July 31, 2012

Shadow Play

Kids always have this need to play and to be distracted. When you've read all the books in your bookshelf and your kid still want something to amuse him, do these shadow shapes play.


It sure kept EJ entertained until bedtime the other night. Mission accomplished!

July 29, 2012

Dream Patio

Sundays are definitely lazy days in our house. EJ usually wakes up late but hubby and I still wake up early. It's in our system now.

Like today, it's already 8:30am and EJ is still in dreamland. Hubby and I woke up around 4:30am. Hubby did his morning exercise while I prepared our breakfast.

After breakfast, hubby checked his iPad for whatever new apps are available while I check my mac to surf about my "dream home".

We will be like this, in front of a gadget, the rest of the day with short interruption during lunch (usually delivery) and snack time. LOL!

Like said, it's a lazy day for us. Even EJ will be in front of a TV playing Wii or lying down in a sofa playing on the iPad.

In fairness to us, we're not like this everyday. Our Saturdays are usually spent outside doing some outdoor activities. Yesterday we went swimming.

Anyway, let me share with you what I found today while surfing for my "dream home" inspiration. My focus today is the patio area.

This somehow makes me think of Greece.

This one is just too pretty, isn't it?

Photos are not mine

My dream is to build a house in the province. I want a place with a small patio and a garden. And when I do, I will be the happiest person in the planet.

July 28, 2012

Travel Feature: Gran Canaria

When one thinks of holidays gran canaria has to offer, one would immediately think of the beach next to the famous Dunas de Maspalomas.

 {Dunas de Maspalomas}

Of course there are probably a million things you can do in Gran Canaria. But for me, I would probably just hang out by the beach and be amazed with the sand dunes all day long. Just kidding.

Aside from its myriad of small beaches,  I think the main reason Gran Canaria is such a well-known tourist destination for Europeans and the world as well, is its year-round pleasant weather. The sun rarely leaves the place, or so I heard.

Here are 10 reasons to return to Gran Canaria, according to its official website:
1. Fly over water.
2. Enroll on a marine mission.
3. Feel the beauty of the Maspalomas sun.
4. Swim in a strange jungle.
5. Be an astronaut without leaving the ground.
6. Catch the secret of Pozo Izquierdo.
7. Learn to surf.
8. Let yourself in for the surprise of the changing beach.
9. Leave rush behind.
10. Watch the sunset at Puerto de Mogan.

July 27, 2012

Mittapheap Driving School in Phnom Penh

I've mentioned in my previous post that I have enrolled in a driving refresher course here in PP. On my friend's recommendation, I enrolled in Mittapheap Driving School near the Hun Sen Park. 


I paid $60 for a 5-hour class with an English speaking instructor using an automatic car. I don't remember how much I paid for my driving class in Manila two years ago but hubby said the rate is okay. 

On my first day of class, I was so nervous. I almost did not show up! LOL! But I thought, if I will not conquer my fear of driving, I will never be able to drive. 

In Manila, I was able to drive already but I never got to practice my driving skills here in Phnom Penh because I was scared of the motorcycle drivers here hence the refresher course.

I am finished with the class. I actually missed one class because I went with my friend looking for the the best baby monitor for her baby but it's okay. I am half-confident I could drive on my own already. LOL! No, I am confident I can drive already.

I drove our car two times in two week's time. Hahaha!!! Everything was smooth but when I asked  hubby how I did, he said I drove slowly. Okay, next time we will fly. Be ready, honey! LOL!

Tomorrow, I will try to drive the whole day. 

July 26, 2012

Resto in Phnom Penh: Magnolia

We always see Magnolia, a Vietnamese restaurant whenever we pass by Street 51. Hubby and I tell each other we should try it one time. Lunch time looks like their busiest time based on the cars park outside.

Then last week, I was surprised to see another Magnolia in Street 63, close to our apartment. I told hubby we should try it.

So last Friday, we went there. We found out the Magnolia restaurant near our place is an expansion of the original one in Street 63. They must be doing really well!

Finally, after three years of living in Phnom Penh, we get to try it. LOL!


