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!


Off on Vacation

Hello again!

Just wanted to let everyone know that I'll be off on vacation till the thitteenth (13th) of November. This means I won't be able to receive, mail, or email any exchanges until I get back. But, no worries: I will reply to all mails received.

Since I expect a rather large volume of mail to flood my PO box during my one month of absence, I thought it would be a good idea to post scans of the covers I have received as of the moment to keep from being behind schedule once more. Funny how I have to do this twice!

Well, anyway, here are the scans. Enjoy!

Registered cover posted from Model Town, Delhi on 23 Sept 05.
Thanks Ranjit!

My first cover from Cyprus sent from Paralimni on 25 Sep 08.
Thank you very much, Demetris!

A nice FDC sent from Viet Nam on 18 Sep 08. I find it curious that instead of applying the special cancel bearing the date of issue, they instead postmarked it at Hue (the place where the festival featured is held) with a regular postmark but still bearing the date of issue of 03 June.... Why is that? Also, the odd franking in red that reads in both Vietnamese and French, roughly translated in English as: "Found with lumps." I wonder what that means. At first I took it to mean that the envelope had some bulky enclosures, but all that was inside was a small piece of paper. Odd.....
Anyway, thanks to Tram Ha for the favor!

FDC sent from Kuala Lumpur on 23 Sep 08. Notice the postmark celebrating Eid Al-Fit'r. Serves as a reminder of Malaysia's predominantly Muslim population.
Thanks, Kow Siew Lan!

Here's another Scouting FDC; remember the last one was scratched with a pen and not postmarked? Thankfully, my friend was kind enough to send another one over.
Thanks again, Siew Lan!

Here's a cover I've been wanting to have for quite some time now, but unfortunately, it didn't arrive in very good condition. As you can see, the souvenir sheet is crumpled (perhaps it was too wet when applied or maybe it got damp in transit?). Also the cover is a little bent since no carboard or sheet of paper was inserted and this is a rather large cover so there is a tendency for it to be bent. But, nevertheless, it is still a very nice cover and souvenir sheet.
Thanks to David Hsueh for this one!

Nice cover with special postmark sent from Pori on 26 Sept. Although I do not usually collect flora and fauna stamps, I found this set to be quite interesting. Perhaps it is the layout of the envelope and the neat cancellation. I guess presentation value really does matter!
Thanks to the sender, a fellow CCCC member!

Sent from Winona, ON, on 23 Sep 08. This is the first Canadian cover that I received with a special postmark. I have grown used to seeing the large, rectangular cancels used at post office windows and outlets and I never knew that Canada Post also had these nice pictorial cancels. Excellent cover! Thanks, fellow CCCC member!

And here, to wrap up my post before I leave is a cover sent from Jakarta on 22 Sep 08. Notice the pro-environment campaign stamp to the left. I find the slogan rather cheesy, though, but hey, maybe that's just me! Thanks to Nadia W. for this nice cover!

Happy collecting!



Hello guys!

Just wanted to let everyone, especially my philatelic correspondents and exchange partners, that I have had a change of address.

My new address is:

Myron dela Paz
PO Box 358
Araneta Center Post Office
Cubao, Quezon City 1135
Republic of the Philippines

I just moved PO boxes since this post office is closer and easier to get to. The one at the UP was quite far - 30 minutes one way!

Oh, by the way, yes, the PO box number is the same as the old one. Hope you don't get confused. And don't worry; I have the key to my old PO box until December, so that gives us all enough time to adjust and no mails will be "lost."

Thanks and happy collecting!


Thanks to Juned, I received six nice covers from Indonesia, two of which were FDCs!

This first cover has on it a set celebrating the 17th Indonesian national games, which were held 5 to 17 July this year in the province of East Kalimantan. The Indonesian National Games, also known as PON (Pekan Olahraga Nasional), began in 1948 when Indonesia was not allowed to play at the London Olympics in the same year. In an effort to proclaim the existence of the Indonesian state, which gained its independence only three years prior, and in order to boost nationalism and nation unity among the citizenry, these games were established.

Just like the Olympics, they are now held every four years. The first three were quite sporadic and were held in 1948, 1951, and 1953. Starting in 1957, it was held every four years until 1996, when the interval between the last games (1993) and the 1996 games was only three years. Now, they are in line with the Olympics schedule. Must be tiring for Indonesia's athletes, eh? PON in July and then the Olympics three weeks later!

