Tuesday, December 18, 2012

retreating back to hoan kiem lake

because things are insanely happening all at once these days and i still yet to find the correct road for me to become a prolific planner, i just need to press the upright equal sign, which in the normal world, the pause. in this way, i can step back and gather enough push to go on!

with this conceived turmoil, i want to think some of the events that transpired during my precious days when i had completely detached from my everyday routine. these rare events that i locked up in pieces inside my mind and retrieve them once in a while. oh, how i wish i could be accurate as the "pensieve" in harry potter! i seriously need a memory booster!

anyway, my northern vietnam itinerary post was kept hanging for quite some time now and rightfully, i'm fetching my memory on how the hoan kiem lake was so serene and peaceful but not eerie, as i would have liked to imagine since i'm not really at my best in the water.

Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, Vietnam

Monday, December 10, 2012

happy thoughts on jurong bird park

my unperturbed life lately, has been in a constant challenge of losing its equilibrium. this rare phenomena happened because for the first two weekends of december, i was out socially -- in the midst of people, who came across at some point in my life. but i'm just as glad that another set of wonderful memories unfolded to me during the most celebrated month of the year, december!

this brings me to a realization that december is a lean month for me on blogging because of social demands in life. another perfect excuse for my dearth in blogging!

moving on, 2012 has been a good year for me and before i'd entertain the thought of it leaving us behind, i'll get back to its month of august.

The Foliage at the Entrance of Jurong Bird Park
The Foliage at the Entrance of Jurong Bird Park

Thursday, November 29, 2012

itinerary: hanoi and halong, vietnam

i headed to northern vietnam early this month and the weather that time had started to get cooler which i love! i was supposed to go during a long weekend in august but i had a lot of apprehensions that time, considering my dough was at its utmost scarcity. i was also a bit scared when the posted weather in those months would mean chances of typhoons and needless to say but i say it anyway, northern vietnam likely equates to halong bay. although news can sometimes be downright horrible, as human as i am, reading news about boats that sunk in the bay slightly deterred my yearning to visit the UNESCO world heritage site.

but i am just glad that i took the leap of faith!

A typical ricefield in Vietnam on our way to Halong Bay
A typical rice field in Vietnam on our way to Halong Bay

i purposely chose an unusual photo for an introduction to northern vietnam because there are already tons of photos of halong bay all over the online world. and i don't want to be predictable.

oh let me cut this vague chase.

Day 1: 10-Nov, Saturday
10:00 Head to Changi Airport Terminal 3 by train
11:30 Check-in Vietnam Airlines VN 662 bound for Nội Bài International Airport in Hanoi
13:25 ETD SIN to HAN
15:35 ETA HAN (UTC +07:00)
~         Head to hotel
17:00 Check-in at Rising Dragon Palace Hotel
~         Arrange Halong Bay Day Tour
18:00 Quick City Tour
        Hoan Kiem Lake
        Book tickets for Water Puppet Show
        Dinner around the lake
20:00 Water Puppet Show at Thăng Long Water Puppet Theatre
21:00 Roam around while heading back to hotel
22:00 Back to hotel

Day 2: 11-Nov, Sunday
06:00 Wake up
07:00 Breakfast at the hotel
08:00 Halong Bay Day Tour pickup
~         Transit to Halong Bay
12:30 Arrival at Halong Bay Tourist port
~         Halong Bay Tour
17:00 End of Tour
~         Head to hotel in Halong
17:15 Check-in at The Ky Moi Hotel
18:00 Roam around the area
        Night Market
        Hang out by the beach
22:00 Head back to hotel

Day 3: 12-Nov, Monday
05:30 Wake up
        Head to the beach for a no-show sunrise
        Roam around the beach
08:00 Head back to hotel
~         Hotel Check-out
08:30 Take a taxi to Bãi Cháy Bus Terminal to Hanoi
08:40 Depart from Halong to Hanoi
~         Commute
        Take a rip off taxi to Rising Dragon Palace Hotel
13:00 Hotel Check-in
        Arrange transport service to the airport
        Lunch at the hotel
14:30 Roam around Hanoi a bit more
        Random places
        St. Joseph Cathedral
        Hoan Kiem Lake by day
        Chase daylight by riding a motorbike
        Circle around an already closed Temple of Literature 
        Hopeless saga to a market for souvenirs
18:30 Not so fast-food dinner at BBQ Chicken
        Buy delicacies
20:00 Back to hotel
        Make use of the strong Wi-fi signal in the lobby
22:00 Sleep

