Friday, September 23, 2016

Feature Friday: Re Café

Photo Grabbed from Re Café
Feature Friday highlights businesses, people, fashion, and basically anything under the sun!
Word of mouth has it!  The rumored homemade burger in Circumferential Road is indeed a bomb!  The news has been spreading all over town since August but I had a hard time looking for the place 'coz it doesn't have a signage yet.  Well, as I've said "homemade", the café is just like a backyard hobby/toy of Ozamiz' renowned photographer, Laurence "Enshong" Miranda.  It is at their very own residence, right across Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses or let's just have Firm Foundation Christian Academy 'coz that's more prominent.
Anyway, I was so glad that Christ brought me to the place last Saturday for our One-to-One discipleship.  As we entered Re Café, the place was full of familiar faces.  Very familiar if I might add 'coz most of them were/are my students.  Getting a seat was also hard 'coz the space is small which is to be expected for a starting business.  I guess Laurence is still experimenting on being an entrepreneur as he is also experimenting in the kitchen with his very own goodies.
Speaking of goodies, there goes the burger which he calls hanbāgā.  Not his own word of course 'coz that's how to say hamburger in Japanese.  The owner is an avid fan of anime by the way.  As proof, you can also see some of his collector's item anime dolls in the place.  Anyhow, the hanbāgā is really big!  Jumbo bun, massive patty, whole strip of bacon, tomato, lettuce, and smothered with generous cheese.  At first, I thought I couldn't eat the whole burger but as Christ and I went into our discussion, I was surprised to have gobbled up every bit of it.  Mind you, it is not something that you'll easily get enough with.  The patty is so tender, made with real meat and no extenders.  You can say that it really is pure meat 'coz it falls into pieces once cut.  Additionally, you can also tell that it has no preservatives by the look itself.  It's freshly made, organic in my opinion, much more with the fresh lettuce and tomato.
To match with the burger, we ordered Oreo Milkshake and Banana Nutella Milkshake.  I had the latter.  One sip of it and I forgot my name!  Lol!  Seriously, it was heaven!  I really really love Nutella and the drink doesn't disappoint.  It is so smooth, not too sweet, and just has the right blend of everything in it.  Additionally topped with ice cream and I went nuts!  But wait, was it whipped cream or ice cream?  Duh!  It seemed like ice cream to me!  Haha!  For me it's superb that I almost had a brain freeze!  Hehe.....
Now thanks to Kring2x for suggesting Re Café to be our One-to-One venue.  I will definitely go back to have a taste of their s'mores and crêpe.  So that makes dining in Ozamiz Americanized.  Thanks for bringing this concept to the city, Enshong!  As for the menu, it's OK to stick with the choices at the time being however, more tables and chairs please......Hehe.....  More power to you and to Re Café as you share to us your homemade goodies delicately handcrafted with so much love! :)
Credits to Enshong Miranda for the Photo
Credits to Enshong Miranda for the Photo

