jesus turned water into wine for a wedding celebration) and an Eliat stone ring at Galilee.

The Star of David is a symbol of Judaism. The six-pointed star points to God as David's True Shield.
The Star of David is a symbol of Judaism. The six-pointed star points to God as David’s True Shield.

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EILAT STONE (The King Solomon Stone) is the national stone of Israel.
EILAT STONE (The King Solomon Stone) is the national stone of Israel. “Both names are derived from its notable mining location close to the Red Sea–King Solomon’s copper mine near the city of Eilat. A natural composite of the minerals malachite, turquoise, azurite, and chrysocolla, its flamboyant colour ranges from turquoise to deep green and has the striking characteristic of no two being alike.”

Now let’s proceed to JORDAN.

Sand bottle art
Sand bottle art
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Also from the Dead Sea!
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Pendants, pendants, lots of pendants

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Jordan for me was much more festive and colorful. Jordan is well-known for their mosaic art. We visited the mosaic factory in Madaba where we saw how the artists carefully arranged the colorful tiles into beautiful pieces.

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I was tempted to purchase some mosaic artwork but since Jordan was our last country, I was getting more worried about my baggage limit. Mind you, the mosaic pieces are heavy. Every night, when we’d get to the hotel, my roommate Lizza and I would unpack and re-arrange our luggage just to make sure everything still fits in.

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The Tree of Life Mosaic Art (I think this was being sold for $750)

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Here are the other items I got from Jordan:

Pashmina scarves from a Bedouin at Petra
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Myrrh smells like Christmas ($7)
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Frankincense smells like a Cathedral ($7)
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Do you think I purchased too little or too much? If you were to visit these countries, what do you think you’d spend a lot on?
Let me know on the comment box below. Thank you for reading!

#PracticalTravel, Israel, Israel, Travel, Video Blog

Travel Video: ISRAEL

FINALLY! I finished this travel video! WHOOOO! When I edit videos, my tendency is to really get lost in time because I want to finish a project. It was a challenge to complete this because of my crazy schedule at work, events and ministry.

I spent weeks going through 600-800 video clips, noting which ones are good from those that are just crappy and blurry. So ladies and gents, my dear blog readers, here is ISRAEL IN MOTION (done with lots of love)!!!