Wednesday, December 18, 2013

And again. Merry Christmas!

This weekend I will be away again for about 9 days before heading home. I will probably not have enough time at all to write so I am writing ahead now. I will be going to Nepal. This is probably the most exciting trip this year because this is a completely different place this time from where I always get to travel. No more East Asia, Southeast Asia and Indochina for me. It is time to conquer the land of, well, himalayas? Excitement pours in as I get to see pictures of snow-peaked mountains of Everest, Andalucia and the Himalayas. I have also been imagining the places to be seen like Kathmandu, Bakthapur and Patan and all their centuries old durbars. Then a bus ride to the countryside to visit the birthplace of Siddharta Gautama or widely known as the first Buddha. Nepal is a Buddhist country so it should be friendly.

Anyway, I am wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. Make sure you celebrate it with your loved ones.



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12.18.2013
jigomeister

J Gerald C Legaspi is the Filipino author of akosiherardo.blogspot.com and is currently working and travelling in and around South East Asia but spends most of his time in Jakarta, Manila and Singapore.


#PinoyAbroad
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#FilipinosInSingapore
#PinoysInIndonesia
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Monday, December 16, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Today marks the beginning of the 9-mornings mass in the Philippines. This tradition dates back to the "I'm-too-young-to-remember" ages because back home, this has been practiced yearly. This is that time of the year when you wake up even earlier than your usual alarm time when you have school. Morning mass usually begins at 5:00 AM which means you have to get up at 4:00 AM or depending on your proximity to your parochial church. I miss doing this because this only happens in the Philippines and being away from my home country for almost 6 years now, life has been quite different.

But there is a tradition I have kept always. Despite the technological advancement of almost anywhere in the world. People have forgotten the once famous way of sending greetings to your loved ones, the Christmas Card. I have been doing this since I was a kid when my parents worked abroad and I have continuously send Christmas cards to friends and families every year.




I found these cards when I was travelling in Hanoi, Vietnam. I first saw these pop-up cut-out cards in Singapore and was priced at about $5 US each. And when I found it in one of the night markets in Hanoi, it only cost me 50c each. I can not believe how big the price difference that I hoarded almost different kinds of card to bring with me.

So you can call me old school but snail mails sent to different parts of the world still do exist. And my friends and families who receives card or postcards from me gets mesmerized by it.

Merry Christmas...


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12.16.2013
jigomeister

J Gerald C Legaspi is the Filipino author of akosiherardo.blogspot.com and is currently working and travelling in and around South East Asia but spends most of his time in Jakarta, Manila and Singapore.


#PinoyAbroad
#FilipinosInJakarta
#FilipinosInSingapore
#PinoysInIndonesia
#FilipinoBookCollectorTheLittlePrince

Friday, December 6, 2013

Grasshopper Bike Tours Siem Reap: Review

BIKING THE ANGKOR WAT COMPLEX

When we planned to visit the Angkor Temples Archaeological Complex, we stumbled upon so many reviews, to dos, not to dos, when to do things and stuff and as well as reading the ever reliable Lonely Planet book. We found out that biking around the temples would be a great idea. Since me and my friend enjoy biking and were quite looking for an adventure, we decided to find a bike tour that will hopefully satisfy our swash buckling quest around this massive archaeological complex. Upon checking so many stuff online, we decided to book with Grasshopper. This company is originally based in Thailand and has different biking tours all over Asia which you can access here.

Angkor Wat

The website is well detailed and the tour that we booked is exactly what we did during that sunny biking day at Siem Reap. We took the Day Ride Tour Angkor Temples for US$39. We started the day by meeting at Grasshopper Tour Shop which is quite near the famous Psar Cha (Old Market) in Siem Reap. There were five of us in the group including the guide. The tour is strict to have a maximum of 6 riders in every tour. We biked for about 5-6 kilometers from the city towards our first destination, Angkor Wat. This UNESCO World Heritage site is awfully magical in all sense. The place is indeed a wonder. That initial bike ride from the city was rewarded with just the stunning view of the temple from afar. We parked our bikes outside the main complex and visitors must walk going in and when wondering around the temple. The bike guide also serves as your cultural guide to explain about the temples. Given that English is not the first language of the people of Cambodia, you may find it difficult sometimes to understand their accent as they tell you the story of the temples. But despite of it all, just looking the marvelous creations of the ancient people of Cambodia back in the 12th century is already enough to learn that during that time, their civilizations is arguably one of the smartest, wisest and proudest when it comes to their architectural ingenuity.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

Last week, I was in Siem Reap and visited the amazing temples of Angkor. Truly indeed they were mesmerizing and lived up to its status as a heritage site. The entire complex ca not be visited in one full day and there were just so many things to do and other places to check for good views of the temples. Prior to my visit, I learned that you should not miss the sunrise and sunset views of the temples. there were many suggestions. One website even listed down more than 20 other sites to view the sunset in order to avoid the maddening crowd in certain areas. For sunrise, almost every one visits the Angkor Wat and for sunset, it is Phnom Bakheng that is most famous. I guess these two are famous because that is where you will really find the best views among the other spots in this massive complex.

I only tried the sunrise at Angkor Wat and it was indeed rewarding and spectacular. There is definitely nothing like it any where in the world that has been standing for more than thousands of years. We arrived at the complex before 530 AM and the crowd was just starting. I was guided to stand in front of the small lake on the left side facing the Angkor Wat. Of which you will need flashlights in order to determine where you are. within 5 minutes of standing there, there was already a massive crowd behind me waiting for the sun to rise and trying to get that spot where they can take their own shot of that picturesque sun rising behind the majestic Angkor Wat. It was marvelous to see from that very dark minute when I arrived until that break of down.

The crowds will definitely ruin your moment as throngs of people were really scattered around the lake but you have no choice. That is the only to enjoy that mesmerizing sunrise as you can not really find it anywhere else. If you try and research other places on the internet which I did, people will recommend you to go to other places to avoid the crowd. But if you avoid the crowd and visit other temples to enjoy the sunrise, then you will miss the best thing ever when visiting Siem Reap. Which is the astoundingly picturesque sunrise behind the Angkor Wat temple.