We love the garden setting outside


AC rooms are inside the big house


I love their hanging vine


We ordered mixed vegetables (left), and crispy pancake with shrimp (right), spring roll (not in picture), fried rice (not in picture). I was surprised by the size of the pancake! It was huge.


This plateful of raw leaves is a side dish of sort. I felt bad that hubby and I only ate the petchay. The rest we couldn't bring ourselves to eat even if we mix it with our rice or other food.

This is not our first Vietnamese food. But the usual food we order when we are in a Vietnamese restaurant is the famous pho. So this one was new to us.

I guess this is the reason the Vietnamese are so slim. Hmmm...maybe it's not too late to change my diet?  

July 25, 2012

A Honeymoon in Tenerife? Yes!

When I think of a beach destination, Bahamas and Maldives top my list. I have been to the Maldives but I haven't been to the Bahamas. The reason it is on top of my list is because I have seen so many beautiful pictures and ad campaigns of the island.

Unbeknownst to a lot of people, including myself, there are still probably a hundred more equally if not more beautiful than the two beach destinations I have mentioned above.

One very good example is Tenerife, the largest of the seven Canary Islands in Spain.

Look how wide the shoreline is! And how the water is perfectly turquoise clear! I am sure my son would adore this place, being a beach person that he is.

Tenerife is not just for the beach people, I have read. It has something to offer to everyone - hard core partying, nature tripping, carnivals, religious activities or simply soaking up the sun and enjoying the sun-kissed island of Tenerife.

Have I whet your appetite yet? There's more! Tenerife has the most sunshine compared to the rest of the world making it the perfect place to escape to when the it gets too cold from where you are.

I am currently checking tenerife holidays and it all look splendid. I wish I had my honeymoon here. Come to think of it, a tenerife holiday is probably the best wedding present one could give to a couple. Don't you think so?

July 24, 2012

Haste Makes Waste

Wag padalosdalos ng desisyon, ika nga.

That's one of my problem. I make decision so quickly and when I do, there's little someone can do to convince me otherwise.

Last Thursday, I received an email from EJ's summer school. They said the Ministry of Health has advised all schools to close until further notice due to the spread of EV71 or more commonly known as HFMD (Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease) among children.

HFMD, not to be confused with FMD (Foot and Mouth Disease), has been the cause of major panic among parents here in Phnom Penh. According to health authorities, it has been the cause of death of more than 50 children since April this year.

As of last week, I haven't read of any new death caused by this disease but still the fear and paranoia from parents are palpable, especially me.

So what did I do? I booked a return ticket to Manila right away! I made up my mind to stay in Manila while this thing is being sorted by the health authorities. When it comes to EJ's health, it is better to be safe than sorry.

I was already dreaming of the food to stuff myself (LOL!) while "hiding" in Manila, when I received another email from EJ's school last Saturday.

They say, school will open again on Monday. The World Health Organization and Ministry of Health have seen no reason to keep the school closed. In short, there's really no need to panic.

That's good news!

And then I remembered our flight bookings. I panicked (again!) because I thought it was already booked by hubby's company. And if it was, then we will probably need to pay a cancellation fee. But good thing, it still wasn't booked. Big sigh there.

So, lesson learned: Don't make hasty decision. Think things through.

Now, time to plan activities for the kiddo so he won't be bored the remaining days of his summer.

July 21, 2012

Resto in Phnom Penh: Mangosteen

This month of July seems to be a month of eating out a lot. This month alone we've tried 7 different restaurants, all new to us. Here's something new we've discovered - Mangosteen Restaurant.



The restaurant looks relatively new. I just don't know when they exactly opened though. We've eaten here two times already since we discovered this place. It's fast becoming our favorite restaurant.


I love the setting here. They also have private AC rooms. I thought they'd charge extra for the AC rooms but surprisingly they don't.

Mangosteen serves Indochine cuisine mostly but they also have some Western favorites.


Fried Wonton. EJ loves this. The sauce is a perfect blend of sweetness and tanginess.


{Fried spare ribs}


{Green curry}

Hubby and I always judge a restaurant serving Thai cuisine by its green curry. This one more than passed the text. It was really good, although I would love it if it was a bit more spicy and hot :)


{Stir fried mixed vegetables}


{Sticky rice with mango}

Hubby likes it but I wasn't really too keen with it because the coconut sauce was salty instead of the usual sweet coconut. But the sticky rice was already sweet. 