Day 4: 13-Nov, Tuesday
06:30 Wake up
07:30 Breakfast at the hotel
08:30 Head to airport with the arranged car
09:30 Arrival at Nội Bài International Airport
        Last minute souvenir shopping
        Check-in for Vietnam Airlines VN 661 bound for Singapore
        Extended lounging due to a delayed flight
16:00 Back to reality  (UTC +08:00)


Sunday, November 25, 2012

my hometown series: a typical barrio fiesta

having been ruled for about 300 years by the spaniards, some of us may still refer the small unit of government in the philippines as barrio but most of the time today, it's now being referred as a barangay. the traces of the once spanish dominion on our country, have slowly been fading away - save maybe, christianity. with the catholic religion deeply rooted in our culture, each place has its own yearly celebration that either honors Jesus or venerates patron saints.

part of my agenda of taking a brief vacation back home was to celebrate with my family the yearly fiesta celebration in our far-flung little barrio. as my mother has put it, it's a form of thanksgiving for the blessings throughout the year by sharing a feast to everyone, family, friends and even strangers.

Our barrio's little chapel for San Roque (Saint Roch)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

DIY Legoland Malaysia

a long weekend with friday as a holiday is a rare occurrence in this island state. given that its handful of non-working holidays are already plotted in the previous year, i still came down to an obscure goal of what i would have liked to do. my inability to fill these three days with a more carefully planned out jaunt, only showed how i could never be a great planner. i set this ultra pressure upon myself more than anybody in order to keep me going.

spending the three days in the island was something that i couldn't let my fate carve such proposition. it was beyond unacceptable.

over a month prior, i shuffled a few options for a better agenda and i chanced upon this legoland malaysia deal with a 5-star accommodation inclusive. the itinerary was one day in legoland, overnight at the hotel and on the following day, sanrio hello kitty town. i almost gave in to the deal but its strict time-frame shooed me away to sahara desert. to think, i'm always apprehensive about travel deals but it's just me.

Legoland Malaysia
Legoland Malaysia
(Look at those adorable kids making their faces to the camera!)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

in the city of majestic waterfalls - iligan city

after traipsing around cagayan de oro and bukidnon, my friends and i proceeded west bound to visit fame's home city. we did not take advantage on anyone because we're too good to indulge yet again of another free transport; that we took a bus and let the countryside air caress our faces in an hour and a half journey to iligan.

Timuga Falls

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

chasing cebu's sunset

Mactan Old Bridge, Cebu

i recently made a 4-day trip back home and as i was running around the metro for errands and commitments, cebu's glorious sunset caught my eye. i instantly grabbed my camera, brushing aside the heavy flow of the afternoon traffic along the old mactan bridge that has dejectedly one lane per one direction situation.

sunset is also one of the few things that inexplicably bring a certain elation in me. i am particularly biased with this one that this daily occurrence of the setting sun happened in cebu. the remaining rays of the sun for the day, cast over the already crowded city -- probably hoping that a few can take notice its gilded beauty.

cebu may not be at par with infrastructures and convenience, it is somewhere that i would always want to go back and feel all melodramatic as i hold the threads that entwined my life's meaning. these threads personified as family, friends and that significant other. when i feel i'm beginning to be shallow, these lifelines somehow help me to stay grounded. then, everything will be alright.


Friday, October 19, 2012

a little bit of china

i can't fathom why i have this kind of squishy feeling every time i find myself in chinatown in singapore, whether i'm only in the bus while my gaze is set upon the myriad of heritage houses. for sure, it's not the crowd since i tend to shy away from a constraining scenario although finding solace in the midst of people is not far from possible.

Shophouses along South Bridge Road, Chinatown

Monday, October 8, 2012

my travel notes: phuket, thailand

i have written quite a number of posts for phuket even if my experience was only squeezed into one weekend. i just hope i don't sound like a broken record if similar thoughts came trailing in these posts. and with that, i'd like to highlight what it was in me that phuket was like a whirlwind romance, sprinkled with sweet memories that unfortunately had to end quickly.

