Wednesday, 19 December 2012

To Do List for New Year 2013

5 more days before Chirstmas, 12 more days before a new year comes.

I'm thinking of making many changes for 2013, wishing and praying that this would be better than this year.

Of course, this year has been great for us, and the biggest one is having Max - our very spoiled little Shih Tzu.

She's now turning 5 mos. this January 8, and she's been living with us for about 2 mos. already today.  Though she is naughty and annoying (coz she thinks our hands and feet are chew toys), she is the sweetest and our 'stress-reliever'.  Before, whenever we go out shopping, we mostly buy for ourselves, now, since Max came, we go for shopping to buy things for her.  Such a spoiled little one :)

Anyway, back to what I am intending to do before the year ends.  Here goes:

First, get a haircut.  I mean literally chop off this mid chest hair of mine which I have had after college.  I miss my short hair, even though all my younger years, I've had short hair - from Dora-like cut during Kinder, to the one length hair cut on highschool days, to the bob cut days in college.  Having short hair for 2 decades made me itch t grow my hair long (which my mother dislikes, hehehe).  So now, after a decade of having long hair, the eagerness (and longing) of having a short hair is coming back again.  Especially after seeing too many of my friends with long hair, chopping their hair so short.  Even my sister, cut hers to a pixie one (that's with the influence of Emma Watson's pixie hair) :P Hmm, wonder if Shakira's one is nice or shorter.

Second, lose 5kg more then I'd be having my ideal weight.  This year, I lost a total of 8kg.  Thanks to a lot of discipline, exercise, Herbalife and X-perfect and X-detox.  Herbalife gave me the drive, the x sets gave me the boost (coz I was fed up drinking shakes already, but still got stocks at home, which i am intending to just drink at breakfast).

Third, do a total makeover of my clothes, discard those old ones, then wear a lot of skirts and dress (which I already started this year).  One good reason of discarding the pants is Max loves biting the end of our pants whenever we already wore them.  So imagine, someone clinging to the end of my pants while I am walking.  Hehehe!

Fourth, save, save and save.  I actually started this month on a savings/investment.  Then hopefully, next year start investing in mutual funds ( that the stock market in Philippines is improving).  Summing it - be debtless but be a millionaire, hehehe (got to dream to achieve it)!

Fifth, go organic.  I've started using SLS free toiletries since last month -  thanks to Human Heart Nature, a company based in the Philippines which sells organic stuff which are really surprisingly cheap considering it being 100% chemical free.  Since I am out of the country, I am getting my stuff from Jeanette of Down to Earth, who is based in Penang and is the distributor of Human Heart Nature here in Malaysia.  Their shampoos and conditioner (esp. the Strengthening variant), is the best for me, leaves my hair really shiny and soft.  And I'm like getting less hair fall day by day of using it.  Plus, it does not give me bacne which is a total turn off to me from commercial products.  And my other favorites are the Pink Deodorant, the Cool Chamomile Feminine Wash, the Strawbery Facial Scrub, the lotion (let's just say almost all HHN products that I have used) and of course the Sunflower Beauty Oil.  More reviews of the HHN products next blog :) (And I am making Max, go for organic toiletries as well :P)

How about you? What do you intend to do or change for 2013?

Friday, 29 June 2012

Angkor Heritage Experience - October 2011

We only had more than 2 hours of sleep since he is on the late afternoon shift at work.  As usual, I woke up first and got ready for our much awaited travel to Cambodia.

Our flight was 620 am, so we were at the airport before 5am.  After checking in our bags, we went to McDonald’s for a brief breakfast.  Then decided to go to the gate and just wait there until we are about to board.

The flight to Siam Reap was a breeze.  The weather was good, considering the past few days have been rainy.  We arrived in Siam Reap 7am (1 hour difference with KL).  The airport was just small, where the building looks like those traditional Khmer buildings we see in pictures.  As soon as our passports were stamped, and we got our bags, we hurriedly went out to check if someone from the guesthouse is there waiting for us.  And there, I saw my name on a piece of cardboard, being held by this small guy who was all smile welcoming us to their country.  He came with his ‘tuktuk’ which was our companion for our entire stay in SR.  And by the way, our driver, Savey, was the best, the friendliest we have ever encountered so far in most of our travels here and there.  Plus the most hardworking, I’d say.

