Postcards from Turkey

These bunch of postcards arrived in the mail just a week after my father-in-law’s mega holiday in Turkey in September.  He and his travel companion enjoyed their tremendously.  From Istanbul where they stayed for a few days, they traveled to Kuşadası, Ephesus, then to Fethiye to explore the ancient ruins and majestic temples, the local bazaars and food, the lovely beaches, and just soaking in local culture as much as they can (and as long as their legs could take them!).

Postcards galore!
Postcards galore!

I’m so happy with the gesture and I appreciate that he took time to buy me these postcards.

Merhaba and teşekkür ederim, Dad!

Postcard Friendship Friday 078: The reclining Buddha in Bago, Myanmar

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My entry this week is from Myanmar, my first one from our ASEAN neighbour.
The largest Buddha statue in Myanmar is found in Shwethalyaung pagod in Bago, Myanmar. pagoda

According to Wikipedia:

The Shwethalyaung Buddha is a reclining Buddha in the west side of Bago (Pegu), Burma (Myanmar). The Buddha, which has a length of 55 m (180 ft) and a height of 16 m (52 ft), is the second largest Buddha in the world, after the 74 m reclining Buddha in Dawei (Tavoy). The Buddha is believed to have been built in 994, during the reign of Mon King Migadepa. It was lost in 1757 when Pegu was pillaged. During British colonial rule, in 1880, the Shwethalyaung Buddha was rediscovered under a cover of jungle growth. Restoration began in 1881, and Buddha’s mosaic pillows (on its left side) were added in 1930.
Although I live in Phnom Penh where Rangoon, the capital of Burma, is a short plane-ride away, I have never ever set foot there yet. Perhaps with the recent opening up of the country, my dream of visiting Myanmar will finally be realised in the coming months. 
It is difficult to find someone from Myanmar to arrange postcard swaps with. So I have to thank my good friend, Lee Hock Peng, for sending me this postcard. I’m so grateful for friends like him, albeit virtual, who never forget to include me in their “mailing list” every time they go on a trip.

Godspeed, Lee.

Sunday Stamps 064: Art, Music, and Dance


So sorry for the late posting. I’m nursing a hangover from last night’s drinking, errr, celebration of our wedding anniversary.  I wanted to post ahead but could not refuse a drink (that went on and on) after a nice dinner… you get the picture 😀

Please excuse if I sound rambling in this post. So… let’s start the stamp showcase, shall we?

For the art category, I chose this 30c stamp from a set of six issued in 2007 honouring Belizean artists. The stamp below features one of the prized artworks of Louis Belisle.

Market Scene (1989) portrays a regular market day in Belize.

From Myanmar, formerly Burma, here’s a traditional musical instrument. It’s a drum called shan pot drum, locally called ooh si.

Valued at K50 (US$1=872kyat), it was issued between 1998-2000 and was one of the five in the series.

The music of Burma (or Myanmar) has similarities with and is related to many other musical traditions in the region, including Chinese music, Indian music and Thai music. These instruments are played in a musical scale consisting of seven tones, each associated with an animal that is said to be the producer of the tone. Each tone can be played raised, lowered or natural (corresponding to sharp, flat or natural), resulting a possible twenty-one combinations. (Source)

Here’s how an ooh si drum looks and sounds like (click the link) – Shan pot drum of Myanmar.

And last but not the least, a beautiful stamp from Cambodia featuring the Apsara dance, a classical Khmer dance, the indigenous ballet-like performance art of Cambodia.

I have written about Apsaras before and you can find them (click the link) here. And here’s a video of the Cambodian Royal Ballet  peforming the Apsara dance.

Postcard Perfect 054: Kek Lok Si, the Temple of Supreme Bliss

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I hope Willa forgives me for being forgetful about the Postcard Perfect meme. This week is no exception. The recent news of the tragic demise of a fellow Nagueno, Philippine Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo left me in sadness and without motivation to do anything. Running errands to pick up the translucent plastic business cards  that my husband took to the printers  three days ago had to be scheduled the next day at my request because I am just too not in the mood to go out.

