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!


Happy Holidays

Ellan Vannin

The Isle of Man, or Mann, is a self-governing Crown dependency, located in the Irish Sea at the geographical center of the British Isles. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann. The Crown is represented by a Lieutenant Governor. The island is not part of the United Kingdom, but foreign relations, defense, and ultimate good-governance of the Isle of Man are the responsibility of the government of the United Kingdom.

The island became a Celtic-Norse community in 979. This has left a legacy ranging from the Tynwald parliament to many local place names. After a period of alternating rule by the kings of England and Scotland, the Manx came under the feudal over-lordship of the English Crown. The lordship revested to the British Crown in 1764 but the island never became part of the United Kingdom and retained its status as an internally self-governing jurisdiction.

Tynwald, the island's parliament, was nominally founded in AD 979. It is arguably the oldest continuous parliament in the world. The annual ceremonial meeting in July on Tynwald Day, the island's national day, continues to be held at Tynwald Hill, where titles are announced and a brief description of the new laws enacted by Tynwald during the previous year is given.

The origin of the name Isle of Man is unclear. In the Manx Gaelic language the Isle of Man is known as Ellan Vannin, where ellan is a Gaelic word meaning 'island'. The earliest form of 'Man' is Manu or Mana giving the genitive name Manann leading to the word Mannin, to which a 'h' is added when used after the feminine word Ellan, giving Mhannin. As 'mh' is pronounced like a 'v' in Goidelic languages, in modern Manx the name becomes Ellan Vannin. Mannin is the genitive of Mannan, an alternate form of the name of the mythical Manannán mac Lir.

During the period of Julius Caesar as proconsul and his visit to Britain during 55 and 54 BC Caesar referred to the Isle of Man in his Commentarii de Bello Gallico to 'an island called Mona which lies midway across the sea separating Britain from Ireland.'

For centuries, the island's symbol has been its ancient triskelion, a device similar to Sicily's Trinacria: three bent legs, each with a spur, joined at the thigh. The Manx triskelion does not appear to have an official definition; government publications, currency, flags, the tourist authority and others all use different variants. Most, but not all, preserve rotational symmetry, some running clockwise, others anti-clockwise. Some have the uppermost thigh at 12:00, others at 11:30 or 10:00, etc. Some have the knee bent at 90°, some at 60°, some at closer to 120°. Also the degree of ornamentation of the leg wear and spur vary considerably.

The three legs relate directly to the island's motto (adopted late in the symbol's history): Quocunque Jeceris Stabit, traditionally translated from Latin as 'Whithersoever you throw it, it will stand', or 'Whichever way you throw it, it will stand'.

The origin of the 'Three Legs of Man' (as they are usually called) is explained in the Manx legend that Manannan repelled an invasion by transforming into the three legs and rolling down the hill and defeating the invaders.


საქართველო (Sakartvelo)

Georgia is a transcontinental country in the Caucasus region, situated at the dividing line between Europe and Asia. Georgia is bordered by the Russian Federation to the north, Azerbaijan to the east, Armenia to the south, and Turkey to the southwest. It covers a territory of 69,700 km²; its population, excluding Abkhazia and South Ossetia (called the Tskhinvali region by Georgians), is 4.4 million, with nearly 84% ethnic Georgians.

The history of Georgia can be traced back to the ancient Kingdom of Colchis and Iberia, and it was one of the first countries to adopt Christianity as an official religion early in the 4th century. At the beginning of the 19th century Georgia became part of Russian Empire. After a brief period of independence following the Russian Revolution of 1917 Georgia was forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1922.

Georgians call themselves Kartvelebi (ქართველები), their land Sakartvelo (საქართველო), and their language Kartuli (ქართული). According to legend, the ancestor of the was Kartlos, the great grandson of the Kartvelian peopleBiblical Japheth.

The native Georgian name for the country is Sakartvelo (საქართველო). The word consists of two parts. Its root, kartvel-i (ქართველ-ი), specifies an inhabitant of the core central-eastern Georgian region of Kartli – Iberia of the Classical and Byzantine sources. By the early 9th century, the meaning of "Kartli" was expanded to other areas of medieval Georgia held together by religion, culture, and language. The Georgian circumfix sa-X-o is a standard geographic construction designating "the area where X dwell", where X is an ethnonym. (For another example, the Mingrelian minority in Georgia lives in Samegrelo.) The term Sakartvelo came to signify the all-Georgian cultural and political unity early in the 11th century and firmly entered regular official usage in the 13th century.