Aerial View of Phuket
Aerial View of Phuket

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

from phuket international airport to the beach

and vice versa.

where are we going? to the beach! where are we going? ... okay enough of dora's jingle or swiper may ruin the mood. but honestly, there was a point in my life when i used to watch dora the explorer before i would dash for work. haha! and i'd like to end it at that.

Phuket Kata Beach

how far is phuket int'l airport to the beach?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

in the land of pineapples

in the land of pineapples down south of the philippines, there are thousands of pineapples (of course) as far as your eyes can see. everywhere you look, pineapple plants surround you and it will probably make you think you're in pineapple heaven.

and this kind of heaven may not be as far as you think. 

welcome sign bukidnon province

welcome to the province of bukidnon!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

beach bumming in phuket

i realized in my recent posts that i had thrown too many words in a muddle called a blog post  -- which is more than what a short attention span can handle. and it sometimes describes me, the short attention span that is.

so without further ado (there's always joy in using a cliché right?), here are our photos that summarize our indulgence one carefree afternoon and painfully, how the moment faded away with the setting sun.

phuket kata beach

Sunday, September 16, 2012

phuket: half day of island hopping

weekend can be so short for a holiday in the island of phuket. when in fact, there are a lot of things that may go in your agenda that would require more days. may it be lounging on the sun bed for most of the days, partying like crazy through the night, going to nature trips while riding on the mighty elephants and the list goes on. without the feeling of regret and bitterness, our weekend in phuket was a welcome breather nonetheless.

Khai Nok island, Phuket, Thailand
Khai Nok island, Phuket

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

how i survived my first overseas journey

and live to tell the tale. i wasn't born rich nor i am rich now. as a family, we never ventured far from the confines of the beautiful island of cebu while i was growing up. i even crossed the seas for the first time only in my second year in college and that had reached me to zamboanga city where a cousin had his wedding. that was a wow moment for me knowing i had always wanted to see other places and to actually discover new things!

fast forward to the time when i began my slavery for work, i finally got my passport and i then thought it was a significant step towards an exciting experience and a promise where my locked up aspirations may turn into reality. air tickets and the difficult visa would have to come later in order not to ruin the moment. libre lang ang mangarap.

it was five years ago. going out of the country was the least of my concern then because there were still many places that i wanted to visit first in the philippines before attempting to squander a huge amount of money in a foreign land and before my father reprimands me of my superfluous behavior.

but sometimes circumstance would turn into your favor which was exactly what happened to me four years ago. my passport barely a year old then.

Friday, September 7, 2012

phuket a surprising food haven

i bought my lunch today from a thai food stall and that reminded me i have already uploaded my food photos from phuket over a week ago. although i bought a vietnamese dish which was quite ironic by the way, since it was a thai stall, the strong flavor of the lemongrass on my tender beef ushered back the feeling on how i gorged over delectable food that carefree weekend.

Pad Thai Prawn

prior on my phuket trip, i was informed by my cousin how good the food is in phuket and i wasn't surprised knowing that thai food is almost everywhere in the world now, which can only mean one thing, good food.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

cagayan de oro, the city of golden friendship

several posts ago, i made a resolution to recall the places that i had been and come up with decent narratives that could help me in the future when i would only remember the name of the place and grievously, nothing else.

does anyone in the world also share the same problem with me? and if you do one way or another, i can make use a bit of tea and sympathy. thank you.

now let's move on to a more cheerful part! cagayan de oro, the city of golden friendship!

The golden sun in the city of golden friendship!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

itinerary: phuket, thailand on a weekend

last july, i hopped on a plane and took a 2-hour plane ride to southern thailand's phuket island. because i can survive a hectic get-away, i did it on a weekend! eva empathized with me and the two of us then became a tandem that briefly escaped our work life and out into a beach life.

i didn't wholeheartedly lay out any hard core plans for this swift trip because it would stress me out which was the exact opposite of what i wanted. i only booked us one of the chicest accommodation so far ever in my life and researched on our airport transfer to our hotel. the rest of our time was made up of whatever things that came along.

are you plain crazy like us who also want to do phuket on a weekend? here's what we did!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

my travel notes: siem reap, cambodia

it's high time for me to end my narratives about cambodia. it doesn't mean though i'm tired talking about it but i fear that this would become a slow drag towards oblivion. i certainly hope not. i need these posts to fill in the gaps of my short-term memory.

the highlight of our stay in siem reap was the angkor temples and i already came up with a post on my thoughts regarding my experience -- that i wouldn't have to go back and get dizzy in an endless loop.

i'd be writing instead, about the other events that had transpired during the few hours that we weren't out scouring for the centuries old angkor temples.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

singapore's 47th

this year, singapore's 47th national day fell on a thursday, a measly one day short before the weekend. the pictures that i had this day were my sole reminders that it was after all a non-working day and that i had a one day respite before my work week ended.

singapore's national day is every 9th of august, the day they commemorate their freedom from malaysia. so hurrah for 2013, the 9th will fall on a friday!