Friday, September 16, 2016

Familia Olandesca Thanksgiving Celebrations

2016 is a great year for us in the family since we celebrated three big occasions for the first 2 quarters of the year!  As a middle class family, it is rare for us to host parties or even just to invite friends over for lunch or dinner at our house.  Though me and my sisters cook, we only have an open house once a year and that is solely during new year's eve.  Or maybe I can appeal for twice 'coz it is when two years happen at the same setting.  You know, saying goodbye to the previous year and welcoming the new year.  And since we do that every year, that already counts for two!  Hehe.....  Now back to the topic.  This year has been extra special for us 'coz we had milestones which call for thanksgiving!
To start with, Papa celebrated his 65th birthday twice last March.  He had it at PNB, the love of his life and at the compound with the pastors, the second love of his life!  When compared with us, it is Papa who always gets giddy for birthdays.  He plans, he invites, he solicits!  Hehe.....  Yes, he does!  He wants everybody to participate in the celebration so he gets everyone involved by hook or by crook!  That's how unique our Papa is.  Getting his own plans done, with the expense of anybody.  Haha!  That's why people came to love him!
Papa with His Fellow Retirees and the New Bankers
Papa's Celebration with the Pastors
A month after, our second sister April celebrated her 30th birthday and thanksgiving for passing the Singapore Nursing Board Exam at Bethany Gardens.  It was an exclusive party for immediate family and close friends.  But having gone out of Ozamiz for almost a decade now made us realize that she only had a few friends left in town.  So the party became extra exclusive so everybody were given more attention and the event was so intimate.  The party started with a brief preaching from Papa's bff pastor, Uncle Marion.  Everyone had a good laugh when he inserted that everybody must lay their hands up on us for God's blessing of future spouses.  Lol!  Good thing is, there's already a future spouse (God willing) on hand for our birthday girl!!!  Now that's an add-on to the thanksgiving!  Hehe.....
Then two months after, it was Mama's turn.  She had the grandest birthday bash for the first time of her entire life!  At 65, it was also her retirement party so her colleagues were all present as well as two of our honorable government officials.  Nevertheless, the party was jam-packed with relatives, friends, and friends of friends!  As lovers of ballroom dancing, we hired Sir Cleofe, Misamis Occidental's ultimate one-man band to entertain us with live music.  To get the party going, Auntie Bebot and company gave a dance number after our (the 3 sisters) opening number with the DI's.  Yes, we also hired dance instructors so we'll have partners on the dance floor!  Unfortunately, no photos of us dancing were taken 'coz the audience were all mesmerized by our dance moves!  Haha!
The night was full of fun for Mama 'coz she didn't expect to have that much guests!  No program was prepared and there were plenty of bloopers but we still managed to pull the night off.  What's important was she enjoyed entertaining her guests and well-wishers.  Moreover, the De La Torre gang made a running man video wherein Mama participated with her very own version.
Thanks to Ate Maritcha of Bethany Gardens and to Cakes by Roxannie for the dessert table!  Balloons and giveaways still from Fascino by Maria Rosalia!  :)
mamas-65th-birthdaySo this is how we celebrated for the first half of the year.  Of course there will still be other celebrations coming for the last quarter of 2016!  Thank you, Lord for all the blessings that You showered upon us!  Thank your for keeping us under Your grace all through these years! :)  Spend some quality time with your family, folks for it must be where your heart is! <3

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Whimsical Wednesday: Taste of Asia

Whimsical Wednesday shows my fancy in a myriad of beautiful things.
Asian cuisine epitomizes a bomb of spices, herbs, condiments, and seasonings!  Every meal is a complicated mix of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, incorporating all the go, grow, and glow foods which are meticulously prepared.  Each country in Asia boasts a specialty dish or dessert.  To enumerate a few, here are my memoirs from the travels I've had around the region:
laksa singapore
Laksa (Singapore, 2005)
Nasi Lemak (Malaysia, 2005)
Nasi Lemak (Malaysia, 2005)
Braised Chicken Wing Noodle (Hong Kong, 2014)
Braised Chicken Wing Noodle (Hong Kong, 2014)
Portuguese Egg Tart (Macau, 2014)
Portuguese Egg Tart (Macau, 2014)
Nom Bo Kho (Vietnam, 2015)
Nom Bo Kho (Vietnam, 2015)
Pad Thai (Thailand, 2016)
Pad Thai (Thailand, 2016)
Beef Lok Lak (Cambodia, 2016)
Utan Bicol (Philippines)
Utan Bicol (Philippines)
Already salivating?  With all of these specialties to offer, no wonder why Westerners always love to visit Asia!  So come to Asia and taste its exotic blend of flavors!
No time for an Asian tour yet?  Head on to Ulli's Streets of Asia in Ayala Terraces Cebu.  That's the nearest from here (Ozamiz) where you can have a bite of everything Asian!  #tosomeats #tosomtravels
Ulli's Streets of Asia, Ayala Terraces Cebu
Ulli's Streets of Asia, Ayala Terraces Cebu
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Friday, August 26, 2016

