Friday, October 30, 2009

As Promised, Happy Halloween Everyone

As promised on the flipside of this  blog, here is Valentina:

Valentina or snake woman is the arch enemy of Darna.  Darna is a popular TV series now, played by Marian Rivera.  The number one villain, Valentina,  used to be her childhood best friend.  Valentina is played by Iwa Moto. Several other local actresses played Valentina before - Alessandra de Rossi, Celia Rodriguez, Pilar Pilapil, and Pilita Corales. 

Doesn't it sound familiar, your best friend could be your worst enemy.  
See useful websites where I got these info: and

Once thought of as the daughter of a farmer named Mulong and his wife- Ising, Narda is really the biological daughter of Mulong's Half-Sister, Prospera and her true love- Rafael.

When Prospera was pregnant with Narda she discovered a space craft that had crashed on her land one fateful evening. As she approached the craft, a dying alien (An Anomalkan) emerged and transported the seed within the alien's belly into the already pregnant Prospera.

The Anomalkan fled to earth in the hope of escaping the massacare of infants ordered by Queen Braguda of the Anomalka race.

Braguda's rampage was in response to a prophecy that predicted her death one day at the hands of another Anomalkan.   To prevent the prohecy from coming to pass, 

Braguda ordered the slaughter of all Anomalkan infants that could oppose her one day.  But one Anomalkan managed to escape the planet Marte and in doing so crash landed on Earth- a planet that could not sustain Anomalkans.

To help bring about the fulfilment of the prophecy, the fugitive Anomalkan transfered the seed of life growing within  by using a bizarre form of teleportation  and somehow bonded it to the womb of an Earth female named  Prospera. Under its new host, the 

Anomalkan infant would stand a better chance of surviving in Earth's atmosphere since it would turn out to be a hybrid of the 2 bloodlines.

After being made into a host for the alien seed, Prospera now carried 2 babies- one completely human (a product of her relationship with Rafael) and the other- a monstrous Anomalkan humanoid.

When Prospera gave birth, she discovered her human child to be perfectly normal and horrified at her alien one. Prospera carried her alien child to the spaceship in the hopes of killing it there but when the child suddenly shapeshifted to resemble a normal Earth-child, Prospera took it back home.

When she returned, her normal baby had disappeared. (who unknown to her was stolen by her brother Mulong to replace his wife's own baby who died in birth). Prospera who planned to name her human child "Valentina" now gave this name to her alien baby.

Mulong named the baby he stole "Narda" after the true Baby Narda who had died and had been replaced. Narda would discover her true origin years later after she defeats  Braguda and thwart the Anomalkan invasion.

Darna fans, is this the  Darna version of Angel Locsin or Marian Rivera?  I seldom watch Darna and I am not sure if they are following this script.

Dear gentle reader, what costume are you donning this Halloween?

Thursday, October 22, 2009


The Khmer civilization centered on Angkor was one of he most remarkable to flourish in Southeast Asia.  Between the 8th and the 13th centuries,  a succession of Hindu ad Buddhist kings created magnificent temples in stone.  Their elaborate carvings and intricate architecture amazed the first Europeans who visited in the 19th cetury and continue to fascinate today, when after many years of political turmoil,  Angkor is again accessible. 
(Ancient Angkor by Michael Freeman)

This  site has ofers a good summary of Cambodia's history:
Cambodia has soft spot in my heart, it was one of our honeymoon destinations.
Dave was curious about Angkor Thom, the location of the  Indiana Jones movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Too many temples to climb, too little time.

Monks's offerings

Cambodia is especially photogenic in the early morning with the mist rising from the river and the mountains.
Preah Kan, Banteay Kdei Temple

So many old and big trees, some  roots on the walls too. It's like the temple is "swallowed" by big trees.  Fellow tourists taking a rest posed for us.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful.  Khmer food is delicious.

Our driver/tour guide (above center)  related to us how during in Pol Pot's time he was forced to work, child labor,  as he was only about nine years old. Sometimes he pretended he was sick.  He placed garlic on his armpit to raise his  temperature so that when somebody touched his forehead, it would seem  he had a fever and he would be sent to the hospital.   Later, he decided against doing it, he witnessed too much pain from the sick and the dying.

It was scary for me to see Dave climb the temple wall.  I am definitely not  into "wall climbing", especially ancient temple walls. 

Sunset is lovely in Cambodia, and lovelier if you have someone to share it with you.  And talking about sharing, coming from Pattaya, we rode in a van together with seven other tourists.  In front of  our seat, the first one to board the van,  was a short man in 60s, traveling with his young Asian companion.  Dave said, "Hi, how are you doing?"  He was ignored.  Dave the persistent one, started small talk about the van, about the hotel.  No reaction.  So Dave asked, "From what country are you?"  the man mumbled something.  Dave said, "Pardon me," to which the man irritably and more audibly answered, "France, you know, Eiffel Tower..."  Dave shot back, "Never heard of it".  End of conversation.  It's true what they say in a survey, the most gracious of tourists are the Japanese - they smile, they tip well, they are courteous and respectful.  And do you know who the worst tourists are? 

We made friends eventually with other tourists as more people  boarded the van, one of whom was Leif from Sweden. He offered to photocopy his Cambodia travel guide (downloaded from the internet) for us.  He was so nice we went with him,  we took the same hotel that he booked from internet before he left for Cambodia.  We discovered new restaurants in Seam Reap, we both enjoyed swimming at our  hotel pool in Freedom Hotel..  I think we made a friend for a lifetime.  Early this year he visited us here in the Philippines, and we have an offer to visit and stay in his house in Sweden.  We communicate to each other regularly.

Above picture, Leif, Dave and I tried a  restaurant.
While we were shopping in a grocery store in Seam Reap, some of the store clerks were watching a TV soap opera.  I was curious how their TV stars look like.  Lo and behold, he looked like our Philippine movie star,  Piolo Pascual.  I watched more, and the actress looked like Judy Ann Santos.  Holy guacamole, they speak Khmer language!  I went to one of  Piolo Pascual's Multiply site ( and congratulated him for it.  Later, I  heard from the buzz that Piolo went to Seam Reap, Cambodia :)

While in a park in  Seam Reap, a girl vendor tried to sell me some bracelets.  I was resting my feet while Dave was taking pictures.  I am not a bracelet person so I did not buy.  The girl vendor asked me where I was from, if I have daughters, etc.  We chit chatted for a while until her mother called her.  Before she left she gave a one of her bracelets.  I declined...a little shy that I did not buy anything from her, and I didn't have my wallet with me, it was inside the camera bag that Dave was carrying. She insisted that I take the bracelet, then off she ran to her mom.
Charming Cambodia, one day we will come back to you.

Here's a reliable guide to Cambodia, it's a great book! This review is from: The Rough Guide to Cambodia 3 (Rough Guide Travel Guides) (Paperback) In January I crisscrossed Cambodia for four weeks. The two guides I took were Lonely Planet and Rough Guide. Both are worthy guides. This guide was at its best when it came to Siem Reap/Angkor Watt. Its coverage of Angkor Watt and the multitude of other temples is excellent. Both guides will give you a great orientation of Cambodia. They will point you to the best sights to see, but Rough Guide gives you a better understanding of the history, religion and culture of this country. It has good maps, reliable recommendations of what to see and do, a good history/religion section and a very good 'recommended books' section. By Allan M. Gathercoal, "fdoamerica" (Norcross, GA)
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