March 30, 2011

Going Out Today

I am trying to be a good blogger, post as much, no matter how nonsense the post is! LOL!

Today, I let EJ go to school. He seems one hundred percent okay. And I also need to get my sanity back. Hahaha! I am just a little worried because we are de-worming him. I hope he won't have an accident in school today.

And since EJ is in school I can do a lot of things today. I found some tech jobs online, will forward it to a friend's brother.

Then later, I am off to Central Market to buy some vegetables. I will try to write down the prices and take pictures. I hope I will remember.

I will go to Philippine embassy to renew my passport.

Will meet a couple of friends for lunch. My friend can only have soup because she's had some dental works. Hmmm...where can we eat?

Will go to WExport and Mango also to check out some warm clothes. Just in case.

What else?

Maybe a foot massage if I have time and money left.

Great Wednesday to all!

March 29, 2011

Food in Kep

You know what Kep is famous for? It's not the quiet and breezy atmosphere. It's the seafood! Cheap seafood that is.

We stayed at Knai Bang Chatt Resort when we were in Kep and it was such a pleasure to find out that the resort is just walking distance to the famous Crab Market!

We literally had a feast for three days, eating nothing but seafood. I am suddenly craving for these delicious sea creatures right this minute. LOL!

Sea Crabs
Sea Crab. I usually don't order this because it's not as delicious as its freshwater counterpart (you know the bulkier and darker ones?), but this one was really tasty and meaty.

Prawns in Green Pepper
Prawns in Green Pepper. Yummy, yummy goodness!

Squid in Green Pepper
Squid in Green Pepper. So soft and not chewy. They know how to cook the squid just like I want them to.

Grilled Fish
Grilled Fish. Don't let the burnt skin fool you. This was heavenly, especially if dipped in soy sauce with lime and chili.

Fresh Fruit Salad
Fresh Fruit Salad. We had this at the resort. Nothing beats dining by the seaside.

If you're heading to Kep, you cannot afford to miss Crab Market and the delectable seafood they offer.

Slow Week

Nothing exciting happening this week.

EJ had a fever since Sunday. Yesterday we went to the doctor. Doctor says EJ has an infection. So he's taking antibiotic. He's okay now but I still did not let him go to school, just to make sure. So we're just building train tracks, drawing, watching McQueen and reading books all day. Fun! But I need a break. LOL!

I need to go to the embassy to renew our passport. I guess I will do it tomorrow when EJ is 100% better.

I am looking forward to a long holiday next month, Khmer New Year. We haven't decided yet where to go. Or maybe we will just stay at home.

Hubby and I have both iPhone4 now. And it totally changed our morning routine. When we wake up in the morning, the first thing we do is check our phones. I check my mail, FB, twitter and then news. Hahaha late ang news. Hubby checks news and then play Butterfly farm. Hahahaha!!!

I am taking a break with making jewelries. I have callus in my hands now. It's yucky but beautiful hands are working hands. So my hands are still beautiful despite the calluses. LOL! I will resume beading this weekend.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

March 24, 2011

Ngon Restaurant

Last week, after I checked the nintendo ds at Sorya Mall, I met up with a friend to have lunch. I was actually busy that day but it's always nice to see a friend, have lunch and chika-chika in between.

We went to Ngon Restaurant along Sihanouk Boulevard. It's a new restaurant in town, they serve Vietnamese/Khmer food.

I was craving for a soup noodle that day too so it was a perfect choice.

The place is huge. I love the ambience. And love the decors too.

But what I love most is their price.

I had this vermicelli soup for only 10,000Riels or $2.50. So nutricious!

This was what my friend ordered. I forgot to ask her the price. But I am sure it was about the same price as mine.

If you're a foodie like me, you'd love Cambodia because of the varied International cuisines at a relatively cheaper price.

Of course, if you go to 5-star hotels that's a different story.


Ngon Restaurant
#60, Sihanouk Boulevard
Tel :023 987 151

Random Things on my Mind on a Thursday

Every Thursday, EJ has a swimming class. And almost every Thursday I forget to put his swimming clothes in his back pack. I had to send it again today. I am so old.

~~

I have to change shampoo because I think I have more hair loss lately. Or maybe I should just buy some hair loss products to prevent more hair loss. I don't have a thick mane so if this continue, I will probably end up looking like I am sick.

~~

What you get is what you deserve.

~~

Nothing taste as good as thin feels. I read this somewhere.