Feature Friday: SM Skating

Feature Friday highlights businesses, people, fashion, and basically anything under the sun!
“Please don’t let this feeling end, it might not come again…..” There goes the song as Lexie glides gracefully on ice in the 1978 romantic film, Ice Castles. How could I ever forget that movie! At the peak of VHS films, we watched it over and over again with my cousins as we had our annual summer vacation in Lipa. As a hopeless romantic fan, I wished to dance on ice as Lexie did in the movie. But there’s never snow in the Philippines so that childhood dream of stepping into ice only came to a realization now that I’m already an adult. Thanks to SM for granting a simple wish of this poor provincial girl!
ice skating philippines

Ice skating in the Philippines was brought to us by business tycoon, Mr. Henry Sy who owns the country's biggest chain of malls which is SM or Shoe Mart way back in 1992.  Yep, some 24 years ago already!  However, we never had the chance to try it as it was a luxury that only rich kids could afford.  So at 33, I am proud to say that I'm still delighted to have had tried skating on ice, thus fulfilling an itsy bitsy dream!
sm ice skating
Balancing on ice took time for me 'coz it was so slippery.  One move of one foot can make you slide all the way!  Left, fall.  Right, fall.  Left, right, fall!  That's the routine for beginners.  Once you fall, never spread your arms for another skater might run over you.  You have to take note that the blade of the ice skating shoes is very sharp.  So beware from exposing your limbs.  That's what our coaches warned us before hitting the ice rink!
philippines ice skatingMe and my sissy, June Ann may never be figure skaters but I was so happy we achieved balancing and walking with ice skates on.  Much more gliding on ice!  Yes, we did glided on ice!  Oh, what a joy we felt!  Thanks to our coaches!  Ooops, my apologies for forgetting your names.  Short-term memory loss.  Hehe.....  And just like before when I was younger, I still enjoyed watching the others do their graceful routines on ice.  This time, it was special 'coz I wasn't watching from the outside of the glass panel anymore.  I was already watching them while I was also in the inside!
sm ice skating
Unlimited skating is P420, locker rental is P50, companion pass is P100, assist coach is P150 for 30 minutes, skating aid is P100 per hour, and a pair of socks is P50.  All prices stated here are on a per pax basis as of summer 2016.  If you wanna train like the olympiad, Michael Christian Martinez, visit SM Skating's website here. You may also get updates on their latest promo and offers by following them on Twitter and FB.  Visit SM Skating in MOA where it is the coolest place in town!
sm ice skating1
You may also have fun ice skating at SM Megamall, SM Southmall, and SM Seaside City Cebu!
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Sunday, August 21, 2016

The South Gate of Angkor Thom

Gods on the left and demons on the right - these are the guardians of Cambodia's "Great City", Angkor Thom.  As you may look closely, bad-looking heads with eyes piercing on you lining up on one side and kind-looking ones smiling at you on the other side.  (Some of the heads here are only replicas due to preservation purposes of the original ones at the Angkor Conservancy.)  Source:
the south gate of angkor thom cambodia
This long causeway leading to the ancient city of Angkor Thom depicts life's constant battle between good and evil ever since the beginning of time.  We, human beings are always put in between choosing what is good or what is evil.  We are always on the verge - which way, which way?  Call me a liar.  We do not always choose what is good, right?  So for me, this is what this causeway represents and no matter what we choose, there's also always a supreme being watching over us just like this gate tower of the many faces of Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara.
South Gate of Angkor Thom Cambodia
If Angkor Wat houses a number of different kinds of Buddhas, Angkor Thom has the faces of Avalokiteśvara on top of its south gate tower, in 360-degree, representing omniscience.  That the Bodhisattva sees everything and knows everything thus, nothing could stay hidden from it.
Inside the Gate
Inside the Gate
Just like us.  Our ways, our thoughts, and our intentions are not hidden from God.  He sees everything and knows everything.  What we do in the open and what we do in secret, He surely knows.  All good deeds, He honors, given that the intention is pure.  All bad deeds, He despises, but sometimes He allows evil for evil.  He even knows our sin even if we haven't committed it yet.  As it is written,
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11     there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one.”   - Romans 3:11-12
So in between choosing what is good or evil, let us be reminded that there will always be consequences for every choice we make.  God created us in His own image and likeness.  God is holy and His standard is holiness.  However, we always fall short from His glory for He also gave us freewill.  Freewill to be on our own, to make our own decisions.  Good or evil?  In the gods side or the demons side?  That's why Jesus taught us how to pray:  "Deliver us from evil.  Amen." - Matthew 6:9-13
angkor thom
What's inside the great city of Angkor Thom?  Find out on my next post only here on The Other Side of Mae!  :) #tosomtravels
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Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Other Side of Mae @ 5!

