To my cover-exchanging friends, please try as much as possible to
as these give a more personal touch to the cover
the Philippine postal service damages the cover with scribbling that highly devalues the aesthetic value of the cover, which is what I am after
or at least same themes when sending covers, but it is okay if this is not possible or if this would be expensive, and
not too small, but maybe around 4"x6" or something like that; big envelopes are not very attractive unless they have many stamps.
Thank you!



The designs of Israeli stamps have always been a delight and those of the stamps on this cover are no exception. Here we have a 50-a stamp on which perches a Palestinian Sunbird. This stamp was issued on 16 Feb 1993. Next to this stamp are two Hebrew alphabet stamps, which are part of the set of 22 that was issued on 13 Feb 2001. I am not familiar with the Hebrew alphabet, so unfortunately, I cannot determine which letters these are and what sounds they make. Maybe someone can help?

The stamp on the very right is one of my favorites as it celebrates culture, cinema to be more exact. The design is again very beautiful and the description on the bottom indicates that it was issued to commemmorate Phiately Day. It is one of two in the set entitled "Cinema Theaters in Israel" and was issued 05 Dec 2007.

The postmark is difficult to discern as the stamps design are quite noisy, but noisy in a good way.


This cover has stamps quite similar to those in my previous Brazil post (Brazil 99630328), but there are two stamps of the Zoologicos do Brasil set here that aren't on the other cover, namely the giraffe and the elephant.

Thre trumpet stamps are also here; I wonder why this is the only one that they like to use... what about the others?

The last two stamps on the bottom entitle Costureira show a dressmaker and are part of the PROFISSÕES set.

The postmark tells us that this cover was sent from Rio de Janeiro on 19 Mar 2008.


Shown here is another cover from Indonesia. On it is affixed two of the three stamps in the Year of the Rat set as well as a stamp commemmorating 50 years of Garuda Indonesia, the national flag carrier.

A little more about Garuda Indonesia:
The Garuda (Sanksrit: गरुड, Pāli: Garuḷa) is a large mythical bird or bird-like creature that appears in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology. In Indian Vedic tradition, Garuda is the carrier of the Hindu god Vishnu.

Garuda Indonesia had its beginnings in the Indonesian war of Independence against the Dutch in the late 40's. During the revolution, the airline supported Indonesian interests, such as carrying Indonesian leaders for diplomatic missions.

The airline currently flies to a number of destinations in SE and East Asia, the Middle East, and Australia, and previously flew to several destinations in Europe. However, as of June 2008, Garuda, along with all Indonesian airlines, is banned from flying to the] EU. It is wholly owned by the Indonesian government.
I was very pleased when I saw the Garuda stamp because Aviation is one of my favorite themes and the symbolism of the Garuda never fails to awe me. I also really appreciated the very beautiful envelope since it is official Pos Indonesia stationery.

The cover was sent from Jakarta, the capital, on 18 Mar 2008.

Việt Nam

Another beautiful cover from Vietnam. The stamps on the upper left which depict what seems to be a rally with people holding up the Vietnamese flag probably commemmorate Vietnamese independence from France on 2 Sep 1945. The stamps were issued in 2006.

The yellow stamp with the horse celebrates Tết, the Vietnamese new year, which is based on the lunar calendar. This stamp was issued in 2002.

The blue stamp on the extreme right has an inscription in Vietnamese, so I cannot really tell what it celebrates, but it evidently is celebrating the 50th anniversary of something that happened on 10 Oct 1954. This stamp was, of course, issued in 2004.

The brown stamp under the Independence stamps probably pays homage to an important scribe or writer who lived (or maybe wrote?) from 1870-1907. This stamp was issued in 2007, porabably celebrating 100 years of whatever it is that is being celebrated.

The last stamp on the bottom shows a cock fight, which is also very common among the masses here in the Philippines. Perhaps it is also a favorite pastime of many Vietnamese? This stamp was issued in 2000.

The cover was sent from Tan Son Nhat, in Ho Chi Minh City, the capital, on 05 March 2008.

There was also a very nice meter franking on the reverse to pay for due postage. The clarity of the marking makes it absolutely exquisite. The purple franking on the left is a backstamp applied at the Central Post Office of Quezon City, Philippines.


This cover from Brazil has 3 of the 6 stamps in the series entitled Zoológicos do Brasil. The set, shown below, was issued on 05 Oct 2007. The three on this cover are the African tiger, the chimpanzee, and the tiger (the regular one I guess?).

The stamp on the extreme lower left showing the shoemaker is part of the PROFISSÕES (or Professions) series issued 19 Dec 2005.

The other stamp on the lower left depicting the trumpet is part of a series entitled Série Instrumentos Musicais issued on 07 July 2002.

The stamps were tied to the envelope at Caxias do Sul, a city in Rio Grande so Sul (RS), Southern Brazil, situated in the state's mountainous Serra Gaúcha region, on 05 Mar 2008.


Here we have another set of stamps from the La France à voir issues; this time the stamps are no longer on the S/S. This set of three stamps is from the La France à voir S/S Number 9 issued on 26 Feb 2007.

The Baux-de-Provence is a small village and commune in the Boches-de-Rhone department in southern France, in the province of Provence. It has a spectacular position in the Alpilles mountains, set atop a rocky outcrop crowned with a ruined castle overlooking the plains to the south. Its names refers to its site — in Provencal, a baou is a rocky spur. The village gives its name to the aluminium ore Bauxite which was first discovered there in 1821 by geologist Pierre Bethier.

