Cambodia: Full moon walk with my son at a park in Phnom Penh

When my siblings and I were still little, our parents number one priority was our education. They did not spend a truckload of money on entertainment in order for us to have fun. They taught us that the most fun things are free. In fact, my childhood best growing-up memories were right in our backyard, in our neighborhood. And one of those I have enjoyed since I was a child was walking or playing at night at the beach with our neighbors, by the moonlight. It was very fun and it offered me a new and different perspective on how the world was mutating from an ordinary landscape during the day into a wilderness at nighttime.

Full moon walk at a park in Phnom Penh

When I learned that the moon was full on the night of 17th April 2019, I took my son for a full moon walk at the park near the Independence Monument in Phnom Penh as we are living in the capital city (far from the beach and the mountain) . We strolled for 6 rounds in the park making it about 7km under the moonshine.

Full moon walk at a park in Phnom Penh

Wandering as slow as a snail pace, we talked about the moon. I explained to Pete that the moon makes no light of its own instead it reflects the sun’s light back to us. The moon is full when the orbit that carries it brings it close to the earth but not behind the earth so that it can very nearly fully lit by the sun. When the moon is behind the earth, it is a dark moon (it means that there is moon but we can’t see it). When the moon is between the sun and the earth, it is a total eclipse. Furthermore, we also talked about nature, about family in the Philippines, and the Lent season. It was marvelous – leisurely and educational.

Full moon walk at a park in Phnom Penh

The moon is indeed mysterious and alluring. This winsome white and shapeless mass gleams with radiance, bringing light on the darkest of nights. It dances through the twilight sky, and hides in daytime. Even though the huge pale ball seemed to be quite dull to other people, it always beamed a smile at me.

Certainly, it was a special night and great opportunity for me and my son to bond. Plus, the moon that was wandering companionless followed us home as we sauntered through the night and kept watching us from the distance.

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Indonesia: Temple hopping in Bali

Another interesting activity to do in Bali is temple hopping, as the island is home to thousands of Hindu temples. Each temple (pura in Balinese) has its own intricate architecture, great views, charming courtyards, and beautiful story. So, during our trip to Bali, we made sure we could visit a few of them.

The Temple of Tirta Empul

It is located in the village of Manukaya in Central Bali. The name Tirta Empul means “holy water spring” because it houses a mountain spring that is the source of a river. This temple is one of the most important temple complex in Bali built circa 960 AD, and considered as a national heritage site. According to the legend, the spring was created by the Hindu god Indra who pricked the earth to let out a spring of sacred water. This temple is popular among locals and tourists alike. Many people go there for a dip in the bathing pools as they believed that its waters have curative properties.

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The Temple of Tirta Empul

The holy water spring at the Temple of Tirta Empul

The Temple of Tirta Empul

The Temple of Tirta Empul

The Temple of Tirta Empul

The Temple of Tirta Empul

The Temple of Tirta Empul

The Temple of Tirta Empul

The Temple of Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot Temple (which means a small island floating on the sea) is one of the photogenic sites in Bali, situated on a rocky islet off the south-west coast surrounded by gently crashing waves in the ocean. The temple can only be reached at low tide, and only the staff can go inside for ceremonies and to preserve the place from further damage. We went there in the morning even though we heard that the sunset there is spectacular just to ditch the crowd. To me, the place is more than the temple itself – it’s good to visit with family, it’s very leisurely and calm.

The Temple of Tanah Lot

The Temple of Tanah Lot

The Temple of Tanah Lot

Behind me is the Temple of Tanah Lot

The Temple of Tanah Lot

The Temple of Tanah Lot

The Temple of Uluwatu

Uluwatu Temple, one of Bali’s iconic landmark, has stunning and dramatic views, especially views of waves lapping onto the rocks below. It’s built on a cliff about 70m above the sea on the south-western tip of the island. The tourists can walk along the cliff and enjoy the sea breeze and breathtaking views. What I love the most there is the elevated vistas stretching as far as the eye can see. Since many people go there at sunset when the sky is painted with a thousand shades of orange, pink and yellow, my family and I opted to visit the temple early in the afternoon to avoid the sunset crowds. It’s an amazing sight – to see this 11th century temple perched on a towering precipice overlooking the Indian Ocean.

The Temple of Uluwatu

The Temple of Uluwatu

The Temple of Uluwatu

The Temple of Uluwatu

The Temple of Uluwatu

The Temple of Uluwatu

The Temple of Uluwatu

We truly enjoyed our time there and the temples are absolutely well worth a visit if you’re in Bali.