~~

Why do men cheat? Do they think they won't get caught? And if they are caught, do they think they will be forgiven? Why do men cheat? Because they're "men", so they do it? I can't take this off my mind after hubby told me a story, about someone who cheated on his wife, got caught and still try to save his family.

~~

I want a nice family holiday somewhere very far. But we couldn't afford it. LOL! I will just day dream, I guess.

~~

So many fake Louis Vuitton and Gucci here in Phnom Penh. You see it on everyone - students, office girls, market lady and even the cleaning lady.

~~

We never know how much junk we've accumulated over the years. So clean up. De-clutter. Simplify.

~~

Happy Thursday!!!

March 23, 2011

Passport Renewal in PP

I went to the Philippine Embassy last week because I wanted to renew my passport and EJ's.

They told me they stopped accepting passport renewals in the mean time. I did not ask the reason why. But the good news is that, end of this month they will start accepting passport renewals again and they'll be issuing the ePassport already.

Passport renewal would take up to 30 days, maximum of 60 days. Cost of passport renewal is $60.

So what's exciting about the Philippine ePassport, you ask?

Well, I have no idea. Since the Philippine Embassy here has no website, I have to google and find out the info from Philippine Embassy in Norway. And here's what they have to say about Philippine ePassport.

What is an ePassport?
An ePassport is a passport which features microchip technology. An integrated circuit (chip) within its pages contains the data that are essential in verifying the identity of the passport holder. These data include the personal data found on the data page of the passport, the biometrics of the passport holder, the unique chip identification number, and a digital signature to verify the authenticity of the data stored on the chip.

The chip technology allows the information stored in an ePassport to be read by special chip readers at a close distance.

What are Biometrics?
Biometrics are the unique and measurable physical characteristics of an individual that include face recognition, fingerprints, and iris scans.

The Philippine Electronic Passport (or Philippine ePassport) uses the digital image of the passport photograph that can be used with face recognition technology to verify the identity of the passport holder.

It captures the fingerprints of the passport holder, for identification using the Automated Fingerprint Verification System (AFIS).

What are the special features of the Philippine ePassport?
The Philippine ePassport allows information stored on the chip to be verified with the information visually displayed on the passport.

It uses contactless microchip technology that allows the information stored on the chip to be read by special chip readers at a close distance.

It contains an integrated photograph of the holder, a digitized secondary photo, and an electronic print of the holder’s signature.

It contains overt and hidden security features such as Invisible Personal Information (IPI), letterscreen, microprinting, and UV reactive ink, among others.

What is the difference between the existing maroon machine readable passport (MRP) and the ePassport?
An MRP is a passport that contains a machine-readable zone (MRZ) printed in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard. It is capable of being read manually and with the use of a machine.

An ePassport has an embedded IC chip where the photograph and personal information of the bearer are stored in accordance with ICAO specifications. These information can be read by chip readers at close distance. An ePassport also contains a machine-readable zone.

What advantages does the Philippine ePassport offer?
The ePassport is highly secure, hence avoids passport reproduction and tampering. The ePassport database is enhanced with AFIS that guards against multiple passport issuances to the same person and enhances imposter detection.

It facilitates fast clearance of travellers at immigration checks.

ePassports provide travellers benefits such as use of automated border clearance or “E-gates”, automated issuance of boarding passes, and faster travel arrangements with airlines.

For countries, the use of electronic passport also provides better border protection and security.

Why do we have to use ePassports now?
The MRP has the minimum ICAO standards in travel documents. The ePassport is the world standard in travel documents. As member of ICAO, the Philippines has an international obligation to enhance the security of its travel documents.

The issuance of ePassports will allow the Philippines to offer world-class consular services to its nationals.

Countries have greater confidence and acceptance of the ePassport since it is enhanced with biometric technology.

ePassports are already being used in more than 60 countries worldwide. In ASEAN, five countries have already issued e-passports (Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia).

I hope the ePassport is really secure. I have heard about hi tech pickpocketing and stealing online identity. Shivers. But still, having ePassport will be more convenient when travelling, so yeah, I am looking forward to having my own ePassport.

Embassy of the Republic of the PhilippinesNo. 15, Street 422,
Khan Chamcarmon,
Sangkat Tonle Bassac,
Phnom Penh,
Kingdom of Cambodia

Tel: (855)(23) 222 303/4
Fax: (855)(23) 215 145
Mobile: (855)(77) 777 900
Email: phnompenhpe@ezecom.com.kh

Morning Motivation

Happy Wednesday!

Before I go and read some post workout supplement reviews, let me share something I received on my email from my sister. She also just got it as a forwarded message.