As you can see, the stamps are all circular. Just wanted to comment that Indonesia seems fond of issuing odd-shaped stamps such as triangles and trapezoids, and especially circles!

This next cover is for your gastronomical delight!

Perhaps it was the international trading route between continents that affected the various traditional foods found in Indonesia. India, Chinese, Arabian and European have introduced many recipes as well as cooking techniques that assimilated with traditional indigenous foods. Moreover, this culinary richness is supported by vast natural resources in Indonesia that yielded assorted ingredients and spices.

As an effort to preserve and promote culinary heritage of Indonesia, the stamp series of Indonesian Traditional Foods issued this year features traditional foods of four provinces, namely Sate Bandeng from Banten, Kaledo from Central Sulawesi, Ayam Cincane from East Kalimantan, and Nasi Lemak from Riau.

Nasi Lemak is a traditional food of Malay people. This kind of food can also be found in Malaysia and Singapore. Nasi Lemak is cooked using pandan leaf, which gives off a peculiarly delicious taste. Usually, it is served with boiled egg, cucumber, fried river fish and chili sauce.

Kaledo is a kind of soup with a deliciously sour and hot taste. Literally, the name Kaledo is an acronym from "donggala cow leg." This food is made of cow bone with marrow and some flesh still intact. The distinctive taste of this soup comes from fresh tamarind, its main ingredient. Accompanied by fried garlic, lime and chili sauce, Kaledo is served with rice or boiled cassava.

Sate Bandeng differs from typical grilled meat or chicken on a stick. This kind of food is grilled using champ made from bamboo trunk. Sate Bandeng is made of crushed fresh milkfish meat, which is removed from the skin, ground, and stuffed into the skin again to give the illusion that the fish is still whole. This food is served best with rice.

Ayam Cincane is a food with a deliciously sweet and rather spicy taste. Usually, it is made of whole fresh chicken. Together with coconut milk and other spices, the chicken is cooked until it becomes dry. After being grilled thoroughly, this side dish is ready for serving with rice.

Indonesian cuisine, anyone?

Next up we have an FDC that celebrates the 21st Asian International Stamp Exhibit, which was held at the Taipei World Trade Center in Taiwan, 7 to 11 March earlier this year. (Pictures of the event can be found here.)

I guess the exhibit had a nature-related theme as most of the stamps that I have seen that feature it all show birds and other animals. This issue from Indonesia shows flowers and birds. The Singapore issue shows rats (or mice?), and the Philippine issue shows birds. The next Asian International Stamp Exhibit is coincidentally being held in Jakarta this month, as you can see from the logo at the lower center. I wish I could go, but I'll be in China for the whole duration of the exhibition! I wonder when it will be held in Manila.......

These next covers below are very special to me because they are of my favorite themes: independence/nationalism and conservation!

National awakening was the era of the rise of nationalism and the spirit of struggling towards Indonesian independence previously framed in primordial outlook. This awareness emerged as a result of ethical politics. It is an idea about moral responsibilities of colonial government towards native welfare. The era was marked by two significant events, namely the establishment of Budi Utomo organization and the conduct of Youth Congress which resulted a declaration of the "Sumpah Pemuda" (Youth Pledge).

Th The establishment of Budi Utomo on May 20 1908 in Jakarta marked the initial era of nationalism awareness among Indonesian people. As a first Indonesian nationalist organization pioneered by STOVIA (School Tot Opleiding Van Inlandsche Artsen) students, it was aimed at building harmonious relations between all fellow nation elements by improving education, agriculture, commerce, and culture sectors; as well as raising the dignity of Indonesia as an honored nation through unity towards freedom. This organization was formerly centralized among Javanese, Sundanese, and Madurans, who were expected to be able pay attention to and improve the fate of local citizens, yet in its development, Budi Utomo was no longer exclusive but welcomed everyone to join the organization disregarding status, wealth, or education background.

Budi Utomo had several leadership changes, among of them came from upper class families or noble people from the royal palace. At that time, Douwes Dekker, an Indonesian of Dutch descent, supported the Indonesian struggle and started to introduce political practice into real action. As a result, discourse of Indonesia as a sovereign homeland was gaining acceptance and understanding from local citizens.

The era of nationalist politics had grown by the establishment of Indische Partij in 1912 as the first political party in the colonial era in Jakarta. The culmination point of Indonesian national awareness was the declaration of Sumpah Pemuda (Youth Pledge) on Youth Congress II on October 28 1928 in Jakarta.

