May 30, 2011

Beautiful Saturday

I meant to write about this last Saturday but I had so many errands to finish and then Sunday was a lazy day we just watched movie all day.

We went to Phnom Tamao Zoological Garden and Wildlife Rescue Center last Saturday. More about that later.

What I want to tell you is that it was a beautiful day that day and the scenery all the way to the Zoo was lovely and inspiring.


It was all green, blue and white. In the Philippine countryside, you'd see lots of coconut tree. Here in Cambodia, you'd see sugarpalm tree instead.

How was your weekend guys?

May 25, 2011

Samantha Farm, Ready for Rent/Lease

My brother's farm called Samantha Farm is now available for rent or lease. If you're looking for a place to truly relax, have peace and escape the city life for a while, this is the perfect place to go to.

It's in Morong, Bataan. Not too far from Manila.

The best part is you can rent the whole place, all 5 hectares of it for a promo price of only P3,250 from 9am-5pm; P3750 from 7pm-7am and P5500 for any 24-hour period.


The House. It has two bedrooms and three bathrooms.



Bedroom



Living Room



Bar



Darts


Poolnd. It's a pool and and pond. Water comes from the river, it comes in and out endlessly. So the water has no irritants like chlorine.


My brother. We joke and call him, the haciendero. LOL!


I can't wait to visit this place this July. Swimming at day time, hiking, barbeque, relaxing at the hammock, bonfire at night are just a few of the things you can do here.

If you're interested, you can email my brother directly: jedinktoner at yahoo dot com

May 24, 2011

Ho Chi Minh: Reunification Palace

We went to Ho Chi Minh City (locals still call it Saigon) last September 2009. Wow, it's almost two years now but it feels like only a few months ago.

The first tourist attraction we visited was the Reunification Palace. It was just walking distance from our hotel in District 1.

Reunification Palace was formerly known as the Independence Palace. It was built in 1865 on the grounds of Norodom Palace as a residence for the French Governor General of Cochinchina. It was designed by Western-trained architect Ngo Viet Thu. The construction was undertaken by Saigon engineers and was completed in 1966.

It is huge and quite awe-inspiring. Hubby and I spent half a day here.

There were free guided tours in different languages but hubby and I chose to roam around on our own. Here are the pictures.

Reunification Palace
Reunification Palace

Banquet Hall
Banquet Hall

Credential's Presenting Room
Credential's Presenting Room

President's Reception Room
President's Reception Room

Chandelier
One of the many beautiful Chandeliers inside.

Extra Information:
Address: 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Entrance Ticket: 15,000 dong
Ticket sales: 7:30am until 11:00am and 13:00 until 16:00
Palace open: 7:30am until noon and 13:00 until 17:00

May 23, 2011

It's English

EJ really cracks me up.

I was busy preparing his lunch today and he was telling me some story. But my mind was preoccupied with the food in front of me. (So what else is new? Hahaha!)

I told him, "Baby, I don't understand."

"But Mommy! It's in English!" EJ cried.

Hahahahaha! Nga naman mommy. Hindi ka ba nakakaintindi ng English, mommy?

Good Morning Monday!

I like being busy.

This week I am going back to school. No, not as a student. EJ's teacher asked me to come to their class on Wednesday to talk about the Philippines. I wanted to say no but EJ looked excited when teacher Ros told him I will be in their class to say something about our country. So I said yes.

It should be easy, I thought. But the challenge is how to make it interesting to the kids. I am getting cold feet now. LOL!

Hubby suggested I make a power point presentation. Do you think kids will appreciate it? I was thinking I'd just bring pictures and some props, old style.

I have never been this nervous for a long time. Hahaha! I want EJ to be proud of me.

So today, instead of looking for coach gifts, I'd reacquaint myself with Philippine history and facts.

It should be exciting.

How many islands are there in the Philippines? High tide or low tide?

What's our national bird?

Who's our national hero?

How many EDSA Revolution did we have? Just kidding. Hahahaha!!!

Okay. Bye for now. Have a beautiful Monday everyone!

May 22, 2011

End of the World

There were news about the world ending yesterday or today (depending on one's timezone?) But instead of worrying about doomsday and seoquake, we were all having fun at Monkey Business. I thought, if the world ends at least I am with my family and we are having a great time. I also thought, I should indulge a little just in case you know? LOL! So I shared two packs of dried mango with my son, had a big lasagna, had mocha frappe and ate 2 big hot & spicy KFC chicken with rice. By the way, that's for the whole day's consumption lest you think I am really that voracious an eater. LOL!