Ancient Greeks (Strabo, Herodotus, Plutarch, Homer, etc.) and Romans (Titus Livius, Cornelius Tacitus, etc.) referred to early eastern Georgians as Iberians (Iberoi in some Greek sources) and western Georgians as Colchians.

The origin of the name Georgia is still disputed and has been explained in the following ways:

  1. Linking it semantically to Greek and Latin roots (Greek: γεωργία, transliterated geōrgía, "agriculture", γεωργός, geōrgós, "tiller of the land", and γεωργικός, geōrgikós, Latin: georgicus, "agricultural").
  2. The country took its name from that of Saint George, itself a derivative of the aforementioned Greek root. Or, at the very least, the popularity of the cult of Saint George in Georgia influenced the spread of the term.
  3. Under various Persian empires (536 BCE-CE 638), Georgians were called Gurjhān (Gurzhan/Gurjan), or "Gurj/Gurzh people." The early Islamic/Arabic sources spelled the name Kurz/Gurz and the country Gurjistan (see Baladhuri, Tabari, Jayhani, Istakhri, Ibn Hawqal, etc.). The contemporary Russian name for the country, "Gruziya," is similar. This also could evolve or at least contribute to the later name of Georgia.

The terms Georgia and Georgians appeared in Western Europe in numerous medieval annals including that of Crusaders and later in the official documents and letters of the Florentine de’Medici family. Jacques de Vitry and English traveler, Sir John Mandeville, stated that Georgians are called Georgian because they especially revere and worship Saint George. Notably, the country recently adopted the five-cross flag, featuring the Saint George's Cross; it has been argued that the flag was used in Georgia since the 5th century.

Modern Georgian states have used differing names in different periods. The first modern Georgian state proclaimed on May 26, 1918 adopted the name “Democratic Republic of Georgia”. As part of the USSR from February 25, 1921, the country was called the “Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic”. When Georgia broke from the USSR on December 25, 1991, it adopted the name “Republic of Georgia”. Since it adopted its present constitution on August 24, 1995, the official name of the country is simply “Georgia”.

On August 8, 2008, the day of the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony and while most political leaders were in Beijing for the said event, Georgia engaged in an armed conflict with Russia and separatist groups from South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In the aftermath of the conflict Russia recognized Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, but the West insists that they are still part of Georgia. On August 28, 2008, the Parliament of Georgia passed a resolution declaring Abkhazia and South Ossetia "Russian-occupied territories".

Here's a chart of the funny-looking Georgian alphabet, which I honestly thought looked like alien writing the first time I saw it. Apparently, the set above is not the only one; there are two other set of alphabets that don't look remotely anything like the one above but share the same letter names and sounds! And, what makes this more weird is that these three alphabets can be used interchangeably, so do you need to know all three alphabets to read Georgian? How confusing that would be!


Merci beaucoup, M. Cotard!

Thanks to Eric Contesse for this very beautiful cover on my favorite topic sent from the 62nd Salon Phialtelique d'Automne held in Paris from 6 to 9 November.

Below is an excerpt taken from Eric's blog; I'll let his own words explain as they are very good:
The State of Israel (and Israel Postal administration) was this Stamp Exhibition's special guest to celebrate the 60 years of diplomatic relations between France and Israel.

To commemorate this event, the French and Israel Posts have issued in preview sale on November 6, two joint stamps dedicated to the 60 years of first postal flight between the two countries, between Haifa and Paris specifically.

These two stamps are on the left on the cover below. The € 0.55 (domestic priority mail) stamp illustrates the Haifa's departure of the Air France DC 3 on June 11 1948 and the € 0.85 (worldwide priority mail, including Israel) one illustrates its arrival in Paris on June 12 1948, after stopovers in Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Nice.

The view of the city of Haifa is a contemporary's one because we can see the modern "Sail Tower" skyscraper, built on the seafront from 1999. The Shrine of the Báb with its golden dome, part of the Bahá'í World Center, is also represented on this stamp's foreground. This Shrine is inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List since July 2008.

The two stamps also reproduce a letter of June 9 1948 that was carried during this first postal flight. This letter is stamped with three "Doar Ivri" stamps from the 1st Israel stamp issue and includes the purple label (type I) "Premier vol Etat d'Israël-France" ("First flight State of Israel-France") from Haifa.

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso, also known by its short-form name Burkina, is a landlocked nation in West Africa. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the south east, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire to the south west. Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta, it was renamed on August 4, 1984, by President Thomas Sankara to mean "the land of upright people" in Moré and Dioula, the major native languages of the country. Literally, "Burkina" may be translated, "men of integrity," from the Moré language, and "Faso" means "father's house" in Dioula. The inhabitants of Burkina Faso are known as Burkinabé.

