Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fireworks at Phnom Penh's Water Festival

November 21, 2010. Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Fireworks to celebrate the water festival. I'm so happy that they booked me at the Himawari Apartments.  I didn't have to go far to see this. Oh but the downside is that many, if not all restaurants don't deliver to the Himawari because the roads leading to the hotel are closed to vehicular traffic.

I would highly recommend staying at this place if you don't want to brave the crowds by the riverside.  I actually walked over there yesterday.  At some point it was hard to breathe because there were so many people. I thought I would faint at some point. Not a good thing if that happened. 

From the back of the Himawari.  Since my camera (Sony DSC-W30) takes ugly pictures at night, I decided to film it instead.  (Yeah, I know my camera is so old.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dining at Siam Square's Somtam

October 2010. Bangkok.  On one of my last nights in Bangkok, Royce took me to Somtam for dinner.  Although he doesn't really like Thai food, he obliged.  Plus it's his wife's favorite place for Thai food. Take note that I too am not fond of spicy food.  But what else is there to eat in Thailand, right?  Besides, I wanted to take my last fill of authentic Thai food.  Here in Manila, I avoid Thai restaurants especially the over-priced ones. There are many I tell you.  It's like they are trying to con people with expensive papaya salad beautifully plated on a gold-rimmed oval platter with a banana leaf. Puhlease!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Learning about whiskey

I have been out of Manila for sometime working abroad.  Maybe working too hard.  But after one of those late night meetings with colleagues, they decided to have some drinks at my hotel before heading home.  My hotel is conveniently located in between the office and the BTS.  No reason to rush home yet since it was happy hour. Plus we all needed a break.

First round of drinks consisted of a local Thai beer, a couple of mojitos, apple juice (for me) and red wine.  I was the only one drinking juice which was ok since I, er, WE have not had dinner yet.  When the second round came along, I decided to order a tequila.  The rest ordered the same thing-beer, mojitos and red wine.  The boss (not mine) was surprised that I drank tequila.  Well, I really don't. Not recently though- maybe not in the past 10 years or so.  Just so you know, I dislike mixed alcoholic drinks.  I know they taste good but it's not me.  No blended drinks of that sort.  If ever I order anything blended then it might as well be a fruit shake.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Batticaloa's Lighthouse

Sometime November 2009 and some eight hours away from Colombo. Built in 1913 by the British in a small fishing village called Batticaloa, this historical landmark was recently restored with the help of USAID funds. Also known as “Muttawaran” by the locals-as the lighthouse sits near a sandbar separating the lagoon and the Indian ocean. Set against the clear blue skies and the softly lapping waters of the Indian Ocean, Muttawaran has stood the test of time including the heart-wrenching tsunami.  Hopefully this historical landmark continues to live on.  A sign of light and hope.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Phnom Penh's Chocolate Shop

Sometime October 2009.  If you've been reading this blog for quite sometime, you may have already guessed that I love eating. Well, desserts in particular.  Phnom Penh will not disappoint any chocolate-lover.  During each visit (I think I've been to Phnom Penh 3 or 4 times), I would always pass by the Chocolate Shop.  My friend Lisa brought introduced me to this place.  Since then, it's been a permanent fixture in my To-Do list when in Cambodia. 

Just look at the homemade chocolates you can buy. I don't remember how much these delectable goodies cost. It's been quite a while but I don't think they were exorbitantly expensive.

Friday, September 24, 2010

My Room at Metropole's Opera Wing

Sometime October 2007.  In case you're wondering how the rooms at the Opera Wing looks, here are a few photos I can share.  Take note that the Metropole has the Historical Wing which are the older rooms.  This would be where Charlie Chaplin must have stayed.  On the other hand, the Opera wing is the newer section of the hotel.  I am very fortunate to have stayed at both wings due to unforseen events. 

For starters, I was booked at the Opera Wing when I arrived.

See how nice the room is.  I just love how the interiors were done.  A mixture of French and Vietnamese.  I like how they used black and white with a punch of red.

Look at the lovely wall paper.

Metropole's Chocolate Buffet and Afternoon Tea

Sometime 2007. I am on a roll with my posts about Vietnam.  I know this is way too late but I am hoping that it will help anyone who is on the look out for good places to try in Hanoi.