The Ballon d'Alsace is a mountain at the border of Alsace, Lorraine, and France-Comte. From its top, views include the Visges, the Rhine Valley, and the Black Forest. A road leads over a pass near the peak at 1171 m. Ballon d'Alsace is noted as the site of the first official mountain climb in the Tour de France on 10 July 1905, won by Rene Pottier.

The Cascade Doubs is a waterfall at, you guessed it, Doubs, a department in eastern France that was actually named after the Doubs river. The waterfall depicted here shows the source at Lison.
These stamps were franked with a beautiful postmark at the Louvre Post Office in Paris on 3 Mar 2008. It's a pity that the postmarks aren't clearer.


Indonesia has always issued beautiful stamps and here we have a cover with a nice, round S/S celebrating the Year of the Rat. The design of the S/S is unmistakenly awesome and the intertwined black and white depictions of rats in a round shape suggest a yin-and-yang symbol, very in line with the Chinese theme; a very clever design! I couldn't find out more about the issue since the English version of the Pos Indonesia has yet to be completed.

This S/S was postmarked at Bogor, a city in West Java that was the capital during British occupation under Stamford Raffles. The date is, unfortunately, unintelligible.


Here's a really neat cover from Russia that I received from a fellow postcrosser. The cover is very heart-warming and the snow just brings back memories of when I was younger and went to Big Bear Mountain to play in the snow....

The three stamps are also very interesting. The first to the left depicts an aircraft whose brand and model curiously don't appear on the stamp. It was issued in 2006. The one in the middle, issued in 2007, shows equestrian sports and reads "Donskaja Poroda." The last one on the right is quite festive and depicts a tree in the snow. It reads "S Novim Godom! / Happy New Year!" and was issued in 2007.

Unfortunately, that's all the info I could get on the stamps; couldn't find any place on the internet that discusses Russian stamps! Is there one?

The stamps were postmarked on 07 Feb 2008.


Việt Nam

Here's a nice little cover from Vietnam with a colorful M/S of jungle fauna. I couldn't find any info on this one and everything is in Vietnamese, so I really know nothing more than what I can conclude and suppose... But I do know that the stamps were cancelled an 01 Feb 2008 at Tan Son Nhat, Ho Chi Minh City. I guess that's a given! :-)


Here we have a nice cover from France with a S/S entitled Portraits de Regions, a stamp commemorating La Castafiore, and another stamp celebrating 60 years of the Medical Research Foundation.

The S/S was issued La Poste in September 2004 and is part of a larger S/S shown below. The larger S/S is Number 4 in a series of emissions entitled "La France à Voir," which I guess roughly translates to "Scenic France" or "Sights of France." The part of the S/S on the cover shows Le Chateau de Chambord, Les Calanaques de Chassis, and Le Phare de Cap-Ferret.

Le Chateau de Chambord in Loire Valley is one of the most recognizable chateux in the world because of its very distinct French Renaissance architecture that blends traditional French medieval forms with classical Italian structures. The Calanques de Chassis is in Cassis and it streches along the coast of the Mediterranean sea for miles. There are three major calanques, Marseille, Cassis and Morgiou. A Calanque is a place in the sea where the water has carved out little beaches and high cliffs. I must say that the place looks very beautiful, don't you agree? The Phare de Cap-Ferret, or the Cap-Ferret Lighthouse, is located on the northern side of the bottleneck which links the Bassin d'Arcachon to the Atlantic Ocean. It takes 258 steps to get to the top.
The La Castafiore stamp is also part of an S/S that was issued on 14 May 2007. It depicts Bianca Castafiore, the Milanese Nightingale, an opera diva who was a recurring character in The Adventures of Tintin, a series of comic books created by Belgian artist Hergé.

The 60 years of the Medical Research Foundation stamps was issued on 22 October 2007. The Medical Research Foundation was the first private foundation that carried out medical research in France. Although it is not very known the general public, it plays a part in the fight against the illnesses in the present and future.

The stamps were all tied on 25 Jan 2008 with a beautiful postmark that reads "Philatelie / 42 St. Etienne Grand Poste."


I first saw a scan of the stamp on the right on a stamp website and told myself that I just had to have that stamp. Luckily, I have a friend in Malaysia who still had a set to spare and he was able to send me this neat cover.

It turns out the these stamps make up a 2v issue entitled 46th Independence Celebration, released 19 Aug 2003. The inscription at the bottom of both stamps reads "Sambutan Ulangtahun Kemerdekaan Ke-46/ 46th Independence Celebration" and the inscription on the right of the 30-sen stamp (depicting the large flag on the 95-meter flagpole at Merdeka Square in KL) reads "Kibarkan Bendera Kita / Raise Our Flag." The cover was postmarked at Pusat Mel Bukit Raja, Selangor, on 02 Feb 2008.

An interesting thing to note is that the word for flag in Filipino is "Bandera," which is borrowed from the Spanish language; in Bahasa Melayu, it seems to be "Bendera" and I find the similarity quite striking as Malaysia was never colonized by the Spanish like the Philippines was... or maybe the similarity is just a freak coincidence? But I did read on Wikipedia that "There are also Eurasians of mixed Filipino and Spanish descent [in Malaysia], mostly in Sabah. Descended from immigrants from the Philippines, some speak Chavacano, the only Spanish-based Creole language in Asia."

Follow-up on this:

I consulted a Malay dictionary today and looked up "bendera." It seems that the word is of Portuguese origin and so that probably explains the resemblance to Filipino "bandera." An interesting thing to note is that "bendera" is defined as: "a flag (of European type)." I guess the Malays had a different concept of how a flag looked?