Today, we just spent the whole day at home. No big plans except for a pork BBQ lunch. It was yummy. I made a strawberry cheesecake last night and we had it for dessert today. I must say, this is the best cheesecake I've ever made. *Ate Elms*, I am reserving a slice for ya! I will bring it when we meet this week. It should be sooner, baka maubos na ni hubby. Hahaha!!!

We also had an American Idol marathon starting from top 8 on Starworld channel today. I missed the episode when James was eliminated. We were at Sihanoukville then. I shouldn't have watched it. I cried when I saw it.

Now, my boys are playing Wii and I am checking mails and updating my blogs.

It's been a fun weekend. Hope yours was too.

May 18, 2011

Sihanoukville and Independence Hotel

In Cambodia, we do enjoy so many holidays. Just like recently, we had a 5-day off. It's actually just a three-day holiday but it's sandwiched between Saturday and Sunday, making our weekend long.

Long enough for us to travel 4 hours by bus to the beach town of Cambodia, called Sihanoukville. It was my first time there. Hubby had been there a couple of times, only in a different hotel.

I booked our stay at Independence Hotel. It's a boutique hotel since 1963. I think this was the first premier hotel in Sihanoukville, even Jacqueline Kennedy stayed here before. They closed during the Khmer Rouge. And opened only just recently after renovating the place.

I have to say, I am most of the time lucky with my hotel choice. Or should I say I am just well researched. And in this case, I got lucky again.

I booked though Agoda and chose Deluxe room. I paid about $70++/night including taxes and charges. When I checked the hotel's site, their rack rate for Deluxe is $190++/night!

I was not just lucky with the rate I got. It seems Independence Hotel is the best place to stay in Sihanoukville as well.

I don't have any comparison (hubby did though and he said Independence is better), but I fell in love with the place right away.

There's more to the sun, sand and sea combination. They have almost everything. Let me share..

The room was more than adequate and the bed was king size. Their breakfast had a great selection. The Sunset Terrace was perfect for seafood BBQ buffet. I loved that the rooms are "up" in the mountain and I have to go down to the beach. The beach is exclusive to the guests. I love the jungle-y atmosphere. I love it that they made a pathway in the rocky area. They have table tennis, billiard, chess and gym when you get bored with the beach.

Okay, enough talk. Let me share the picture now.


The big pool


The lobby


Sunset Terrace


The spa


The beach. It felt like we were all alone in there.


The pathway


Beautiful rock formations


Another one


There's kayak too, I forgot to mention above. You can rent it for $8/hour


Isn't this beautiful?


The jungle-y area going down the beach


My son did not want to leave the place. I know how he felt. We'll plan another stay here when there's another long weekend. Now let me check the calendar.

May 17, 2011

Beach Time

Amazing what three days of sun, sand and sea can do to one's physical, emotional and mental health.

I have been feeling rather glum. So the trip to the beach was really a welcome retreat.

The beach never fails to take away my worries and stress.

The beach felt like it were our own private beach. There were many guests too but the exclusive beach of Independence Hotel is big enough to accommodate all their guests. It wasn't crowded and it wasn't isolated either. Just the way we liked it.

I love that it has a rocky area. At night time, when it was high tide, I loved how the waves make a splashing sound on these rocks. It was just lovely.

We were amazed with the rock formation too. Aside from eating, we get to do a lot of other fun activities.

Hubby and I both tried kayaking. Wow, it really worked my arms. EJ, wanted to try it but at the last minute got scared.

I swam a lot on their big pool. Yup, that's me. Feeling swimmer, haha. Hubby and I played table tennis and billiard too. The best part of this trip though, was EJ having a really great time.



He doesn't want to leave the place. Awww..next time baby. We'll definitely come back to this place. I, too, had a great time.

May 16, 2011

While We Were Away

We came home to a very stinky home last night with no power supply. What a welcome! Haha!

We left home last Friday early morning with no power supply already. We thought it was the usual power interruption. So we just made sure before we left that the lights and ACs were off.

Then, when we arrived there was still no power supply. It turned out, there was a power trip or something. I don't know how to explain.

Anyway, to make the story short. All the food in the ref were spoiled: the meat, the milk, the veggies and some fruits. It wasn't a lot but we were depending on it for our lunch and dinner today. Now, I have to go to the groceries instead of enjoying the Monday holiday.