Indonesian nationalism that was born a century ago and later had inspired other Asian and African Countries to struggle for justice and self-determination as honorable countries. At present, the spirit of national unity is facing as dreadful new challenge known as global capitalism, which is penetrating politics and the economy. In order to revitalize the spirit of nationalism of Indonesian people in facing the heavy challenge, the President announced the launch of the Indonesia Awakening program, which lasted for a year-long period which started on May 20, 2006 with the slogan "Indonesia Bisa!" in commemorating 100 Years of National Awakening on May 20, 1928. The program is expected to build the sense of pride in the Indonesian people and to give them the determination to be a part of new struggle for a better nation.

Although this argument is contested by some, we all know that the world is experiencing climate change, the most evident of which is the rise in global temperature. This pheomenon has been attributed to excessive amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission and other anthropogenic activities. As such, campaigns have been introduced worldwide in order to address the issue through mitigation and adaptation.

This beautiful issue from Pos Indonesia, issued on World Environment Day (June 5), serves as a testament to Indonesia's CO2 kickback campaign. It promotes bicycle riding (a form of mitigation that results from less CO2 emissions from cars) and planting (a form of adaptation since plants take in the extra CO2 that we emit). The slogan for the campaign is "Ubah Perilaku dan Cegah Pensemaran Lingkungan," or "Change Behavior and Stop Environmental Pollution."

I just hope that people actually listen to the campaign to decrease CO2 emissions and that these campaign materials, which have made it to the world of philately, are not issued in vain. Sadly, in the Philippines, almost every educated person knows about the environmental problems we face, but it seems no one cares. The mindset eminent in these parts is "to each his own," so no one really cares for the environment as much. I have observed people use styrofoam and plastic cups and rev up their cars as if there were no tomorrow, and seeing how things are going, maybe there won't be.



Ni hao! Here's a registered cover from Hong Kong with the set issued 8.8.08 to commemorate Hong Kong’s very special honour of co-hosting the equestrian events, and to mark this glorious milestone in the sports achievement of the island city.

Developed over a long history, Equestrian sports are elegant yet competitive and emphasize unique understanding and perfect partnership between the rider and the horse. It was officially included in the Olympic Games in 1900. Equestrian sports are one of the very few sports in which men and women compete on equal terms in the same event. Three equestrian disciplines, namely Jumping, Dressage and Eventing, in addition to a victory scene are displayed on this set of stamps.

This particular cover was sent on 08 September, exactly one month after the date of issue, and bears two $1.80 definitive stamps as well.


Another cover from Israel, not much philatelic value here, but I just felt like showing it since the stamp on the upper right hand corner is quite curious. It's part of a 4v set issued on 17 Dec 06 to celebrate Philately Day, but what is the connection between fashion and philately? Sure, you can probably think one up, but it doesn't really exist, does it?

Anyhow, the stamps celebrate the evolution of fashion in Eretz Israel/Yisrael from 1882 to 2005. The stamp here is the last chronologically.

A factual tidbit here: The phrase Eretz Israel refers to the Land of Israel, which in modern times is the Jewish homeland to be established in the general area of Palestine. In Ottoman Turkish times, Eretz Yisrael and Eretz Hakodesh (the Holy Land) were used to designate the area surrounding Jerusalem and including areas from the Litani river in the north to modern Eilat. Under the British mandate, Eretz Yisrael came to designate the area of the Mandate.



Here is a new cover from Chile, the long narrow strip of land on the coast of South America!

Unfortunately, the stamps were not franked and the postmark was placed only on the envelope. I find this rather curious as the purpose of a postmark is to cancel the stamps to avoid future use.....

The stamp on the top is one of a 4v set "100 Años de la Reserva Nacional Malleco" issued on 20 Nov 07. The set shows landscapes of the Malleco national reserve and in the small boxes on the lower right hand corner of the stamps, they feature flora and fauna that are probably found in the area. In the stamps shown here, we have pine trees and what seems to be a fox.

The emblem on the stamp and on the attached vignette is the logo of Conaf, or the Corporacion Nacional Forestal, the Chilean National Forestry Corporation, which is responsible for administrating forest policies in Chile and in charge of promoting the development of Chile's national forests.