Day 1

Bou Savey Guesthouse
As soon as we arrived at the guesthouse (Bou Savey Guesthouse), we were served with a banana-pineapple shake.  Bovorn (the owner) suggested that since we will be leaving so early on our 3rd day, we just pay the room rental then the tour separate (actually, it’s the same if calculated).  So we agreed then he informed us it will be Savey who will give us the tour in his tuktuk as soon as we are ready.  So we dropped our bags in the room, quite spacey I’d say.  And the guesthouse itself is like being in your family’s house situated in the province, very homey. 

Ticket Counter before entering Angkor Wat Complex

  Our first stop, buy our Angkor Wat tickets.A day costs $20, but they have this ticket that you pay $40 for 2days but you have 1 day free.  Since we will be staying there for 2 days (excluding the day we leave for KL), I bought the $40 ticket.  (I’d say this is the most expensive we have paid in the entire trip to SR).
Our on the spot personalized Angkor Wat tickets!!!
Then off we went inside the Angkor Complex.  The area is clean, full of trees on both sides of the roads (mostly mangroves).  Along our tuktuk ride to the temples, we passed by a group of monkeys being fed with bananas by a group of tourists who went into the complex by bicycles, which can be rented out. 

The famous Angkor Thom gate

South Gate of Angkor Thom (Right Side)

South Gate of Angkor Thom (Left Side)

This is one of those famous temples in the Angkor complex, always gracing the pages of magazines.  I was so excited when we were in the South Gate of Angkor Thom.  I was actually more excited to see this one than the Angkor Wat :P  After 5 mins. Of taking pictures here and there, we went further. 
Prasat Bayon

Savey dropped us in Prasat Byon temple and had us roam the area with the temple near it in then finally meet at the end in an hour.  This is where the famous faces of Bayon is located.  I’d say the temples are full of people and you will really think how much money the temples are contributing for Cambodia tourism (and maybe help them in restoring these beautiful temples).   You will be surprised that Angkor Wat has tourist guides who can actually speak the language of the tourists, like French, Korean, Japanese, etc.  So linguistic!

Famous faces of Bayon

It was really hot but there are some parts of the temples that are cool mostly because of the stones. 

From Angkor Thom, we moved to the next temple - Phimeanakas.  It’s like Parthenon in Greece!  We just took pictures down and decided not to go up since the weather was so hot. 

Terrace of the Elephants (Just took pictures then off we go!)

We were so hot and thirsty and were so glad that when we met Savey, he offered us very cold bottles of mineral water free of charge.  I think I managed to drink 2 bottles. J

Ta Keo Temple

The Ta Keo temple was under restoration and Savey advised us not to go up because some parts are not safe.   Before venturing around the temple, we asked him to take a picture of us.  I’d say this is such a nice picture (and the only decent one we had) since we usually travel alone so we don’t have someone to take our pictures.
Nice shot of us by Savey!

Paintings (most were traced from the Angkor wat walls)
Far down the temple, there was a seller of paintings that were mostly patterned from the temples carvings.  The local guy, who was so proficient in English and pronounces the words so good, actually managed to persuade us to buy 3 for $15.  We took the Ramayana drawings with Apsara (until now it’s still sitting there in our living room wrapped in its case).  Savey saw us then told us that there are actually more sellers of that kind outside the complex.  He asked how much we paid for it then said it’s still ok, he thought the seller outsmarted us.  Sino ba naman di matatakot sa kasama ko?!?! Hehehe
We later went to the temple where the Tomb Raider was taken - Ta Phrom.  And we were really lost, pero we were, dami kasi iikutan.
Ta Phrom - Tomb Raider scene


Angkor Wat was under construction the time we were there and there were so many tourists going up the highest temple so we didn't dare go.  But it was magnificent to actually be in one of the UNESCO Heritage Site.

See the renovation in the Angkor Wat temple?


We went back to the guesthouse to take a rest after going to the souvenir shop which sells expensive items (so di kami bumili).  Idlip ng konti then we went for the Apsara dance with the buffet dinner. 

Apsara Dancers (Sophea Angkor Pich Restaurant)

Luckily, Neil liked the food so worth it na rin.  It was fun to watch those girls dance their traditional dance.   After dinner, we went to the Night Market.  And it was heaven for us to shop those US goodies, like Gap shirts, North Face belt bag, Kipling bag, etc.  Worth it.  It was our first trip na super shopping talaga!

