I Dream of Santorini

Manila Bulletin, May 4, 2008 | Go to article overview

I Dream of Santorini


Pinoy Meets World

Part of this dream is Miriam Quiambao, one of the universe's most beautiful faces. She embarked on an exciting trip around Greece - from carefully planned Athens to mother nature's masterpiece that is Santorini. This trip to Greece was part of Pinoy Meets World, a travel show that started in June 2006 with Miriam and Paolo Bediones as hosts, and has gone to many places around the world. "What I like about the show is that it immerses its hosts into the culture of the country," says Miriam, returning to the show after a one-year hiatus. "They're not just tourists," she adds. On some occasions they have to live with a family, taking part in the daily activities of locals, getting to know the culture through food, dance, and even traditional costumes.

For this specific adventure, Miriam was introduced to a charming Greek man named Nikolas D'Arzentas, who is also the director of tourism in Santorini. With Nikolas, Miriam toured the city like a local, taking note of the nuances of each cultural element. Through food, dance, and music, she found herself enjoying the Greek way of life. "We checked out this small church so pure, so white and seemingly innocent form outside, but once we went in, we were astounded (by) the details inside. There was a lot of gold, there were al frescoes, paintings, and chandeliers, and the contrast with the simplicity of the white walls outside was just amazing," Miriam shares.

Another interesting part of the trip was a donkey ride from the city of Fira to the port. Donkeys were used in the old times as the sole means of transportation, since carts could not possibly pass through the narrow streets of the city. They were used to transport people and goods. Perhaps the highlight of the trip was a trip to the volcano, which is the main feature of Santorini. "It's very similar to Taal volcano where they have the volcano in the middle with seven small craters, and the whole thing is actually a crater, so the island is a mountain with a big ridge that we call the caldera, or the edge of the crater," she says. "We took a ferry to get to the volcano and we got on top of the island to check out the craters, and in the end we watched the sunset. It was, by all means, romantic," Miriam dreamily recalls.

The story of the caldera

The main feature of Santorini is the crescent shape of the island that came about from activity of the volcano in prehistoric times. This huge eruption dates back 3,600 years (the Bronze age) after which mild eruptions continued to the present and eventually formed the two small islands within the caldera called Palea and Nea Kemeni.

Weather

"It's sunny in Santorini", says Miriam, recalling the 16-20 degree weather that greeted her when she arrived in the country. Weather in Santorini is typical of the Mediterranean, which has generally extended periods of sunshine throughout most of the year with relatively warm and dry summers, and mild rainy winters. …

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