NDP's Fireworks as seen from The Fullerton Hotel

before i continue on with my photos of my incidental encounter with ndp's fireworks, i'll start first of where i had been at the start of my day.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

the angkor temples in photos part II

my previous post, the part I was supposed to be an array of photos with a few words and less of my usual blabber but it turned out otherwise. i think the font i'm using makes the words appear more in number than the actual count. and seriously, i have come up with such alibi! haha

moving on with part II, here are the temples that we saw during the rest of our day tour.

Banteay Srei Temple aka The Pink Lady Temple

Saturday, August 11, 2012

batam on half a day

indonesia is a large archipelago that some of its islands extend just below singapore and interestingly, on its eastern side, it shares a big chunk of land with papua new guinea. bet you don't know that! but no worries, we're in the same boat! i also didn't know until i keyed in "indonesia" in google map. if you already knew it, good for you. really. there's no hint of bitterness in between these words. haha

well, batam is a tiny island in comparison to indonesia's other big islands and this minuscule island is just one of indonesia's 17,508 islands! yes, seventeen thousand! wow! it is merely a ferry ride away from singapore but quite strange indeed that i was only able to cross the border for indonesia just recently. a very contrasting point blurted out by my indonesian colleague. she said that i chose to fly to a more distant place than to get on a ferry to her country.

Harbour Bay Port, Batam, Indonesia

Thursday, August 9, 2012

hand in hand for metro manila

i have only been to the capital for a very scarce number of 4 times. each of which was very short that spanned for only a few days. nonetheless, its current situation as of this writing does not require someone with a closer relationship, in order to feel its immediate need for relief and like me who's only been there for brief periods, would want to pitch in the best way that i can even if i'm miles away. i hope you do too.

Aerial View of Metro Manila

if only cebu could share its sunshine to the northern part of the country...

aside from this futile imagination, i had done a minute share through red cross philippines' website and it was such a breeze given there are various options to suit your preference and convenience.


we filipinos, certainly can withstand this adversity once again. if you're of different nationality, rest assured there won't be such thing as small help from you. :)


Saturday, August 4, 2012

the angkor temples in photos part I

i don't have the nicest quality in my photos and i could even have the poorest there is since the angkor temples became known to the rest of the world. but then again, these were the very photos where my actual experience that day would forever be stuck in time - not even the professional photos can replace.

it has been my mantra that it would be a different experience if i got to visit a place again. there would be those subtle differences that would make my experience a bit or even entirely distinct from the previous one. plain obvious in my banner. yes, there could already be millions who had done the angkor tour but i'd like to think that my experience was different, since in the first place it's the actual me who was there.

all set and ready for an exciting day ahead with an overused angkor guide booklet in my hand, eva and i started our angkor tour at angkor thom, the last capital city of the khmer empire.

Bayon Temple

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

if i have to do the angkor temples again

no matter how perfect your plan is, there would be those events that you cannot control. although, this wisdom from confucious stuck in my mind after having watched the amazing race 19, "in all things, success depends upon previous preparation, and without such previous preparation, there is sure to be failure."

but sometimes, without the meticulous preparations, things instead can get more exciting and if things go haywire, at least the thought that experience is the best teacher, makes you feel better in the end.

whenever i take on another attempt to gain back my sanity in my routine life, which in simpler terms going to a far away place, i try my best to indulge myself in that place without bringing regrets and negative vibe back to reality. as i always remind myself, it's all about the right perspective.

seeing the angkor wat is one of my most remarkable experiences that i have and probably, i could have in my life. even if i have these notes about my angkor wat excursion, this does not mean i wasn't pleased with it, but only that it could be better the next time around.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

first night, siem reap and a headache

at long last i'm putting down into words how siem reap had me during our scrimpy stay and yet, it was something remarkable on my imaginary going-away-to-places board. i have just realized that travel is such a strong word, loosely used in conversations insinuating self-imposition and transcendence above the average. but it's just me. i may have used the word from time to time but i would like to reserve the word for the people out there who are doing travel beyond the photos; but for the real experience in a different place.

