Welcome. Merhaba. Benvenuto.

 

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I love the ocean. I love the mountains. I love coffee. I love chocolate. I love Ayran. I love vegetables. I love Greek food. I love Nutella…and peanut butter. I love scarves, skinny jeans and boots. I love shorts, flipflops and sarongs. I am a bohemian I would like to think…eclectic in so many different ways.

I love to travel. I love Italy, Turkey, Morocco, India, Canada, of course, and so many more places I have visited and have yet to visit. 

I am passionate. I am sensitive. I am deep. I am thoughful. I am intuitive. I am confident. I am pensive. I am funny. I am beautiful. I am strong. I am determined.

I love airports. I love coffee shops. I love mountain villages. I love the beach. I love Fiats 500s and Vespas. I love postcards. I love silver jewelry. I love short hair. I love my iPhone 6.

I am a fighter. I am compassionate. I am an advocate. I am all of these and more.

Simply put, I love life. And with this same love, I choose to photograph people, places and situations around me.

Love. Travel. Life. This is me. In a nutshell.

Have a look around my site. I have some travel galleries and blog posts in the links at the top.  

I hope you enjoy what you see and are inspired to see more of our beautiful world. xx

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FOR MORE INFO ON MY TRAVEL EXPERIENCES, VISIT FOLLOWYOURHEARTTOURS.COM

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ABOUT MY NGO ADVOCACY AND GIVING BACK THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY, VISIT PHOTOGSFORACAUSE.ORG

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A room with a view || Mumbai, India - Travel Photographer

 Taken out a small window while having afternoon tea at the Taj Palace Hotel in Mumbai.

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The Arabian Sea near the Gateway of India, Mumbai, India

An Afternoon Stroll || Italy Travel Photographer

An afternoon stroll..

 Siena, Tuscany, Italy

Blogging can be a daunting thing, like cleaning out the storage shed || Travel Photographer & NGO Advocate

Right? I mean really..who LONGS for cleaning out that storage room or shed that you continually stuff into and hope it won’t explode the next time you open the door?

I kind of think of blogging like that daunting task: I think about blogging often. More than I ACTUALLY blog.

Let’s get real…it’s time consuming. And how do i know what to blog, day in an day out? And WRITE about???

So instead of feeling bad for NOT blogging and feeling overwhelmed WITH blogging as i have know blogging to be, I have decided to do blogging differently from today on.

I am going to do my best to post one simple photo. maybe it will happen every day. maybe it won’t. maybe it will have words. maybe it won’t. And sometimes I will blog more in depth or stories or specific topics and sessions.

But today I begin. A simple photo. :)

 Makati City, Philippines

Magic flying carpets || Turkey Travel Photographer

Well they don’t have REAL magic flying carpets…but they DO have flying carpets…read on…

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Tucked away just off the Hippodrome in Istanbul is this grand building which houses not only NAKKAS carpets but an underground cistern from centuries past.

The art of Turkish carpets and the craftsmanship is seen throughout the many gallery show rooms of NAKKAS

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As you are served turkish coffee or tea, a carpet presentation, featuring “flying” carpets commences…

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And right before you are presented carpets from all sorts of different eras and carpets that are new and very old. It’s one of my favorite things to watch - the flying carpet shows. :)

Then they bring out the reeeeeeeeally expensive ones - like this small 11x14 inch silk carpet whose stitching is amazing and so very small as you can see…

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This small piece can be yours for only $35,000, they say with a smile.

Its at this point I am always tempted to say, Let me just see if I brought enough cash. But I refrain and giggle to myself at my smart pants-ness :)

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 But in all seriousness, to have one of these ecsquisite carpets would truly be amazing.

You can get not so luxurious carpets sold on most corners in the old city…some cheap, some not so cheap. 

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And some are just thrown on the side of the street for I dont know why…maybe to clean? Maybe to toss?


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But I simply brought home little faux carpet bookmarks and pouches….taking a memory of the beauty of Turkey’s magical flying carpets. ;)

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Join us this fall as we journey through the old villages of Turkey…a photographer’s dream!

My Lovely Manila, Part 2 || As featured in Wanderer Magazine Online

Manila is so diverse. It has areas that remind you that you are in the tropics, areas that remind you that you are in the Philippines, and even areas that remind you of North America.

The first post of MY LOVELY  MANILA preceeds today’s post. Let me take you again to some places that are jewels in this bustling metropolis…

PINTO ART MUSEUM

Located just on the east edge of Metro Manila is the city of Antipolo. The easiest way is to go east on Ortigas Ave and the signs will lead you to Antipolo.

Nestled up in the hills, is this amazing art museum. Like nothing I have seen. Art installations and other amazing pieces are throughout the grounds and buildings. The grounds themselves are absolutely breathtaking and just taking a break from the hustle of the city and enjoying the treed grounds is just what is sometimes needed.

 
 
 
 
 
For more information about schedules and maps and all the juicy details, check out their facebook page:
 
PINTO ART MUSEUM on Facebook

RONAC ART CENTER

Back in the city, nearby Greenhills, San Juan lies an art center like no other. 
 