Five years ago, I started a blog.  A blog not grand, a blog unnoticeable, a blog intended only to document my simple life.  But to my surprise, along came people reading me.  With their sweet words, I got inspired to write more.  Their encouragement propelled me to take on another step.  So here it is!  After five years of journeying with you, is finally up today!  A blog systematized for your easy access.  A blog that's wonderful, whimsical, delightful, awe-inspiring, and brilliant, made with love and oh-so fantabulous experiences!  Hope you're gonna love it and do journey with me today, tomorrow and forever! <3

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Tom Yum

             Serves:  5                                                                  Cooks in:  15 minutes
             Preparation:  15 minutes                                              Country of Origin:  Thailand


             1/4 kilo shrimps                                              green leafy vegetables         
             mushrooms                                                    dried chili
             lemongrass                                                    salt                   
             kaffir lime leaves                                            lemon             

           1.  Boil water.     
           2.  Add shrimps, mushrooms, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and dried chili.
           3.  Season with salt to taste.     
           4.  Top with green leafy veggies. 

Click here for another Thai dish recipe.  Click also below for related posts on Amazing Thailand!  #tosomtravels #tosomeats #tosomcooks

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Feature Friday: Puesto

Feature Friday highlights businesses, people, fashion, and basically anything under the sun!

Photo Grabbed from Maria Suzanne Saulong
Puesto is the Spanish word for post.  Since we have been under the Spaniards for more than 300 years, we had adopted their words into our language.  So puwesto in Tagalog and Cebuano means post, position, rank, seat, or place.  And Puesto in Ozamiz is the newest place in town which opened last month as a restobar.

Located at the 2nd floor of the de Barras building near the City Hall Grounds of Ozamiz, Puesto offers a beautiful view of the sunset at its left side.  I just found that out yesterday afternoon as I looked up the sky and was surprised by the glorious sight I just witnessed.  Behind the clouds were the radiant rays of the setting sun, making me imagine that God was residing there at the other side.  So no need to go to the roof deck of Temples Bar in Cambodia just to witness a beautiful sunset (might as well tell Atsi Ann this).  It is actually here in our very own city that we can experience one and let me insert, watching nature in awe also depends on a person's state of mind and heart.  Now go out and smell the flowers, all you who are stressed!

