Siem Reap: some pieces for home


“The air is different here,” that was my first description of Siem Reap, the home of the largest Hindu temple of the world, (and the place that I was dreaming about exploring by boat for the past months) and a place for the second largest airport in Cambodia and most “touristy”.

As I wander around the town by foot and by the usual Tuk Tuk that they offer you in $1, I battled with my feeling of doubt. Am I in the right place? 

I looked at the architecture, tried to converse in Khmer,  asked curious things to prove my doubts wrong, then yes, I was lost. 

The image of Cambodia that we traditionally grasp from the media that’s available to us feels different and surreal. I’m sure Angkor Wat is amazingly beautiful but talking about the “Cambodia now” doesn’t become a topic for most of us. 

Cambodia is beyond temples.


TONLE SAP RIVER SETTLERS

I was surprised that there’s a tour to see the poverty in Cambodia in floating villages. I was asking myself if Cambodia is doing this to gather more NGOs and minimally solve the problem of these settlers for now by inviting the tourists to donate something to them to support their basic needs

We didn’t go to the traditional tour and decided to see how the family living in floating houses in Tonle Sap River near the street. 


It was amazing how they move their houses from one place to another whenever they needed to especially if someone will park their boat or use it. Men of the families are usually in the water checking everything that they could do to support the family.



I find the Kitchen very efficient and neat.


And since I could never tell a story just by looking at them, I tried going around the river with some Filipino bloggers as we shout from time to time as the boat sways.


I have seen kids going to school in barefoot that shows how the current situation promises a wonderful future for Cambodia.



SAME BUT DIFFERENT

Like how we Filipinos adapt to the changing demands of our current society as the BPO Industry promises growth and slowly replaces our own language with English, I am seeing the similarity with Cambodia as it uses USD more than their Riel because of its growing demand in the tourism industry.



I feel sad at times that we, Filipinos, often speak English than our language but I feel the same whenever foreigners ask Cambodians why they don’t use their money most of the time.



I HOPE TO BRING HOME

Traveling is always a learning experience. When you travel, there always a time when you will realize that the world is big that keeps your humility.

As I travel to see the world and show the how it is to be a Filipino to the world, I’d like to bring some pieces of my Siem Reap visit to the Philippines by wishing that we have the following:

CLEANER PUBLIC TOILET.



and MORE TRASH CANS.


I still need to see the temples and the picturesque sunrise in Angkor Wat tomorrow but yes, I’m loving it here in Siem Reap- good conversations, beautiful people, wonderful merge of cultures and laughter. I’m truly grateful to have this opportunity to spend time with my neighbors, BlogFest Asia 2012 made it happen.

Twitter: @blogfestasia12





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Some people think that eating “balut” is a challenge in X Factor, some people likes it too much that they even make it to several different dishes. As a Filipino, I prefer eating it the traditional way: boiled with vinegar or salt.  You might or may not agree with me, but the taste of balut brings me memories of home that only belong to the Philippines. (In the photo is Abu, a fun Indonesian Couchsurfer I met in 2011.)

Near Clark Quay, Taku & I waited for the sunset as we admire the beauty of Singapore. “I’ll show you around when I work here soon,” I uttered as we listened to the silence and watched the sun goes down. 

Read more about Singapore stories here.

What I learned about Surfing

On top of my list when I was in my early 20s (Goodness! I’m saying this now!) was to surf, first was to climb a mountain. I usually have a timeline for my plans, Climb a mountain: 18, Travel abroad: 25, (both were realized before the deadline by the way. haha) but for surfing, it was just in my list but I never believed in actually doing it. 

I learned lessons from my first ride (hoping to get a chance for a second ride) that remind me on how I should look at life when not riding the waves:

1. Impossible really becomes not possible if you never give it a shot. My list doesn’t say that I should be a professional surfer but for a long time, I was thinking that even just trying it… is absurd. 

The photo below shows how scared I was on my first try:


2. Patience is always a virtue. Life is not designed to be flat, it has ups and downs, right and wrong, but we have to keep the faith and keep moving. If you didn’t ride the wave the first time, be more alert and try it the second time. If you fall, hug the board tight and try again. After a few try, you’ll know. 🙂
As cliche as it is, “something that does not happen doesn’t mean that it won’t happen.”

3. Listen & use your senses. In today’s world, everyone wants to talk which oftentimes make things complicated. In surfing, you need to use your senses, don’t just look, listen and feel the waves coming. Listen to the wind blowing, look at the waves beside you, quickly close your eyes to feel the waves and concentrate on your senses. You can’t afford to lose a wave cause you might not experience one anymore!


4. Sometimes, you just don’t have the chance to backout, so rock it! Sometimes, life gives us things that we think we don’t need but is actually for us to experience and we have to be brave enough to try what’s in-store for us out there. Most of the time, we need to risk then our lives will never be the same again cause it just gets better.

5. It will always be hard to keep the balance, but only the wise can do it (Read: wise- with knowledge & experience of falling and standing up over and over. haha).


6. Be prepared (you can’t afford to miss one wave, remember?).

7. Enjoy the ride. There’s a feeling of euphoria when riding a wave, it’s addictive. The feeling before, during and after riding a wave is indescribable but you can never tell a story about only “after the ride,” it needs to be a whole process to make the story complete so you have to enjoy every second of it.


FREEDOM. It was a liberating feeling to ride the waves. 
Awesome Idea: What I always do is to imagine the feeling when I was riding a wave, then I imagine my worries as the wave- scary and huge…after a few breaths, rode over my worries, then they go away! 
Maybe that’s a good idea for you to try surfing, so you’ll know what to imagine when worries come again!

So here is what I’ve found out in my hard drive, my “chimpanzee” first ride:


*This was a quick trip to Zambales, read the whole story here.