as for me, i'm not even halfway to that nor i seek to be entirely in that direction. wherever life takes me, i'm just writing it down the best that i'm capable of and as frequent as i can.

oops. this is one of the times that i'm overly melodramatic when there are a few drama happening all at once in my life.

or maybe, my first night in siem reap had somehow evoked this fuzzy emotional outburst. whichever is the case.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

a day in paradise: the scenery

i'm still not in the mood for siem reap and maybe, i know why but i'm not discussing it in this post. for all i know, this is only but a haze that's clouding my sense of reason. with this dilemma aside, i'm moving on with my second and last post for shangri-la. i have done writing the most important part in our experience which was the food. this time around, i'm now stepping out from the comfort of air-conditioning in tides and into the warm sunshine, the sands and the pool err the sea!

this short strip of white sands sufficiently creates an idyllic view and the almost clear turquoise waters completes the tropical delight. if we only had enough time to laze under one of those pretty white umbrellas, we could be lounging in the sun bed in a heartbeat!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

phnom penh by a different lens

this is the first time that i'm coming up with another post after my supposed to be final and concluding post, my travel notes on phnom penh which is posted here. this is a rather special case since i was only able to get hold of my brother's photos after almost 3 months of waiting and i even had to personally go back home to finally have them.

i'd like to think that i had already come up with enough words in my several verbose posts that narrated our 2-day experience in phnom penh, and this time around, i'd let my brother's photos just do the talking.

the amiable face of bou meng surely did tug our hearts! according to the khmer lady assisting him, he has no longer a family, having lost his wife and children during the pol pot regime.

Friday, July 13, 2012

a day in paradise: the banquet

i recently made a 3-day trip back home to cebu and with how short the 3 days could be, i tried to squeeze in as many activities as i could and made sure my stay was worthwhile. although it was such an easy feat because my time was well spent with my dear ones and i didn't even care if i only caught up with sleep while on the road -- just to maximize my time.

about 5 hours of my limited there, breinn and i headed to shangri-la's and availed their one day use package. our wallets weren't big enough to accommodate an overnight stay in the 5-star resort in mactan so the one day use was already a sweet deal for us!

i'm even splitting our swift and abrupt experience into two posts so that i can rewind that moment in a longer span of time by reading two lengthy narratives.

after a short climb up shangri-la's driveway, our hired cab came into a halt in front of the resort's lobby half past 12 in the afternoon and we were greeted by the welcoming resort staff with bright and sincere smiles.

when we got our blue wristbands after payment, we headed straight to tides to avail our lunch which was included in the day use package. read on for more delectable parade of photos!

Friday, July 6, 2012

[singapore] marina bay sands in random

because i'm too preoccupied with many things now and the mood for writing about siem reap hasn't caught up with me, i'm going to write down instead the prequel of my gardens by the bay sashay. siem reap would have to move back by a little bit because my favorite island in the sun is just around the corner, beaming with energy and fun!

anyway, before we hit the gardens by the bay, we went to marina bay sands to grab our dinner. oh, we did not head to the A-list restaurants there but unbelievably, there is a regular food court in the hotel's basement. not surprisingly though, the area was packed with people while the rest of the mbs shoppes were only dotted with the lingering few who were shopping their hearts out.

the food court has actually many food stalls originating from some of the countries in asia. since it had been ages from the last time i had a taste of something familiar, i ordered this rice meal set from gerry's grill, a restaurant from the philippines. it cost me 8.90SGD which is roughly 300PHP and i could get a better meal with that amount back home! but i'm not home so i couldn't complain. my only consolation that time was the grilled squid.

Monday, July 2, 2012

[singapore] stumbling in the dark at the gardens

singapore has recently opened its gardens by the bay to the public and it is situated at the back of marina bay sands. it is a refreshing sight to behold in contrast to the skyscrapers in the central business district.

since i'm still in my testing phase of my camera, i brought it with me at the night of the opening day and in order to assure myself that i'm not harboring regrets, i would like to see how it would fare and if it was really worth it for me to spare a big chunk of my meager funds.

because the garden was way too dark when we arrived, with only a faint glow of the lamp posts along the path, i only took a few photos and i can even only pick 4 out of the few.