Cafes, Retail shops, Art galleries and even a huge state of the art indoor basketball court are some of the enticing features of Ronac Art Center.

 
 
 
 
MALABON CITY

One of the 17 cities of Metro Manila is Malabon. Located on the west side of the metro along the coastline, this city is know for it’s flooding, informal settlers and poverty on a whole.
 
What happens though when you dig a little deeper, try and find the hidden gems of a once-thriving city?
 
You find things you would never imagine.
 
 
The city of Malabon has one of the biggest population of old style spanish style houses in all of the Metro. As you drive around some of the streets near the city proper, you will be amazed at all the beauty you see…
 
 
 
 



To see the intricate detail still intact is amazing!

 
We found this treasure of a home…and after a little conversation with the dwellers, they let us in to take in her beauty up close. Inside was as though we had gone back in history.
 
 
As well there are old churches that exude beauty inside and out.
 
And then hidden away behind gates on a busy street we came across an artist whose home also housed his personal galleries. Angel C. Cacnio, or Kuya Angel as we fondly called him, is an artist/painter who work of capturing the lives of Filipinos is absolutely captivating.
 

 
Kuya Angel’s work has not only been sold around the country and world, but his art has also been in the hands of many Filipinos.
 
How? He designed a few faces of the peso bills of the Philippine Currency.
 



 
 
Inside of his gallery we passed through and noticed that he was about to eat lunch…while working on a latest piece..He was so gracious to have us visit, even during lunch. :)
 
 
 
As he toured us through his amazing residence and grounds, everywhere we looked, there was art of some kind..some his, some other artists. It was so refreshing.
 
 
Truly it was an honor that we “happened upon” this treasure. Malabon became one of my favorite places to wander, to discover, to love that day.
 
 
To view more of Kuya Angel’s work, visit his facebook page:
 
Angel Cacnio on Facebook.
 
Well that concludes the second part of MY LOVELY MANILA series. 

Manila is a wonderment. And full of life and life that is waiting to be discovered if you give it the time and patience. 

It’s absolutely worth the treks, the traffic, the crowdedness…Manila is a beauty in her own. It’s all in the eyes of the beholder.

Come visit our Manila, if you have never been. Or rediscover her if you already live here. I surely will continue to, and will share my findings in the upcoming MY LOVELY MANILA series.

xotracey

My Lovely Manila - Part 1, as featured on WANDERER MAGAZINE || Manila, Philippines

Over at the WANDERER MAGAZINE site we featured the 1st of a two part series, MY LOVELY MANILA.

Here’s the article for you to enjoy…it will intrigue you, am sure, and consider visiting this metropolis while in Asia next time. :)

Manila.

For many, they think over-populated, smoggy, congested, which is pretty true.

But Manila is ALSO alive, beautiful, and a place I am so thrilled to called “home”.As a person who has had the privilege of traveling and living in many places, one of the things that I love most is living in cities…big cities. Why?

Because the excitement and culture of a city can be found and it’s impossible to ever get bored!

So come along with me as I show you a Manila that you may, or may not, know of.

She’s lovely. And she’s My Manila. :)


MAKATI & THE WEEKEND MARKETS

Almost every weekend in Makati City, there is a weekend market on the Saturday & Sunday. Two different markets - Salcedo Saturday Market and Legaspi Sunday Market. Both are opened early at 8am until about 2pm.

Each has a different flavor. The Saturday market has lots of food…lots! While the Sunday market has lots of artisans…and an organic produce market as well!

Find more info online about each market at:

Saturday Salcedo Community Market - https://www.facebook.com/SalcedoMarket‎




Getting around Manila is pretty easy but nuts - Jeepneys, below are everywhere and can take you most places…but because they are cheap to ride and a ton of them, and a ton of people who ride them, it can be an experience to say the least! But one MUST ride one at least once!

 
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While Makati is known as the Central Business District, it does have lots of malls, restaurants and even the Ayala Museum, that will give you some amazing history about our country and there is usually a great exhibit on to avail of as well.

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As you can see, the high rises look out over the surrounding areas of Makati and beyond. It’s very breathtaking really.

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INTRAMUROS

One cannot visit Manila without visiting our beloved Intramuros. As the original city of Manila way back, Intramuros still houses some government buildings, as well as a ton of schools and colleges and, of course, there is lots for the tourist to see.


Going on Carlos Celdran’s WALK THIS WAY tour is a must. From the animated, theatrical presentation, to seeing the old Fort Santiage, all the way to riding a kalesa and eating some halo-halo,
Carlos’ ability to paint a gorgeous, and real, picture of our Manila is amazing.



Visit his site for updated schedules of his tours at www.carlosceldran.com

CHINATOWN/BINONDO

One of my favorite places to visit in Metro Manila is definitely Chinatown, or Binondo area. Said to be the biggest Chinatown in the world, Binondo’s streets are filled with almost everything you can imagine. 

