Friday, January 28, 2011

Whats Up for Chinese New Year?

On my previous blog, I did mention that in my work place, Christmas is hardly being celebrated as this country (Cambodia) is predominantly a Buddhist country.  What they are particular though is the observance of Chinese New Year.  As for me and for some of my colleagues, too ... Chinese New Year used to bring us a "boring atmosphere".  Why? Because, in our area, almost 98% of stores, eateries, restaurants and even small stores and shops are closed during this season.  You have nowhere to go.  So, I've learned my lessons from the past years.  Now, I make sure to buy everything I need before Chinese New Year season begins.  Also since our business market is mainly focused on the Vietnamese nationals, business is quite slow during this season as most of them opt to stay home and celebrate with families.

But of course, as the saying goes... "When in Rome, do as the Romans do".  Therefore we have to feel the spirit of this festivity.  How? ... by trying to celebrate with them and observe their practices just to have a feeling of being "in".  On the other hand, it is also fun doing their way and also gives us a sense of togetherness.  As I've mentioned several times before, discovery of other cultures has always been of great importance to me.  So what is the best way to start but with foods... :) after all, this is what celebrations are all about.  Here's what I got after researching online:

Traditional Foods and What They Represents:

(courtesy of :
  • Bamboo shoots: Wealth.
  • Black moss seaweed: Wealth.
  • Chicken: Represents happiness and marriage.
  • Dried Bean Curd: Happiness.
  • Eggs: Fertility.
  • Egg Rolls: Wealth.
  • Fish served *whole : Prosperity
  • Chinese garlic chives: Everlasting, a long life.
  • Lychee nuts: Close family ties.
  • Noodles: Represent a long life.
  • Oranges: Wealth.
  • Peanuts: A long life.
  • Pomelo: Abundance, prosperity, having children.
  • Seeds, e.g. lotus or watermelon seeds: Having a large number of children.
  • Tangerines: Good luck.
Maybe we can start scouting for these food symbols and see what is in store for us this Chinese New Year!

Good Luck!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cebu Pacific's Great Deal

January 27 is the last day for Cebu Pacific's International Seat Sale! I extracted the following announcement from the email I received from Cebu Pacific. Who knows you might be interested as this I believe is a great deal.

CEB offers Japan, China, Korea seats as low as P1,888
The Philippines' largest national flag carrier, Cebu Pacific (CEB) offers you a fantastic seat sale to mainland China, Japan and South Korea starting now until January 27, 2011 or until seats last.

CEB is the only Philippine low-cost carrier operating to all three major North Asian countries. This Korea, Japan and China seat sale offers the lowest fare available for those planning to visit these cities. For travel from April 1 to June 30, 2011, avail of P1,888 'Go Lite' seats from Manila to Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai.

P1,999 'Go Lite' seats are also available for those going from Manila and Cebu to Busan and Seoul (Incheon). CEB's newest route, Manila-Busan flights will begin on June 15, 2011. 'Go' seats to Osaka are also up for grabs for only P2,999.

Good Luck and Happy Trip!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Guess What This Boring Day Had Brought Me To??

Maybe after you read the title of my blog post, you will ask yourself, "what the heck this person is talking about?"  A boring day? Who cares about my boredom?  But wait...I just want to share what this boring day had brought me to.
After I check out from work, I decided to laundry my clothes which had been accumulating in number in my clothes hamper.  I was able to finish with my laundry just on time but because I'm not sleepy yet, I checked on some old DVD's stacked up inside my cabinet.  My search had brought me to watch again for the _nth time, my favorite of all times... "LOVERS IN PARIS".

"Lovers in Paris" is a Korean Novela.  It was a prime time series that was already shown on Philippine Television way way back.  I remembered that I was still working in the Philippines when this Korean Novela  was shown on ABS CBN 2. I developed a strong liking with this tele series and I'd been a strict follower of this.  I remembered the last time that I would cancel an appointment just to be at home in time for the showing of this "Lovers in Paris" on channel 2.  I'm really a fanatic of the Carlo - Vivian tandem.  These two Korean Artists had really captured my heart.
But I guess, what I really really adore is the story.  This is a story of love, a romance between two people who faced so many challenges and struggles just to be together.  It talks about social status, family conflicts, culture and traditions and these were clearly shown throughout the story.  This story evolves on the lives of numerous characters who were all victims of circumstances, of love, hatred and money.

Vivian, the main character was cute and funny.  This Korean actress was tailored fit for this role.  I couldn't imagine any other actress could give justice to this role.  Not even KC Concepcion who I guess played a similar role on the "Lovers in Paris" Philippine version.
I actually watched this series several times... and yes, now I'm watching it again.  But somehow, I made the right decision.  After starting to watch this series again, I momentarily felt a bit of relaxed.  I would admit, I've been under stress lately.  I need this kind of film to give myself a break from thinking. At least even temporary.

I guess, I would continue to watch this until the end.
Thank you "Lovers in Paris", you saved my boring day!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Visiting Pagoda with my Khmer Friends!

Two days ago, after having stayed in my room for straight 10 days, I had a chance to go out  for a walk with my Khmer friends and colleagues.  One of my close friends asked me to join them in a long walk to visit the Pagoda.  Since I also wanted to have an exercise, I said yes right away.  There we go on a long walk to their Pagoda.  It was a tiring journey on a quite hot afternoon.  After more than an hour of walk, we finally reached the destination.  It was a simple Pagoda built in the middle of  farm lands.  I wasn't able to have a picture taken as I wasn't able to bring any camera.  Besides, I am a bit worried that the the Care Taker there won't allow shooting of pictures as it is considered a sacred place. At any rate, the Pagoda we visited looks something like this :

Pagoda in Cambodia

Photo Credit : Googles Images /

The one we visited is much simple than the photo shown above but the structure is basically the same. I was invited by one of them to join them for prayers.  As a respect to them and their belief, I obliged.
Praying started with offering of fruits, then lighting some joss sticks.  You have to remove your slippers or shoes before entering the hall, kneel down and hold the lighted joss sticks moving these into downward and upward motion as you bow your head for prayers.
After some moments of prayers, joss sticks will be placed on the stands provided just outside the hall.

I noticed that they pray not only in one praying hall.  They have to move around the area and enter into each hall, doing same procedures on each hall. 

After praying, we decided to go back, but this time, on board a motorcycle as we don't have enough energy to go for another long walk.  Besides, it's getting dark and walking back will not be convenient anymore.
Trying out something like this once in a while is also beneficial in the sense that you'll be able to learn other country's culture and religious practices through a participative learning process.  I always make it a point to respect others cultures as I also expect them to respect mine.  It is a good way of exploring your knowledge and understand other people's behaviors and sentiments. 

It was a great day indeed!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tet New Year in Vietnam

Working out of my country had rewarded me not only financially but also in terms of knowledge and understanding on cultural diversities.  It is very interesting to know and understand other cultures.  Before I come to work in Cambodia and prior to visiting Vietnam, I knew nothing about these two countries.  I love reading history books but mostly, I'm just concentrating on Philippine History books only.  Now, at least I'm having the opportunity to know and understand other countries cultures by being there physically and witnessing the events before my very eyes.  I guess this is far better than reading books. 

What surprised me most is the discovery that apart from the international new year which is normally being celebrated on the eve of the last day of every year (December 31), some countries are also celebrating their own new years.  Apart from the Chinese New Year, which I think is known to many...there is also the Khmer New Year which normally falls on the second week of April.  And now... Vietnam is currently celebrating their Tet New Year.  

Tet new Year or "Tet Nguyen Dan" in the Vietnamese Language is the Lunar New Year Festival and considered as the most important holiday in Vietnam.  I think how the Vietnamese people celebrate Tet New Year can be compared to how the Filipinos celebrate Christmas. The traditional family reunions, exchanging gifts, visiting relatives, going to churches, wearing new clothes and greeting each other normally being observed by the Filipinos during the Christmas season are also the same traditions and practices observed by the Vietnamese during their annual Tet New Year.  The only difference is that they celebrate the Tet New Year for seven days although the official observance of this holiday is only three days.  

 Photo Credit : Google Images

The date of the Tet New Year varies each year but normally it falls on January or February.  

To the Vietnam People....."Happy Tet New Year!"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Missing My Home!

After being here at Cambodia for almost a week already since I spent my vacation in the Philippines, I still feel homesick.  I'm missing my home... so I just content myself browsing through the pics from my photo archive.

Fixing my home has been one of my greatest priorities.  I love to stay on a place where I can relax and unwind and enjoy bonding time with the family thus, I make sure that my house is always clean and orderly.  I love to read articles about home garden, decorating tips, and everything about home care.  It gives me such a great feeling and a sense of fulfillment to be able to satisfy everyone that stays within.

There's really no place like home!

Friday, January 14, 2011

I want to Learn Baking Cakes and Pastries !

One of the points that caught my attention when I did a book review of "Ang Pera na Hindi Bitin" was the so-called intellectual investment.  I strongly agree with the author on investing in knowledge.  This is a kind of investment na walang lugi.  Gaining more skills and knowledge is indeed a good investment.  Remember, business is not only about selling goods or products but also offering services.

Then suddenly, I remember my one big dream...that of learning how to bake cakes, cup cakes and pastries. I really feel envious with people who can really bake nice and delicious cakes.  Especially after seeing these nicely decorated cup cakes from Pinoy Recipe.Net ... I suddenly feel the urge to fulfill my fancy..."baking".

Photos courtesy of Pinoy

I've noticed that the trend now on parties like debuts, weddings, anniversaries and kiddie birthdays is making use of cup cakes rather than the usual cakes.  This really brings an attractive sight on the cake table especially if such cup cakes are nicely decorated and colorful.  Another advantage would be the fact that these comes in single serving so wastage will be avoided.

But the problem is, I only have limited vacation days every time I go back in the Philippines and I would rather spend time at home and attend to some important tasks instead of fulfilling this fancy.  But alas! I came up with an idea, "why not take the baking class at Hoh Chi Min, Vietnam?"

So there you go, after spending an amount of time surfing, I'm able to scout for an alternative option.  I found this Harvest Baking Bakery at Hoh Chi Minh  City which is owned by a foreign couple who also conduct baking classes to those who will be interested. The fee is quite reasonable... $25 for a 2 hrs course inclusive of take home cake recipes.  The class is conducted by the owner themselves, Tim Ottaviani and his wife Lulu.  Normally schedule offered is from 12pm to 2pm.  I think this is worth a try considering that lecturers are English Native speakers, so there will be no problems on language barrier.

I'm hoping to have this plan materialized soon as this is one of my goals for 2011.

For those who are staying at Hoh Chi Minh, Harvest Baking Bakery is located at 30 Lamson Tan Binh District with tel nos. 3547-0577 or you can contact Ms. Lulu at 0903921285.

Have a Great Day!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Some Thoughts to Ponder!

"Some measures their lives by days and years, others by heart throbs, passion and tears; but the surest under the sun, is what in your lifetime for others you have done."

I read this sayings from one of my favorite books and I just decided to share this in my blog as thoughts to ponder....

It's really hard to go on  with life if you are keeping some pains in the heart, you tend to lose sights of your goals, you tend to experience self pity, be out of short, life suddenly becomes meaningless.  But as the saying goes, our life is not measured in terms of the pains that we experienced and survived in the past nor by the amount of time that we spend on earth, neither by the frequency of the times that we laugh and enjoy life but above all, our life is measured by how we became meaningful in the eyes of others.  By meaningful we mean how we bring meaning to the lives of other people.  It's hard to rejoice on someone else happiness if you yourself is in great pain. But, offering help to others in times of sorrow has been the greatest sacrifice of all.  The following story extracted from the same book clearly illustrates how we can be of help to others despite of sorrows...

Once there was a doctor who found a free clinic which opened once a week to attend to poor patients.  On one such day, someone rushed into the clinic with the news that the doctor's youngest and favorite son had just died.  Although deeply upset, the doctor reflected on the situation, and after having regained his composure, continued to attend to his patients.
People who came to know about this were rather surprised at his seemingly callous behavior.  When questioned, he explained thus: "My son is already dead and I'm unable assist him anymore.  But these poor needy patients who can't even afford to pay for their treatment need my help more.  I know I can do something for them.  So, is it not better for me to control my sorrow and help suffering mankind instead?"
From my fave book, "Why Worry?"  By : K. Sri Dhammananda

"Doing good to others is not a duty.  It is a privilege, and it gives pleasure leading to better health and happiness."
                                    - Zoroaster -

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Trip Back to Cambodia!

I took my flight late night of January 11. It was a pleasant trip! Everything went on smoothly except for some minor head aches and dizziness that I experienced because of the long trip.  Probably, the kids prayers helps a lot.

That Cebu Pacific flight was fully booked!  I'm surprised that this budget airline is being patronized by a lot of foreigners, mostly Europeans.  Tourists now are getting smarter and wiser.  They, too would love to stretch out their budget for the holidays.  For the Filipinos like us, especially for those frequent travelers, taking your trip via Cebu Pacific is a wise option, unless you really like to experience a VIP treatment and luxurious amenities on a more sophisticated aircraft by some airlines.  Maybe it would be good to experience this once or twice (Just for the experience! Lol...), but doing it on a regular basis will definitely kill your pockets!  Budget airlines like Cebu Pacific and Air Asia is such a big help to a lot of OFW's and middle class tourists.  You'll have the chance to see other countries for a very reasonable price.  I have not tried Air Asia yet but feed backs I gathered from some friends and colleagues sound like the latter is offering a better service.  Likewise, they have more choices of foods that you can buy on board. Maybe Cebu Pacific could improve on this  part.  But overall, everything just fit well for the "price" :)

I'm able to arrive at my work place 11AM of the following day.  I'm tired, sleepy and sad!  But I know...I'll get over this very soon.  Fingers crossed!

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Savoring My Last Two Days at Home....

Whewww... two days more to go and I'm off to take my flight to Ho Chih Min City.  After spending 13 days of vacation in the Philippines... I'll be back to work again. I'm having mixed emotions now... the pressure of trying to catch up with the last minute domestic jobs, working on some instructions for the kids to follow for the next 3 months or so, grocery shopping, getting ready with the things that I have to pack and bring back with me to my job site, and so on and so forth....

How i wish to stretch out every minute of the days so I could still prepare some sumptuous meals for the family, sleep and rest on my own bed, make "sawa" with the "Pinoy foods", watch more of the Philippine TV shows that I truly missed...  Lucky, with the 13 days in a row I had enough "eat outs" with the family and able to watch 3 movies with them as well...

But I have to face it, I need to switch back my mood from holidays to work.  This has been the problem of many, I guess.  How to get over with the holiday sickness.  But.. as a responsible parent and daughter... I have to think of the positive side.  Being able to deliver the needs and wants of your family is very fulfilling.  Somehow, it gives you a sense of belonging, a sense of responsibility and a sense of fulfillment.  So just a thought of this and I would be ready to face the days to come again.  I just wish that this year will bring me more luck, blessings and cheers.  Tonight, before I sleep ... I would be writing down again my plans and projects for the year 2011.  This has been my traditions for years. I just feel more inspired to work and look forward to more exciting days and challenges if I have a list of my goals in hand.  This motivates me to continue and move on with life.  Having a goal each year makes me inspired and occupied.  Each task or goal that I'm able to accomplish will get a check mark in my list.  At the end of the year, I would review my list and will reconcile what had been accomplished during the year.  This is how I can judge my accomplishments. So, I just have to stay foot... and reach sight of my goals... happiness will follow.

Wish me luck!

Thanks for hopping by!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Book Review - "Ang Pera na Hindi Bitin"

Last night, I just finished reading a book which I received as a gift from my daughter Mikz.  The book is titled "Ang Pera na Hindi Bitin" by Eduardo O. Roberto Jr. 

This book was written in "Taglish".  The approach was very light. The author, Eduardo Roberto Jr. was successful in making this book interesting for both the matured and the young readers.  This book mainly covered the basic principles of handling money, quoting some verses in the bible as a guide and included the author's practical advises based from his own life experiences. 

What makes this book unique and different from other financial books in the market is the fact that this book is not a book for those who would like to become "super rich". But rather, it is a summary of the biblical principles of money on how we can be financially literate, at the same time enjoying what we have.  In short, how can we be contented with what we have on biblical point of view.  While it's true that God never wanted us to experience poverty, He also likes us to learn how to take care of the "riches" that he entrusted to us.

The author tackled in a brief but direct manner the 7 strategies to financial literacy, as follows:

1.) Save
2.) Give
3.) Get out of debt and stop borrowing
4.) Live Simply
5.) Magsipag, Magnegosyo
6.) Mag invest
7.) Educate Yourself

Many of us really went wrong in managing our money because we do not possess the skills and basic "know how" on how to handle our finances.  What was stated in this book is very true... we should not only focus ourselves on how we can increase our riches, doubling up our money, but more importantly, we should also be wary on our "spending habits".  No doubt, many employees especially those working overseas usually ended up with no savings and investments after long years of working and what makes it worse is that they were left with nothing but debts.

While I acknowledge the fact that it is really tempting to spend for our luxuries especially when we are earning quite big, it is just a matter of discipline and determination to achieve wise spending habits.

I do agree with the author that wealth and money does not come for free, we have to work for it.  I guess, moderation is the key to a successful financial stability.  We can spend for our needs, for our happiness, for some little "luxuries" that we all long to have and experience... but a portion of our earnings should always be set aside for future needs or emergencies.  We can spend for some pleasures but this should be done after some amount for our basic needs and emergency fund had already been set aside. 

The book was a revelation in a way.  I myself is not aware that there are so many verses in the bible that talks about money. Understanding the basics of money on a biblical point of view is really enlightening.

Overall, I find this book helpful and inspiring specially for those who are struggling to overcome their financial difficulties.  I only hope though that more pages will be added to the book to have a more detailed discussion on money matters and more tips and ideas on how to save and invest.

To this book and the author, Eduardo O. Roberto Jr....
Thumbs Up!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Fun Day Tuesday 02

Last Tuesday January 04, we celebrated Mikz birthday but instead of the usual party thing, we opted for a more intimate celebration.  For one, it's second day of school for January 2011 and none of her friends and classmates would be able to come.  So we decided that instead of throwing a birthday party for her, we will just treat her friends out for lunch and the family will just go to see a movie after school hours followed by a not so late dinner at our favorite restaurant.  So there we go....

Mikz was joined by her classmates for a lunch treat and we proceeded with our plan evening time.  It was a simple birthday treat for Mikz but she ended up happy with all the arrangements.

Lunch at Wimpys with classmates

Dinner at Cocolime Restaurant
 Bagoong Rice

  Beef Kare Kare

 Pineapple rice

 Grilled Boneless Bangus

 Pancit Canton with assorted meats

 Pork Sisig

We had a nice dinner at Cocolime and we went home really full.  I actually canceled another food item that I ordered coz I just felt that we won't be able to finish all.  In fact, the pork sisig was taken home. :)   The bagoong rice and pineapple rice is in itself a complete meal as these are so tasty and comes with rich flavorings. 

We ended up around 9:30PM and decided to go home as the next day is another school day and Mikz still have to catch up with some home works.  Nonetheless, the day was simple but fun and memorable!

Happy Birthday Mikz!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Saying Goodbye to 2010!

Happy New Year to everyone !

It's been a while since my last post... that was when I took my flight back to Philippines last 29 December of 2010.  Yup.. I'm a kind of busy :) trying to catch up with last two days of 2010 and engaging in "bonding time" with the kids. I can compare myself with a bird who was just freed from a cage... that is how I  describe myself as soon as I stepped into my home town. On the day I arrived home, I just took a few hours of sleep and there we go to watch a movie and have a late dinner with the whole family.  How I missed the fun in Subic... dining out, going for massage, roaming around SBMA, buying stuff in the market... simple things that I truly missed.  Of course, not to mention the foods... I cannot describe how I terribly missed the Filipino foods.  Here are some of my favorites that I straight away cooked and  partake for the last few days...

 Crema De Fruta

Pancit Malabon

I just love to cook! Sad to say, I can't have the luxury of the amenities to have it done in my work place as we are staying in the hotel premises.  Nonetheless, I still managed to cook simple desserts when I just feel the craving for Philippine sweets... 

These were just the simple things that I did for the last two days that I spent home last 2010, aside from, of course, the traditional way of celebrating new year at home.

Bidding good bye to 2010 had just left a pain in my heart as this year was full of "ups and downs".  That's why I am crossing my fingers that 2011 will be a better year for me.  I will surely pray for that!

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