And also, our three gold fish were dead. Sad. We knew it would happen. No one was there to feed them because Ate was with us too. But we were hoping really that they could survive with no food for about 3 days. Yeah, we're guilty of negligence but we don't have anyone to leave the fish with.

EJ wanted to have pets like dogs or bunnies. I don't think we should. When we travel, we don't have anyone to leave the pet behind. It's irreponsible at this stage to get one.

So I don't know if we should buy fish anymore. I suggest we should just get a Pop up display to put in our aquarium minus the water. I don't want to see a dead fish when we come back from the travel.

~~~

On the other hand, we had a wonderful 3-day beach time. It was just a needed break to clear my mind. Yes, I ate a lot of seafood but I did not gain weight. I swam a lot, made "sand balls" with EJ, tried kayak, connected with nature and had nice conversations with hubby.

Independence Hotel in Sihanoukville is a perfect place for short holidays, well, even for longer ones too. They have an exclusive beach. I love that the rooms are "up" in the mountain and you have to go down the jungle-y area to reach the beach.

We all had a great time. EJ did not want to leave the place yet. But we promised him, we'll come back next time when time and budget permit.

May 14, 2011

Quick Post: Sun, Sand and Sea

Hi! My family and I are having a short getaway at the beach. We have a long weekend (5 days!) courtesy of the King's birthday and another holiday which I forgot. Hehehe. My bad.

Anyway, we're here in Sihanoukville, a beach city of Cambodia, about 4-hour drive away from Phnom Penh City. We're staying at Independence Hotel, a Boutique Hotel since 1963. It's a perfect place to unwind. We're loving our stay here.

I was telling hubby how being in the beach just erases all worries. Someday, I would love to have a house of my own by the beach.

Last night, it was a bit chilly because of the afternoon rain. I wish they have outdoor fireplaces or they lit a bonfire. It would add a touch of romance and of course drive the chills away.

Tonight, we'll be having a BBQ buffet on the beach. Looking forward to having a grand time.

If I may add, life is good and I always thank God for all the blessings.

Happy Saturday guys!

May 11, 2011

Filipino Restaurant: Bistro Lorenzo

If you were a regular customer of Bistro Lorenzo before and yet you don't know where they moved after they closed down their old location, don't fret. We found it!

The new Bistro Lorenzo is now located at Street 306, just right beside Cafe Fresco in BKK 1. I suggest you visit the place right away.

They have totally revamped their look. It is so different from their previous place. It is now modern, chic and I love it!

We wondered if it's under new management. But Christian, the Manager, told us it's not. It's still under the same owner.

I totally love the new place.

Yes, I look super fat! Well, I am super fat. LOL! EJ looks excited.

I love their mango shake. EJ was watching Mr. Bean on their flat screen TV.

Sorry about my big face, I just want to show you that the waiters have new uniforms too. They do looknsmart.

The service was a little slow compared to what I remembered from their previous location. Or maybe I was just hungry. I couldn't be too sure. We ordered Crispy Pata, Sizzling Kangkong, Pork Lumpia and Seafood Fried Rice.

My camera was ready but guess what, the minute the food arrived, I attacked it immediately. LOL! Hence, no food pictures. Sorry.

Food wise, it's still the same. They also have not increased their price. But there's an additional 10% tax. So I guess you could say they have increased their price, surreptitiously though. LOL!

Bistro Lorenzo still caters and do deliveries.


Bistro Lorenzo
Eo12 Street 306 corner Street 51
Phnom Penh
+855-92 867901
+855-23 997300

May 9, 2011

Europe in my Mind

Today I take a break from writing about our little travels.

Since hubby and I agreed we're doing a Europe trip this year, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Okay, it's not really a big Europe trip. It's just London and Paris. But Europe trip sounds better. Hahaha!!!

I have already checked airfares, hotels, places to visit and visas. But planning this trip is not easy like the other trips we've done. For starters, I have to work within a budget. Hotels in London and Paris are not cheap. So, hotels alone will eat up a chunk of our budget. Second, we will be there on November. They say it's going to be cold. So we have to buy some warm clothes as well. That's another expenses.

The planning is really consuming my time and my mind. It's all I think lately. I think to say I am excited is an understatement. LOL!

We also have plans of staying overnight in Dubai, since flights to London or Paris have a stop over in Dubai. We'll take advantage of this opportunity so we don't need to have another trip to Dubai in the future. Talk about hitting many birds with one stone.