I've written about the Sunday buffet at the Metropole, specifically their dessert spread.  You can also try the chocolate buffet or the afternoon tea or even both at the Le Club also at the Metropole.

The chocolate buffet is everyday from 3 pm to 5:30 pm.  I paid around $12 for the chocolate buffet three years ago. I can't remember how much the afternoon tea cost.  But it is all worth it.  

I should have taken more photos but I was busy trying out each mouth-watering dessert.


Spanish Film Festival 2010

If you like watching foreign films like me, troop over to Greenbelt 3 for a slew of Spanish films.  Check out the schedule here.

Salad Niscoise - Julia Child's Recipe

I decided to skip the rice (which is a must have for Filipinos) and have a healthy lunch.  Well, almost.  I re-heated the left over callos and paired it with french bread.  But, I did prepare Salad Niscoise. My officemate in Vietnam had this everyday such that when he would call and order lunch they already knew what he was having. 

Note that this is a recipe from ochef.com.  What made this interesting was that it's a recipe from Julia Child's book, "Julia's Kitchen Wisdom".  Best to get the freshest ingredients that you can get your hands on.

Happy eating.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Best Desserts are at the Metropole, Hanoi

Sometime October 2007. I love desserts.  I look forward to having them all the time.  I do not diet and have never stayed away from them.  These were taken during my first trip to Hanoi when I was booked at the Metropole.  Here are snapshots of the desserts at the Le Beaulieu, Metropole's (Sofitel, Hanoi) Sunday buffet.  If you are avoiding sweets, do not read further.

Friday, August 20, 2010

My Other Blog

People, I do have another blog.  Why???  It covers the more personal stuff, home ideas, inspirations, etc.  So I'll be posting there.

Hanoi's Huc Bridge or "Morning Sunlight" Bridge

June 13, 2010. It was a Sunday and I was happy to have some free time.  Even if it had been my third trip to Hanoi, this was my first time to walk on the Huc bridge.  Translated as the morning sunlight bridge, I wonder if the sun's morning rays give a different effect.  It's already beautiful to me even in the afternoon.  I've always called it the "red bridge" since it is painted a bright cherry-red making it stand out amidst the deep-emerald colored water and foliage surrounding the Hoan Kiem lake.  The Huc Bridge is like a demure lady sending signs to the young men to draw near.

Shopping for a Dining Table

I went to one of one furniture shops at Market!Market!

Here is the drawing of the table I may have made.  It's going to be a dark (almost black) finish made from Mahogany wood.  Albert, quoted P15000 for a six seater so I'm thinking it over.  You know budget constraints.  But his store does make lovely furniture.  Their main shop is in Vigan.

I particularly like the legs of the table.  It's English style, according to him. More leg room.

I am also thinking if I should go for a bigger size where the length is 75".

In the meantime, I am thinking of going to Pampanga to check out what they have there. I do want upholstered chairs and according to him, they can do that in Pamapanga.

There's always this desire to rush but I'd rather go slow.  For now, we're using our trusty formica table.  It's been with us for years.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bursts of Color

Puppets outside Fort Santiago (Intramuros) Manila, Philippines
Paper Lamps at Dong Xuan, Hanoi, Vietnam
Balloons for sale at Pattah market (Colombo, Sri Lanka)

Friday, July 30, 2010

The One With The Mickey Mouse Stamp

Sometime 2006.  This is what happened after "Tutup" motioned me to go to the other teller.  There was a line so I had to wait for my turn.  I handed my dollars to the teller and she closely scrutinized each dollar bill.  She handed back a few bills and was pointing to a stamp on the bill.

"What's this?", she asked me pointing to the Mickey Mouse stamp at the backside of the 100 dollar bill.

"Uhhhmmm, Mickey Mouse," I retorted with a confused look on my face.  I thought Mickey Mouse was known worldwide. 

"Hhmpph, I won't accept that because of Mickey Mouse," the teller said with finality.

Lesson learned when in Jakarta make sure that your dollars are "clean and crisp", no marks whatsoever.  Mickey Mouse not accepted.