Burkina Faso's capital is Ouagadougou. After gaining independence from France in 1960, the country underwent many governmental changes until arriving at its current form, a semi-presidential republic.


Belgie - Belgique

Црна Гора



Ecuador, which takes its name from its position on 0 degrees latitude, is one of two countries in South America that does not share a border with Brazil. It is bordered by Colombia on the north, by Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. The Galapagos Islands, renown for its beautiful geography and vast endemic biodiversity as well as its ties to Darwin's Theory of Evolution, is a province of Ecuador.

Ecuador's capital, Quito, is known as the "Luz de America" or "Light of America" because it was here that the first declaration of independence from Spain was proclaimed and so it was viewed as an inspiration for the rest of South America. The largest city is Guayaquil, a port city that serves as the main center for trade and business. The two cities can be compared to Beijing and Shanghai in China in that Quito, like Beijing is the historical and cultural capital, while Guayaquil, like Shanghai, is the business capital.

In line with this, a means of transportation was necessary to connect the two cities. This is where the Guayaquil-Quito railroad (Ferrocarril Guayaquil-Quito), whose centennary is celebrated by the stamp on the front of the envelope (issued 23 June 08), steps into the picture.

Several plans and attempts were made to build the railway from Guayaquil to Quito, since 1860 until 1874, when the first locomotive reached Milagro. But it was only by 1895 that contacts were made with North American technicians Archer Harman and Edward Morely, representatives of an American company interested in the building of the "most difficult railway in the world" as it was called at that time. An agreement was reached, and "The Guayaquil and Quito Railway Company" started the construction in 1899.

The tracks finally reached a huge obstacle - an almost perpendicular wall of rock - called the "Devil´s Nose". Many lives were shed in the building of what until now is called a masterpiece of railway engineering: a zig-zag carved out of the rock, which allows the train, by advancing and backing up, to reach the necessary height to the town of Alausí. The train finally reached Alausí by September 1902 and Riobamba by July 1905.

From this point on, the construction was easier. The highest point of the route - Urbina at 3604 meters - was reached by the end of 1905 and finally on June 25, 1908 the train made its triumphal entrance to Quito and was received by arches of palms, laurel and flowers, bells tolling banquetes, dances and popular festivities that lasted four days.

Also a bit related - albeit remotely - to this issue about the railroad is the issue shown on the back, which is about using eco-friendly electricity. (Trains, like the one shown in the picture above, use coal and other fuels that pollute the air.)

At first it seems that this issue, released 18 Mar 08, celebrates biodiversity or endangered wildlife since it shows animals and has the word "Galapagos" on the stamp, but it is actually devoted to promoting a clean energy source, in this case turbine-produced electricity.

This theme is especially not evident from the 3 stamps on the cover's reverse because the set lacks one stamp (the one that actually shows the turbines). The reason for the word "Galapagos" is that the turbines are located on San Cristobal Island, which is in the Galapagos Islands. Apparently, the plant was set up there to reduce the amount of electricity produced through diesel combustion, which harms the environment, and also harms the biodiversity on the islands. Operations of the plant began on 01 October. More about the project here.

Also, you may notice that the face values of the stamps are in US Dollars! The US Dollar has been used in Ecuador since 2000 in order to address Ecuador's economic crisis at the time. The formal adoption of the dollar as currency in January 2000, as opposed to merely pegging the Ecuadorian sucre to the dollar as Argentina had done, theoretically meant that the benefits of seigniorage would accrue to the U.S. economy.

Seigniorage is the net revenue derived from the issuing of currency. Seigniorage derived from coins arises from the difference between the face value of a coin and the cost of producing, distributing and eventually retiring it from circulation. Seigniorage derived from notes is the difference between the interest earned on securities acquired in exchange for bank notes and the costs of producing and distributing those bank notes. Seigniorage is an important source of revenue for some national banks. According to some reports, currently over half the revenue of the government of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe is in seigniorage.



Aqui hay una aerograma cubana con tema de Che Guevara.

Che Guevara is a world-renown figure when it comes to the fight for independence and has been synonymous with "fight for a cause" movements.

A Latin American revolutionary leader, he rejected both capitalism and orthodox Soviet communism. Guevara lived an adventurous life. Guevara's tragic early death in Bolivia (by execution, although the government at the time said he died in battle) created a legend that still lives. He once said that "the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love", but he also wrote influential works of guerrilla warfare.