The satisfied customer lol

The service was really the best part. The food was served in about 5 minutes, maximum 10 minutes. The waiter that day was also polite and very friendly. Unfortunately on our next visit, the waiter was a little arrogant. But still the service was fast.

Mangosteen is located at Street 282, BKK1.

UPDATE as of February 20, 2014:
This restaurant has already closed. Too bad!

Turkey: Melting Pot of Civilization

I don't know much about Turkey. And to be honest, I don't know much about the world either. But that does not stop me from wanting to go to every corner of this beautiful, amazing world we live in.

The images I see on the magazines and the stories I read on other travel blogs about Turkey are more than enough to entice me to visit the place someday.

While that turkey holidays are still in the horizon , I am already digging deeper and reading more about the place. It never hurts to learn a new thing or two.

Interesting facts I have gathered from the internet:
1) Turkey's history tells of a 10,000 years of civilization.
2) It has a vast peninsula which links Asia to Europe through the Sea of Marmara and the Straits of Istanbul and Çanakkale.
3) Istanbul is not the capital city of Turkey. It is the city of Ankara, located in Central Turkey.
4) Turkey is the only secular country in the Islamic world
5) St Nicolas – the original Santa Claus – was born in Patara in Turkey and has a church dedicated to him in Demre.

Must visit in Turkey, which I got from the internet. Note to myself: read more about these places.
1) Cappadocia
2) Hierapolis and Pamukkale
3) Istanbul
4) Ephesus
5) Sumela Monastery
6) Alanya

The more I read about Turkey, the more I am excited to visit the place. I am hoping my boys and I can go to Turkey sooner than later.

Have you been to Turkey?

July 19, 2012

Where To Go?

I am now officially confused.

I told my Korean friend the other day that my family will be going on a short vacation to Tokyo this coming October. She suggested we take Korean Air and drop by Seoul. Tokyo is just an hour or so from Seoul anyway, she said.

So I researched about a possible stop over in Seoul. But instead of just a stop over, now I want to visit Seoul and Tokyo. LOL!

And then there's the open invitation from my friends in Maldives.

If only I have unlimited cash! I would surely visit each of this place just this year. Different places, different things and experiences to offer.

For Seoul, it is the allure of shopping. Tokyo, it's for the culture and the food (and Tokyo Disneyland for our son). Maldives, it is for the sun, sand and sea - a total relaxation.

But since we could only afford one country to visit by October, I need to make a hard decision. Tokyo? Seoul? Maldives?

What do you think, guys? If you were the one traveling, which place would you visit first?

Monsoon is Here

It's the wet season again here in Cambodia. Gone were the days when my mood changes together with the weather. When it was raining, I almost always felt depressed.

But not anymore now. I guess it has something to do with age? Or maybe I was really depressed then? 

Whatever. I actually like the rain now.

Last Monday (the other week), after an hour's worth of rain, the street was flooded already. EJ, like any kid, was happy to see lots of water on the street. He even wants to "swim" in the street!

Along Street 51

Along Street 360

The car was still fine when we were in street 360. But when we turned to street 63, the driver said the car couldn't pass through anymore. When I looked ahead, two cars were stuck in the middle of that street. Uh-oh.

Like I said above, I like the rain now. What I don't like is the eventual flood that comes along with it. A heavy one hour rain is sure to make some streets non-passable, so what more if it rains the whole day?

Luckily, I don't remember the rain to last the whole day here.

July 17, 2012

Filmart - Filipino Grocery Store in Phnom Penh

When we were still in KL, I remember I had to squeeze lemon and lime juice so I could use it when cooking sinigang (when my sinigang mix "baon" runs out). I don't remember seeing a Filipino store while we were there.

But thank goodness, there is Filmart here in Phnom Penh. When ever the cravings for Filipino taste kicks in, I know where to go.

Filmart, your one stop Filipino store 


I always stock up on EJ's vitamins, sinigang mix, sardines, corned beef, boy bawang, dried mango, and pineapple juice. We always buy danggit before we started to cut back on our salt intake. But once in a while, we still buy it.