 Little Lilly travel tips:

  • Beware of the notorious monkeys at the Temple of Uluwatu. They are awful. They might steal your mobile phone, glasses, cap, bag, etc.
  • We heard that there’s a dance show at the Temple of Uluwatu at every 6PM.
  • The entrance fee for every temple was very reasonable and it covers the cost of the use of a sarong.

 

Indonesia: Kopi Luwak in Bali

Have you heard or tried Kopi Luwak?

On our way to explore the northern part of Bali, we visited Lumbung Sari, one of the Luwak coffee farms as part of the tour.

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

As soon as we arrived at the area, a very friendly staff assisted us. He showed and explained to us how they prepare the coffee beans.

We have learned that in Southeast Asia, there are jungle cats called Civet that loves to eat coffee cherries. The civet’s digestive system uses the fruit of the coffee for nourishment but it is only partly digested. The civet then pooped out the coffee beans. They collected the undigested coffee beans out of the Civet cat poop, and proceed to process: roast, grind, brew, and serve them just like any other beans you can buy from the coffee shop.

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

We’ve also learned that it’s the most expensive coffee in the world probably because of its scarcity and experience value.

At first we were dead set on not drinking the coffee made from animal poop but we figured out “When in Bali…” So we decided to buy a cup of Luwak coffee (and shared it between me and husband).

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

Our experience of drinking a Luwak coffee was really unique. It had a really distinctive aroma. In fact it was chocolatey, winey and had some sort of hazelnut tones. It was rich and delicious. It wasn’t gross or anything. It wasn’t strong and it had very little aftertaste.

They also offered a sample of various kinds of tea. And we got to meet a few of the Luwak too.

Civet “Luwak” is a nocturnal animal: sleeping the whole day long and very active and aggressive at night.

The view from the terrace over the Rainforest was gorgeous, tranquil and breezy. Great for photographs.

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

It was certainly a pleasant stop. It was interesting seeing how the coffee was grown and ground into drinkable coffee. It was special and delightful, so combined with its really bizarre story – I think it’s worth a visit. Don’t miss out!

Indonesia: Rice Terraces in Tegalalang, Bali

It was a bright sunny morning, we woke up early to see a photogenic place in Bali – the rice terraces.

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

The rice terraces in Tegallalang is one of the cultural landscapes in Bali that was classified as a UNESCO world heritage site as it show cases Subak, a traditional, oldest and most complex Balinese irrigation systems and it demonstrates Tri Hita Karana, a Balinese core philosophy of life – harmony – which means harmonious relationship with nature, with other people, and with God.

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

From our hotel in Kuta, we hired a car to venture in the emerald green interior of Bali. It was midday when we arrived there, and the sun was scorching hot. It left us two options since my husband and my son are so sensitive to the heat and humidity: either we buzz up in one of the restaurants/cafes and get a photo and enjoy the view from the top or we navigate the steps down to the valley and spend a little time exploring the rice terraces. We chose the latter option.

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

We ambled through the rice fields up to the highest terrace for about an hour. We rested under the shades of the coconut trees, sipped some water, took some photos, savored the little summer breeze, and indulged ourselves in the scenic panoramic view. It was stunning but we had mixed emotions seeing it – happy because it seemed like we were strolling on a vast shimmering fields of gold and sad because some of the rice seeds were too ripe and no one harvested them – it made us think that it was just there to look good for tourists.

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

As we walked down the stairs, there were heaps of swings for you to rent. The swing looks great though, wished I could get a unique Instagram shot but I didn’t have enough patience to wait for my turn to get on the swing.

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

The entire place is beautiful but they made it into a big industrial area for tourists. From the main entrance (where we parked our car), the street was packed with a plethora of rip-off restaurants, cafes and tourist shops. Nevertheless, if you like a gorgeous, unique and green view, I recommend this place for you.

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Little Lilly travel tips:

  • Get there early in the morning to avoid the heat and to beat the massive flow of tourists.
  • There are many entrances down to the valley. I think it’s better to walk down the road from the car-park and then walk down the valley to the other side where they have a big swing tied to 2 palm trees.
  • It’s not suitable for disabled/unfit person.
  • Bring some water and a towel.

Philippines: Catching-up with high-school friends in Tandag

I am very lucky to have some really amazing and crazy bunch of friends around, who bring so much positivity and make my life wonderful and lively.

It’s been a while since we saw each other last; I’m grateful that they were able to squeeze in a little time off their busy schedules to make my short break in the Philippines worthwhile and I’m so glad I had the chance to catch-up with them.