The stamp on the bottom is also part of a 4v set that showcases the town of Chillán, which will be hosting the 20th Women's World Cup in November until December. A more detailed account on the stamps from Eric Contesse (thanks Eric, hope you don't mind!):
With these four stamps, the Post of Chile has reminded that Chillán was a very important cultural and artistic town but also that it was located in the heart of a rich agricultural region (bottom left stamp). The stamp in the upper left shows one of the characteristic monuments of the city, its modern style cathedral built in 1939, just after a terrible earthquake. Its monumental cross peaks at nearly 40 meters high !
The stamp in the upper right represents one of the two famous murals ("From Mexico to Chile") in the Mexico school, painted between 1941 and 1942 by Mexican artists Siqueiros and Guerrero. The last stamp shows various local craft objects.
The central part of the four stamps shows a ball with the new municipal stadium "Nelson Oyarzun" of Chillán, renovated for the occasion.
Also, more information on the stamps is available from the Correos de Chile website.

I find the round sticker on the cover very interesting and wonder if it is officially printed and designated for use by Correos de Chile. Does anyone know? This label is quite different from the more formal labels issued by other postal administrations....



Hello again! I haven't been able post lately as I've been so busy, but thankfully this week I'll have a little more time to myself so I can update this blog with recent additions to my cover collection.

The cover below is one I received quite some time ago, in June if my memory serves me right. I saw it while rummaging through my collection earlier today and I thought it would be interesting to show it off since I think it's a pretty neat cover.

Here we have a registered FDC showcasing meteorological phenomena. Anyone who has ever gazed at the sky in wonder will often find something of interest. Be it a funny-shaped cloud or a rainbow, there is always spectacular about the the vast sea of blue above us. But sometimes there are things we do not see because we never have the time to look up at the sky and wait or simply because such phenomenon never happen where we live. According to the Poczta Polska website, "there are also many meteorological phenomena that may pass unwatched for us, and sometimes it is simply worth to look at the sky to see something beautiful and unusual." And perhaps this is why Poczta Polska issued this enchanting set.

Meteorology is a branch of science that investigates the atmospheric phenomena. Based on the results of measurements of the main parameters (such as the air temperature, humidity, pressure, and wind speed) and data provided by the radars, air probes, and satellites, we can analyze meteorological wonders. Meteorology plays a vital role for the different sectors of a country's economy, as in agriculture, for example, in order to avoid the catastrophic crops losses, or simply in flight control.

Meteorological phenomena can be subdivided into the following groups: hydrometeors (rain, hail, frost, tornado), lithometeors (dust or sand blizzards or whirls), photometeors (halo, rainbow, mirage), and electrometeors (storm, lightning, aurora borealis).

Each group is represented by one stamp. The hydrometeors are represented by the tornado, the lithometeors by the sand blizzard, the photometeors by the rainbow, and the electrometeor by the streaks of lightning.

Tornadoes, which are quite common in the dust bowl in the American Midwest, are huge, funnel-shaped whirls of air and liquefied water vapor that reach up to the clouds and spin at enormous speeds, sometimes reaching up to 400 kph! If they touch the ground, they wreck everything in their way and leave the areas through which they pass completely devastated.

Sand blizzards, which I believe are inexistent in the Philippines, are waves of sand carried up into the air by strong, hot winds. I have yet to experience one myself.

Rainbows are arches of diffracted sunlight. They are the result of refraction, diffraction and the total internal reflection of solar rays in the small raindrops in the atmosphere. They are visible only if the sun shines from behind of the observer and is sufficiently low (less than 40 degrees) above the horizon.

Lightning, which I guess it the most common of all the four, is an atmospheric electric discharge born in the high rainclouds. It is the result of great temperature gradient and the strong wind. Lightning is actually an electric spark which neutralizes the difference in charge between the cloud and the earth or between two individual clouds.

An odd thing that I noticed about the stamps, though, is that if you take a look at the rainbow stamp, the sky is darker on the left of the rainbow than it is on the right. I have seen rainbows before, but never with the sky having different shades on each side!

The FDC cancel was meant to mimic the funnel shape of a tornado, but I only figured that out when I read about it on the website. I like the stamps and the envelope, but I don't think they were able to pull it off with the cancel!


My first cover from Mexico! Funny how I knew so many Mexicans when I lived back in the States, but never asked them to send me a cover or some stamps from the country south of the border. Anyway, I was very happy to find this in my PO box because, not only is it from Mexico, but it also has a stamp on one of my favorite themes: archeology!