One of his more famous quotes, which is printed in the design of the Aerogramme, reads:
Porque esta gran humanidad ha dicho: «¡Basta!»
y ha echado a andar. Y su marcha de gigantes, ya no se detendrá
(Because this great humanity has said: “That is enough,” and has been urged to move. And its march of giants will no longer pause.)

Unfortunately, and much to my dismay, the aerogramme was not cancelled. However, it is nice to receive Che Guevara memorabilia that actually comes from Cuba!



Here we have two covers from Sweden.

The first bears part of a souvenir sheet dedicated to Ingmar Bergman.

Ernst Ingmar Bergman (14 July 1918 – 30 July 2007) was a Swedish director, writer and producer for film, stage and television. He depicted bleakness and despair as well as comedy and hope in his explorations of the human condition. He is recognized as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of modern cinema.

He directed 62 films, most of which he also wrote, and directed over 170 plays. Some of his internationally known favorite actors were Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson, and Max von Sydow. Most of his films were set in the landscape of his native Sweden, and major themes were often bleak, dealing with death, illness, betrayal, and insanity.

Bergman was active for more than 60 years, but his career was seriously threatened in 1976 when he suspended a number of pending productions, closed his studios, and went into self-imposed exile in Germany for eight years following a botched criminal investigation for alleged income tax evasion.

An interesting to note about Bergman is that he was married five times, was involved with three women other than those he married, and acknowledges nine children to be his own! What a playboy, eh?

Sadly, the entire S/S can't fit onto a small envelope so the sender had to resort to clipping it! The entire sheet is shown below. Notice that only the stamp is engraved. Ingenuity or cost-cutting?

Here is another great cover, this time showing one of my favorite themes: aviation! The se-tenant set is actually part of a booklet entitled Postflyg (Postal Flight) issued 8 Sept 1972 and features the Douglas DC3, the Junkers F13, the Junkers JU 52, and the Friedrichshafen FF .49. Curiously, the designs for the Junkers F13 and the Douglas DC3 were repeated and the Junkers JU 52 and the Friedrichshafen were shown only once.... Why is that?

The leftmost stamp on the bottom shows chocolate, perhaps issued for the 2007 CEPT, which had the theme of gastronomy. The other stamp is part of a 4v set dedicated to angling, more commonly known as fishing.

Just a little side note: this angling set brought back some childhood memories. Seeing all the children going fishing reminded me of my childhood days when my parents and I would go to different lakes all over the state, from North to South, just to fish. Fishing actually made up a large portion of my childhood - or at least the portion of it that I remember. It wasn't that we needed to fish or that most people where I lived fish; it was just my father's hobby. Honestly, I didn't like to fish very much and only enjoyed it when I'd catch a fish right away! But that's not how it's done, according to most anglers. Patience is of utmost importance when you go fishing, they say. No wonder I never found interest in the hobby! Philately is truly my one and only! :-)


Here's another post about Chinese airports. I just can't enough of this issue! Hahaha. Maybe it's because I was in two of the three airports almost right after the stamps were issued! Anyway, here is another FDC (the same kind as my previous post), but sent by an exchange partner. And here are also some maxicards for this issue. I wonder if these maxicards were really postmarked at the respective airports.... The cancels seem so perfect and uniform! Nonetheless, these are undeniably cherished additions to my specialty collection of airplane stamps!


España - Portugal Joint Issue

Below are two covers bearing stamps of the joint issue between Spain and Portugal issued on 14 Sep 06. The stamps from both countries show Iberian bridges and are identical in design; they differ only in the order of the coats of arms on the sides and in the naming of the bridges (each country has its own name for the same bridge) and, of course, the language used.

The modern bridge is the Puente internacional de Ayamonte (Huelva) over the Guadiana River, which was completed in 1991, and the older bridge is the Puente de Alcantara over the Tajo River in Caceres, which is dated around 105 AD.

Sadly, my Portugal set isn't complete. Is there any cover collector in Portugal willing to swap covers using this set?

Jakarta Stamp Exhibition

Thanks to my friend Juned from Bogor, Indonesia, I have the pleasure of adding these 6 beautiful covers to my collection!

They were sent from the 22nd Asian International Stamp Exhibition held recently in Jakarta. The exhibition had the theme "Philately: a Bridge to Friendship among Men."

The covers each bear one of the six souvenir sheets that showcase Indonesian culture and history, which are among my favorite themes! Of course, my favorites are the last two, which have the theme of stamp on stamp and aviation! I also love the sheet showing the Stamp Museum. In fact, I love all of them! I especially like the way the souvenir sheets were laid out and designed.

A million thanks again to Juned!