Anyway, aside from the wonderful sunset, Puesto had turned the place inviting with its bright lights.  Its newly furbished interior gives it a cozy ambiance.  Rustic in design, I love its laidback style.  It just suits my personality of simplicity and minimalist lifestyle.  In addition, they also have their placemats customized and mason jars for the utensils.  With only these minor details, I can say that Puesto can be at par with posh restos we visit in big cities.
Now with the food!  The food is really good and not commercialized.  It reflects the design of the place which is homey in attitude.  In our language, lutong bahay.  Cashew Waldorf Salad for starter opens up your appetite.  It's a mix of apples, celery, and I could see that they were not using cashew but walnuts instead.  It was such a delish!  So light and low in calories.  Then the Sinigang Tuna followed which Papa loved so much.  It's asim-kilig as a TV ad goes.  For the main course, Crispy Tadyang is the specialty of the house.  It is fried beef ribs that is sarap to the bones.  And though calamares, sisig, and chicken buffalo wings are classified as beer match or pulotan, we had 'em as viands because we are Filipinos and anything will do for viands for us Filipinos.  Hehe.....  Moreover, I loved the chicken wings which tasted almost the same as Chef Lau's.  It's sweet, spicy, and flavorful with a sprinkle of sesame seeds on top.  By the way, the portion of their servings is just right to the price for each entrée.   
So for a relaxing aftie for yourself, a bountiful dinner with your family, or just a quick drink with your friends, head on to Puesto!  My apologies for not getting its exact address but it's just at the right side of Ozamiz City Hall.  The former Gat's Bar and Across actually.  Get the picture?  Now tag along your friends for another food tripping adventure!  #tosomeats
With Kuya Rio de Barras

For questions, invites, and collaborations, direct message me on Facebook.  For updates on my whereabouts and whatabouts, follow me on Twitter and Instagram! :)
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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Whimsical Wednesday: When Mentoring Becomes Mothering

Whimsical Wednesday shows my fancy in a myriad of beautiful things.

What's the difference between a dream and a vision?  When a dream felt so real, is it already a vision?  I asked after calming myself down as I woke up from a dream last Sunday morning.  It wasn't a bad dream actually, but I cried in it and woke up with a heavy heart plus tears in my eyes.  Oh, I could just cry right now as I'm thinking about it again.  It just gets me too emotional, you know.

In that dream, I saw my student Jubillo watching a baby in a crib about to fall into a big deep hole with water at the center of a street.  Then he turned around and motioned for me to help.  So I hurried past him with a great pounding in my heart but I haven't rescued the baby.  The baby fell into the pit in just a blink of an eye!  But after a second or two, a stroller surprisingly materialized in front of me, with the baby lying in it (the rolling crib became a stroller).  I got so worried, looked at the baby, didn't know what to do, until the baby choked with spritz of water coming out from his mouth.  Aside from being happy that he has been rescued (by an unknown force), I still felt pity over him.  I could see that he needed comfort.  I could see how helpless he was.  I could clearly see how he was grasping for breath.  So I felt the urge of getting him out from the stroller.  

From experience, I never took a baby (an infant actually) by my own hands.  I am always afraid to break the infant's bones.  I am always afraid I could hurt him/her.  I am always afraid to drop a fragile tiny little being whose life I could not replace if anything happens.  But while watching the baby catching up for breath, I gathered all my strength and concentrated on how to cradle him safely.  Then I did it!  In my dream, I finally lifted up a baby in my arms and the feeling was so overwhelming!  It was beyond nice, beyond good, beyond compare!  Oh, I could just feel him in my arms!  In that brief moment of concern to make the baby at ease and comforted, I felt that my whole being is fulfilled!  I don't know, but I felt some kind of great satisfaction washing over me until, I saw from a distant that a woman with a toddler in tow is approaching us.

Unfortunately, she was the baby's mom.  The baby's real mother.  Without hesitations or any word from her, I handed her the baby carefully.  But as she turned away from me with the baby in her hands and another child following her, I suddenly felt so sad.  And in a voice choked with tears, I said to the woman (whom I considered irresponsible and not deserving of the baby), "Not everybody has what you have, please do take care of the baby.  Please do take care of your children."  And that ended by dream, leaving me to tears while waking up.      

