Explore and Experience

It was Visakha Bucha,  a Buddhist holiday where Thais visit temples to pray, when we decided to visit Nakhon Sri Thammarat, the largest city in the South of Thailand. This one day trip had been educational since our kids hadn’t only gotten to experience a Buddhist religious practice, they also explored some ancient artifacts in the temple’s museum dating back to Bangkok period.

This is Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan, the main and oldest buddhist temple in Nakhon Sri Thammarat.  Directly in front of the temple’s right wing entrance is the museum.  Inside, you’ll find three large chambers where ancient artifacts that date back to Bangkok period were exhibited. There were hand painted metal cabinets of varying sizes, brasswares,  copperwares, glasswares, and chinas.  Aside from these, there were weapons,  textiles, a few preserved sea creatures, and numerous sea shells.  It is a great place to explore and a good reinforcement for kids studying history and marine life. Taking of photos are not allowed here.

This was taken just outside the museum.  A row of seating,  golden Buddhas outlined the entire length of this side of the temple. On the same chamber,  were displays of huge whale remains and other marine life.

Summer and Derick offered incense and flowers, and said their prayers.

 

Despite the scorching heat of the sun, exploring Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawin was a great experience.

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Spelunking Phu Pha Phet
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Spelunking Phu Pha Phet Cave

Derick and Summer were the youngest in the group of tourists in Phu Pha Phet cave. I thought they won’t survive the two hour walk inside the cave, well I thought wrong. As a matter of fact they enjoyed it, Summer got so fascinated by the things she saw and Derick, oh well, because it’s so dark and he gets to use a flashlight.

We came as a side trip since the cave is within the vicinity of the waterfalls we went to earlier that day. Although unprepared it turned out successful. They love it and are looking forward to spelunk again.

This time though we have to prepare some things before-hand like.

  • Face mask especially if your kids are asthmatics. It might be dusty inside from loose soil or bat droppings.
  • Tiny backpacks for water bottles, face towel, and the likes
  • Comfortable rubber shoes are definitely better than open loose slippers
  • Long stretchy pants would be comfortable and it would be easy to crawl or duck if there is a need to.
  • Wear mosquito repellent lotion for protection.

For more details about Phu Pha Phet Cave Satun Thailand.

Here’s a slideshow of them in the cave

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You’ll Be Forever Remembered H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej

 

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The night of 13th October 2016 is the quietest in Thailand history.  The King so loved and revered not only by Thai people but also by foreigners, has died.  People are mourning, and those who have been praying outside the hospital where he was admitted, cried their hearts out upon knowing.  My family and I are one with our Thai friends, colleagues and the entire kingdom in this mournful time.  His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej will forever live in our hearts.  May he forever be remembered by his kindness, good deeds, and love for his people.

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How Do Majorettes Dress Like In Your Country?

Majorettes are dancers doing a choreographed movement, baton twirling.  They perform this during parades together with marching bands.  I remember as a grader I used to envy how great they look in their glossy, skimpy dresses and how awesome to see those tricky baton twirls.  All were always excited to see them. Young girls dreamed of becoming one but were told that only selected few could become one as there are qualifications to meet like one must be tall, slim, fair-skinned (oh so discriminating!) and must be pleasant looking.

Now living in Thailand, it’s amazing to know that anyone could be a majorette.  Qualifications? Nothing like what were mentioned above. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to join.

Amazing Thailand.

And totally amazing costume!

Majorettes here look like Moulin Rouge dancers.

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How do majorettes dress like in your country?

 

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A Month for Dads

December is finally here. On the 5th is the  88th birthday celebration of Thailand’s beloved King, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.  In this light, there are three big and exciting things lined up in this part of the world.

Father’s Day is celebrated on the King’s birthday and participated by locals and foreigners alike.  In schools, children give their fathers a “Wai” to show their love and respect.