I also stock up on instant soups - cream of mushroom (my favorite) and crab and corn (the boys fave).

I am thankful there is Filmart here. Homesickness becomes bearable when you're munching on Chippy or Nova. Teehee.

Filmart is located at Monivong Street, just a few meters after the intersection of Mao Tse Tung and Monivong Streets.

July 11, 2012

"Mystery Illness" Plagues Cambodia

Kantha Bopha children's hospital in Phnom Penh. Photo: AFP/Khem Sovannara

About a week ago, news of "mystery illness" killing more than 60 children, 0-7 years old (since April) broke out. Naturally, I was sad and worried. No, make that scared and paranoid.

I have an almost 6 year old kid and I am concerned about his health and safety, like all parents would be.

The World Health Organization have sent a team here in Cambodia. It is news all over CNN and I read from twitter that there's a heightened alert for airline passengers arriving Manila from Cambodia. In short, it's not something to dismiss easily.

Authorities said that they have identified the common cause of death among children being the severe Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (Enterovirus 71). Symptoms of HFMD include fever, painful sores in the mouth and a rash with blisters on hands, feet and buttock.

But I heard there are still some questions left whether it is the real cause of death.

While officials argue, I am busy disinfecting my household. We have avoided the crowded places we frequent to every weekend like the Sorya and Sovanna Mall. We have made conscious effort to avoid the Famous Smoke Shop and restaurants that have smoking areas. We wash hands more than ever and while EJ still attends the summer class, I make sure that when he goes home he either takes a bath right away or washes his hands thoroughly.

There is still no known vaccine against the disease so the only thing to do is to practice good hygiene. I am actually particular about our hygiene already before this news broke out but now, I am little over the top.

They say, it is better to be safe than sorry.

With that said, I hope they will be able to identify once and for all the cause of death of those children to avoid hysteria among the residents of Phnom Penh.

And I am hoping and praying there will be no more deaths.

July 10, 2012

Shogun

We've been having lunch out every Monday and Thursday now because that's the current cleaning schedule at the apartment. I mentioned before, we did not want to be in their way when they come and clean the apartment which is almost always lunch time.

Yesterday, I was particularly craving for some Japanese food. I remember I saw this restaurant near our place. It's called Shogun. It's in Street 51 and almost near BKK market. They serve Japanese and Thai food. Two of my favorite cuisines in one restaurant. Just perfect!

So after a hectic morning of driving lesson, running to the tailor shop, and online checking of outdoor furniture covers from OutdoorCoverPros.com, we went to Shogun.

The place has indoor and outdoor setting. We chose indoor because it was hot yesterday. As usual, EJ played on his gadget before the food were served.


For EJ, I ordered a prawn fried rice $3.75 (from their Thai menu). I think this is very affordable.


Hubby and I shared on salmon sushi $5.00.


Hubby ordered a tempura set $8.00. As always, I had the case of food envy. Whenever we go out, I always envy whatever food hubby ordered. Seriously. LOL!


I ordered tonkatsu set $8.00. I asked hubby if I could share some of my tonkatsu in exchange for one piece of tempura. Hahaha!!!


The service was fast. The food was okay. So we will definitely come back here and try their Thai menu, next time.

July 9, 2012

Driving Around Phnom Penh

It was such a beautiful day today. Mornings are more magical now in this new apartment of ours. At 5:30AM today, I witnessed the sunrise and this "golden" clouds. I love it. It was amazing.


It's not fully captured here in this photo as I only used my iPhone. But really, it was magical. It looked like the sky was on fire.

Anyway, I had a busy morning today as I went for a drive around Phnom Penh with a driving instructor. Yes, I enrolled in a driving refresher course because I haven't practiced my driving here since I learned to drive.

I realized we could save on the overtime charges by our driver if I could just drive the car. I also really want to be able to conquer my fear of driving amidst the sea of motorcycles and tuktuks here.

I drove an automatic car today and it's such a relief that I don't have to touch the stick every now and then. I just concentrated on not hitting the motodops and the pedestrians.

I am glad to report that I did quite well. It wasn't really easy but it wasn't scary also.  I believe I could drive alone by end of this week.