The large stamp on the right shows an iconic landmark in Mexico, Monte Albán. Besides being one of the earliest cities of Mesoamerica, Monte Albán's importance stems also from its role as the pre-eminent Zapotec socio-political and economic center for close to a thousand years. Founded at around 500 BC, by ca.100 BC-AD 200 Monte Albán had become the capital of the Zapotec, who dominated much of the Oaxacan highlands and interacted with other Mesoamerican regional states such as Teotihuacan to the north . The city had lost its political pre-eminence by ca. AD 500-750 and soon thereafter was largely abandoned. Small-scale reoccupation, opportunistic reutilization of earlier structures and tombs, and ritual visitations marked the archaeological history of the site into the Colonial period.

The stamp to the right is a definitive that is part of the series "Creación Popular," or "Popular/Manmade? Creations." It shows a laquered wood trunk, which was probably adopted from the Chinese during the Galleon trade that passed through Mexico during Spanish colonization.

As you can see from the cancel, the Servicio Postal Mexicano uses a large rectangular postmark that isn't very clear. Maybe they didn't have the philatelist's best interest in mind?

Also, I wonder what the curious red blotch is for. It looks like it was applied with a rubber stamp, but why? Does anyone know what it is for?


Here is a rather thoughtful cover from sent from Dresden, Germany, although I admittedly do not know the sender personally since I received this as part of a circuit. I say it is thoughtful because it has three of the four greetings stamps issued by Germany (two were issued 7 Feb and the other two on 8 May) for its contribution to the Europa CEPT series, which this year has the theme of letter writing. According to the Desutshe Post website, these stamps wre issued because they express the true purpose of writing a [personal] letter, which is that of greeting the recipient.

In this case, the sender greets me "Danke = Thanks," "Alles Gute! = Wishing you well!," and "Herzliche Grüße = Cordial Greetings." I wish the same for you too, sender.

As for the cheerful designs, they are those of American pop art artist James Rizzi.


Here is a cover from Spain with stamps that feature traditional games from two regions in Spain, Valencia and the Basque country. The stamps the the right shows the game "Pelota Vasca," or "Basque Ball" (funny how it sounds like "basketball"). Since I'm not the best when it comes to explaining the rules of a game, I'll leave it to Correos de España whose website reads:

The Pelota Vasca (Basque ball) is mostly placed in the Basque country, Navarra and La Rioja. The handball variety is extended throughout the country. The game takes place in a court called “frontón” where the players, one or two from each team, stand in the statutory places to serve according to the lots drawn. The player who serves stands some metres behind the start line and runs up to the line, bounces the ball and hits it with his hand towards the wall of the “frontón”. The player from the opposite team hits the ball when it bounces back and this goes on successively until one of the players misses the ball. Depending on the different varieties of the game, the teams scores according to the regulation.
The stamp on the left shows the game "Pelota Valenciana," or "Valencia Ball." Here is a description of that game:
The Pelota Valenciana is a similar game as those played in other countries and Spanish regions and its origins go back to the medieval times. It was played by the nobility and lower classes in the streets or indoors and reached its height during the Renaissance. Later on it was abandoned until the XIX century, when it became a deeply-rooted game of the Valencia region. The Pelota Valenciana is played in the streets and in trinquets (indoor court fields), where two teams of one or a couple of players are opposed face-to-face in different sides of the court and throw each other the ball with their hands until a foul takes place in the opposite field.
From my understanding, the difference between the two games is that the Basque variety is played against the wall and the Valencia variety is played on a court similar to a tennis court (without the net?). The wikipedia article on the game is quite vague, but is seems that the "Pelota" or "Pilota" is a type of ball game (by the way, "pelota" means "ball") that has different varieties from region to region. Perhaps the Basque and Valencia ones are the most popular in Spain or the most representative of all the varities?


Here we have a cover sent from Heykel-Bursa, Turkey, on 31 July and received and received five weeks later on 5 September! Mail from Turkey to the Philippines takes very long to arrive! Unfortunately, the Turkish Postal Service website is only available in Turkish and I couldn't track down the page for philately, if it even exists.

The three stamps on the left hand side feature Zonguldak, an important port on the Black Sea known for its coal mines. Apparently, the design in one of eight in the definitives series entitled "The Cities" issued 28 May 08. Its denomination, 5 Yeni Kurus, is the lowest in the series.

The stamp on the upper right hand corner is one in a series of two issued to celebrate Saint Valentine's Day. Appropriately, the stamps were released on 14 Feb 08. Considering that it's already October, this stamp is a bit overdue, don't you think?