Right smack in the middle of Siem Reap Province is the powerful symbol of Cambodia–the Angkor Wat. The name Angkor Wat literally means City of Temples. Angkor Wat also remains, to this day, the largest religious monument in the world.
Just as when everyone is thinking about Angkor Wat when they hear Cambodia, Cambodia is beyond Angkor Wat. True enough, I have proven it the last day. After going on cloud 9 because of Happy Pizza, the fun didn’t stop there. We were up at around 4:00am to get ready to witness the most magnificent sunrise in the world. We were waiting downstairs for some of our friends. Edge came down all with his matchy-matchy outfit. I thought “nakapantulog pa ata si Edge”. After a while he went back upstairs and changed top. Hehe. (Napansin mo yun Edge no?)
They say sunrise gives hope; I say sunrise gives great photos. But before we experienced the sunrise at Angkor Wat, we needed to get a one-day tour pass of the Angkor Complex. Ticket costs $20. To get your ticket, you need to pay to the cashier of course then have your photo taken for your ID. Sabi ko “Astig may ID”, but when Tikoy handed us our IDs (nyak), “adik na adik lang ang datingan ko”.
It was 5 in the morning and according to AccuWeather, sunrise will be at 5:28 so we ran to the front of the Angkor Wat and waited for the sun to peek, cast a reflection on the moat then viola! You just got a great Angkor Wat sunrise photo (no photography lessons required), Angkor Wat is just majestic in any angle.
We wanted to become competitive to the other travelers and get the best possible photo. But we were late I think, I needed to scoot down a little to get an angle of the ruins, the sun, and the reflection on the moat. I thought we were watching the sunrise until 7:00 as the tour guide said until Tikoy called us and said we should explore the complex and get back at the designated area at 7:00. We only had an hour to explore the place, it was huge. One hour was just not enough. The place was magnificent, picturesque at almost any angle. I just could not believe people are capable of doing that with such limited resources and technology. The inside was divine, it may be touristy outside, but Angkor Wat kept its silence bounded by its simple intricacies.
At 6:45 in the morning, we have seen almost the entire complex. So we went straight to the place we were supposed to meet. We did some group photo and a 360 video. We were all at the meeting place except for two people. Where were Vhik and Froi? Vhik texted Tikoy and said they were waiting where the bus dropped everyone earlier. (Para-paraan! JOKE!) hehe.
The guide told us that we will walk to the bus, he didn’t mention it was far. The sun hasn’t showed itself much and we were all tired of all the walking. When we reached the bus, I wanted to munch my breakfast but the tour guide said we will have breakfast on our next stop. I was hungry, starving to be exact. (Pero ayoko naman magmukhang patay gutom) so I decided to not eat. I had lots of water, I thought I was going to pass out. I was a bit sleepy actually.
We arrived at Angkor Thom after a while, we ate our breakfast and rested a bit. We were given 45 minutes to see the place. As we enter, a white guy was smiling at me, the smile was rather lusty than friendly. He said “Nice! Nice! To travel is to live. Nice!”. So I got it, he was looking at my shirt. Thanks to Travel Factor for that. We walked past him and entered the Angkor Thom.
The fun began right there. We parted ways so that we can tour the place at our pace and of course to do creative shots. I looked for a good spot to have a photo, then walked to next. When we were in the middle of our walk, I overheard someone telling a person “jan ka jan ka pumose bilis”, I looked around, “o konting pihit, yung balikat mo, teka teka wala ka na sa araw lumabas kang konti, liyad, ok one, two, three”. It was Ate Ibang, and her model was Ruby. They were so hilarious I could not take away my eyes off of them. We laughed while walking. I could not believe it (ginawa nilang photoshoot yung picture taking). The minutes are quickly passing, we haven’t had a lot of photos to blog, so we went on, I felt a person coming at me from the back. Then the lady said “akyat ka jan, jan ka bilis, game, o isa pa, harap ka dito, yan, smile), that was them again. I was in awe with what I saw. They were absolutely amazing (kinarir talaga yung photoshoot).
After a while, a Caucasian lady (I just think it is more appropriate than white lady) approached me and asked if I can get a picture of her. I was more than willing to do it for her and she liked my shot so (tap,tap again). We decided it was time to go back.
We were the first ones in there, aside from Edge who was sleeping inside the mini-bus. We bought mango–two pieces a dollar, I was a bit disappointed, it was too sweet for me. Tsk tsk. When everyone got back, they said they rode an elephant. I was envious. They showed their pictures which were really funny. They took groupies, but by the looks of the photos, you would not think that they were on an elephant.
