Mabua Beach, My Home: A Paradise

I love Mabua Beach because it is beautiful and it has its own story to tell. It means a lot to me and to my family because we have been living here for many years. I grew up in this place and to me it is filled with lavish wonderful memories. It is so soothing and calm. I can hear the waves crushing onto the shore and, even when I am sleeping, I can feel that the best waves are yet to come. I can hear the birds chirping their songs. I can feel the breezy wind blowing into my face. I can touch the hot grey sand and I can feel it in between my toes. I can see the living creatures moving around on the sand. I can smell the salt from the sea when I am closer to it and I can touch the cool waters. All these create the unique environment of this spectacular niche. Image

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Mabua Beach is also one of Alan’s favorite nooks every time we visit my family in Tandag. He had a lovely time reading his books, writing his own book, playing with his computer games and drinking his favored Red Horse Beer on the beach while enjoying the unlimited supply of free fresh sea breeze. Image

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This beach is one of the most popular beaches in town. It is located in Tandag City, a 4th class city and the capital of the province of Surigao del Sur in the Northeastern coast of Mindanao Island of the Philippines, where it faces the Philippine Sea. The beach is clean, green and safe, being protected by a coral reef. It has a safe family friendly ambiance. It is cheaper when compared to other beaches. It requires no entrance fee. It provides tourists a fancy swim at anytime of the day especially during the summer. Most importantly, it has a safer area for swimming for both children and adults than any other beaches in town. Image

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For some obvious reasons, many locals come here to take pleasure in a simple family picnic, relax on the sand, savor the gentleness of the fresh sea breeze, enjoy a good swim, building a sandcastle or just simply to have fun. However, many people also celebrate some of their life’s important events on the beach such as wedding, christening, birthdays, anniversaries, reunions with family or with friends, meetings and many others. Some others come to enjoy karaoke, which most Asian enjoy but Filipinos do so with a revenge. Image

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When the tide is low, tourists have the opportunity to explore the marvelous variety of fauna and flora in the middle of the sea. It is locally known as “hunasan.” Many locals love this time of the year when they can freely experience the magnificent beauty of nature and walk in the middle of nowhere on the seabed with their loved ones and friends.Image

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While looking at the horizon, you can see a small beautiful island called “Mankagani Island.” If the weather is good, tourists have the opportunity to explore this island. You can hire a private motor boat to reach the Island.  The rent of the boat may vary depending on how you negotiate with the owner. Image

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Indeed, Mabua Beach promises unforgettable fun with family and friends as it brings everyone closer together. So, come and discover the breathtaking Mabua beach.

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France: The Notre Dame Cathedral is a Forever Treasure of Paris

During my first trip in France, my husband took me to Notre Dame Cathedral which is located along the Seine River in Paris, in its heart actually: l’île de la Citée. It is an amazingly wonderful cathedral with excellent Gothic architecture and unfathomable history.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral from a distance

Notre Dame de Paris is also the scenery where the famous book from French writer Victor Hugo, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” takes place. I have heard that after the quite long climb on the steep steps, one does understand Victor Hugo’s feelings and writing about the place. The huge bells at the top of the towers of the Cathedral are rumored to be the beating heart of Paris.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

We visited the cathedral on one beautiful afternoon. When we got in, it was dimly lit. We didn’t get a chance to go up the towers of Notre Dame because they were closed for maintenance, but I would imagine the view is stunning.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

While we were exploring inside, I saw so many holy artifacts and thought about 850 years of history which took place on this beautiful sacred ground. It also gave me a feeling of the strong power of the church. I saw plenty of things and I learned plenty of details and history. I would say, that it is a “must see” place for everyone whether you are a catholic or not since it contains an unbelievable scope of history of art, religious art as it is… to think that people built this cathedral without modern machinery! The front doors are especially impressive, with their rainbow of holy sculptures on top.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Absolutely, it is the most magnificent church I have ever seen. If you are in Paris, don’t miss this impressively spectacular Notre Dame Cathedral!

Cambodia: Les Lacs Fleuris Resort in Kien Svay

We recently discovered Les Lacs Fleuris as our new hideout where we can relax when by miracle we have a day off. In fact, we’ve already spent two Saturdays there and we ended up happily relaxed on both occasions. We love the charm and simplicity of the resort.Image

We thought that Les Lacs Fleuris is just an ideal place for chilling out, refilling our mojo away from the Penh and getting away from the heat and noise of the city. Indeed, it is an ideal place for everyone!Image

Les Lacs Fleuris is about 7 km away from Phnom Penh City. It is a small resort, but it is tidy, green and tranquil. The comprehensive atmosphere makes it very enjoyable since we can dine, swim, drink, sleep and do things at our leisure. The place has a safe, family-friendly atmosphere and one can feel that it is one of forte of the resort. Image

They provide two options – food wise. You can order food there or you can bring your own food. They do have varied menu at a very affordable price and it tastes good. You can also bring your own food, if you wish but you need to pay $2 per person, I think. They also have a grill station which is free of charge. Image

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The resort has a swimming pool although it’s not big, yet it is very clean and enough to cool your body down instantly from the heat. It costs $3 for an adult and $2 for a child. Image

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You can also do some fishing which only costs $2 for the fishing rod. We tried it and we enjoyed fishing. Alan caught 3 fish while I only got 1. ImageImage

They also have a pool table which is free of charge. Image

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If you wish to stay overnight, they have available rooms which range from $35 to $50 per night. Image

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We are looking forward to going back to Les Lacs Fleuris again.

Les Lacs Fleuris
#628, O Ampeul street, Prey Eang Commune
Kieng Svay District, Kandal Province, Cambodia.
Tel : (855) 11 333 688

France: The Palace of Versailles

There’s only one word which pops up in your mind when seeing the Palace of Versailles… it is SPECTACULAR! That’s why everybody goes there.Image

The Palace is grand and I am incredibly impressed with the sheer hugeness of the place. It displays opulence and richness, fabulous paintings on the walls, intricate tapestries, wonderful furniture, mirrors and chandeliers, amazing iconic hall of mirrors and the lovely vast-lush green gardens with beautiful fountains. All these had blown my mind away!Image

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In the beginning, my spirit was dampening a bit because of the unbelievably long queue in getting the ticket, another unbelievably long line to get in the Palace and very huge crowd. After queuing for 15 minutes for the entrance (that was after we queued for the ticket), a lady took us to one of the rooms/offices since we were taking the guided tour. We were lucky because we skipped another long hours before joining the line.Image

We spent one day in the Palace of Versailles. We took a private tour with an English speaking guide in order to make our tour meaningful. It was excellent because we saw parts of the palace that were not accessible to the general public and we didn’t wait in the long lines. Also, we were lucky because our guide had a deep knowledge about the history of the palace, her English was good that I could understand her clearly and she really helped me sort out the different Louis’s. After this tour, we joined the general population and it was horrifically unpleasant.

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While we were taking the tour, I felt that I witness so many important events and historical characters which happened in the Palace and in the garden. D’Artagnan was an actual Musketeer, I was surprised to learn. For me, the Hall of Mirrors was a highlight among the many beautiful rooms that we had visited. Indeed, I had a grand experience watching the history unfolding before us.Image

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We ended our day in the garden where we enjoyed resting. The garden had an amazing variety of plants and the flowers were blooming. The lawns are designed wonderfully and there are many fountains with statues. It was indeed remarkable to see all of these.Image

Here are some tips and reminders:

  • The Palace can be reached by train and by bus.
  • Please come early to the Palace because the line for the ticket is very long and the line for the entry is also very long.
  • Due to the huge crowd, look after all your belongings very carefully.
  • Take a guided tour to make your tour purposeful and so that you have less time joining the general public; which is frustrating.
  • When you join the general public, it is suffocating in some rooms. In my case, there were times that the only thing I could see was the back of another tourist and I felt that I was being pushed around.

If you’re going to Paris, I would highly recommend a visit to the Palace of Versailles. It is an amazingly majestic beautiful Palace and well worth of your time. Plus, it’s just a quick train ride away from Paris; so, go for it! 🙂

France: The Stunning Eiffel Tower in Paris

This amazing tall iron tower is a stunner; that’s why it is one of the most famous landmark on earth. If you ask anyone about the first thing that pops in their mind about Paris – I’m pretty sure the answer would be the Eiffel Tower.

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It was built in 1889. It was known as the tallest building at the time since the pyramids. It stands 320 meters high and weighs 10,000 tonnes. Also, this was the first building in the world completely made out of iron.

emblematic structure

Tourists have the opportunity to explore the tower. The first two levels can be accessed by stairs or by a lift, but the third level and the top part can only be accessed by lift. If you wish to climb up the tower, tickets are available at the booth which is located at the base of the tower or you can also buy it online to avoid the long queue.

people everywhere

We visited the Eiffel Tower on one beautiful afternoon where we had a short picnic underneath it. We decided not to go up the tower, not because of the long queue but because I suffer from vertigo and I didn’t want to spoil the rest of my stay because of this. Instead, we had our snacks and some drinks while sitting on the grass and experiencing the beauty of this magnificently engineered structure.

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As we moved to various places in Paris and viewed the Eiffel tower from the distance was just like seeing a superstar from across the street. I am always delighted to see this well known structure which is 318 times taller than me. I would say that this majestic and climbable 124 year old structure lived up to and beyond my expectations.

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How many huge buildings have you been owed by? 

France: Museum of the Louvre – A Jewel

My trip to Paris would not be complete without seeing the Mona Lisa. So, Alan and I decided to spend a day inside the Louvre gazing only at some of the magnificent art and artifacts masterpieces. I was told that it would take two years to see all the collection if you were to spend just one minute looking at each one.

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We went there early in the morning thinking that we could save our time from joining the long queue. But, when we arrived, the queue was about 1 km. We had no choice, but to join the line.

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We entered into the Louvre via the pyramid which serves as the main entrance. Inside the Louvre there are three large wings namely:

  1. The Sully wing. In this wing we saw the famous statue of Venus de Milo which is the highlight of the Greek collections in the Louvre.Image
  2. The Richelieu wing. We saw the sumptuously decorated apartment of Napoleon III. Also, this wing gave me the idea of what the Louvre interior looked like when it was still in use as a royal palace. I learned that the kings of France used the Louvres as their royal palace before Louis XIV, after that they moved to Versailles. Image
  3. The Denon wing. This is the most crowded area among the three because it is where you can see the famous painting of a woman called Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. I don’t think the woman was actually named Mona Lisa… But it became famous after people tried to steal it.Image

As soon as we got into the Louvre, we headed straight away to the Mona Lisa. The crowd around the Mona Lisa was very dense. Even though it was nearly impossible to see the artwork in a tranquil ambience and nearly impossible to face the Mona Lisa without squeezing through the crowd yet we still managed to get in front to see the Mona Lisa face to face and Alan took a photo of me with the Mona Lisa at the background. Take note, even though Mona Lisa is always busy, but her eyes follow each who passes her.

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The things we have seen inside the Louvre were: Oriental Antiquities; Egyptian Antiquities; Greek Antiquities; Roman Antiquities; Renaissance Art and Paintings; Sculptures; Tools; Paintings; the lengthy hallways and wonderful ornate ceilings; the medieval Louvre; and many more.Image

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The statue at the background is a Greek goddess Athena known as the “Warrior Goddess of Wisdom.”

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The royal tomb.Image

This is the medieval Louvre. They accidentally found it when they were digging to build the foundation of the glass pyramids.

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Even while resting in random places, it’s still beautiful. Image

What can you really say about the Museum of the Louvre?

France: The Abbey of Mont St Michel in Normandy

The Mont Saint Michel is visited by approximately 3 million tourists each year from all over the world; however, only less than 50% of the tourists who visited the town were willing to visit the monastery and the cathedral which are situated on the very top of the town, mainly because of the hard climb and the tough stairway.

We were then one of the few lucky tourists who’d visited the abbey. We took a guided tour. The guided tour was very useful especially for me because it made all the difference to my appreciation of the site since there were 900 years of architecture and loads of history to recount. There are many rooms and it’s really easy to get lost so taking a guided tour is another of advantage. Even though we took the guided tour, Alan and I still wandered around and spent time in that amazing place just contemplating the beauty of it.

Here are some of our photos:

We were in the middle of the town and having nearly reached the highest part of the town where the monastery and the cathedral are situated (the building at the background).

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The ramp where the big wooden mill was pulling trolleys to the top of the Mont St Michel.Image

On the way to the cathedral.Image

The naive of the Flamboyant Gothic cathedral.Image

The cloister is ideally a place for meditation.Image

The decorations of the cloister.Image

A corridor for the monks to walk and meditate. Image

Part of the convent building, an example of Romanesque Gothic structure.Image

Gothic style columns and windows.Image

The huge fireplaces in the Salle des Hotes.Image

The wooden mill used to pull things at the top of Mont St Michel.Image

The statue of the Archangel St Michael at the background.Image

The outside wall of the cathedral/abbey.

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Have you visited the highest part of Mont St Michel?