As I'm pondering about that dream now, I still get emotional but I have somehow got the meaning of it.  On my 7th year of teaching, I already had my fair share of students whom I've cared for and love even.  Looking at my “so-called” anaks grow and being proud of their accomplishment just makes my heart swell with joy.  But at the end of the day, no matter how happy I am for them, it however makes me sad.  Because they are not mine.  They have never been mine to keep.  They are only borrowed.  They come and they go.  They arrive and they leave.  I always wish that they'll not grow up so I could hold them longer.  Now that's absurd and the problem is, they do grow up.  

They don’t remain to be that adorable little child you always want to pinch ‘coz of their cuteness.  They mature, develop their own thinking, and eventually become a pain in the neck.  I remember telling a former student, “Yan, how I wish you didn’t become big so you will still be that charming little boy singing Chinese songs” after a classroom event.  Maybe I didn’t want to remember the hurt he caused me that day and thank God I can’t even remember the feeling anymore ‘coz today, I still see Yan2x, my Yan2x as the innocent child who expresses himself through his songs, an angel’s voice singing a language I couldn’t even understand.

That’s just only one of the hundreds heartaches I had in my whole teaching hullabaloo which reminds me of my very first heartache as a teacher – The Bucket of Tears.  This one happened in my first or second month of teaching in Chinese School.  I instructed my advisory class to tidy up their classroom during homeroom in the afternoon.  I gathered the lab materials first to return to the lab and I said that when I come back, the room must already be tidy.  Then I went to the lab and when I returned, I was shocked by what I saw.  My book, ballpen, chalk box, etc. are already inside a bucket!  A Minola bucket to be exact!  I was so disheartened, furious, and asked the whole class who put all my things inside the bucket.  Then they went finger pointing to each other and the moment that I was about to cry 'coz of my seething madness, I left the class, went downstairs, and burst out into grumbling at the faculty office.

With that, my colleagues rounded up, comforted me, and reported the incident to the school's administration.  As a chemical engineer, I felt so humiliated by what my students did.  In my impression, that's how rich kids treat their teachers.  Oh, why did I ever attempted to become a teacher!  This would not have happened to me.  Rich kids see their teachers as garbage.  My things were put in a bucket like garbage so I felt like a garbage too.  Then I regretted so much and sworn to death the situation I'm in!  Why did I chose to be a teacher of these ruthless children?!!!

The next day, I still came to class.  Actions were made like calling the kids for investigation questions, summoning their parents, the like!  Then it boiled up to finding the student who was responsible for putting my things in the bucket and it was Laurence.  Laurence was the least person I suspected to have done the crime.  Laurence whom I found meek, Laurence whom I found kinder than any other boy in the class.  I did not believe it at first but after he apologized and explained his reason why he did it, I understood.  He was seeking for attention.  Well, every kid does!  And together with his classmates, they really got my attention 'coz I haven't slept for 5 days straight just to dwell in my misery of choosing to be a teacher to them!

Though I've regretted, though I kept on asking myself why I chose this path, I was surprised that I didn't give up.  In fact, I'm still surprised by myself up to this day why I ever continued being a teacher!  This is just beyond my imagination.  I hate, love it.  Love it, hate it.  I've had my ups and downs.  If I've described it as a roller coaster ride before, it is now a deathly sky dive for I've fallen!  I fell deeply into teaching, swallowing me whole.  For if I've hated my students that much, I've also come to love them wholeheartedly.

That's the time when I realized that I've done an extra mile in teaching 'coz I've become a mother to my students.  I learned how to rear them.  They might not come from my womb but I birthed them through my heart.  It's just so sweet to my ears every time they call me ma'ama, ma'amy, or ma'amsy.  But I was still confused in pursuing this teaching career.

Then came the time when I heard that we’re not gonna be having first year college students for 2016 some two years ago.  So I happily told myself, “Yes!  Finally it’s gonna be the end of my teaching career!”  However, I was called to duty last month ‘coz I’m still gonna be teaching the incoming Grade 11 students.  Some fate it is, huh?  Now this is another one of the million confirmations that I, truly I, am destined to become a teacher.  I may not be a true-blue teacher by profession but I have learned how to become a teacher by heart.  So as long as there will be students to teach, I’m gonna be a teacher.  I have learned in the longest time through the hardest way.  I had accepted my fate and consider this as my purpose for living.

