Weekly Photo Challenge: Big

“health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” -Buddha

it’s saturday again and another time for weekly photo challenge. i’m running short of topics to share so i’m mostly relying on the friday’s challenge. hopefully soon fingers crossed, i’ll be able to post something ‘exciting’ here (watch out for it!).

this week’s theme is all about BIG (literally or figuratively)…and these are my photo entries.

this picture was taken last year at wat pho or the temple of reclining buddha in bangkok, thailand. i was very keen to see this statue of the big buddha since i first learned about it from the movie ‘the beach’, which is one of my favorite movies. this is very huge standing 15m high and 43m long.

this picture was taken at odaiba shopping center in tokyo, japan. this larger than life gundam robot reminds me of my childhood days when i used to watch japanese cartoons and tv shows during weekends and afternoons after going home from school.

lastly, this photo was taken during a trip at ta phrom temple at angkor wat in siem reap, cambodia. the growing trees among the ruins makes this place one of the most visited spots at angkor wat. this place was also used as a location for the movie ‘tomb raider’ by angelina jolie.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far

i discover something new today while i was browsing the home page of my wordpress account. apparently, there’s a weekly photo challenge every friday encouraging bloggers to share their best photos based on the given theme for the week. for almost 3 years of blogging, i was like ‘why didn’t i get to learn about this !?!?’

if a professional writer experiences the ‘writer’s block’, then what more on an amateur/leisure/trying-hard (quote)writer(unquote) like … me. there are days that i’m running out of stories to share so i just settle with any random thing that crosses my mind.

and so starting today, i’ll be participating in the weekly photo challenge and this week’s theme is ‘near and far’. more details posted here.

among the heaps of pictures sitting in my hard disk and flickr account, i chose this photo taken last year during a trip at angkor wat in siem reap, cambodia. i don’t know who owns this pair of shoes, maybe someone left it on purpose? maybe prince charming will soon arrive and will search for the lucky cinderella. (“,)

Random: Best of 2011

Thank you Lord for a wonderful 2011 — for the many firsts, fulfilled dreams and new experiences. It’s not a perfect year, still it’s a happy year for me. Hoping and looking forward to a more positive, explosive, juicy and fabulous 2012. Hahaha!

(Oh, it’s not yet the end of the world!)

-=The Best of 2011=-

solo @ bali * gardenasia valentines * primo girls @ bangkok * dad’s 60th and family @ sg * birthday bungy @ macau * our 8th yr anniv @ cambodia * boudoir * marathons

(the fun moments with myself, my love, my work colleagues and my family)

Best of 2011 :)

i’m not gonna make any new year’s resolution for now since i wasn’t able to fulfill some of last year’s (especially on the dieting part). i’ll just do my best in everything and be more positive i guess. also, i’d like to go to hk, taiwan or china next this year as part of my travel goals — if money, time and circumstances permit. inshallah.

the best is yet to come.

Travel: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

This is the continuation story of our recent trip to Cambodia. I took a short hiatus from travel blogging since I’m VERY busy with work these past few days. As in yung level ng kabusy-han na CR na lang ang pahinga. Pero thanks Lord, ok na ito kesa wala. At least may pang pondo pa ng future lakwatsa. Hehe! :)

Speaking of Cambodia, I’ve already shared the first part which is the Siem Reap tour. After spending a day in Siem Reap, we took the midnight bus going back to Phnom Penh. It’s 6 hours of travel time so we’re just sleeping the entire time during the travel. Compared to the first bus (Phnom Penh to Siem Reap), the bus bound for Phnom Penh is better in a sense that there’s more leg room and the bus itself is more spacious. The ticket costs $USD9.

Boyfriend and I were both very tired and someone from the guesthouse was supposed to pick us up from the bus terminal. But then we couldn’t wait any longer so (we) settled for the ‘persistent/annoying’ tuktuk driver and told him to bring us to Me Mates Guesthouse. We’re lucky that the place is just a couple of blocks away from the bus terminal, less hassle.