Flower Dome

Saturday, June 30, 2012

my travel notes: phnom penh, cambodia

i decided that i would split my travel notes about cambodia into two because phnom penh and siem reap are two different cities and each city has its own character, its own distinct qualities, its own allure and yet, without outdoing each other. combining my thoughts on the two of them may result into a muddled heap of words, giving less credit than what each deserves.

Phnom Penh - The Charming City

our tuktuk driver sped away to our guesthouse and these 2 stitched pictures were my failed attempts to take the charming city in its entirety. but anyway, i hope the message still gets across. some of my highlights pertain to cambodia in general but i experienced them first in phnom penh and siem reap was a different experience altogether.

Monday, June 25, 2012

an ode to my ixy

the first time i stepped on the city-state, i was with my brother and i can't forget how he longed to go back to cebu after he had seen how organized things are in this place. he felt that he was always on his toes and he didn't like that.

as for me, i'm in the opposite side of the spectrum. i have already enough chaos - figuratively that is, at work and i would deeply appreciate nice and neat things.

a lengthy explanation for this random photo.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

[singapore] roti prata in a spur

i normally don't cook here (singapore) and boiling potatoes, heating food in the microwave nor making a toast are considered serious cooking. the lazy me thinks that there's so much involved in a real cooking and i have to do everything from peeling and slicing, cooking, eating (yes, included!) and the worst part in the end, i have to clean the dishes by myself! i know i shouldn't be complaining about this for i'm grateful that at least i have something to pacify my rumbling stomach. on a serious note though, i find it more expensive having to prepare a real deal meal (rhymes are cute). blanching vegetables is the closest gesture to cooking that i can do here.

i live across a mall where the eating places seem like extensions of our kitchen, as phrased by my cousin. mostly on weekends when sloth is a permanent visitor, we only head to our extended kitchen to get our meals. for now, this downright convenience has more disadvantages that significantly outnumbered the benefits. talk about laziness and next door shopping.

so one dinnertime in our extended kitchen, i had ordered a dish that surprised me when i reached my table.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

[singapore] i'm an east coast girl

time indeed flies! and i have written about that a lot of times already. i am here in singapore for seven months and before i even know it, my first year could then be knocking on my door! seven months and i have only come up with 5 posts about my stay and most of them were about food. i have been here and there around the island but the mood to write about it seldom comes by.

i also would not want to equate singapore as purely work and the stress that most likely goes with it. of course, there are fun times although i think the money here tends to be more volatile especially for a girl, because retail therapy can be done in a breeze and worse, the sale that seems to happen too frequently.

to do away from imminent shopping, my best advice i can give to myself is to go to places with outdoorsy feel like parks instead of going to malls and even shops along the streets!

East Coast Park

Saturday, June 16, 2012

phnom penh to siem reap: a different kind of baking

we might have spent too little time in phnom penh but the two days were worth it, although technically, we only had about 24 hours in the thriving capital. we arrived at noon on our first day and left for siem reap around noon the following day. but who cares? i still like to consider it as two days, given that we had an overnight stay! i'm so random having to argue this triviality with myself.

anyway, i seem not to get enough on writing about our host in phnom penh who was indeed a great help to us and in a way, made us let our guard down and a few of our inherent fears in staying at a new place or country for that matter.

as i age, i have slowly become a sucker for plans though i'm not into an OC-type of planning because i would very much welcome surprises along the way. part of the plan was to secure our transportation from phnom penh to siem reap before we would go about. it became a necessity since it was the weekend and my brother should catch his one and only flight back to manila in siem reap. i know my brother is close to a perfect companion because he willingly agreed with my plan that he would go to phnom penh to meet me and head back to siem reap to catch his flight the day after. he was intrigued with phnom penh's history so i like to think that we had a win-win situation. haha does this make me an evil sister?

back to our host in our guesthouse, mr. seng. he was the one who booked for us with our transport to siem reap which was scheduled the following day. he even echoed my concern that we should book in haste or face the grave consequence of paying hefty re-booking fees for my brother.