Anyways, today I felt that I need to post lest I lose my visitors (ahem, just imagining I have). Here is a postcard from Malaysia:

Kek Lok Si Temple at night. Penang, Malaysia.
The Kek Lok Si Temple is one of the best known Buddhist temple sitting on a hilltop in Penang, Malaysia. It consists of a series of monasteries, prayer halls, temples, and landscaped gardens.

Founded more than 100 years ago by benevolence Beow Lean, a devout Buddhist from Fujian province, the temple was once given the name of “Huock San” (Crane hill) due to the hills resemblance of crane spreading its wings. – Source

Penang is one of the states of Malaysia and its capital town of Georgetown is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.

Postcard Perfect 050: Dragon-head of Thang Long

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Eversince our host at Postcard Perfect announced the new schedule for this meme, I had only posted two, including today’s entry. I’m ashamed to say that in both instances I posted late *cringe* After the Wimbledon, I joined my husband in the veranda garden, pulling out weeds and sweeping dead leaves. Luckily we do not have a lawn, becase we live in an apartment, so I don’t have to worry too much about grass.  Otherwise, I would really demand a push reel mower to make my life easier, lol.

 No more excuses though. Time for the postcard… here’s one showing an important artifact, and still intact, that was discovered in the relic site at the Thang Long Imperial Citadel in Hanoi, Vietnam.
A well-preserved terracotta dragon head (Ly dynasty, 11th-12th century) is one of the hundreds of  artifacts excavated at the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long.

The central sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi, which has been recognized as a World Cultural Heritage, covers about 18,000m2, consisting of the archaeological site at No. 18, Hoang Dieu Street and the area of the old Hanoi Citadel. –      Discover Thang Long Imperial Citadel in Hanoi,

This postcard, although showing a Vietnamese relic, was sent to me by my friend Cheerful, aka, the Postcrossing Mom, who is now based in Thailand. She seldom updates her postcard blog now due to  her mommy duties but, I assure you, she is still a very active postcrosser. You can find her blog link on my blog list, on the right sidebar. Khap khun kaa, Che.

Postcard Friendship Friday 072: The Gentle Smile of the Giants

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Here’s one of my favourite temples in Cambodia – the Bayon Temple. Angkor Wat is amazing but, to me, the Bayon Temple is exceptional and, therefore, my personal favourite.

The massive smiling faces are serene and staring at the horizon. I cannot imagine how the ancient Khmers have created Bayon Temple, or Prasat Bayon.

What you are looking at is one of the many (54 all in all) giant smiling faces that are carved on sandstone towers. Each tower is hoisted and carved with four smiling faces looking in four directions. It was a sight to behold!
The last time I visited Bayon temple I saw a tourist sitting on the ground with his back resting on the temple wall just across one of the towers. On his hand was an unlit cigar, like one of those cheap humidors I’ve seen around, and pretended to puff a smoke. I bet he is enjoying the moment, looking at a very, very old structure. Perhaps imagining how the ancient Khmers built it and pondering the mystery about who these faces represent. This question actually remains mystery up to the present.

Postcard Perfect 048: Map card of the Philippine Islands

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I missed posting for Postcard Perfect for a long time. Here’s to keep me back on track, sent to me by Willa, our host at Postcard Perfect. This is my first Philippine map card, and a fantastic one at that!

Do you know that my beloved country, the Philippines, is spread over 7000 islands?
The Philippines, with its 7000+ islands, is categorised broadly into three geographical divisions, namely, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Luzon is the largest island and is located on the northernmost part of the country; the Visayas, on the other hand, is composed of several islands surrounding the Visayan sea; and lastly, Mindanao, is the second largest and easternmost island in the Philippines. It is the only island in the Philippines with a significant number of Muslim population.
I was  born in Roxas City, the capital of Capiz province in the Visayas region, specifically in the Western Visayas (designated as Region VI) region. It is composed of six provinces, namely: Aklan (the home of the world-renowned Boracay island), Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental. Region VI has the most number of cities in the Philippines. I, like most of the Western Visayans, speak the Hiligaynon language, often referred to as Ilonggo, that has a sweet, melodious tone and a sing-song lilt.