I hope this trip will really happen. It would be one of those dreams come true and I am sure it's going to be magical for the three of us. Did I say, we're also visiting Paris Disneyland?

Happy Mom's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the beautiful and indefatigable Mothers all over the world!!!

It's nice to have a whole day in a year where people appreciate us, Mothers. My boys are always appreciative of what I do for them and for our family. But celebrating it with the rest of the moms all over the world is something.

I had a great Sunday. My boys gave me a rose which they picked from our garden. Hehehe. We had a simple "handaan" at home. Hubby wanted to cook but I insisted I cook. So I made Paella, Pork Barbeque and Fried Chicken. We had watermelon as desserts.

We watched Manny Pacquaio's fight against Shane Mosley, which Manny won of course. Congrats Manny! So proud of you! And then it was DVD marathon in our bedroom the rest of the day for us. Nothing grand. But then, happiness is always found in the simplest of form.

Hope all you Mothers had a great day!

May 4, 2011

Games and Real Life

Hubby and I have been walking every morning for the past couple of weeks now. It's become a habit to wake up as early as 5am every morning. I hope it becomes a habit forever.

While walking, I was also playing my newest addiction. A game called Tap Ranch in iPhone. It's like Farmville or Farmtown in facebook.

I've long stopped playing Farmville and Farmtown in facebook. I lost interest.

So when hubby told me he has started playing Tap Ranch in his iPhone, I wasn't that curious and interested to download one in my iphone.

Anyway, one day I just found myself playing the game and finding myself hooked on such game again.

I am trying to beat hubby by reaching the end level faster eventhough he started earlier than me. Hahahaha!!! I find it more interesting if I think that way. LOL!

This game has taught me a thing or two.

Always choose to expand the farm first. Avoid shopping unnecessary decorative items. Maximize the land. Don't be idle. Prioritize. So on, and so forth.

Well, isn't it applicable to our real lives?

Hubby is thinking of buying a Motorola Xoom. I asked him what for? We really should be saving and prioritizing things. It's those unnecessary gadgets or our EU trip this November? He said the EU trip. There you go! =)

Oppsss, excuse me. My blackberries are ready to be harvested. LOL!

Another One In

It's so dark and gloomy outside, you'd think it's rainy season here. It's not. We are supposedly at the height of summer. Oh well, we could definitely use some rain. It's not raining yet though but it will, I am sure of it, in a few minutes. The clouds are dark and heavy.

Times like this, I want to have a steaming cup of coffee by my side while doing some work and checking fb.

Hmmm...It's been a long time now I haven't had coffee with my friends.

It was last month I think, when after shopping at Tuol Tumpong (Russian Market) we went to the Coffee House, another newbie in the market, which is just around the corner of Tuol Tumpong.

It's a small place but I love the ambience and the food they serve.





We actually did not have coffee that day because it was soo hot. We wanted something cold to cool us down. So we had avocado smoothie.

It was delicious.

The blueberry cheesecake was the best I have tasted here in PP. And quite cheaper too compared to our favorite coffeeshop.

Now, it's raining. Gotta go and get my cuppa.

Happy Wednesday all!

May 3, 2011

Holiday Monday

Hubby has been away for three days. They went to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam for his team's Team Building. He just got back last Sunday night.

It was nice that Monday was a holiday. We still had our "weekend" bonding as a family.

We went to Monkey Business, the new playhouse here in Phnom Penh. We've been there two times but kids can never get enough of it.

I actually love hanging out there especially on non-peak hours. The wifi is fast. The place is cold and the food is okay.

Yesterday was a school day but we did not let EJ go to school. So we had the Monkey Business all to ourselves, at least in the morning.



The inflatable slide

One of his fave activities

Hubby showed EJ how to slide. Adults are actually not allowed. Hahaha!!! EJ has tried it but is scared to do it again. The slide is a little bit steep for him.

Monkey Cafe. Service is fast.

For the Little Monkeys

For the Baby Monkeys

In a sea of balls. He loves "diving" here.

Taking a break

We went there at 10AM and went out at 3:30PM. Still EJ did not want to go home. Unbelievable. Hahahaha!!!

EJ had a whale of a time while hubby and I were able to just hung out and catch up on some emails. It was a good day yesterday.

Thank God for holidays.