Our van from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

Friday, June 15, 2012

phnom penh on day 2

we dreadfully thought that the air-conditioning in our room was not fully working since it took a long time before the temperature drop spread the entire room. it was probably the intense heat outside, that challenged the air-conditioning's noble functionality. so noble indeed that we comfortably fell in a deep slumber under the thin sheets, while the air-conditioning tried its hardest until it felt like springtime.

although it became a slow drag in the morning and the coolness tempted us to snooze for just a teeny bit, we had no choice but to start our day bright and early, because we only had a few more hours left in phnom penh. we would then go north to siem reap after lunch.

Early Morn along Sisowath Quay

Sunday, June 10, 2012

laid back phnom penh and our appetites

most of the time, we stopped by to eat at any place we fancied at the moment. one of these instances was when we tried phnom penh's local ice cream. after eva and i did a bit of routine exercise with our dancing feet at wat bottom park, the three of us (with my brother who's not keen on dancing) were lured by a local ice cream shop right across the park. the shop was called songtrah ice cream and it was filled with locals, having their cold fix after a hot day.

Songtrah Ice cream

then as we made our way back to the area near europe guesthouse, passing along the sisowath quay, we again made another stop for yogurt though it wasn't a local shop but an international one. the distance in between the local ice cream and this yogurt was just a half kilometer away. phnom penh was so laid back that our appetites went sky high!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

searing hot phnom penh on day 1

i had been forewarned enough that april is incredibly hot in cambodia. i had read the fair warning in the articles about cambodia online but impudently, i shrugged them off. in other words, the weather was the least of my concern.

Our Tuktuk Ride

his name was "nan". he greeted us at the airport's arrival area, carrying a bond paper with my name on it and after a swift and awkward handshake, he led us outside the airport's perimeter, passing by plush cars that were sun-dried in the parking lot. he turned his gaze to us from time to time in case eva and i mistakenly opened a car's door, eager for the air-conditioning comfort. my thoughts went haywire because all he could muster were an amiable smile and few hand gestures to direct us to the right way. he might not be able to carry on a long conversation in english but we did get along just fine.

Monday, May 21, 2012

[singapore] bella pasta on a whim

aside from my utter craving for beancurd, there was also the pizza which my taste buds made a huge clamor to my whimsical brain and this happened one fine saturday in march.

oh, my taste buds were not just into something ordinary but they were up to something with grandeur and they even brushed aside pizza hut's huge tarpaulin ad. my stomach could only hold back its needs as it was greatly dominated by my taste buds' insolence.

because that time, i had again a random date with myself, i was only able to take awkward photos courtesy of my blackberry's inferior camera. the above photo is bella pasta's magnificent coaster with its name in a very delightful cursive script.

Friday, May 18, 2012

itinerary: cambodia from singapore and the philippines

yes this itinerary consists of three southeast-asian countries! and everything just happened in 6 days! don't keep your hopes high though because this doesn't involve hopping in each country for a very limited time, that i should say.

before my title misleads you to something grand, the story goes this way. in this blog, i have quite a lot of posts where i had dragged my brother to my getting-out-there whims like in vigan, legazpi and his first out of the country trip in singapore and malaysia. he is my go-to ally when it comes to hopping on a budget plane because i have booked for him a number of times without him knowing about it. he almost always gives me an affirmative answer anyway! well, after some endless coaxing and besides, i'm his elder sister who likes to get her way no matter what. kidding.

since i exiled myself here in singapore for almost 6 months now (really? half a year?!), it's quite hard already to bring my brother with me to wherever i fancy at the moment err where the seat sale is bound for.

but there's an old adage, if there's a will, there's a way. so, he hopped on the currently infamous cebu pacific flight from manila to siem reap while me and eva, my college friend/roomie hopped on jetstar asia from singapore to phnom penh. see below how the three of us would meet up! ;)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

my travel notes: malacca, malaysia

time flies so swiftly that before everything has even sunk in, it's already mid-May and half of 2012 will then be part of our glorious years. but wait, where did all those 5 months go for me? to answer that, i had to actually pause for a moment and think of the previous months' events at break-neck speed! whoa! okay, press the play button.

well, there's nothing i can do about that. what's done is done and i can only carry on with much hope for tomorrow, kissing yesterday goodbye. :)

before malacca gets archived at the back of my mind because my meager memory can only handle so much, what better time for me to end my melakan narration than now.

Strangely, I have my face in this concluding post.

