Monday, July 15, 2019

PHNOM PENH FROM THE 18th FLOOR

I get high nursing margaritas and mojitos at the 8th floor Sky Bar of the Frangipani Royal Palace Hotel while watching the sun bathe the placid waters of the Mekong and Tonle Sap with tangerine hues, and I'm really feeling the fusion of colonial elegance and backpacker's ruggedness of the two-story Villa Langka but the 18th floor 360 view of Hotel Emion is really something that James Bond will kill for, a stunning view of the Royal Palace and the length of the Preah Sisowath Quay racing with the Tonle Sap River before being  swallowed by the silhouette of the Cambodia-Japan Friendship Bridge making up for a sparse gym. 


Breakfasts on the other side is a daily dose of the Mekong and Japanese-funded highrise sprouting from what was once the swamps of Koh Pic while 10 floors below at Room 809, I wake up everyday to a window of construction in progress slowly devouring what was once a laid back skyline    


Just across is the unglamorous tarred roof of Hotel Cambodiana, once Phnom Penh's finest, and the gate to the Himawari Hotel Apartments, home to Himawari Microbrewery and what can be Cambodia's finest craft beer where we brought down a tower of aptly named Mekong that made up for the pineapple juice-hued foam from Wednesday's karaoke night, a prelude to a 950-meter walk through the Riverside Path to the third floor bar of Five Drunk Men, also visible from Hotel Emion's 18th floor, for more Cambodian craft beer (a really evil Smiling Evil, extra strong Tuktuk, smooth IPA), and more of that and Belgian beer on Friday night at iconic Cloud which unfortunately is closing down before a night cap of whiskey sour, a shot of raw Jack Daniels, and an assortment of good food at Mama Wong's street side table.       



It was at the 18th floor where the pansit bug was resurrected by a hotel version of num banh chok, Cambodia's beloved comfort food of rice noodles and fresh veggies with seafood or beef or chicken, twice in two days because I missed the meatballs on the first which Khim Sok told me should be part of the composition, a celebration of sorts for another workshop done and perhaps the entree to a huge bowl of airport beef stew noodles courtesy of a dinner voucher from the delayed flight back to Manila.  



The Phnom Penh International Airport closes down at midnight so we were herded to the 5th floor of the Dara Airport Hotel for a two hour nap before finally boarding at 4:25 am, sleepless and smelling of craft beer but thankful for the new perspective of Phnom Penh from the 18th floor, and so happy to get my noodle mojo back that I opted for chicken with pasta for my inflight meal although I know it will be outrageously bland. 

Monday, July 08, 2019

SIOPAO, LUGAW ATBP

cha siu bao hot bun
cat meat for shredded sweet pork?
fried brown, steamed white

boiled Chinese congee
arroz to champorado
lugaw and pospas


tokwa at baboy
chicken, eggs, tripe or nothing
breakfast from the trails


siopao from the dead
Saturday arroz caldo
real men wear aprons

Sunday, June 30, 2019

A ONE NIGHT STAND IN BORA (The Graduate IV)

40 minutes to Iloilo from Miag-ao, 20 minutes from Molo to Tagbak, 6.5 hours from Iloilo to Caticlan, an hour from the jetty to The Boracay Beach Resort 



a two-piece surfer in Station 3, a muscled paraglider in Station 2, dressed Chinese tourists in Station 1, dream catchers for sale at the Night Market


the Brain Train knocked Tatay, Balong posed for free espresso and a puppy, Nanay flirted with two Chinese chicks


American and English for breakfast, barbecued sea creatures for lunch, Italian for dinner 


4 years and 2 family trips in Miag-ao, adobo with mango in Guimaras, inasal and piyaya in Bacolod, food trip in Iloilo, rain and surf in Boracay

Thank you UP-Visayas!