Here it is.

~~~
Morning Motivation

When I woke up this morning lying in bed,
I was asking myself;
What are some of the secrets of success in life?
I found the answer right there,
in my very room.











And not to forget,
the carpet said...
KNEEL DOWN AND PRAY.

Carry a Heart that Never Hates.
Carry a Smile that Never Fades.

~~

I love the message. Today I will follow what the fan says, be cool.

Enjoy today!

Along Norodom

Hello Wednesday! Thought I'd start sharing pictures of Phnom Penh. These pictures were taken along Norodom Boulevard, one of the main streets of Phnom Penh.

Took these photos while in the car, using my iPhone.

Norodom Blvd 1
Sokimex, local gas station

Norodom2
Malis, high end Cambodian restaurant

Norodom3
Car shop, some are metal buildings.

Norodom Blvd 4
Coffee shop, among the many here in Phnom Penh. There's one in almost every corner.

Norodom5
Independence Monument roundabout. HunSen park at the other side

It's not a busy week for me this time. But I don't like doing nothing so I'll probably tweak my blogs' theme, bloghop or design some jewelries.

Hope you have a productive day.

March 22, 2011

Memories from Kep

When the heat gets too much in Phnom Penh, expats and Penhites alike head to either Sihanoukville or Kep. We haven't been to Sihanoukville  but we've been to Kep.

Kep is a resort town of Cambodia about 2-3 hours drive from the city of Phnom Penh. Kep is not to be mistaken as a beach town. Yes, it is a seaside town but it's not for swimming, it's more like a picnic place where people enjoy cheap seafood, and breezy, quiet atmosphere.

I booked our accommodation through Agoda after comparing rates at HotelsCombined. I chose Knai Bang Chatt Resort . I was happy with my choice. Sure, it was a bit expensive ($180++/night), but we got the privacy and the quiet we wanted.

It was a very relaxing 3-day holiday.

Kep1
If I am not mistaken, there's only about 5 of these buildings and each has two rooms, one up and one down. We stayed at the ground floor.

Kep7
Our room, it doesn't look that pretty on the picture, but it was. I also loved their bathroom.

Kep3
The swimming pool, small but with a great view of the ocean.

Kep2
Love this shot. This was the view from their restaurant.

Kep6
The hotel's restaurant.

Kep5
For lounging, which we did the whole time we stayed here.

Kep8
There's a water sports just right beside Knai Bang Chatt. You can rent something like this.

I'd love to go there again this year. Let's see if we have got a budget left for this. LOL!

March 21, 2011

Market Day

About three weeks ago, we started buying our seafood and veggies supply from the wet market here. We used to buy it from the grocery store. I thought there's not much difference. Later on, I realized the difference is actually big especially if I take into consideration the freshness of the stuff I buy.

Last Saturday we went to Central Market. I swiped these pictures from hubby's flickr account.

Happy Buyer
I don't remember why I was smiling. I wasn't even aware that hubby took a picture of me, using his new iPhone.

Central Market Vegies
Look how fresh the veggies are!

Dried Fish
Dried fish.

We bought the usual suspect: squid, tuna, dalagang bukid, and grouper. We bought the usual fruits as well: watermelon, pineapple, longan and mango. I think I spent about $30 or so including one plasticfull of vegetables.

I should write the prices down so I could compare it with the items bought from the grocery.

What about you? Where do you buy your fish, meat, veggie supply?

March 19, 2011

Intercontinental Hanoi Westlake Hotel is Beautiful

When we were in Hanoi last June 2010, my husband's company booked us at InterContinental Hanoi Westlake Hotel.

Usually, I google and read up on the hotel we're going to stay in. And usually, I book our hotel. But that was a spontaneous trip, so I had no time to research anything.

I was not really worried. It's Intercon after all. I was just not used not knowing what to expect.

My little worries were all for naught. Intecontinental Westlake Hanoi Hotel is one of the best hotels I have stayed in.

I love it that it's situated on the serene waters of West Lake, the largest lake in the city. It felt like we were in a resort on some sort of a retreat. It was quiet and just beautiful.

I loved their huge rooms and their breakfast buffet.

Intercon-Hanoi-1

Intercon-Hanoi-2

Intercon-Hanoi-3

Intercon-Hanoi-4

It's not in the city center but that did not bother me at all. It's only about 4 kilometers from the city and it was easy to get a cab from the hotel.

If we are going back to Hanoi, I will definitely book this hotel again.

INTERCONTINENTAL HANOI WESTLAKE