So now, senior high?  I often complain 6 sections with more or less 50 students.  6 x 50 = 300.  300 students to teach, 300 students to reprimand, 300 test booklets to check every grading period, 300 responsibilities!  "300 students!"  I always exclaim in my mind.  But I got reprimanded.  A gentle reminder not to complain and to do away with inner grumblings.  Because as I’ve posted, teaching is not my profession but a mission, not my job but a vocation, I must do this with great pleasure in my heart.  And to process and condition myself for these 300 students, I actually have 300 new souls to win for the Lord!

Now let's go back to the question.  A dream or a vision?  Well, I now consider it as a vision.  I was awake feeling the baby wrapped in my arms.  I was awake feeling the baby taken away from me.  I was awake feeling fulfilled and dejected at the same time.  Yes, my students do come and go.  My loves bring joy to me as they also bring me disappointment.  Though I only become a mother to them for a short period of time, I'm being an FC stage mother to them all the time.  And this also brings me into thinking.  Can I still be a stage mother to my real anaks someday?  I pray that God will further extend my youth so I can also do the same for them whatever it is that I’m doing to my anak-anakans for the meantime.  Lord, give me strength!

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Angkor Wat: City of Temples

When I was younger, Disneyland was my place to be!  But as I was maturing, I desired to visit exotic places in Asia so I started out with timeless charm Vietnam, amazing Thailand, and just recently, kingdom of wonder Cambodia.  Well that's of course, after visiting the more modern and progressive Singapore and Hong Kong.  And with all these places, with all due respect to my first love SG, I really, really, overly fell for Cambodia!  I just can't get over with my "Angkor feels", just not yet.  So after sharing to you how Angkor Wat bewitched me in my previous post, let me take you to a quick tour around this spellbound temple!