After some power nap, we started the tour at around 10AM. We rented a tuktuk for a whole day and it cost $USD20. Ang sarap mag tuktuk, hindi masikip gaya ng tricycle sa amin sa Talipapa!!! 

First stop, Choeung Ek Killing Fields. As the name implies, the place is a big mass of land where people were killed and buried during the Khmer Rouge era. Tourists are not allowed to make noise to give respect to the millions of people killed in this place. I know it’s not kind of a good idea to spend a happy holiday in this kind of place because it’s a bit gloomy and depressing. But at least, there’s awareness and learning experience brought about by this trip. Field trip lang ang peg.

Choeung Ek Killing Fields

Mass Grave

Next stop, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. The place was an old school building and converted to become a prison and torture place for the Khmer Rouge victims. At the entrance, you’ll see the graves of the last 14 victims found at the site. There are 4 main buildings in which you will see the photo galleries of victims, prison cells, torture chambers and other memorabilia.

Supposed to be for exercise but later used for torturing victims

Tuol Sleng

It’s kind of depressing looking at the pictures of the victims. There’s a heavy feeling looking at them and you could just sense how scared they were by the way they look back at you. Some stared blankly at the camera, as if accepting their fate and giving their lives to the tormentors. As I was editing some of the pictures, the faces kind of stuck at my memory and I couldn’t sleep after.

Black and White Photographs

Fortunately, we met Mr Bou Meng, one of the remaining survivors in Tuol Sleng. He’s an artist and made use of his painting skills to survive. His wife and some relatives did not survive though. He sells his autobiography book and signs it for free. We bought a book each and had a picture with him. It’s kind of surreal, meeting a survivor in person.

 Me and Mr Bou Meng

We ended the lonely yet educational trip, and asked the tuktuk driver to bring us to Royal Palace for our last stop. It was similar almost to Bangkok’s Grand Palace. We’re supposed to be happy now…but no. Ang ineeeeeetttt!!! There are lots of different structures inside the compound. Nakakatamad lang gumala kung tirik ang araw.

Royal Palace

We actually prefer Siem Reap over Phnom Penh maybe because the places we visited in Phnom Penh aren’t really the happy kind of places, I mean for a weekend holiday. It’s just like the Philippines wherein provinces and outskirts are much better than the city itself. Plus, we both got sick (during/after) the trip so blah. Not so good memories after all.

If you’re interested to go to Cambodia, here are some friendly tips:

- Use USD rather than Riel. Though riels can be use for smaller purchases, it’s handy bringing a USD anytime…anywhere.

- Bring an umbrella, sunblock, pashmina or any sun protection you can think of. If you want to get a ‘tan’, go visit Angkor Wat and Royal Palace.

- Don’t be fooled by some locals asking you to pray over some god or statue, only to end up being scammed and asked for donations. Just walk straight and join the other tourists!

- Cambodians are generally nice people. You’ll always encounter persistent sellers, street kids, beggars and tuktuk drivers ANYWHERE you go. Be polite.

Note: I don’t have much pictures in Phnom Penh (you probably know why). But here’s a few of them.

Travel: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Thank you Lord at natuloy din ang trip na to. Akala ko hanggang sa pangarap na lang mauuwi ang lahat. :)

Cambodia Ready

The Boyfriend and I met up at the airport around 1:30 PM and left Singapore by 3:00 PM Thursday afternoon via Jetstar. Travel time from Singapore to Cambodia is 2 hours. Upon arrival at Siem Reap International Airport, there’s another local flight from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. Ito na dito na papasok ang katangahan. Hahaha! Sa 4 na taon kong naglalakwatsa, akala ko pwede ng hindi sakyan ang connecting flight. Our ticket says “Singapore->Siem Reap->Phnom Penh” but according to my DIY itinerary, we’re supposed to stay first in Siem Reap so that we don’t have to go back and forth thus making Phnom Penh as our last leg.