Day 2

Nice shot of Neil with the Angkor Wat at the background at sunrise!

We woke up early to see the sunrise in the Angkor Wat.  Nothing spectacular as the temples was under construction that time.  They say that both sunrise and sunset can be seen and perfectly situated at both ends of the temple.  After much ado, we went back to the guesthouse for breakfast. 

Then, went to a farther place to see the oldest temple - Bantay Srey Temple. 
Quite an adventure for us riding the tuktuk for almost an hour but it was worth it, seeing all those rice fields, having the wind blow at our faces, makes us feel like we are in the province in the Philippines. 
After the trip to the temple, we went back to Angkor Wat to see the remaining temples we have left to see the day before. 
Ta Som Temple

A wall in Ta Som temple

Neak Pean temple - the temple already submerged to water (there is a pond surrounding this temple but it seems like the water grew higher and higher)

Preah Khan Temple

Stupa in the middle of the Preah Khan temple

still Preah Khan temple

We went back to the guesthouse earlier to take a nap then asked Savey to fetch us again at night to go back to the Night Market (see, we loved this place!). 
Our flight the next day was the earliest flight so we can rest longer as the following day is a working day.  All in all, it was such a pleasant trip.  Now, I want to see other UNESCO Heritage sites as well!  This trip is indeed a wonderful birthday trip for me!

(I didn’t mention all the temples that we went to but it was all beautiful! And since there are too many temples, I am not even sure if all I have mentioned here are the correct names, sigh!!! )

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Christmas 2011 - Colmar Tropicale Resort (Bukit Tinggi, Pahang)

Ok, so it's been quite some time now that I have updated my blog. Very busy with work, now is the only time I used my leave (time to clear, but still I carried over 5 days).

We spent our Christmas eve in Colmar Tropical Resort, a French themed resort in Bukit Tinggi, Pahang. It's on the way to Genting so the tollgate was so jammed, many people are going for their long weekend I presumed. Neil was sitting beside the driver, me at the center of the van since we were the last one to arrive (though we were there when the van arrived. Thanks to the one who got our reservation for the return ride from Time Square to Colmar, she didn't specify that we need to get the tickets in their sales office in Time Square. Though I remember, I specifically asked her if I need something to show to the driver, she said 'No'. WTF! Thankfully, there are still 2 tickets left so off we went!)

Anyway, the ride going there was so peaceful after we passed the tollgate. Then I saw the sign 'Bukit Tinggi 5km'. All I can see are trees, and the clouds are so low, I feel like I wanted to touch them! :) I was thinking it will be a wet Christmas for a change as the weather in KL is so hot though it rains occasionally once every afternoon.

Then I saw the signage, 'Welcome to Berjaya Hills'. And I thought, we were so close already. At least 15-20 mins away from the main road lies the resort. All the winding up roads made me so excited if in the next turn I can see the resort already.

We arrived in Colmar past 11am, so it was around an hour drive from Time Square. The hill to which Colmar is situated is owned by Berjaya (as I've seen a 'Berjaya' signage similar to Hollywood) atop the hill.

As soon as we arrived, I went to the receptionist area to check in. she told me check in time was 3pm but she will give us a call once the room is done. So we left our bags in the counter, then head off to the pasta restaurant called 'Le Flamme' just in front of the hotel reception.

An hour of going around the small shops, the receptionist called saying our room is available. So we checked in, then decided to go and venture into the Japanese Village and the Botanical Garden. We have to ride the shuttle in going there. It's about 5 mins. away from the resort. The way going up the village is closed for renovation so we have to walk for about 5 mins. going up. Good thing I do cardio in the gym it was easy peasy for me :)