1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Hanoi, Vietnam

Save on your hotel - HotelsCombined.com

EJ Always Makes Me Smile

Hi! At last, I finished my project yesterday afternoon. Happy with the end result. I still have things to work on but it's Saturday. I want to rest for a while and enjoy it as much as I could.

I just want to share something EJ said that I find cute. But of course that's just me the mom talking.

I opened a bag of Cheetos for EJ.
Me: Baby, can I have some Cheetos please?
EJ: No!
Me: Pretty please?
EJ: Mom, I love you. But sometimes, I don't like to share with you. Okay?
Me: Ha? Okay...
Hahahaha!

Hubby and I arriving home at 8pm after our dinner date.
Hubby and I: Hi baby!!!
EJ, rushing to the door.
EJ: Hi Mommy. Hi Daddy. I missed you Mommy and Daddy
As if to stress how much he missed us, he added:
EJ: I VERY missed you!"
Hahahaha!!!!

Happy Saturday guys. Enjoy the weekend and the super moon tonight.

March 17, 2011

Quick Hello

Just want to say Hi! I am really busy until Saturday. But it's all good. Sorry if I won't be able to bloghop until then.

Keep safe everyone and thanks for visiting always.

Happy Thursday morning from my side of the world!!!

March 14, 2011

Opening Soon: Samantha's Farm

My brother's latest project is coming into fruition. They hope to open Samantha's Farm by end of this month.

Let me share some pictures from my brother's facebook account.


The house. It can accommodate up to 20 people.

They have a bar inside the house.

Fish pond. There are about 20 of them.

My brother during their first tilapia harvest.

The river

Steps going down. It's not finished yet though.

Samantha's Farm is situated in Morong, Bataan. It's about 30 minutes away from Subic.
It's ideal for nature-loving people or for a small group/company looking to have a retreat or team building.

As you can see on the pictures, you can go fishing and swimming in the river 6 meters away from the house or in the private pond (not in the picture). Massage will also be available.

With a 50,000sq. meter area, it is big enough to set up any activity you want with your group.

I am excited. Hope to see this on July or December or whenever we go home.

Goodluck Kuya!

March 13, 2011

Our Halong Bay Cruise Experience

We were in Hanoi June of last year. It was an unplanned trip, as we just tagged along with hubby who was on a business trip. But nevertheless, we had heaps of fun especially on our trip to Halong Bay.

Since I had no time to research, I just booked our Halong Bay Cruise at the travel agency at Intercontinenal Hanoi, the hotel we were staying in. It cost us $260 (for two adults, kids are free) for the whole tour.

The tour includes a return trip from hotel in Hanoi to Halong bay in a private car with a private guide, free bottle of water, half day Halong Bay cruise in a junk, and lunch for two at the junk.

We were picked up from our hotel at 8AM. The travel to Halong bay took about three hours. We had a short stop over in the middle for snacks and a short rest for the driver.

We arrived at Halong Bay a little past 11AM.

Junks

Boats are called junks. We then boarded our junk.

Our-Junk

This was our junk. We were not alone there. But I was glad we were not overcrowded like the other junks.

We sailed slowly to take in this amazing sight in front of us..

Halong-Bay

We stopped and went inside one of the caves.

Halong-Bay-Cave-2

Halong-Bay-Cave-1

It was cold inside, felt like it was on AC. Beautiful lime formation! Word of advice, wear sneakers. It can get slippery inside the cave. And bring a bottle of water, you'd be climbing up and down.

After about 30 minutes or so, we went back to our junk and sailed slowly again...

Halong-Bay-2

Halong-Bay-3

I was mesmerized by the beauty of nature. So magnificent!

My stomach growled, it was already past 1PM. As  if on cue, the staff of the junk served us wonderful food.

Food-on-Boat-1

Shrimps

Food-on-Boat-2

Stuffed Crabs

Food-on-Boat-3

Fish in Sweet and Sour Sauce

Food-on-Boat-4

Fried Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Food-on-Boat-5

French Fries

Food-on-Boat-6

Stir fried Squid

Food-on-Boat-7

Stir fried cabbage

Food-on-Boat-8

Pineapple for dessert

By the way, this food was served per two people only. Imagine how heavy our lunch was!

The experience was truly wonderful. I am so glad we took this trip.

Later on, I found out that our trip was expensive. You could book the same trip in another travel agency for only $150. And if you want to save more, you could arrange everything yourself - take a return bus from Hanoi to Halong Bay and book a public junk, all for $50/two people.

I felt a little cheated but with the experience we had, I guess it was all worth it.