September 26, 2017

Temple Run: Amazing Siem Riep. Amazing Cambodia.

Cambodia. The Kingdom of Wonder. 

We arrived in Siem Reap at around 9:30 in the evening. Please note that they are 1 hour behind from Manila time. We were fetched by our Airbnb Superhost, Chanak. After checking in at De Sonyn Botique, we have arranged with Chanak our Temple tour and we immediately went to Pub Street to grab some dinner and beer. It was just a 10 minute walk from our hotel. 

This place is perfect for the party people.

T E M P L E  D A Y  T O U R

Blessed by a monk

Sunrise at Angkor Wat
We started our day early. We opted to do the Grand Circuit Day tour with Sunrise. Our tuktuk driver was very prompt. He was there to pick us up at 4:30 am and brought us straight to the ticket office. Just a tip, if your hotel booking includes breakfast, you may inform the staff ahead of time to have your breakfast packed instead so you could bring it on your tour. Since we only have a few days to spend in Siem Reap, we just purchased the Angkor Temple Day Pass for $37. The pass is personalized, it has your own photo on it. Make sure to keep it with you the whole trip as it will be checked in each temple you'll be visiting. 

After witnessing the beautiful sunrise, we immediately proceeded inside the Angkor Wat temple. It is amazing to see how intricate the details were of the parts of the temple. I was lucky enough to have experienced being blessed by a monk inside the temple. 

Beautiful paintings being sold outside the Angkor Wat temple.

Before going to this temple we had our lunch at a restaurant inside the Angkor Thom temple. I ordered string beans with pork for $7, which I guess was overpriced. I didn't find the food delicious. 

I personally enjoyed Preah Khan. You can take a lot of good pictures from this temple. We have an encounter wherein a police officer inside the temple has been proactively sharing information about the place and has offered to take a picture of us and even instructed us what poses to do. Eventually, he asked for a few dollars. 


Leading to the temple is a beautiful water scenery. It is the most unique temple, it is surrounded by water. But I've seen some photos that it's different during the dry season. You would also be welcomed by a group of locals who perform some of their cultural songs. They're refreshing to watch. 


Just few minutes away from Neak Pan. Our next stop was at the Ta Som temple. 


This is my favorite temple. I find this the most beautiful among all the other temples we have visited. Just a heads up, you need to do lots of climbing to reach the main temple. It's worth it, believe me. 


Almost similar with the East Mebon temple. This is a beautiful one too. Although, this one requires more climbing than the first one. I opted not to climb up anymore as there's an ongoing construction above. 


I thought at first this was already the Ta Prohm temple. I wasn't paying attention when our driver said the name of this place. From the entrance, you will have to walk around 3-5 minutes to reach the main temple. This is is pretty small compared to the other temples. But it's one of the most beautiful as well. 


This is probably one of the most famous temples in Siem Reap. This is where the Angelina Jolie movie, Tomb Raider, was shot. As this is one of the major temples in the tour, expect that there'd be a lot of tourists roaming around. Also, there's a long line for picture taking but it's worth it. Niyeaam


Before we head back to the Angkor Thom complex, we stopped by this beautiful temple, Ta Keo.  


Bayon Temple is part of the Angkor Thom complex. Angkor Thom is part of the 4 major temples in the Temple tour. Coming from Angkor Wat, we've already passed by this area but our driver opted to do the smaller temples first and make this us our final temple destination. There's a lot to see in this temple. However, the sun was too aggressive already so we had limited activities done. 

Angkor Archaeological Park
Alright, while we were happy that we're able to visit 10 temples in just one day, we also felt so tired during the whole trip. Angkor Wat alone can take up so much energy already. There are temples that would require a lot of walking and climbing so you gotta be prepared.  We started our tour at 430 am and finished at 1pm. Temple fatigue is real. But I guess this can be avoided by managing the phasing of your tour. Or I would highly suggest you do the Small Circuit tour which covers the 4 major temples if you only have a day to spare. 

Explored the Angkor Archaeological Park via TukTuk. 
We paid for $25 for our tuktuk service. It was arranged by our hotel. I wouldn't know for sure if it's the same with the other tuktuk service but ours had unlimited supply of bottled mineral water. We opted not to have a guide, the only downside is that we've no information about the temples we're visiting. I suggest you get a guide book beforehand. Our guide didn't converse much in English but we loved his service. 

We're back at our hotel by 3 pm. I immediately asked Chanak to reserve us a table at the Koulen II Restaurant for the dinner buffet and to witness the Aspara Cultural Show. I would have wanted to do a quick afternoon swim but the sun was scorching that time and we're too tired already from doing all the 10 temples in a short span of time. So we decided to just sleep and rest. 

July 7, 2017

The Man Who Planted Trees

Amazing Earthlings. Pinoy Mrazians
High Five to Year Five. Last 24th June 2017, Jason Mraz - Philippines in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources - NCR held its 5th Annual Tree Planting activity at the La Mesa Watershed in Quezon City. 

Jason Mraz - Philippines, the official fan group of Jason Mraz in the country, started this environmental activity last 2013 at the Luneta Park in Manila. Due to its success, admins of the group have decided to make it an annual activity to give chance for the Mrazians to do their share in the protection of the environment and also to meet their fellow Mraz fans. 