Airport Officer: Transit to Phnom Penh, please go to the right side.

Ako (makulit): No, we will stay here.

Airport Officer: No, you shouldn’t make a stop here. Your ticket says you’re supposed to go to Phnom Penh.

Boyfriend (naglelecture): Marunong ka pa sa officer eh. Dito tayo sa kabila. 

(LoL! I’m sorry naman, akala ko bus lang eh. Bus naman to di ba…as in airbus?! Ok fine chosz palusot!)

So we took the 20-minute flight back to Phnom Penh and bought the 8:00PM bus tickets from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. The travel time from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is 6 hours, so we had a quick dinner first at Jaan’s, a small café beside the bus station along Sisowath Quay.

Quick Dinner at Jaan’s 

Inside the night bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

We arrived Siem Reap (again) at around 2:00-3:00AM and had super late check in at Golden Temple Villa Guesthouse. The guesthouse offers free breakfast, bus/tour bookings, internet service and massage. A night’s stay cost $16USD for the two of us.

Golden Temple Villa Guesthouse

We woke up at 7:00 AM and started the Angkor Tour by 9:00AM. We rented a tuktuk for $15USD for the whole day. Next, we purchased our 1-day Angkor pass for $20USD. It’s like a school ID. 1 day is not enough to see the Angkor Wat so we just opted to see the basic ones.

One Day Passes

Inside the Tuktuk. Excited coz never tried this in Bangkok. :)

First stop, Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is said to be the most beautiful and largest monument in Angkor. Sobrang init lang! Weather is very good for taking pictures but not for your skin. Walang lalabas ng maputi sa Angkor grounds, so better apply a sunblock before the tour. Good thing I brought my pashmina (Note: Do not underestimate the power of pashmina, it can do wonders gaya ng pang kumot sa bus, cover if you’re wearing shorts/sleeveless, cover sa face laban sa alikabok from tuktuk, pamunas pawis, etc.) I love this photo taken with the locals in their Apsara costumes.

Angkor Wat

With the locals in Apsara pose

Second stop, Angkor Thom and Bayon. Angkor Thom houses some of the important monuments and temples such as Bayon and Baphuon. Since it’s very hot at naumay na kami sa dami ng ruins sa Angkor Wat pa lang, we finished ahead of time and asked the tuktuk driver to bring us to Ta Phrom immediately.

At the entrance of Angkor Thom (umi-i-scarf pa eh ang init!?)

Third stop, Ta Phrom. I like Ta Phrom because it’s not too hot in there. Large trees serve as covers against the afternoon sunlight. They also shot some scenes here for the movie Tomb Raider. A mini stage was set up in front of the famous tree for picture taking purposes. Pwede ba naman akong walang Lara Croft shot?!  Hahaha!

Lara Crook (Kapal)

After the Angkor Tour, we had a buffet dinner at one of the local restaurants. There’s an ongoing local show so you can watch the performance while enjoying the delicious food. Walang masyadong usap-usap kami, kain lang ng kain. :)

Dinner Buffet 

While waiting for the 12 midnight bus bound for Phnom Penh, we had a stroll at their local night market. There are lots of cheap stuff everywhere such as souvenirs, shirts, bags, scarves, etc. But what really caught my attention were the chains of foot massage stalls with mani/pedi services. Since it’s only $2USD each, go na! Super cheap as compared to the $30++SGD massage here in SG. (Note: $1USD = $1.20SGD)

Siem Reap Night Market

Massage with some Mani/Pedi service

Happy Feet

We left Siem Reap around 12:00 AM-ish and arrived Phnom Penh by 6:00 AM. Two days of traveling non-stop is very tiring but I enjoy it still. Feeling backpackers lang sa pagka haggard. Haha!

*Click here for more pics*

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