After my driving lesson, I went to buy some turnbuckle, had my new pants altered and I went home before I picked up EJ from school. When I went down, I saw these very lovely clouds.


Isn't this a pretty sight? I have always been amazed by the cloud formation but it's only lately that I have come to notice them frequently and really appreciate them.

Hope you guys have a wonderful start of the week. Enjoy the rest!

July 7, 2012

Shopping for Bed

It's a beautiful Saturday morning! And we are on our way out now. I am blogging from my phone. How cool is that? :)


We are on our way to the furniture shops along Monivong Street to hunt for the perfect 2 double beds. I do wish there is a home depot here in Phnom Penh so furniture shopping is easier and convenient.

Speaking of, I did have some home depot coupons I left in the hotel last time we were in Manila. I hope  whoever found it, made use of it.

 Have a great weekend, everyone!

July 5, 2012

EJ's Phobia

We went to a photo ID shop yesterday to have our Photo ID taken. We need it for EJ's school.

The day before we were going to have our photo ID taken, I already informed EJ because I know that he has an issue with those big cameras and big flash.

Actually, I think it's become a phobia for him. I don't know where, how or when it exactly started but hubby and I surmise it started when he was hospitalized. The big camera and the big flash reminds him somehow of the Xray machines and citiscans.

When I told EJ we were going to have our picture taken, he did not want to go but after I explained that the school needs his picture and that there's nothing to be scared about it, he agreed reluctantly. I thought everything was okay.

When we were in the studio, I had the first go to show EJ that it's quick and it doesn't hurt at all. When we asked him to go next, he started to cry so hubby went next while I talk some sense into EJ.

When it was his turn, I volunteered to stay beside him. But he wouldn't even move from where he was standing. And then he went ballistic. Okay, not really. He cried and just wouldn't move.

It took almighty effort from my side not to lose patience. I know I should not be mad but I also could not keep my emotions in check.

After what seemed like a very long time of cajoling EJ, he finally sat still but he still wouldn't look at the camera directly.

I am sure the photographer was pissed but at least he did not show it. LOL! The photographer took five shots but nothing seemed okay. We told him to just select the "best". Anyway, this is not for passport purposes, just for school records.

After the incident, we talked to EJ again. We asked him why he's scared of the flash and the camera. He did not answer. We told him, we're going to have our picture taken again for our Japan visa and if he doesn't want his picture taken he can say goodbye Tokyo Disneyland. That made him think and then he said, "I am going to have my picture taken, Mom!"

Good. Let's see if he'll stick with his words.

July 3, 2012

Oh Tokyo!

Lately, I have been busy reading about Tokyo. Hubby and I have agreed we're going there this coming October.

I know it's still several months away but since we are DIY-ing everything, I want to be fully prepared.

I remember fondly our Europe trip. We did not book any tours. We did everything ourselves and it was a success. I am hoping to duplicate it with our Tokyo trip.

Next week, we'll be applying our visa. I hope we won't encounter any problems. I will be writing here how the application process go.

Along with this planning is of course the outfit planning. LOL! It's going to be early autumn when we go to Tokyo so I think our heavy coats will be too warm. But I will be bringing one coat for myself because I get too cold easily.

To say I am excited is a bit of an understatement. Tokyo, we're coming soon!!!

Glorious Tuesday Morning

Good morning, Phnom Penh!  I always wake up early, around 4:30AM everyday. It's become a habit now. And to be honest, I like it that way because I get to enjoy glorious mornings like this.


It's Tuesday today and there will be cleaning ladies to clean our apartment around lunch time. They come in twice a week, Tuesday and Friday and I always leave the house because I don't want to get in the way of their cleaning.

I just realized though that I may get a reprieve from cleaning the house twice a week, but I am spending more in return because we eat lunch outside!

I told hubby, cleaning once a week should be okay. Besides there's not much to clean because we have a small place and I clean the house everyday anyway (except for the days the cleaning ladies come).

So today, I only attended to my laundry and then I exercised. I am the type of person who cannot sit idly in one place anyway.

In a few minutes, I will be going out to pick up EJ and hubby for lunch. Hope you guys have a fantastic Tuesday!