This event has also served as a way to celebrate Jason Mraz' 40th Birthday. Jason Mraz has become the group's inspiration because of his advocacy. 

A total of 150 trees were planted for this year's event. It is a combination of Narra, Molave, and Lanete trees. These Mrazians had to trek about 30 minutes to reach the planting site. DENR NCR assisted the group to make sure there's a proper education on how to plant a tree. 

Welcome Remarks

Rome of DENR NCR. Introduction and Lecture


Trek to the Site

Bryan and Jill, JMPH Admins

To date, a total of 370 trees, of different varieties, have been planted in 3 different locations (Luneta Park in Manila, Sapang Liwanag in Pasig City, and La Mesa Watershed in Quezon City).

Jason Mraz - Philippines conducted a short program at the nearby Chowking store. Lunch were served. Certificates of Participation have been awarded to the planters. Also, those Mrazians who have been able to attend all 5 planting activities were recognized and special gifts were given to them. 

Let's go back to the earth again, next year. See you, Pinoy Mrazians. 

March 30, 2017

Discover Aurora

IMG_2542Welcome to the beautiful Province of Aurora. Aurora is located in Central Luzon. It has 8 equally beautiful municipalities. Baler, its capital, San Luis, Maria Aurora, Dipaculao, Dinalungan, Casiguran, Dilasag, and Dingalan.
It's been a common misconception that Aurora is still part of the Quezon Province. Not anymore. It was in 1979 when Aurora was officially granted a Provincial status. The province was named after the former First Lady Doña Aurora Aragon Quezon.
Aurora has also produced some of the most prominent names in the field of politics and entertainment. Manuel Luis Quezon, the President of the Philippine Commonwealth, will always be one of the favorite sons of the province. We also have former Senator Edgardo Angara and his son, Senator Sonny Angara. And of course, the award winning actor, Heneral Luna's John Arcilla.

Every February 19, Aurora celebrates its founding anniversary. It is also the birth anniversary of Doña Aurora Aragon Quezon. So, if you're IN for an awesome nature adventure, be sure to #DiscoverAurora now.

1. Baler


Baler is the capital of Aurora Province and its oldest municipality. The name "baler" is said to have originated from "balod," a type of mountain pigeon. Baler is the second most populous town and the densest in Aurora although it is the smallest in terms of land area. It is also where President Manuel L. Quezon and his wife, Dona Aurora Aragon, hail from.

2. Casiguran
casapsapan beach casiguranCasiguran is one of the three northern towns collectively known as the 'Dicadi' area, which stands for Dinalungan-Casiguran-Dilasag. Among the three, Casiguran is the most populous town and is often considered the northern capital of Aurora. Casiguran is the most developed town in Dicadi, boasting an airport, a full-scale hospital and white sandy beaches.
3. Dilasag
dilasag canawer
Dilasag is the northernmost municipality of Aurora Province. Being the farthest town from Metro Manila, it is largely undeveloped. Its beauty lies in its natural attractions: a long, unspoiled coastline, highlighted by fine, white-sand beaches. This quaint town is ideal for visitors longing for an escape into idyllic environs.
4. Dinalungan
Dinalungan is the least populous municipality in Aurora. It is bound by the Dinalungan River, Dinadiawan Creek and Casiguran Sound. While surrounded by water, the town is nestled in the mountains, making for excellent hikes that afford spectacular views of the ocean.
5. Dingalan
Aurora Province not Aurora Quezon
Dingalan is the nearest municipality to Metro Manila, and the southernmost town of Aurora. The Sierra Madres separate Dingalan from the rest of the province.A portion of Barangay Umiray in Dingalan was proclaimed in January 2000 as a Special Economic Zone by President Joseph Estrada. It forms part of the Pacific Coast City Ecozone that also includes areas located in Barangay Umiray in Gen. Nakar, Quezon. The ecozone is destined to be a world-class resort and investment haven.
6. Dipaculao
Dipaculao is the northernmost town of the central sub-region of Aurora. Its land area is a long strip that offers a stunning vista from any vantage point. Dipaculao is bound by the Pacific Ocean to the east and by virgin forests of the Sierra Madres Mountain Range to the west. Traveling along the Dipaculao highway, one is smitten by the sublime contrast of breezes from the Pacific Ocean and sylvan zephyrs from the Sierra Madres. The town's waterfalls and natural springs offer a pleasing respite from the scenic drive.
7. Maria Aurora
Maria Aurora is the most populous municipality in Aurora. It is the only non-coastal town in the Province and is largely a mountainous area. One of its barangays, Villa Aurora, is situated right by the Aurora Memorial National Park, which encompasses most of the Baler-Bongabon Highway and the Sierra Madres forests around it. Tourists flock to the town to visit the famous Millennium Tree.
8. San Luis
San Luis is the largest municipality in Aurora and the home of Baler Airport. San Luis is the first town one happens upon after traveling through the Aurora National Memorial Park. Like Dipaculao, San Luis welcomes visitors with a dazzling array of waterfalls and natural spring pools.
Credits: Photos for Casiguran, Dilasag, and Dingalan were obtained from the Aurora PH website.