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Bike for Dad is a nationwide event which will be held on the 11th December 2015 from 3.00 p.m. onward. Unsurprisingly, Bike for dad shirts have been on display in stores as early as November. This is the second time Thailand is holding this kind of event.  Back in August, Thailand hosts Bike for Mom to celebrate the Queen’s birthday, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit; and to pay respect to all moms.

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Krathong Making

Here are the materials needed in making a krathong.

  • Banana trunk
  • Leaves
  • Pins
  • Flowers

Procedure:

  1. Cut banana trunk into 2 to 3 inches chunks.

    chunk of banana trunk wrapped in leaves
  2. Wrap it with leaves. It could be banana or some other kind will do. You may also fold strips of banana leaves into triangular shapes resembling a lotus to cover the chunk of banana trunk with.
  3. Use pins to secure the decoration into the banana trunk base.
  4. Decorate it with different kinds of flowers.
  5. Finally, stick in a candle and incense sticks.

 

Thai people add in the krathong lock of their hair and pieces of trimmed nails.  This is to symbolize that they are want to drive off misfortune and bad things in the past.

 

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Krathong Making Contest

Loy Krathong is celebrated on the month of November.  The word “loy” means to float in English.  Krathong, on the other hand, does not have an exact English equivalent as far as I know.  If you have any idea please let us know in the comment section below.  It is somewhat like a floral “float” made from either banana trunk or bread, with a candle and incense sticks. They then float this on a river, lake, or pond.

Some schools run a contest to make krathong making even more exciting and memorable.  In the university I work with, students majoring in English were responsible in running the entire program, which started with a brief history of the celebration; followed by the krathong making; and finally the contest.  Students and staff were welcomed to participate.  Everyone gathered in the faculty hall, took the materials, and made their krathong for an hour.

 

Here are this year’s beautiful krathongs (2015)

Happy Loy Krathong!

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Thai Insurance: Batprakansangkom (บัตรประกันสังคม)

Thai Insurance: Batprakansangkom
Thai Insurance: Batprakansangkom

Batprakansangkom is a government insurance of Thailand. It comes as one of the benefits for working here.  There are private insurance of course if you opt for it, or if the company you’re working for is affiliated with one. Personally, though, I’ve been with the government insurance since a came almost ten years back. It may not be the best. There are better ones somewhere in the world for sure, but as a Filipino I can’t help but compare it with Philhealth.

Last month I was hospitalized, got in with nothing but my health  insurance card  and driver’s license. Meals were served. After 5 days, I walked out of the hospital with my medicine, and without paying a dime. This is totally awesome! Any Filipino who have had experience of some sort with the Philippine government insurance would totally say the same.  I wish something like this for the Philippines. Anyway, what are the benefits I got from Prakansangkom so far.

Medicine and doctor’s fee are FREE in designated hospitals and clinics.  Clinics usually open after working hours until 8.00 in the evening. Which makes sense, right? One doesn’t have to skip work or school to do a simple medical consultation or a follow-up check up. You can use it as many times as you need it.

Maternity compensation is given by Prakansangkom on the month(s) you are on maternity leave. This is given aside from the monthly salary you receive from your employer as part of the company’s maternity benefit. What is so awesome about this is that compensation is given in lump sum, without delay and without further ado, the moment you present the child’s birth certificate.  You just sit and wait for 5 to 10 minutes depending on how busy the insurance office is, and voila! You walk out with your money. For foreigners, additional documents like a copy of your passport, visa, and work permit are needed.

There are other benefits, I will talk about them in my next post.

 

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Life’s Simple Pleasures

Life's Simple Pleasures
Life’s Simple Pleasures

For mothers, WAHM or working full-time, life is neither a bed of roses nor a walk in the park.  There are many things to do that there seem to be not enough time to do everything.  There are so many things to remember that at times your brain just gets tired remembering things.  There are so many things to get done but you can’t seem to figure out where to start.  There are so many places you want to go, but you just can’t.

Oh well, these may seem like complaints.  But, despite and in spite of these, mothers are among those who are grateful and happy even at petty things.  At least that’s what I think.

Anyway, hear this. Mondays are definitely my least favorite.  Coming from a relaxing weekend, there is this feeling that you want to extend it a little bit more.  Who would want to get up early in a Monday morning, right? But you just have to, like everybody else.  So, I would literally drag myself out of bed, shower, and get dressed.  Then follow strings of errands like waking the kids up, helping them shower, putting their school uniforms on, reminding them to brush their teeth, to put on their socks, eat breakfast, drive them to school etc., and oh I forgot, I have to wake up my husband too.  All of these have to be done within two hours. Just when finally you have driven them to school and you are very well on your way to work, you suddenly remember that you forgot your toddler’s milk.  Grrrr, but yeah, what choice do I have but to buy that milk as fast as I could.  You can sense the desperation, right.  The last thing I need at this point is another inconvenience, like showing your driver’s license before getting inside the store.  But then again I have no choice but to comply. It has become a part of Thai culture to show valid ID’s upon entering any establishments large enough to have their own parking space. At least one thing I am thankful about though, which could have me blow my top had it been otherwise, was that my wallet makes access to my driver’s license and other electronic cards quick and easy.

Aah well, a simple, petty thing like having a good, convenient wallet could amazingly save ones sanity.

Life’s simple pleasures.. indeed.

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4 Reasons a Family Should Travel by Car

Interstate travel especially with toddlers is best by car.  We have tried traveling both by public transport and recently by our own car.  So, we were able to compare and decided that by car is the way to travel with our young kids.  We live in Thailand, which is one vast country where states are connected by land.  Traveling cross country like Malaysia, Singapore is also possible by car as these countries are connected by bridges.  For archipelagic countries like the Philippines, the Bahamas, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, traveling by car can be a challenge and needs different kinds of preparation.  For expatriate babies traveling overseas for the first time also entails a different preparation. Check out the link for some help on peculiar situations you might encounter.

 

Here are 4 reasons why traveling by car is the best if you have young kids.

 

You have the time on you own hand.

This is something you have no control over if you are in a public transport.  Buses have designated bus stops. The length of time for the stop over is also limited.  But if you are in your own car, you can stop at any gas station and Seven 11s to change nappies, stretch muscles, breathe some fresh air, or simply rest for a while.  You can even stop to take a photo of great sceneries or take selfies with a marvelous sunset as a background. Sometimes you can drive a bit slow to let the kids take in the beauty of the surroundings.  They would definitely love it.  It is something new from what they usually see everyday. Public commute runs like hell that the surroundings outside pass by in blur.

 

Privacy

Don’t we just love privacy.  Long travels could be a bore for kids. That’s why moms have ready things like colorful, noisy toys, some tiny board games, and packed snacks.  Songs are also effective distractions to make the time fly by.  Now, while we are pulling all these distractions other people together with us in a public transport might find these distracting and or annoying.  Although there are some understanding souls, you can’t still help seeing glares and smirks from misopedists.  But traveling in your own car however, would have you think of just one thing that is to make the ride enjoyable for all. This means packing the necessary things to make the long ride comfortable.  You can check my post about 11 tips to think of when traveling in a car with your children.

 

Hassle free

Sight-seeing, moving from one tourist spot to another by bus or van could get insanely tiring.  Picture this, you bringing your big handbag full of necessities like nappies, milk bottles, wipes, spare outfits for everyone, and snacks; and towing your herd up and down the bus every time. This is even worst if you have to walk to a taxi stop every time you have to go to your next destination.  That short walk could already be like eternity with your big bag and kids in tow.  With a car, you could find a good parking space, walk around and enjoy the scenery leaving your baggage safe inside.

 

Economical

Before traveling to Bangkok, we compared the travel expenses.  Having to pay even for the kids would mean bigger expenses on fare, than paying for the gas.  So, the most economical choice for us is to travel by car.

 

 

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