…with my high-school friends through the years!

How did we catch-up?

  • I invited them to my sister’s wedding and to the house blessing of our new home.
  • Chaperoned our children (who happened to be classmates and friends) to their own catch-up time at VML Hotel.
  • Went for a sunset walk at the Riverside in Telaje.
  • Played badminton at ELG Badminton Center.
  • A coffee group date at Brew Central

…with my high-school friends at my sister’s wedding.

What did we talk about?

We talked about life in general – memories (loads of them and we laughed at them), work, family, food, fitness, travels, friends we have in common, etc – just a bit of everything. It was just pure fun and laughter. Everybody was cool, calm and casual, so there was a natural flow to conversation as if we were just talking a few weeks ago. And when one was talking, we were all ears!

…with my high-school friends through the years!

They were still the same guys then, even though I didn’t get to see many of high-school friends since it was December/Christmas break – in the Philippines, it’s a time of the year for so many family gatherings. I really missed them. It was so great to catch up with them after all these years! And I hope to see them again soon.

when we chaperoned our children…

Personally, I think when I met my high-school friends, emotions speak more than words. And when we met, we thought we were still in high-school and we wished to go back to those good old days when we were carefree and relaxed from the stresses of life. It’s like all that mattered was that we were together again.

…with Daryl.

…with Grace and Eowyn, her daughter.

Certainly, I reckon meeting up with a friend you haven’t seen in years and being able to chat for hours is one of the most special experiences I’ve ever had. Cheers to 25 years of friendship and counting!

in the wilderness?

sunset walk at the Riverside.

…with Daryl and her love of her life.

How about you – how often do you meet your old friends?

 

 

Philippines: Breakfast at the beach in Tandag

Amongst the many things I love about my hometown is a wonderful beach breakfast or brunch at Mabua Beach in Tandag, where we only live 5 meters away from the sea.

Breakfast with family at Mabua Beach in Tandag

Mabua Beach in Tandag

It was a beautiful day after Christmas, all of the big events in the family (my sister’s wedding, Christmas Eve celebration and house blessing of our new home) were over, so we decided to have breakfast at the beach.

Mabua Beach in Tandag

We brought all the leftovers from Christmas, plus mom’s cooked fresh tinolang isda (fish soup) with freshly harvested vegetables from her garden.

Everybody had good appetite. Everybody was delighted. Everybody savored the moment.

  • Got thrilled out by the unlimited karaoke on the beach. Don’t you know that it is part of the Filipino passions?

Mabua Beach in Tandag

  • Had fun with the big waves – swim through, dive under or ride over them.

Mabua Beach in Tandag

  • Luxuriate in with one of my favorite books.

Mabua Beach in Tandag

  • Got a kick out of a tranquil walk on the seashore.

Mabua Beach in Tandag

Mabua Beach in Tandag

  • Dug on the beach and buried up to your neck in the sand.

Mabua Beach in Tandag

Mabua Beach in Tandag

  • Wallowed in the luxury of tranquility and togetherness.

Mabua Beach in Tandag

Mabua Beach in Tandag

Certainly fun!

Mabua Beach in Tandag

How I love to smell and hear the warm early morning sea breeze, listen to the sound of the crashing waves, watch the sun glorious rising hues, and bask in the stunning view of the sea. It was so warm, relaxed and breathtaking!

Indonesia: 3 days in a gorgeous secluded beach resort in Bali

My family and I are a true beach bum. We love beach! And one of the reasons why we traveled to Bali was to enjoy a private escape to the beach without worrying about crowds.

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

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Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

We lazed at Sandi Phala Beach Resort for 3 days – siesta on the beach, a lot of reading, schmoozing with my boys, sun basking, swimming, playing with the big waves, watching sunset, tasting Balinese food and enjoying the refreshing Bintang beer. We certainly enjoyed the luxury and the privacy.

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

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Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

The tranquility, the beautiful sunset, the breeze, the big waves, the playful blend of aqua colors, the yellow brown sands, the luscious food and the friendly staff make this destination a genuine paradise.

Ma Joly Restaurant

Sandi Phala Beach Resort

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

Likewise, we liked the place because it is like half way between Tandag, my hometown in the Philippines and Carantec in Brittany, France. Plus, it was absolutely quiet. We spent 5 full great days in Bali – 3 days at the beach and 2 days to visit other places, was just right to re-charge our mojo, re-energize and re-ignites our passion.

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali