Heartbroken in Phnom Penh

January 31, 2015 Tsina 0 Comments

After four days of history musings and adventures in Vietnam, we've decided to head on our next destination, Cambodia! It would be a very long travel via bus to reach Siem Reap from Ho Chi Minh, so that was why we chose to explore Phnom Penh for a day. We still spent 6 hours in the bus from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh, and paid US $14/pax. 

We found a tuktuk driver in the bus terminal of Phnom Penh, and booked him for a quick tour around the place before we head to our hostel. The Mad Monkey Hostel was a bit far. We paid US $20 to the tuktuk driver, including the tour.
tuktuk tour
We started our tour by visiting the Royal Palace. This is a complex which is the residence of the king of Cambodia. There is a dress code in this place, so when you visit, make sure that you are appropriately dressed. I was wearing a pair of shorts, and sleeveless top, I wasn't allowed entry. :P I had to change, and then proceeded to explore the complex. We paid US $3/pax.
big smile at the Royal Palace
We found several structures and buildings inside the complex. Few of these are the Throne Hall, Phochani Pavilion and the Hor Samran Phirun. The Throne Hall is used for official events and diplomatic meetings, even up to this day! On the other hand, the Hor Samran Phirun is known as the "pavilion where one sleeps peacefully." This is the royal rest house.
Throne Hall
Phochani Pavilion
Hor Samran Phirun
We moved to another area of the complex to find the Silver Pagoda. The floor of the pagoda is made up of silver, thus it is called as Silver Pagoda.
Silver Pagoda
another angle of the Silver Pagoda
Not touristy, but we also visited the Killing Fields. This was where the Khmer Rouge executed a lot of people. The Khmer Rouge pushed for social reform through creating an agrarian-based society. I have no words to describe the feeling I had during the visit. We found bones, lots of human bones in the commemorative stupa. I decided not to take a photo of this one. But it was heartbreaking. 
We paid US $5/pax, which includes the audio equipment for the tour. These narrated the events following that regime. I mourned for these people. 
detention area
the mass grave
bones and teeth fragments
Killing Fields pathway
We were only able to visit the Royal Palace and the Killing Fields. It was late already when we finished exploring the Killing Fields so we decided to head on our hostel. There are places that when you visit, you leave with a heavy heart. The Killing Fields is definitely one of them.

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Mekong Delta Fun

January 28, 2015 Tsina 0 Comments

We've decided to stay another day in Vietnam and do a Mekong Delta Tour. Mekong Delta is the rice bowl of Vietnam. I would like to wear the Vietnamese conical hat. :P We told our hostel to book us in a group tour, and we paid US $10/pax. Meann went home in the Philippines by this time. 

We left the hostel early, and went to join the group in the bus. We signed up for a day tour. It took us around 2 hours to reach the port. When we reached the port, Eyann decided to get herself a conical hat. They were selling a lot of stuff in the port. We boarded the ferry with the group, and started our Mekong Delta adventure. 
Mekong Delta tour group
Part of our itinerary was a visit in a bee farm. We were given honey to taste. They sell a lot of bee farm products. 
honey
We rode the sampan boat, and it was the one thing that I was looking forward to. Oh, and they lend us the conical hat. Legit feels, yay!!
Sampan boat ride, let's get it on!!
With Eyann and our conical hats!
Mekong Delta
#happykid
We went to the candy factory after that fun sampan boat ride. By this time, we met two solo travellers and went with them until the end of our Mekong Delta tour. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a copy of our pictures. The tour guide explained to us the candy making process.
candy factory
candy making
We bought some candies, and gave them to my friends back home. We left the factory and headed to our lunch. The lunch was included in the tour fee, nothing special though. We rode the ferry and went to the community to watch the Vietnamese folk singers. We were served fruits during the performance.
fruits
I was able to capture their performance, watch it here. When you visit Vietnam, and you have time to spare, try this Mekong Delta tour. If only for experiencing the sampan boat ride, and the wearing the conical hat, the trip should be worth it. 

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January 20, 2015 Tsina 0 Comments

Wings. I need you to be my wings. - Maleficent

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My 2015 Vision Board

January 16, 2015 Tsina 0 Comments

I am seriously having a hard time creating a vision board this year. I got a lot of great things last year, and maybe I need to set new targets for myself. Let's see what I've come up for this year. 
My biggest target this year, save! I fixed some things in the past weeks. I created an expenses tracker, and hopefully do the 52-wk challenge. I need to focus on my savings this year, I spent a lot on my travels last year. Since my target this year is to save, I would probably have less travels. As of the moment, I'm only slated to do three major trips. I have a Cebu-Dumaguete-Siquijor this March, Batad on my birthday, and an autumn in South Korea with my friends. I would love to visit these places. 

Despite the saving mode this year, I intend to still do boxing. I need it to keep myself sane. Char. In addition, I would probably get a Kindle Paperwhite this year. I already have a Kindle, but I've been eyeing this one because of the built-in light, it would be better if I could read in the dark. 

I will continue my World Vision sponsorship, I already included this on my expenses tracker. I am also hoping to be able to help in Habitat for Humanity, and participate in many volunteer activities this year.

In my expenses tracker, the dream house has the biggest chunk. We should be able to move in the new house this year, probably late 2015. 

I am in no rush to get another promotion at work, not even in the next few years. But this early, I am seeing some challenges already. I pray to God for strength and patience. I'm pretty sure that I can manage this. Hopefully.

I started this year in a clean slate, and worked on my baggages in 2014. I had my closure, and seriously happy in being single. But I am open to get into a relationship this year. Yung matino na sana, please. :P

Not a very imaginative vision board for this year, but a series of important stuff in my life. I hope I could give a good report at the end of the year. Let's do this, alright? :P

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Walking Tour in Ho Chi Minh

January 10, 2015 Tsina 0 Comments

We left Mui Ne early morning, and went back to Ho Chi Minh. We did a walking tour in the afternoon of that same day. You have to take extra care on walking around the city, the traffic in Vietnam is notorious. 

We went to War Remnants Museum for our first stop. We paid 15,000 VND for the entrance. The museum exhibts war artifacts. Outside the museum, we saw a lot of military equipments, tanks, and aircrafts.
the tanks at War Remnants Museum
and the aircrafts!
It's a place that will be a constant reminder on how bad war is. We found a lot of stuff in the museum that were both interesting and painful. 
We left the museum, and headed to our next stop, Independence Palace or the Reunification Palace. But it was already closed when we get there, we just asked permission to take our photos and left.
Independence Palace
We proceeded to the Notre Dame Cathedral. We did not go inside though.
Notre Dame Cathedral
We moved to the next stop, the Saigon Central Post Office. I like the architectural design of this one. 
Saigon Central Post Office
here we go!
inside the post office
There is an opera house in Ho Chi Minh, and we went to find it. I was expecting to see something as remarkable as the Sydney Opera House, and even doubted that we were in the right track. But we found the Saigon Opera House, not as grand as the Sydney Opera House, but it is beautiful in its simplicity.
Saigon Opera House
We went pasalubong shopping after the trip to the opera house. This was Meann's last day in Vietnam, so we went to Ben Thanh market. We also stayed at Trung Nguyen Coffee shop because I wanted to try their coffee. It was too strong for my taste. By the way, we found Jollibee during our walking tour. Hihi.
Hello Jollibee!!
Find time in your itinerary to visit these places, it is one way of knowing the history and culture of Vietnam, or any other country you visit. 

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2nd

January 07, 2015 Tsina 0 Comments

On my last project in my previous company, I was doing quite well managing a workstream, but then we were receiving numerous escalations on the other workstream. My senior manager decided to move me on that one. I cried. I doubted myself. But she gave her trust, and support all throughout the project. We did well.

There are few things I've learned in working on my previous company.  A good leader encourages your growth, and celebrates your success. He is fair, and trusts your decisions. He listens.

It's my second year on my current company. When people won't listen, I smile. This is my small win. My big win is yet to come. 

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Exploring Mui Ne, Vietnam

January 03, 2015 Tsina 0 Comments

On our second day in Vietnam, we've decided to see the white and red sand dunes. Yay. I've never been to Ilocos so this should be my first time to see sand dunes. Haha. I told our hostel to arrange our transportation to Mui Ne. We paid US $18/pax for a roundtrip sleeper bus fare. Ho Chi Minh to Mui Ne takes about 5 to 6 hours by bus. I brought Combos for long trips like this one. Haha. 
sleeper bus
Unfortunately, we reached Mui Ne around 3pm, and the group tours already started by this time. We were supposed to get the private tour which would cost us twice the regular rate, but then another group joined us. The regular group tour is US $5/pax, and we paid US $7. Since we started a bit late, we agreed that we would skip the Fairy Stream to cover both the white and red sand dunes. We started the tour in the Mui Ne Fishing Village. 
fishing village
me, myself and I at the fishing village
After a bit of exploring the fishing village, we headed to the white sand dunes. We did not rent sand boards, but we walked barefoot in the sand. Saya!
white sand dunes
first time haha
#simplejoys
We spent around an hour in the white sand dunes fooling around and taking photos. Our last stop was the red sand dunes. We were hoping to catch the sunset, and we did!
red sand dunes
Whut am I doing again? :P
yay

It was a right decision to include Mui Ne on our travel itinerary. It would have been better if we were able to visit the Fairy Stream. But I had fun in the sand dunes. There is nothing more enjoyable than walking barefoot in the sand. Yay.

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No Pressure, 2015!

January 01, 2015 Tsina 0 Comments

I had a seriously awesome year. I accomplished a lot of important things. I finished my masters, got promoted, and passed a testing certification. Plus, I travelled a lot too. I was able to maintain status quo on a lot of family stuff. I still sponsor kids in World Vision. I got my closure. I am grateful. 

My vision board for this year is still in progress though. I am struggling in creating one this year. Haha. No pressure, 2015. :P

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