P.S. On my Siem Reap Adventure

Friday, July 27, 2012

I had a couple of almost-happened, didn’t-happen and actually happened experiences during the trip that I wasn’t able to document! Ahk! Hay Life….The funnies continue in my last post about Siem Reap where you’ll read and see about laughter, songs and flexibility.

Buddhism and Me
I am genuinely interested in other people’s culture. Though I studied Buddhism in high school (holler MCHS peeps, Sir Fernandez’s class comes to mind!), I was still curious about it since it was the religion of majority of the Khmer people. Our guide Yan mentioned that you can visit the temple and be blessed as long as you are properly dressed. I aimed to wake up early (on our non-temple days) to visit the temple behind our hostel and get my Buddhist blessing but I was never able to. =(

Traditional Khmer wedding
We had a lot of conversations with Yan. I don’t remember how we got to that topic but while we were walking out of one of the temples, he mentioned the wedding of his brother. Us curious little cats started asking about their customs. Apparently Khmer weddings are long; not 12 hours kinda long but several days type of long. Haha It consists of several ceremonies often characterized by customs, blessings, food, people and music. We kidded him that we wanted to attend the wedding. You can imagine the horror on his face when he heard that. Haha Brides and Grooms all over the world, no matter what your religion or customs are, know that uninvited guests and last minute additions are a headache. It would have been awesome to witness the occasion but the wedding was to take place weeks after our departure so Yan was able to breathe easily once again. Haha

Locals reacting to our nationality

As mentioned previously, Khmer people are insanely nice and mostly friendly. Whenever we would encounter a local, they would ask where we were from. When we mention the Philippines (but they sometimes pronounce it as Philippine), we received varied reactions which were all funny and surprising:
- “Oh Philippine! Not a lot of Philippine visit here.”
- “Ah, Manny Pacquiao! Yes yes!”
- Plus something about Filipino stars because they have a channel that shows Filipino series. Taray!

Singing in Siem Reap 

I wasn’t feeling well because of the weather so I opted to pass on our last temple. The group was coaxing me to go since it was the last. Since I knew she would do it, I said I’d go if Berenice would sing. (Side story, Berenice really sings! Haha) I don’t remember what she sang but it was one of those typical karaoke songs penned in the 80s. After her first line, I joined her. After a couple more lines, Yan started singing and 1 or 2 locals started singing loudly with us. Mwahahaha After the chorus we stopped and burst into laughter. The catch? We didn’t document it!

After that number, Yan volunteered to sing a Khmer song for us!

Not only that, he demonstrated another skill. 

The singing actually started in KL
Nix and Del are Singapore based while we three girls are from Manila. We rendezvoused in KL on February 28 for our flight to Siem Reap. When we booked our tickets, there weren’t direct flights to Siem Reap from Manila. Our group settled in the McDonalds at the airport (it was around 1 AM and our flight was at 6 AM) to tame our tummies.  Nix celebrated her birthday 2 days before our KL meet up and brought some of her birthday cake which was specially made from their Italian restaurant. The cake was absolutely divine but I couldn’t have even a smidgen of it because I gave up chocolate for Lent.

Seconds after opening the plastic container with the cake, I started singing the traditional “Happy Birthday” song and Del took my cue and sang with me. By the second line my crazy friends were singing as well. A few seconds later, EVERYONE in McDonalds was singing with us! Locals and fellow foreigners had huge smiles on their faces and at the end of the song everyone was looking at our group while cheering and clapping.

Now that is a MOMENT! Too bad we didn’t document it! Seriously! What can I say - fun things happen to a cray cray (crazy) bunch!

I finish the series by paying homage to these undocumented experiences I had with Nix, Del, Danix and Berenice! We may not have any evidence of these instances but they are definitely worth sharing. Thank you so much for sharing this escapade with me. Til our next adventure! =) 

* Additional photos and video from Nix Sionosa and Danix Labudahon.

The rest of my Siem Reap posts are here: 
Part 1: Things I Stubbornly Didn’t Listen to (but should have)
Part 2: Things I Did Listen To Plus Some Tips

Part 3: Artisans d'Angkor
Part 4: The Siem Reap Hostel 
Part 5: Design Overload at Reflections Siem Reap 
Part 6: The People of Siem Reap

Discover other Siem Reap hotels

Past Photo Walks:

January - Manila Ocean Park
February - Sablayan and San Jose, Mindoro 

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