You can see more than just the islands in this map card. Here you can see the Philippine seal, some of our traditional costumes  and lots of other interesting stuff that each of the Philippine islands offers to non-Filipinos!

Madamo guid nga salamat, Willa!

Sunday Stamps 055: Football on Indonesian stamps


I’m joining in this week’s Sunday Stamps again. I was busy reading articles about the side effects of myoripped and looking at accompanying photos when I suddenly remembered I didn’t have my Sunday Stamps entry yet. The theme this week is anything you wish, so here’s what I have:

Indonesians are passionately mad about football.

The above stamp, showing an image of that of a football player kicking a soccer ball, is one of the four stamps in a mini-sheet issued by Indonesia to mark the 2010 FIFA World Cup played in South Africa. Of course, I do remember this event very well.  According to the Philately News Online, this issue is the eighth issuance in the Indonesia philately history with the same theme.

I am not a fan of football – or soccer, if you’re American – but this is one theme that interests me.

The amazing rock formations of Yehliu in Taiwan

It’s summer and so my featured postcard is none other than the place where most people go at this time of the year … the beach! This beach though is one of a kind…

From the northern coast of Taiwan, the breath-taking view of this coastline serves as the  backdrop of the fascinating albeit bizarre rock formations of Yehliu.

The unique rocks are concentrated at a region called the Yeliu Geopark – a 1,700 meter-long peninsula jutting out into the ocean and dotted with strange rock formation such as mushroom rocks, honeycomb rocks, ginger rock, pothole erosion and other appropriately named oddities. – Source:

The rock formation you see in the postcard above is just one of the countless rock formations that took shape naturally with the aid of the wind and waves for hundreds and thousands of years. Check out this site to see other rock formations in Yehliu.
I’ve seen online some pictures of the other rock formations in Yehliu and I must say they are magnificent! They are truly Taiwan’s natural heritage. The most popular one is called the “Queen’s head” and it does resemble the head of an ancient Egyptian queen. Looking at the rock on the postcard, the thought of a foam mattress keeps popping inside my head, hahaha. Perhaps my mind is telling me about something soft and fluffy compared to the roughness of the rocks.

Postcard Friendship Friday 068: Apsaras and Devatas, more than just decorations on the walls of Angkor Wat

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I am feeling much, much better these days, thanks to my husband for the round-the-clock TLC ^_^ He’s been very patient with me, putting up with my cranky mood as well as my incessant (and terrible) coughing, especially at night. 
Since today is the first day of the Khmer New Year, that is the year 2556, I want to share this postcard of a devata. Apsaras and devatas are sacred women, heavenly angels if you like, and you can see portraits of them inside the walls of the different temples inside the massive Angkor Wat Archaeological complex – Angkor Wat, Bayon, Preah Khan, Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei, just to name a few. Apsaras are said to be the entertainers of the god-king while the devatas serves as the guardians of the great kingdom. Here is a very interesting article about these women of Angkor Wat.

Inside the massive Angkor Wat, visitors will find thousands of images of women carved in the walls. Modern-day researchers believe that these women served much more roles than mere decorations.
Here, and in other Buddhist countries such as Thailand and Sri Lanka, among others, the new year is based on astrological calculations. When the old year ends and the new year begins, is also based on these calculations. So today, the 13th of April, is the grand Maha Songkran, or the first day of the Khmer New Year and the celebrations continue up to Sunday, the 15th. Note: Technically, the Khmer New Year begins tonight at exactly 7.11pm, Cambodian time. According to the Buddhist beliefs, heavenly angels known as apsaras and devatas come down to replace the old ones here to watch the earth for a one year period. Read more about Khmer New Year traditions here.

To those interested in these sacred women, here are some of the other faces of devata that are found in the Angkor Wat.


Devata faces from the inside wall of the West Gopura at the Angkor Wat.
Photo Source:

And here’s another postcard showing the apsaras (in human form?)…

Apsaras performing in front of the world-famous Angkor Wat.
Today, counting the hours before the new year, the locals are cleaning their house. They believe that by cleaning their houses, it drives away the evil spirits. Okay, I’m off now – gotta go clean the house before the New Angel arrives.
And this one’s from my friend, Ilona. Happy Khmer New Year!