Monday, December 28

Finally, Siem Reap

Siem Reap was the other major country in our two-week Indochina trip which we really looked forward to in visiting. Not having been to famous Angkor Wat before, I was often advised by friends who have been there that I should wear comfortable clothing as it was hot and humid.

East Gate

We visited three temples one morning. The world-famous Angkor Wat, the Ta Prohm, known for its appearance in the movie Tomb Raider, and Bayon Temple.

Angkor Wat

That famous Angkor Wat sunrise

The details were intricately done. Amazing.

Ta Phrom

And that famous tree from Tomb Raider!

Bayon Temple

Bayon Temple is more admirable from a distance

We were also supposed to visit Bantay Srei but the crazy weather did not permit. Nevertheless, we still had a nice time in Siem Reap. 

Other Parts In This Series:

Bagan Lodge:  A Grandiose Gateway to Bagan's Noble Past

A Delightful Stay in Hotel by Red Canal Mandalay 
Once Upon A Time in Soria Moria Boutique Hotel
Tranquility and Nostaglia Equals Pavillon d'Orient 

A Surprise Malaysia Visit
Burma: An Untouched Gem 
Yangon is Yielding
On the Way to Bagan
Bagan is Beautiful
Biking in Bagan
Hello Mandalay!
Pretty in Pai
Overland Border Crossing:  Bangkok to Siem Reap
Finally, Siem Reap
Saigon aka HCMC
Indochina Trip Itinerary and Expenses 

Monday, December 21

Tranquility and Nostaglia Equals Pavillon d'Orient

One look at Pavillon d'Orient photos online convinced me that we will have a pleasant and relaxing stay in Siem Reap.

And as an agreement to what I have thought, this was what greeted us upon our arrival.

Monday, December 14

Overland Border Crossing: Bangkok to Siem Reap

I think it was a wise decision to go to Siem Reap from Bangkok over land. I was unable to try out the trains of Myanmar so I really hoped to have at least one train ride in our two-week journey. And going back to Thailand gave me that opportunity.

It was also the cheapest. We only paid THB 48 or Php 68 per person for an ordinary ticket from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet, the station nearest to Poipet (Cambodia) border. It was supposed to be only for six hours but our trip lasted closer to seven. I thought the train was a bit slow. But then again, I did not have a prior train ride to really compare it to.

Monday, December 7

Pretty in Pai

Pai pretty much surprised me. Though I was curious as to what to really see here, I did not expect to truly like our one night sojourn in this tranquil place. 

Located in the northern province of Mae Hong Son, three hours from Chiang Mai, Thailand, Pai is a hilly town surrounded by nothing but mountains and lush greens. 

From Ben's Guesthouse where we spent the night before in Chiang Mai, we hired a tuktuk to take us to Arcade Bus Terminal for THB 100.  We secured our van tickets at THB 150 each, leaving for 8:30 AM.

Thursday, December 3

The Legend Behind Living With Nature Blog

Me and lolo during Christmas 2013

My beloved grandfather passed away unexpectedly last January. I miss him terribly. Once I dreamed about him and I actually heard him speak. I regret that I did not get to visit him more often in his twilight years. But I have very fond memories of my childhood because of him.

He was the typical grandfather, doting and loving towards his grandchildren. He was an intelligent man too. Caring and family-oriented. He speaks fluent Spanish, English and Ilokano. And best of all, he was a man of God.

My grandfather was a pastor in the church I grew up in. Sundays would be spent worshipping our Creator while summer vacations were filled with visits to PhilSite and Luneta Park.

He died at the ripe age of 76. The upcoming Christmas will be the first Christmas without him. It will be sad but all I can do is reminisce our great times together. 

Last November 21, I got acquainted with someone whom I can see my grandfather in. He won the best blog in the Nature & Environment category in the recently concluded Bloggys 2015 event. 

I got curious since he was an elderly who knew how to blog. And won an award at that! It was encouraging and inspiring for younger people like me. But truth to be told, he greatly reminded me of my dear grandfather who I will never get to see anymore in a long, long time.

When me and my friends saw him taking pictures by the giant Christmas tree, I knew I would like to have my photo taken with him too. I found the courage and walked up to him and said, 'Can I have a picture with you sir?' I put my arm around his waist and whispered to him that he reminded me of my grandfather. It was enough to fight back the tears.

The man behind Living with Nature

I did my research and found out his name is Dr. Aberico V. Rotor or Abe for short. Well the good man is not just a blogger but behind him is a colorful history of personal achievements one could only be proud of.

His blog description states:
Award-winning author of "The Living with Nature Handbook" (Gintong Aklat Award 2003) and "Living with Nature in Our Times" (National Book Award 2008); professor, University of Santo Tomas; School-on-Air instructor, (Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid, winner of Gawad Oscar Florendo for Development Communication) DZRB 738 KHzAM Band, 8 to 9 o'clock evening, Monday to Friday.); Outstanding Teacher in the Philippines (Commission on Higher Education - CHED 2002); Filipino Scientist (DOST-Batong Balani); former Director, National Food Authority; and Consultant on food and agriculture, Senate of the Philippines.

It was a starstruck moment for me I guess. And I hope I will meet Dr. Rotor again and ask him tales of the past that only people his age can tell with a touch of regality and authority.

Congratulations sir!