To start with, Angkor Wat covers a vast expanse of land.  At first, I thought it was smaller than Disneyland Hong Kong but it's not.  Disneyland just appears to be bigger since it's colorful, eventful, and not monotonous as the Angkor.  I also thought that there is no greater park than Ocean Park Hong Kong only to find out that Angkor is much vaster than it.  With a land area of 49.9 hectares for Disney and 91.5 hectares for Ocean Park, that's incomparable to Angkor's total area of 162.6 hectares!  Yes, 162.6 hectares.  That's equivalent to 402 acres which is equivalent to 1,626,000 square meters!  Don't cha worry, guys.  I'm not gonna let you do the maths here 'coz there's always Google to the rescue.  Hehe...... (Source:  So, can you now imagine how immense Angkor Wat is?!  Then why did it appear small to me?
To answer that question, I guess I couldn't just get enough of the place.  The one-day pass was just so bitin!  We only spent two days in Cambodia which I truly regret.  Because to tell you the truth, visiting its ancient temples deserves your one whole week, your one whole month even!  If you're not into history and archaeology, you'll surely end up loving these social sciences after immersing yourself into these Cambodian temples.  These are the country's gems, enthralling tourists from all over the world, boosting the country's economy.  So how did we get around Angkor Wat?
Before entering the Angkor complex, we queued for tix as early as three quarters past 4 AM so we could experience the must-watch and must-experience Angkor Wat sunrise.  (Please do click here to see how we enjoyed attaining our travel goal.)  The ticket building (it's not just a booth to cater approximately 6,500 tourists per day) is a good 8-10 minutes tuktuk ride away from the complex.  Yes, it's that far and I couldn't contain my excitement during the ride!  With a pounding heart, all that I always thought was sunrise, sunrise, sunrise!
1-day pass is $20 USD, 3-day is $40 USD, and 7-day is $60 USD.  Free for Cambodian citizens or if you are related to a Cambodian.
Then we passed by the main entrance gate, tickets checked, traveled another quiet distance, and I saw the moat!  So I exclaimed, "Here we are, ladies!"  And slowly, the towers became visible to my eyes one by one and I could jump right out from the tuktuk!  When our driver, Mr. Khien decelerated and finally came to a stop, I hopped right away and almost ran to step into the Angkor grounds!  There were already tourists camping before the moat with cameras ready and picnic breakfast.  Upon another ticket check, one of the guards joked us, "Do you also want to see the moonset?", gesturing at the setting full moon up behind us.  We had a good laugh with the same guard telling us, "Sunrise on your left."  So we hurried past them.
While getting inside, we were flustered on what to take photos first.  Left and right, up and down, everything demands your attention!  Just as I've said the Angkor is only stone (which by science is classified as dead matter), it seemed like it was poking me and whispering to my ear, "Hey, look at me!", "Hey, how about this carving?", "Oh, com'on!  This one's gonna get you a photography award".  However, I ain't no photography buff.  I appreciate photography, yes but I can't play with my camera as the others do.  Though my photos here are no equal to the others, I'm still proud to show 'em to you.  Hehe.....
I was beyond amazed by the artworks engraved on the walls, by the sculptures way up high in the ceilings, and by the other bas-reliefs intricately decorated all over the place.  If you're gonna be dissecting Angkor Wat, you'll surely become a master of Hindu mythology with its symbolism, deities, heavenly nymphs, and seven-headed mythical serpents!  As we passed by the outer wall through the avenue, two libraries in both sides materialized.  We haven't checked it out for what we had in mind was the sunrise.  
So off we went to the lake with the other tourists, waiting for Mr. Sun to reveal himself.  And when he surfaced, oh, what a sight!  Do click here, click here for you to see the time of our single lives!
As the sun rises, more tourists arrived so we headed to the Central Complex.  This is a three-story building with interlinked galleries, one of which is the Hall of a Thousand Gods.  In this inner chamber, I suddenly experienced my God as I've shared to you in my previous post.  This is where I felt the jolt of my so-called "Angkor feels"!  
And speaking of gods, the five lotus-bud towers represent the five peaks of Mt. Meru, home of the gods in Hindu mythology.  The tallest of these towers which is at the center is the Bakan Sanctuary.  Dressing modestly is required here.  You have to cover up so sleeveless and short pants/skirts are not allowed.  This is the holy of holies where the statue of Vishnu is enshrined and many more Buddhas.  
However, getting to the top was no easy task.  The stairs were so steep (symbolizing that if you want to go to heaven, you have to work for it), making my feet quiver as I'm thinking about it at the moment of writing this.  But we conquered it!  Though I'm still acrophobic, I enjoyed looking down, relishing the moment of just being there, and taking in the sight of the sun setting.  Yes, we absolutely chased sunrise and sunset in Cambodia!  That's a bonus to our squad goal!  Hehe..... 
Oh, I could just do anything to zap me up right now there!  Atsi Ann said that if you've been to a certain place, the best time to come back will be after five years.  Will my "Angkor feels" stay the same by that time?  Oh, I hope Angkor Wat will still stand the test of times.  As I've observed, Buddhas were already broken without heads due to looting in the past years.  Balustrades were already incomplete and stones from stupas already crumbled down due to earthquakes.  However, the Cambodian government already took steps in preserving their national treasure, the world's largest religious monument which is a mix of Hinduism and Buddhism.  Continue to be magical through the years, Angkor Wat!
Credits to all tourists whom we bumped into for taking our photos especially these two very tall Europeans and lonesome Japanese cutie!  Sorry, I'm bad at remembering names but from the bottom of our hearts, thank you, thank you, thank you!  The world is not that big enough for us not to bump into each other again in the future! :) 

There are still two other temples that I'm going to share with you, guys so stay tuned only here on The Other Side of Mae! #tosomtravels

They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household." 
- Acts 16:31
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
-Ephesians 2:8

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