1 day trip, 2 days, x days?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

my hometown series: the sanctuary

i went home during the holy week and for the non-believers, it was the first week of april. it was a good 5-day hibernation while savoring the laid back atmosphere and the extraordinary warmth of the people around me.

i forgot about the ticking of the clock because i wanted to completely spend my time catching up with my dear ones, having homely conversations on rickety bamboo benches under tall palm trees. for me, nothing superfluous can ever beat that!

in one of those 5 days, there was a mini reunion with my relatives in my mother side and like almost every gathering that we had, we headed to the sea! oh, how sweet it is to live in an island!

Tabogon Sanctuary

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

[singapore] hooked to beancurd and pearls

i have this occasional craving on something that sometimes, it's almost near to the borderline of plain addiction. when i was in college, there was a time when i endlessly salivated for cloud 9. oh wait, the name doesn't seem right. it sounds like a slang name of a stimulant that brings you to the highest clouds. not that i've tried!

then when i was already working in my first company, i had also an unexplained hunger for yogurt and it lasted for quite some time. this i shared with a girl colleague. together at high noon, we ventured under the extreme heat of the sun, to the mercury drugstore which sold yogurt at a cheaper price than the nearby 24-hour convenience store.

suddenly one day here in singapore, an intense craving for beancurd came over me!

Jollibean Beancurd

Sunday, May 6, 2012

malacca and our appetites

i can now see the beckoning light from the end of this series of our melakan roundabout. thankfully! it has been almost four months since breinn and i made a weekend trip to malacca during the chinese new year holidays. cheesy as it might sound but by looking at the pictures, our trip seemed to be just only yesterday!

although what we had wasn't a total experience of malacca because most of the shops were closed for the holidays. we only had to contend with the very few remaining shops that opened their doors for those like us, who were resolute to stay in malacca in the midst of their new year celebration. malacca by the way, has a significant number of chinese populace that constitute a huge part of its culture and history.

but no regrets just love err enjoy? well, that's quoting katy perry. seriously though, breinn and i consider our melakan experience an important pinned post on our imaginary travel board.

Jonker 88

Seafood Soup Noodle (RM 5.5++)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

malacca on day 2

having given our distressed feet a huge favor of a much needed rest, we again started our day 2 bright and early with a free breakfast at the baba house. our breakfast was a fusion of western and the local melakan food flair which gave us energy for another day of leisure and fun in the guise of an excruciating walk.

at this point, i'm giving you a fair warning that this post is filled with pictures mostly of two human beings who happened to be me and breinn. this is unusual because as much as possible, i don't want to parade my face to the world wide web and strangely, i believe that there might be a chance that i could be an abomination to someone who originally consults google for help but it ends otherwise.

a quick realization. i should be paying more attention to what's there and not with me in it.

Chinese New Year Aftermath

Monday, April 23, 2012

jonker street at night in malacca

while breinn and i wandered aimlessly around dataran pahlawan amid its predominantly closed shops, jonker street cast away the day's toil of minimal economic activities and the bumper-to-bumper traffic situation into a hubbub at night. the street was closed to vehicles and it paved way for the food carts, mobile souvenir shops, and vendors peddling a significant number of china-made products from bags, belts, clothes and almost close to everything.

dragging utmost our beaten up feet with the minuscule of energy that was left, this dragon welcomed us at the start of the jonker street again. this time, more fierce and domineering than it was during daytime. the night lights probably did a trick on my vision or was it hunger mixed with exhaustion that came into play?

The mighty dragon in Jonker Street.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

malacca at dusk and at night

here i am again at this dreary point where i'm faced with too many delayed posts! i haven't even finished my malacca posts and yet, in a week's time, i will be on another jaunt for another tick on my south-east asian list. fingers crossed to that! as per usual, i will be kicking it off with an itinerary which until now, i haven't done! go away, procrastination!

my mood for writing can be so elusive like an annoying fly hovering your food. oops, that may be an appropriate comparison but i hope you get my point. it's really hard for the writing spirit to come down on me especially that most of the time, i'm having a brain drain on a daily basis due to my frequently demanding work but i'm not complaining!

i can't believe i've made up again another excuse to put into my bucket almost filled up with reasons for my blog posting hiatus.

picking up where i left off in my malacca narration, i still continue with our day 1. there's so much to write about malacca even if breinn and i only jumpstarted our day in the afternoon.

Water Wheel along the Malacca River