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!



Here we have a wonderful surprise that I received a few weeks ago. A surprise because of its vertical orientation as well as its beautiful Chinese writing!

I have always wanted to received a cover with a vertical orientation but that would be impossible if my address was in the Philippines since the Roman alphabet is written horizontally. Chinese characters can be written both vertically and horizontally, and from left to right and right to left (however, if it is written vertically, it is written only right to left; this is the ancient way of writing). One must just figure out the orientation based on what is written. Just like in any language, if a set of words are written in such a way that they make no sense, then of course you know it's just a bunch of gibberish. But, in the case of Chinese, it's just that you are not reading it the right way.

According the Wu Wei Yi, the friend who sent me this cover, the sending of mail in vertical envelopes is still a common practice in Taiwan, maybe because Taiwan wants to preserve the traditional Chinese ways of doing things (?). I also found out that, because of Taiwan's special (a.k.a. confused) diplomatic status, Taiwan's postal service (ChungHwa Post) is not a member of the UPU (since China Post took over the seat for "China") and thus some of its domestic mail practices are not in line with UPU international standards. Perhaps this practice of vertical envelopes is a child of this separation from the UPU.

I was also charmed by the Chinese writing on the cover. I am no expert on Chinese script nor calligraphy, but the penmanship on this cover is very nice in my uninformed opinion, and I appreciate it very much. It seems like the sender gave some extra effort to make the cover look nice, which is something I always appreciate.

The two stamps on the top are obviously definitives of the Taiwanese flag (and flags are one of my favorite themes) and the bottommost stamps is from a 2v set issued in 1985 to celebrate the 120th birth anniversary of Sun Yat Sen, or as he is so fondly called 國父 (guó​fù​; founder of the Republic).


Today I post a wonderful cover from far-off Guyana, a small country on the northern coast of South America that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean. Historically, "Guyana" or "Guiana," which is believed to mean "the land of many waters," referred to a landmass north of the Amazon River and east of the Orinoco River. The area was then divided by European colonial powers into five: Spanish Guiana (now eastern Venezuela), Portuguese Guiana (now northern Brazil), British Guiana (Guyana), Dutch Guiana (Suriname) and the present French overseas department of French Guiana. British Guyana, which is now known simply as "Guyana," gained independence from the Crown on 26 May 1966.

The $60 stamp on the far right celebrates the Apollo 18, the last of the Apollo missions, which was launched on 15 July 1975. This last mission was known as the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, one of two Apollo Applications Programs projects (the other being the Skylab of 1974-75). The project involved a docking in Earth orbit between a Command Service Module (CSM) and a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft. The mission lasted from July 15 to July 24, 1975. Although the Soviet Union continued to operate the Soyuz and Salyut space vehicles, NASA's next manned mission would not be until STS-1 on April 12, 1981.

While this event was indeed a milestone for mankind, its connection to Guyana escapes me. In fact, the connection between the themes on quite a few of the Guyanese stamps issued and the history and culture of Guyana as a country escape me as well.

Moving on, to the left of the Apollo stamp is a stamp issued on 2007 to commemorate the Concorde's flights with the Red Arrows, the aerobatics display team of the Royal Air Force. This stamp in particular (one of two designs, the other also showing a Concorde-Red Arrow exhibition in 1985) shows the flight of the British Airways G-BOAG with the Red Arrows as well as the QE2. This happened at the Sunday formation flight at the 1985 Royal international Air Tattoo.

Here is a link to a nice video clip showing one of the Concorde's other exhibitions with the Red arrows, this one is a fly-by at the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002. (Warning: the sound may be a bit loud, so turn down your speakers if you feel you should)

One curious thing about the chops on this cover is that the postmark used at the Rose Hill Town PO to cancel the stamps have a bold line running down its center. Was this done intentionally to apply heavy cancels in an effort to curb postal fraud, or was the stamper damaged and somehow split in half (god knows how or why)? One clue is that the line isn't very smooth, which makes me lean toward my second hypothesis.

Also, notice the "Inward Registered Mail" label attached to the cover in Hong Kong. This one says "Lift" and I am not sure if that is an instruction printed on the label to tell the postal worker that he should lift on that side to get the label or if it is a special postal service term whose meaning I have yet to find out.

One thing I like about registered mail service in Macau is that it often goes through Hong Kong and you get these interesting labels and frankings. On other covers, I sometimes get chops telling me that the cover was received in bad order. A pity that the cover was received in bad order, but had it not been received in that condition, I wouldn't get the chop!



Here is another set of covers from Hong Kong. Hong Kong is just an hour away from Macau and it is very easy to just hop onto a jetfoil and head on over. I wonder why I haven't been so enticed to go more often. Perhaps it's because I don't find the recent issues worth the trip?

One thing I do like about HK Post is the fact that it supports philately by offering special cancellations such as these. This one is from Tsim Sha Tsui, near the Star Ferry terminal.

While most are definitives, there are two stamps worth pointing out on this cover. The first it the $5 stamp to the left of the block of 4. This stamp depicts the Aw Boon Haw Gardens, also known as the Tiger Balm Gardens. Built in 1935, it was opened to the public in the 1950s and was one of Hong Kong's first theme parks. One of the attractions of the garden complex is the 7-storey white pagoda shown in the stamp. Another is the Haw Par Mansion, which houses hundreds of relics from Hong Kong's past.

The second stamp of interest would be the one on the bottom right. It was taken from the souvenir sheet issued in 1998 commemorating the closure of Kai Tak, shown below:


Two Nicaraguan covers with birds on them:

I'm back

So, if you remember my last post, you're probably thinking: this guy talks the talk but doesn't walk the talk! Well, I too am disappointed in myself. I have been too busy here in Macau and have found the time to update only now. (Well, actually, I should be doing something else, but thought doing this would be much more fun). On top of my tardiness, it seems that my external hard rive onto which I save my scans in malfunctioning! Thus, I really can't follow the program I set for myself in the previous post even if I wanted to!

So, I resort to posting some covers that I have received since arrived in Macau. This first set is actually a lot of covers from the Philippines. Some I sent to myself from different parts of the Philippines while the others I sent from the Philippines to correspondences in other countries. I asked them to return the covers to me, and so here they are: