Saturday, January 29, 2011

on the dish...

Mashed potato on the side.
Carrots, corn and mushroom on the other.
Homemade sauce to top it off.

Tonight it's all about....

STEAK ! 
(sosyal!)

The blessings of a free Australian beef steak is a great joy to cook. The upside of having a generous relative from down under. Thanks mucho auntie Jingga. This steak surely challenged my culinary skills. And to You Tube thank you, for this cheapow now knows the difference between rare, medium rare and well done. So now I can go inside a fancy resto with my head held high, just don't show me those confusing lined up utensils on the table coz my new found classy confidence would surely crumble. ha! 

gotta love fancy cooking on a Saturday night.


;)

blog track:
Charmed Life by Joy Willams
 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

title: UNEDITED!


                      
                                Peace.                                           Love.                                         Rockn'Roll.          






















I
see
hear
speak
NO EVIL.


****
tinkering with my beautiful gift. lovin it. learning it. proud of it.  
****

BTW, this is the start of Kymoi's challenge. Pictorials with myself : accomplished!
and BTW, it aint easy being your own mowdel. kaloka ang self timer ei!.DMD

****
blog track
Obsession by Marina and the Diamonds

 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

thai's land...

After 48 years, here I am blaaahging away our misadventures in the city of Bangkok. Thailand, how can I possible describe thee journey. Hmmm....Well you know what it's like when you see a poster of french fries, so crispy and full that it makes your mouth water and fats quiver? But when you order it, it turns out to be soggy and half full. I knoooooow right?! Well, I can't totally say that our experience in Thailand was soggy, but I can definitely say that it was half full...

I've heard that Thailand is the mecca of everything cheap and as a cheapow I knew this was the pilgrimage I  had to make. Unfortunately the currency fluctuated so it's no longer P1.00 = THB1.00, but P1.50 = THB 1.00. Damn you 50cents!!! Thank goodness that you're forgettable that it's pretty much like spending here in Pinas.

Where do I begin thee journey? To make the story short we left Pinas for Thailand, then left Thailand for Cambodia, and then left Cambodia for Thailand again. The end. joke! The start...

Here we are, my highly highly highly most recommended hotel or place to stay in Bangkok.....

The Mystic Place...
 I cannot find enough superlatives to best describe this place. This is just soooo totally unbelievably amazing. In short, I love it!

I just found this place online, under the affordable hotels tab, and dear did their pictures looked so promising. And unlike the soggy and half full french fries, in reality, this place totally delivered, so crispy and full. In fact, choosing our rooms was very much of a decision making process, coz each of their rooms are themed differently, and all oh so very nice.

Unfortunately they are kinda strict on the number of people they allow inside the room, so my sister and cousin had to go rent out another room for themselves. Which perfectly suited their personality, so girly and flowery that they for sure SLEEP WELL (name of the room) in. But us, we are different. We ain't no girly, we ain't no flowery but we are coool like TROPICOOL.

wouldn't you agree to disagree?!..better not!... ;p

See all that up there? they are all taken from the different corners of our room. Don't you just looove the murals?! Totally inspired me to redo my bedroom for the nth time. The bonus part is that they're totally equipped like a 4star, but better than a 4 star coz their decos are clearly made of recycled stuffs. You know me, the biggest fan of eco friendly creations!

I'm not yet done. Their breakfast is probably the fullest breakfast I've ever had in my adult life. Not only was it semi-buffet, but it was also order all you want. It was shocking to see how full our table was with every kind of breakfast meal you can imagine. Too think we were just all girls and two of them so petite, not me included. Of course we didn't get to finish it! but we kinda felt guilty when the cook approached us carrying more platters on both hands. Lesson learned #1 never order when your hungry, same thing applies when doing the grocery, #2 order all you want is sinful! Therefore thou shall not dot dot dot.

Street Food 
 
I have to admit this was one of the things that I looked forward to the most. The thought of it just makes me excited. And you basically can't help it when you're with someone who talks about the Thai street food like it's the closest thing to heaven, and no I'm not talking about Ciarra Lyn.

Forgive me if I forgot what the names of those street foods are, for my brain only has the memory of a big gold  fish, but my taste buds remembers it to be deliciously hot and spicy. I particularly liked that barbequed thing, plus their raw cabbage that is astonishingly sweet. I also liked their fruits, but I've always liked fruits, so it's nothing new. Their pad thai not so much, but I've never really liked pancit-ish that much, so again, nothing new. But these... 
I liked!

This was at the carenderia style resto in front of our place, and the food was soooooo damn goood! These food I could say are 100% authentic Thai, not only because the crew could hardly speak english but because most customers were locals, or maybe local looking like us.

It's actually spicy enough to set your tongues on fire, but because it's sooo good you simply just let it burn. YUMMMY!!!!!! okay stop. Hunger lurking. Next topic.

Streets

Cabs are cotton candies colorful, that you'd want to eat them (mean drivers, included). Tuk tuks are everywhere, priced like taxis but navigates easily c/o the daredevil-ness of the drivers. Traffic, can be bad like ours. Street can be narrow like ours, but clean unlike ours, and well cemented unlike ours, again. 

Interesting part? The King. 

Seriously his pictures are plastered everywhere. Like seriously everywhere, and not in the election kind of thing, but more like an altar kind of way. If I were the king I'd be really freaked out by it, but then it only goes to show how well loved he is. In fact, according to Ciarra, they love the king so much that you are not allowed to fold your bills because it's a sign of disrespect as it would crumple the king's face. Fascinating right?! 

THAT river boat ride!

We got scammed! Never expected this from the land of deceiving smiles. 

If ever you go to Bangkok and decide to go to the Golden Palace, remember this: NEVER EVER TRUST ANYONE, WHEN THEY SAY THE PALACE IS CLOSED BECAUSE IT NEVER CLOSES ON DAYTIME. 

Ironically, my sister only remembered that warning when were already here in Cebu and already lost THB2,000 on that boat ride that just showed us houses and stilts and back gates of  the temples. Actually we thought we'd be going to 5 temples as what was shown in the pictures of that scammer guy, as it turned out what he meant by go was to really just pass by. A perfect case of  lost in translation.

From what I've heard, the boat ride would actually be worth it if it were a weekend in Bangkok, because that's the only time when their floating market bustles with energy. Unfortunately for us, that meant the day we leave. 

This particular side of the boat ride actually gives a pretty great view of the city , but the strong cold wind can just freeze the sentimentality of your thoughts. In fact, I was pretty amazed by how cold Thailand was at that time.The weather may be a bit gloomy, but the air was just coooold. I was even near hugging myself  just to keep me from shivering. I think all of us experienced the slightest bit of hypothermia, well except for my cousin who totally loved it. She totally soaked on the coldness of it, by simply dismissing it as something like springtime. Of course she lives in LA. 

Shopping

This is the very main reason why I wanted to go to Bangkok, to shop. No matter what you hear about how cheap it is and how nice the clothes are, nothing prepares you for the moment when you finally step inside their malls and be dazed by the variety of this is and that. 

I think I momentarily had an mental block because I couldn't seem to figure out what I wanted. The worst part about this kind of set up is that you end up wandering around comparing prices because big fat chances are you're gonna be paying for more for that exact same product in one of those farther stalls. Result is, you don't get to buy as much as expected. So this explains why I didn't get to buy your request, I just didn't have enough time to sink in my shock. Also the vendors were rude. 

Maybe it's just me or something, but I've probably encountered the rudest people on this trip. The driver of our elephant ride in Cambodia was grumpy. The Thai drivers were snobs. And the vendors were mean. They not only let you not fit the clothes on, but they bluntly tell you that you're too big for the clothe. Worst they literally take out a measuring tape and measure your hips then and there! Like I was seriously screaming curses at him in my head. But was completely relived when the measuring tape proved that medium was too big for me. Mehn! I never felt victory like that. It was even tempting to jump and shout "in your face grumpy! I'm still a small!" But noted to self: Exercise the moment you get home. 

BON VOYAGE

I really expected something more from Thailand. Friendly people, warm weather and happening. My fault was that I got way too excited for my own good. (Just proves my theory that something always goes wrong when I'm excited. So from now on, I officially cross out excitement from the list of my feelings). Another major fault is that we didn't go there on a weekend.We totally missed the biggest weekend market where they say all the cheapies are! That was a major major mistake!

However unfortunate some of our experiences maybe, I still would wanna go back there, but with my mom this time, coz I have a strong feeling she'll go gaga over the fruits and vegetables and the rest of the cheapie stuff, after all she's the queen of bargain and thrift shops. I may not resemble my mother, but cheapow-wise, I am very much my mother's daughter. hahaha. I think she'll also love the temples, which I didn't get to see. So basically, if ever, I go back to Thailand it's gonna be like seeing Thailand for the first time AGAIN. God I just hope for that opportunity to come.

To end this blog, I'd like to say that I am soooo diggin' the Suvarnabhumi Bangkok Airport. I've never seen an airport so busy, that midnight is just like middle of the day. But most of all I love its modern day architecture mixed with traditional Thai art. 

Overall....This has been a great journey. 

Till the next road to somewhere! Cheerios!

Monday, January 24, 2011

bideo dee too

better late than nevah!... 
bideo sa angkoR!

video

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Amazing Angkor...

Finally, the cheese of the cheeseburger, the meat of our travel .... ANGKOR TEMPLES.

If there's one best description for our journey to the City  of Temples it is eventful. So eventful it is that even I partly hated myself for it. Why? Let's just say that the worst thing that could happen to a cam whore on this beautiful jaw dropping world heritage is battery empty. Yes dear friends that whore is I, the exact same person who gave her utmost confidence on her battery. And there was also the  gloomy rainy weather to top it all off, that I think the gods Vishnu or Shiva should take the blame.

ANGKOR WAT

 

They say the best moment at Angkor Wat is sunrise, only when it isn't rainy. Too bad for us! and it's really comforting to know that after waking up at 3:30 in the morning the driver informs us that it usually doesn't rain, only that particular day -  the very day we were around. Lucky for me and the other tourists around coz they benefited from my being a rain plug. Because every time I decide to go out in the rain, the rain, for some  cosmic reasons, just eventually stops to a drizzle. Weird! but glad it came handy.

Because of the gloomy weather, we  didn't get to see the famous Angkor sunrise, even though we were  promised of a beautiful sunrise after we said our prayers to their Gods. It's either the guy who corned  us  at the temple entrance was a crook or our "offering" placed neatly on his folded hanky at the foot of the statue wasn't effective.  But who would have known that $1 is only good to stop the rain? Maybe if I gave $2 I'd have my sunrise. See? this is what you call the signs of times... even the weather has its price. tsk!

Nonetheless sunrise or no sunrise Angkor Wat is just plain amazingly grand. So grand that it's an ultimate feast to the eyes and you can't help but jump to the beauty of it. Exaggeration, I know, but at least we got to make friends with the envious tourists who also asked for jump shots. So always remember, in whatever country you're in always do the jump shot, and you'll  surely win yourself envious friends from different nationalities ;)


Another failure of this trip is that we didn't get to have a tour guide to give us factual interesting information from this very historical site. Safe to say, we were totally clueless. If it weren't for James Bond (the persistent vendor who took an effort to look for my sister's lost Angkor pass) , we wouldn't know that it took 8,000 elephants to transport those piles and piles of heavy rocks to make the temples what it is today. Also, old elephants were killed just so they could  use their skins as ropes. Ergo, all these grandeur is at the expense of the poor family of Dumbo.

Interesting right? but that's just it, after that we were just nothing but a bunch of pretty wide eyed ignorant tourist strolling around. We did try to eavesdrop to fellow tourist who had tour guides though, but our hearing  just wasn't that sharp so it was plain useless. But as I like to say, if you're pretty but ignorant, just be pretty and work it. Working it we surely did!


Could we possibly be more embarrassing?! Of course we made sure all these were taken at the time of seclusion. Call it stealing poses and shots when no one is nearby. I think our time was wasted on waiting for the other tourists to be gone before we could do our mooowdeling. Seriously this place is just very picturesque that you couldn't help but WABAM! strike that pose.

BANTEAY SREI


The Citadel of Women or the Citadel of Beauty is indeed a beauty. The finely intricate red sandstone carvings is just breathtaking. This is artistry at it's best. It is  much smaller compared to the other temples but the quality of its bas reliefs are just simply amazing considering that it's already centuries old. It's so beautiful that some of its figures were were stolen by a famous French art thief  decades ago, but like every crime story, the thief was eventually caught. That's probably why there were off limits rope all around. But not so sure about that coz I only got that story from the sometimes reliable Wikipedia. That's why if you feel like being inside the glossy pages of National Geographic, this beautiful temple is a must stop. Beautiful just beautiful. I say it again... beeyoootiful!

PRE RUP


It's very high. Seriously very very high, and may I add steep, but not very steep coz the very very steep belongs to another temple. What can I say hmmm... well Pre Rup is high. I really don't have anything significant to say about this temple for the obviously repeated reasons. All I know is that on the back portion of this temple you could sight the very tiny crowns of Angkor Wat. It's sooo teenee tiny that the guard and Ciarralyn had to repeatedly point out the far off distance of the jungle in hopes that I'd be able to see it. They eventually got annoyed so I just had to say.. ooooohhhh yeah there it is.. but truth is, I wasn't even sure. Ssshhhhh...   

THOSE SUGAR CANDIES


The sweetest candies I've tasted ever in my entire life, but it's purely made from sugar cane so that is understood. I forgot what they locally call these candies, but they were everywhere. It was just out  of curiosity  when we asked the driver what those things wrapped in coconut leaves are, but I think he had a hard time explaining it coz he just stopped by the roadside so we could have a closer look. Just our luck coz this lady just started making it from scratch. So what does curious George do? give molding candies a try. It may be badly molded but that impromptu local try was sure fun.

THESE CAMBODIAN KIDS


It's very hard to get annoyed at them. Unlike here where the street kids are irritatingly annoying, bluntly asking the tourists for money. There, the kids are just pleasant and no push over for moolah. I've never seen any kids directly asking for money. Instead, they always had this postcards or key chains or whatever souvenir items they had to sell. Sure they flock to you to buy some items, but you don't really mind that much when they call you lady. "Lady, you want postcards lady? only one dollar for 10" or "You are so beee-yo-ti-ful lady." Now who would be annoyed when you are called like a real lady with their soft voices and melodic accents. Mind you they are good English speakers too. According to one of them it's needed so they could sell their items, but to read and write in English is something they couldn't do. 

A funny story, see those three kids up there? the ones with flowers on their heads? The moment we entered the temple they immediately came running and started singing. I, of course, took a snap shot, then one of them yelled "No money, No picture." Too late for that! very fiesty! bet she'll go a long way... haha.

TA PHROM

 
The temple where Tomb Raider was shot. The only place where someone acted as our tour guide. Is the only time all our camera died on us. Aren't we just lucky?!

Before I say anything else about the temple, let me just share that the guy who acted as our tour guide got to carry Angelina Jolie's belongings when she was shooting Tomb Raider. Insignificant, maybe, but heck that was the coolest info ever! haha

So Ta Prohm was built for the mother of the king and when she died she was also buried there. See that wall with lots of holes in it? That's the tomb of the king's mother and those holes were once filled with diamonds and gold. Diba?! sosyal si mader!

The greatest wonder of this temple though is its visible merging with the jungle. It's so amazing that sometimes you can just imagine those gigantic ancient trees as monster swallowing the massive temples. Just goes to show that no matter how ingenious humans can be, nature will always take it's course.

TERRACE OF THE ELEPHANTS


I honestly have no idea what this place is all about, but basing on the bas reliefs and the name  itself , this place must have been made in honor of the elephants who had been very helpful and useful in the creation of the Khmer kingdom. In fairness!

ELEPHANT RIDE


The much awaited ride! The thought of it is very exciting but once you get to ride on it you kinda feel bad for the giants. All I could think at that time was the weight of the wooden chairs plus our weight, everything combined, we must be pretty heavy. I guess our weight is just nothing compared to the boulders of rocks they carried to build the temples. Still...oh and yeah, the elephant skin is hard, very hard. I kinda imagined it to be soft and smooth but it's not. That's probably why their calloused skin were used as the ancient  version  of construction heavy equipments.

The ride wasn't actually scary at all, except for the elephant's trail. It was narrow, sloping and two way. There was even a time when there was a slight elephant traffic because while we were going up, there were also elephants going down. I'm guessing it was a difficult maneuver for the gentle giant, but again they must have been pretty used to it.  

Etcetera etcetera/ Closing Remarks....


I love the Cambodian adventure simply because I got more than what I expected. The pictures of the temples doesn't do justice at all. The real thing is waaaaaay better, everything about it is just a buffet to the eyes. Unfortunately, like every journey it must come to an end, but no matter how  much I hate the expensive tuk2x, I'll definitely miss it, but not as much as I'll miss the bikes. The warm hospitality at the SAM SO GUESTHOUSE (which is highly recommended by the way, as it is not only cheap & comfy but also very convenient to everywhere) will forever be remembered along with their compliments on how beautiful we are and how I look like a movie star. Yup, the owner's wife said that, I just I'm not sure what type of movie she's referring to, but a compliment, I think, nonetheless. Oh and by the way, remember when I was in Malaysia, Jericho Rosales was such a big hit, apparently Pangako Sayo is also shown there, dubbed in their language. So that's probably where she got her opinion. I just don't know which character I look like but it's definitely not Kristine Hermosa, even though the tiny single molecule in my body hopes it is. I think Jericho is haunting me, maybe we're meant to be, or maybe I'm really meant to be a movie star in some foreign third world country, I think it's time to seriously consider a career and country shift. Whatchatink? hahaha

If in the far future I'll have my own family I will definitely take them to this ancient kingdom. That's a promise to myself. Who knows I might end up with a Brad Pitt and together we'll adopt a Maddox, we'll never know...but tightly crossing my fingers. Hear me lord!

Despite the down lows we experienced, I'll always say that overall I had an amazing journey. I may sound like a broken record but Siem Reap, Cambodia  is a highly go to destination. This should be on everyone's bucket list that must be accomplished. I just love everything about it... that's why trust me Loura Ubod, you and Daut will have a grand time and hopefully some magic will happen there.. ;)

Angkor is just Amazing!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

lovely SIEM REAP....

A belated blog I know. Been busy quite. Been lazy much. My apologies to my devoted follower - me.

Anyway, here's how the story goes. I never really expected to go to Cambodia. NOT THIS YEAR anyway (by the way, let's just pretend that it's still 2010 or that this isn't a belated blog just to maintain this blogger's momentum).

I heard that Cambodia is an EXPENSIVE destination and hearing that particular word is like hearing fingernails being scraped on the blackboard. That! is just a bad bad word to a Cheapo's ear. But you know what they says, "if there's a will, there's a way." I say "if there's no moolah, there better be a gadamn way!"

Hello Cambodia

:

Getting to Cambodia via the adventurous, exciting and well, budgeting route, can be totally stressful to your bum. I mean it literally! 3-4 hours from Bangkok to the border and 2 or so hours from the border to Siem Reap. It's either that or sit pretty in the monopolized plane of Bangkok Airways, which by the way is 4x the cost. I knooooow right!

When you are on a budget, the numero uno must do in your list is RESEARCH! I love that part! I always look forward to the googling moments and feeling the rush of being half way there. But I must admit that not everything goes exactly as researched. Like the fact that  number #1, we arrived waaaay ahead of schedule at the border at the unholy hour of 5AM, that inevitably led us to sleep in some nearby waiting shed along with the locals and monks whom I didn't know were allowed to smoke (an eye opener!). #2, that it can be very subjective.

Mr. www.talesofasia.com forewarned that the Cambodian border of Poipet is probably the worst place you could be in. Crowded - understandably being the gateway of the two countries. Filthy - not more than how Carbon or Colon looks like. Full of scammers - smart enough to make a pick up arrangement and fortunate enough to physically blend in.  As for his etc. etc. well I live in the Philippines, what more shocking can a number of barefoot individuals pulling on wooden carts of this and that, while occasionally tagging along a cow or a goat be?. But he's coming from a western perspective so his long overdue cultural shock is gladly taken into consideration. Needless to say, we were really expecting some tough action to happen and thank God! there was none!


SIEM REAP... at last!

Bicycle is cool!


If you do not know how to ride a bicycle before going to this country then LEARN! 

The coolest thing about this side of the world is their bicycles. Like seriously, they are amazing! I am sooo in love with it. Not only does it make you look chic riding around on your bike like Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love, but it's also very cheap and eco friendly. Have I mentioned cheap? For a whole day you can rent the bike for $2. Then there's also this white bicycle organization in which half of the rental fee goes to a charity that helps the underprivileged kids, so that's pretty sleek and cheap - again. 

Cheap! Why I've mentioned that word three times in that paragraph is because of 2 words.. TUK TUK! mehn they are expensive! TUK TUKS are our version of tricyles and unlike our version of P28.00 per trip for the whole tricycle, their version charges $2. That is even quadruple our fare here, and mind you the distance isn't even that far. Actually everything there just seems like a walking distance, but you know how strenuous fat burning can be, so laziness can really cost you. That's why I strongly recommend renting a bike coz it can save you money and second it's the nearest thing to fat burning.

 FAT Restoring....
  

Eating! I love this part, even though I can honestly say I'm not a foodie. But when traveling to a foreign destination my motto when it comes to food is to simply EAT NOTHING BUT THE UNKNOWN. That my dear is what I call 1/2 of the cultural immersion.

The Khmer food like any other Asian cuisine banks on the mixture of spices. However, I can't really call it as spicy hot but it's a different taste, definitely a new treat to the palate, but only if you get lucky with what you point out on the menu. Because sometimes you can have the doom of ordering something very bland and near plain hot water noodle like me. It's part of the experience, I learned from it, except that I just forgot to remember the name of that food and Resto. Ooops, my bad.

Siem Reap, being the main center of tourist attraction, has got to have the coolest restos I've seen. So listen up coz they come as recommended.

Butterfly Garden Restaurant - imagine eating in a garden full of butterflies. Food was good and so was the ambiance.

Beaches - love love love extremely love this place. Think white sand beside the street. That's what this restaurant is all about. The ambiance can totally transport you to a lazy night in Bora, with cool laid back music, hammocks, bean bags and low lit lanterns. The best part - FOOD! the best Chicken Satay I've ever had and so was everything. The amazing part - just opened for 2 days. Lucky us!

The Blue Pumpkin - what can I say this was our dig out the whole time. A dessert factory loaded with the hippest people on earth!. Everything was eternally white and chic! Gotta mention those gellatos! drool.

Cambodian BBQ - A frog, a snake, a kangaroo, a crocodile or a mixture of 2 is the choices for the adventurous taste buds and strong stomach. Those crazy meats are expensive but when it's your last night who gives a damn? You can certainly forget damn when you'd already sat down and chatted by a Frenchman behind who promised the good taste of a crocodile. In fairness that kangroo meat definitely delivered. 

TO EAT NOTHING BUT THE UNKNOWN. Sometimes this is what you could get. 
     

Now look at my face. It ain't pretty at all!


Artsy Craftsy...


Local paintings, sculptures and scarves are the most common sights you could see on thestreets. I like that artistry is finely crafted in this country coz it surely made their sidewalks colorful in a pleasant kind of way. Then again it used to be a French colony....so go figure!

Horrid interesting factoid: You see that checkered scarf they had? it's called Kroma and it has somehow become a reminder of Pol Pot's violent reign in their peaceful country. Like if you are to wear this particular color of kroma it means you're a walking target. It's crazy I know. Amazing what you could learn from discovery channel.

Corners and Streets...


I am ashamed to say that Cambodia is way cleaner than the Philippines. Or Siem Reap is way cleaner and safer than Cebu. I may not have been to the rest of Cambodia such as it's capital Phnom Penh, but judging from what I saw, I feel sad for the place we live in. Surely we could do better than this!. Then again Siem Reap is also a touristy place so maybe it's well developed and designed that way, but still. The river right in the center of the town doesn't smell, no trash in sight. Streets are clean, roads are smooth, greenery is everywhere, sometimes so are the monkeys. Lights are low lit but tourist and locals roam free without the fear of being mugged.  

This is only day 1 and I'm already infatuated with this particular side of the world. How much more in day 2 when I talk about the amazing grandeur of the world famous Angkor Wat?!... only one way to find out... behold.... 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

as for now...

While I'm slaving away my delicate fingers for the much belated blogs, please enjoy, or not, the musical-travel-video-documentary, or MUSICTRAVIDOC that I'm totally making up. 

Presenting.... 

the day 1 of our Cambodian trip...

day 2 to follow, because you tube is having a girly tantraum. GIRLS! 

enjoy!

;)