Going down ONGPIN STREET will keep your stomach satisfied with all of it’s food options! (Filipinos love eating!!)


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You will always see kalesas, trikes and people as well as stalls of food and other treasures that you can take home with you!

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WAWA DAM

Let’s go out of the city about 30 minutes to a spot where you can get away from the hussle of the Metro and take in some nature.

Wawa Dam is located around Rodriguez, Rizal, and you can hike around the dam, swim if you want to get cooled off, and slow down to rural life speed. It’s truly a breath of fresh air. Literally. :)

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CUBAO X

What used to be a shoe hub is now a hipster hang-out and has some of the coolest shops and restaurants around, Cubao X is so easy to access, as it’s just at Araneta Center off of EDSA Rd.

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MAGINHAWA STREET

Not far from Cubao X, is a street with some more restaurants and shops that cater to the University Belt close by.

One of my favorite places was visiting Jetro’s restaurant, Van Gogh is Bipolar. Jetro has turned his home into a restaurant and cooks all the meals himself. Being diagnosed many years ago with Bi-polar he learned how food plays a huge part of moods. With this he developed his menu, that sometimes changes depending on, well, the day, and it is amazing. And Jetro and his eclectic abode/restaurant is simply amazing as well.



Manila - She is strange, unique, artistic, classy, bizarre, and wonderful. And she is home…for now. :)

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Culinary & Wine Tour through Umbria & Tuscany || Follow Your Heart Travel Tours

Imagine this with me for a moment….

You will be picked up at the Rome Airport and whisked away to our home-base in Spello, Umbria where we will be staying in a 4-star agriturismo, or Italian Farmhouse.

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Three personalized cooking lessons by Cristiana, a native Umbrian Culinary Extraordinaire will take place while we are in Umbria. We will also have several special outings during our 6 days together: wine tasting in a couple of delightful vineyards, visiting a cheese factory and of course, truffle hunting.

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We will be chauffered in our own private coach from destination to destination, by our Italian English speaking guide, Max (also Cristiana’s husband), who has been showing the world his beloved country for over 2 decades.

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(our hosts cristiana & max)

Join us this coming June 8-13, 2014 on a tasty tour through Italy’s gorgeous countryside as we eat and drink and enjoy our way through the rolling hills and medieval villages of what is known as Tuscany & Umbria.

Contact us through www.followyourhearttours.com for more details on this delicious tour!

the maxwells || family lifestyle portraiture, manila, philippines

i love when i get asked to do portraits of people and they ask me to be creative. it’s always fun, too, to have a filipino theme to them. i mean we ARE living here in the philippines. :)

i dont do many missionary family portraits here…but there is something beautiful about the dynamics of one.

so when a missionary family who are teachers/principal at faith academy, asked me to do their family photos before christmas, AND they were beautiful to boot, how could i resist??

roberta went to school with jonathan, so she is an MK (missionary kid) and her husband trevor grew up in kenya, also an MK. along with their 3 gorgeous girls, this MK family is working with MKs here in the philippines. so cool, right?

we started off with some buko and a sari-sari store…cuz that’s the norm here. :)

 
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 then we headed to the jeepney terminal nearby…cuz that is TRULY pinoy at it’s best! :)

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and of course we ended at the place they spend a good part of their lives at - faith academy!

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it was a fun afternoon…and family photos should ALWAYS be about fun :)

xotracey

Wanderer Magazine - Second Issue || Online Travel Magazine

Last October I forgot to post that my second issue of WANDERER was released! So here it is…and at the end of THIS month, our 3rd issue will be released! 

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The cover photo and main article were by a fantastic landscape photographer from Vancouver Island, Canada, Carrie Cole…she and I also went to high school in Sidney, BC together - small world!

Also award-winning and world-renowned celebrity photographer, Bob Davis‘ work was featured in this issue’s VENICE feature.

Enjoy the magazine - it is DOUBLE our first issue. Full of gorgeous destinations. Full of breathtaking photography. Just plain full of wanderlust goodness. :)

xotracey

TRACEY'S MONTHLY PHOTO CONTEST!

Who doesn’t like prizes? I know I do. I seldom win contests but when I do…oh boy, am I ever excited! Even when it could be as simple as a chocolate bar! Hahahah!

To start off the new year, I am having a photo contest every month on the blog. It’s open to anyone in Metro Manila (sorry far away friends!) And there is always a cool prize to be won!

We will have a new theme every month.

For December our pre-kick off month, we asked to show us your “best travel photo”. What a treat that was!

Then for January, it was “your favorite thing”. February was “Philippine Festivals”

THIS MONTH’S THEME? “The best thing about summer”!

With summer just around the corner here in the Philippines, this ought to get us inspired!! 

This month’s prize is donated by: TOSHIBA!

HOW TO ENTER?

Simply capture it and message it to my Facebook page - Tracey L Heppner Photography on Facebook - and at the end of the month, myself along with some other photographers will judge them, based on content, creativity and simply making an awesome photo.

 So start clicking and get your photos uploaded. (Oh, no more than 3 uploads per person!)

xotracey