We went on with our tour to a temple that I forgot the name, all I knew was that it had the steepest and one of the highest staircase in the entire Angkor Complex. I, together with some of our friends braved the heat and took the challenge of climbing that one high staircase. The real challenge was climbing it with no safety handrails and the steps were incredibly steep. One wrong move and it can cost you your life, no joke.
While still at the ground, some of the group went first, we saw Ate Ibang, Ruby and the gang. Ruby was the first to climb up but the last one to reach the top. We were laughing our hearts out. She was so funny. She was in a pompous outfit, has a hand bag, in shades, and high slippers. Haha. But I commend her courage and determination. They say “never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was.”, I say, “never underestimate the determination of a girl in heels, she can still take a selfie up there”. She made my day! I can watch her and be entertained the entire time. She was so funny without even trying. After that death-defying hike, we looked what’s around and had groupies. We decided it was time to make a descent. One by one we carefully stepped on the steps and went down the temple. We were watching everyone to make sure everyone was safe, in the middle of Ate Ibang’s descent, we thought something was wrong, she was moving her neck, we thought her phone strap was bothering her. But we were all wrong, we noticed that Ruby was still at the top, and just as when we thought that something was wrong, it was in fact, another photoshoot. Ate Ibang grabbed her phone, and asked Ruby to pose. Hahaha.
After that, we went to Ta Phrom, which was the location used in filming Tomb Raider. The temple was magnificent, but crowded. I haven’t had any photo with any of the tree because the place was too congested. I felt a bit disappointed, the place was great, especially for photo ops, but it was too disturbed you cannot see the rawness in it. The wooden trails took away the authenticity of the vibe. It was more of a trail now rather than a site, more of an exhibit than an experience.
I was burning like hell during mid-day. I can’t stand the heat. The tour guide that we hired said we will have lunch–the best news that day. We stopped by a restaurant and went to the VIP room (hell yeah! We’re VIPs). We ordered food, what I like about the food in Indochina is that they will cook your food the moment you order it (hindi yung nagsesebo na ice-cold na), I ordered guess what? Spaghetti! Yes spaghetti is my comfort food. The moment the waiter gave me my order I was like “Uh-oh, why is my spaghetti drowned in brownish tomato sauce?” But when I tasted it, it was exceptional. The others ordered “amok” and stir fried dishes. While I was enjoying my pasta, I can hear Roan and Rona talking about their amok being slow to be served. They said “mag-aamok na ko sa tagal ng amok ko ah”. They were hilarious. I couldn’t remember but out of nowhere, people are starting to ask everyone’s job in the Philippines. When Roan learned that I work at ABS-CBN, she bombarded me with lots of showbiz questions. I did not see that one coming, I was laughing so hard. When their amok arrived, they immediately took a sip and from the looks of it, they were satisfied. But they spoke too soon. While halfway through the amok, Rona noticed “a hair” in their amok. Whew! But that didn’t stop there, Roan said “parang buhok sa kili-kili” hahaha. We were careful not to distract anyone but after eating, inside the bus, me and Kat could not help but laugh. It was pretty disgusting but that was hilarious.
After a very satisfying meal (at least for me), we went on with the tour. We went back to Angkor Wat but this time we entered at the east gate. I thought we will see something new but to my surprise, “nalibot na pala namin yung Angkor Wat kaninang umaga palang.” The guide gave us an hour but we just decided to sit under a shade and watch the dusts swirl after a car passes.
We went back to the bus after a while, it was scorching hot that day. When all of us were in the bus, the guide said we will be going back to Bou Savy. He said we can still sleep for a while, but I can’t, because he kept on talking the entire trip. He became quiet and I slept shortly after. Our bus stopped in front of a convenience store. I didn’t know what we were doing in there but when I saw air-conditioning, I stood up and went inside. The cool feeling was priceless in Cambodia. I didn’t have any intentions of buying anything in there because I know it will be expensive. After a short while, we were off to Bou Savy, at last, I can shower! And use the blowdryer. Hehe.
We were scheduled to go out at 7:00 to have a buffet dinner at Amazon Angkor for $10 with Apsara show, the food were okay, at least the ones in front. The desserts were fine, a bit odd actually, but fine. The show? It was boring. Maybe if I were at the front, I would have find it interesting.
It was such a day packed with walking under the sun. My muscles hurt but there is another task we have to do before calling it a day. (Mag-impake!) We’ve done it before, but packing is getting more and more difficult as the days pass by. After packing, we finally slept… with the TV on. Hahaha.