My First Tutup Encounter

Sometime 2006. On my first trip to Jakarta, I went down to the lobby of our office building so I could go to the bank to change my US dollars.  When I got in, I saw two tellers.  The other one had a line while the other one was free.  As I made eye contact with the teller where there was no line, I walked towards her place.  In front of her was a neatly made up sign which said "Tutup".

Indonesia Posts...Coming Soon...Hopefully

It's funny but out of all the Asian countries I've visited, I've been to Indonesia the most and yet my posts have been very few.  I will try to unearth pictures and make a few notes.  Hopefully I do get to do this.  I always tell my friends that if there's any asian country I'd like to work in, Indonesia would be it.  Jakarta is so like Manila.  Take note- their malls are so much better.  Shopping at Bundung is wonderful too.  Bali is just a cheap plane ride away.  It even costs less than what we'd pay from Manila to Cebu.  I love the krupuk, nasi goreng, etc. Plus, I do have really nice friends over there.  You'll probably get to see their pictures in future posts.

Talking about backlog...this is way too late.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fried Frog Legs at Chim Sao

June 14, 2010.  Hanoi, Vietnam. Thought Ha ordered pork. After unknowingly eating two fried frog legs, I tell Ha that it doesn't look like nor taste like pork but tastes like chicken.  I do think that I turn deaf when I'm hungry.  I didn't hear right when the orders were made.  Recall my Sri Lanka story.  It was my second time at Chim Sao.  This restaurant turned out to be a favorite of mine during this trip.  I like it better than Quan An Ngon.  Chim Sao, housed in a traditional Vietnamese structure, has two floors of seating.  On the first floor, you have tables and chairs.  Meanwhile the second floor evokes a more relaxed atmosphere as guests sit on cushions and food is served on low tables.  Too bad the a/c wasn't working all that well so it was pretty warm especially when you order a bowl of hot soup.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Wonderful Night of Music at the Hanoi Opera House

June 13, Sunday. Hanoi, Vietnam.  

I bought a ticket for a show at the Opera House tonight.  It's my third time in Hanoi but my very first time to watch a show at the Opera House.

My previous projects actually booked me a stone's throw away from the Opera House (Metropole and Hilton) but I didn't have the time or I was just too tired.  This time around I made sure that I wouldn't miss this opportunity.  Had to part with 350,000 VND but I think it will be worth it.  The Itallian cellist, Giovanni Sollima is performing.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Movenpick, Hanoi- My Home Away from Home

It's my third time in Hanoi. The last time was in February 2009. Had to visit the oh-so cool City of Lakes again to help a new project. This will be my place for ten days.  First it was at the Metropole, then the Hilton and now the Movenpick. When they told me that I was going to be booked at the Movenpick the first thing that came to mind was the ice cream Bel and I ate while in Singapore. Could it be the same? Apparently, Movenpick manages certain "Swiss" hotels and Movenpick Hanoi is one of them.

My Small Private Space at Movenpick Hotel Hanoi

In case you're wondering how the typical rooms at the Movenpick look, here are a few pictures of my small, private space.  Stayed here from June 6 to June 15, 2010.  The room was nice and clean.  Nothing fancy.  Service was good.  Internet is ok.  Check it out.

My room  number :-)

A few pictures of my room.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Discovering Chim Sao's Home Cooked Food

I had lunch with some colleagues of mine. Though I wasn't working for their project this time around, they were so gracious to take me out to lunch.

So there we were, five girls in a taxi, off to Chim Sao- a local Vietnamese restaurant.  Because they said that Chim Sao actually refers to a bird, I just had to google it to satisfy my curiosity.

Monday, April 26, 2010

TopPot Doughnuts now in Starbucks Manila

Top Pot Honey-glazed doughnut at HKIA

Now available in Manila.   It comes in three variants - honey glazed, chocolate and apple fritter.  Not bad for P55 a piece.  Tried this at HKIA en route to Sri lanka.  The honey glazed is way too sweet for me. Considering that I love sweet stuff, you can just imagine how sweet this is.  It's probably best to dunk this in a steaming cup of coffee.  Enjoy peeps.

Getting Back On-Line Again

I have obviously not been posting anything.  Last year was difficult for me and the family.  I didn't have the strength nor want to write.  Not sure if I am ready or will ever share what has happened.  We'll see how it goes.  For now, I hope to start again.