The next day, Christmas day, I was already up 7am, and took a view of the walkway down.  You can actually see how the wind is so strong outside and there’s a little drizzle coming from the low clouds hovering around the resort.
There were a no. of people awake already, and since we have a free buffet breakfast, we decided to go there early.  There was quite a no. of choices, from Malay breakfast – mee hoon, nasi lemak, fried rice, curry chicken, etc.  to the number of breads there.  They all taste so good, I tell you.
After breakfast, we went up to one of the towers at the end of the alley.  You can have a nice view of the whole resort and the surrounding mountains, so beautiful, I tell you.  Since, there is no other way to go, we just went back to the hotel room to wait for our check-out time.  Check out time was 12 noon but then the shuttle back to KL is not until 3pm. 
So after checking out, we left our bags at the hotel first, and then went to eat in this restaurant that serves nice roasted chicken.    And then the waiter who took our orders asked us if are Pinoys, was actually a kababayan.  Then we saw another one who was actually giving out orders to the waiters, and saw that he was also a Pinoy and in his name tag was ‘F&B Manager’.  Ang galing talaga ng mga Pinoy!
We waited outside the resort for us to go back to KL, and we saw a group of Pinoys actually having a picnic outside.  As in with rice cooker and everything.  For sure, there is ‘Adobo’ in the menu, hheh! 
3 pm came and we rode the shuttle back to Berjaya Time Square in KL.  The ride back was swift but when we were nearing Time Square, it was so jammed. 
All in all, the 2 days 1 night stay in Colmar Tropicale was nice, cold and fun.  Food was delicious though expensive.  Can’t wait for our next adventure!


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

First Christmas Song

While cooking food for tomorrow, I decided to listen to a radio station back home. And then I heard my first Christmas song for the year. "So This is Christmas" by The Beatles was playing on the background.

It has been so long since I celebrated Christmas with my family in the Philippines. I miss the children singing Christmas carols, the glimmering lights in every house because of the 'Parol' (or Christmas Lanterns) or Christmas lights.

I really don't like listening to Christmas songs ever since. I get so homesick that I feel so many mixed emotions I can't feel anything anymore.

So much for that. According to my Christmas countdown link, it is 53 more days to go before Christmas. Maligayang Pasko sa lahat!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Starbucks Mugs/Tumbler Collection

I always hear people talking about their own Starbucks collection. I never really thought about it until now. They look so cute and being a traveller, I am thinking of starting this hobby also. Quite not sure on what to collect - tumbler, mugs or mini mugs. Neil said, better to collect tumbler as it is easier to carry.

Now, I can't wait for our Cambodia trip and go to Starbucks and get my first ever collection :)

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Rainy Days in KL

The rainy season in KL has just arrived. It has been raining daily for an hour since last weekend. Acdg. to Wikipedia, rainy season starts here from October to March. But it seems like everything has changed since I moved in here. Totally the effects of global warming.

I have promised to some girls in the forum Girltalk that I will update my blog to show some how to go there, etc. things around KL. This I will definitely be doing one of these days. Today, it just so happens that I am sick and at home, that I was able to update my blog.

By the way, the Zero fare from Air Asia started yesterday. Though it was so hard to go in because of too many people wanting to get their free seats (not actually free because of fuel charges, airport tax, plus RM16 charge one way per person when paying for an international flight), I was able to book for Langkawi and Jakarta for next year. Now, that is what I am so excited about. Plus, I have asked sis to come over here on November 2012 for a week so we can go backpacking :P I hope Neil can come too!

Will update more later. Have to go to clinic for medical certificate :(

P.S. I started this post with rain so heavy. And in a span of 10 minutes, here comes the sun again. Now you know why I am sick!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Christmas Countdown 2011 - Find out how many days until Christmas 2011

Christmas Countdown 2011 - Find out how many days until Christmas 2011

I saw this website while looking up how many days it is from now before Christmas. As Chirstmas celebration starts in the Philippines when the 'BER' months comes in, it has been a tradition to count down the days from Sept. 1.

I miss celebrating Christmas in the Philippines. Seeing the decorations like the 'parols' (lanterns)in the malls, listening to children singing Yuletide carols ('Namamasko po') where we usually say 'Patatawarin, wala pang Pasko eh!', hearing some Christmas carols aired in the radio, and of course, a more congested traffic situation in the streets of Manila esp. near malls. Oh of course, the puto bumbong and bibingka everyone has to eat right after Misa de Gallo.

Another thing why I do count down is, once BER months are here, it is the start of a monthly birthday celebration in my family: Mama - Sept 4, Me - Oct 19, Con - Nov 5 and Papa - Dec 17.

Hay, I miss you all! Maligayang pasko sa inyong lahat!