Hunger Games and our daily fight for survival.

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Last night me and my friends watched Hunger Games in cinema. This movie I read has been reaping big bucks at the Box Office and is already the 3rd highest grossing film opening weekend only behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Batman “The Dark Knight”.

The movie is about a fictional nation called “Panem” (which is where the previous North American countries were located) holding an annual game called “The Hunger Games” wherein each of the 12 districts shall pick 2 representatives (1 male and 1 female aged 12-18) by lottery. The persons who were picked are called “tributes”.  They are sent to the ultra-modern Capitol and they have to fight the other tributes to death in order to win the game and earn the honor of being called “victor”.

Each of the tribute has to gain the viewer’s support and admiration to gain sponsors which will help them to survive the game by sending foods, medicine or tools. The main character, Katniss Everdeen from District 12 can be considered fierce and elusive. However, because of these characteristics, people loved her and was even called “The Girl on Fire”. To add more drama to the games, she and the other tribute from District 12, Peeta Mellark were made to act like the “star-crossed lovers” which eventually Katniss decided to follow this calculated ploy in order to stay on in the battle.

The rules of the game was changed several times. When only Katniss and Peeta survived at the end of a few days battle, they changed the ruling and state that only 1 person must be the victor.

Upon hearing this, Katniss convinced Peeta not to let the Gamemakers and the audience have 1 victor and it’s better to have none. Peeta agreed to eat a poisonous berry called “nightlock” which Katniss got from one of the tributes who died eating the said fruit.

But before they were able to commit suicide, the Gamemakers announced that the rules were amended and that both of them were the victors. The movie ended showing the 2 victors returning to District 12 to the delight of the people.

This movie is actually taken from the highly successful Trilogy novel by Suzanne Collins which also includes “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay”.

At first, I didn’t intend to watch the movie because as I read the plot it seems the movie promotes violence due to the brutal fighting till death. However, as the movie progresses, I find there are still some redeeming values in the storyline:

1. Family is important and invaluable.
2. We need friends and alliances. As the saying goes, “No man is an island”.
3. We must know our strengths and maximize it, acknowledge our weaknesses and try to improve it.

In our daily lives, there are times that we are like tributes and we are participating in a very big hunger game. A lot of people are hungry for power, fame or fortune while many others are hungry for love and affection. There is nothing wrong in being hungry for these things. What’s wrong is if we already have more than what we can chew but we are still asking for more.  That’s called GREED already and is considered a deadly sin.

That’s all for now folks. May the odds be ever in your favor!

P.S. It is the Lenten Season next week. It’s time to fast, repent and reflect on God’s ultimate love for us. Less of us, more of God.

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Magnum Mystery…

I was really intrigued by all these Magnum craze hitting the Philippines it seems like “Bungang Araw” seriously hitting the backs of children who are seemingly unaware of the heat of the summer sun.

I learned about this brouhaha from some Facebook friends who would proudly post about their first bite of this “glorious” Ice Cream or some rewarding themselves a piece after a long hard day at work.

Then I read in Twitter about celebrities promoting Magnum Ice Cream. Looks like this sweet is really toppling the old-fashioned but always reliable summer heat fighter Halo-Halo.

I’ve first tasted Magnum last year here in Bangkok. Not sure though how long ago it was introduced in the Thai Market but it seems Thais are not as ecstatic as their Filipino counterpart in trooping the stores to buy Magnum. For one, it is a bit pricey (around THB 40 or a little over 50 Pesos per piece) compared to other Thai desserts like the similarly refreshing Nam Kang Sai Sala (Shaved Ice with Sala Syrup) which is only THB 10 per bowl usually sold on the streets and you can even select some toppings.

I actually commend the Marketing minds behind the Magnum Craze as they were successful in making this dessert very in demand. I heard that some people have to go through several 7-11 shops just to find Magnum as many shops had it sold out.

Since I already forget how Magnum tastes like, I asked my friend to buy some from the nearest convenience store so we could indulge this most-sought after dessert.

Verdict: After tasting Magnum Almond, I find the Ice Cream too sweet and I can’t find any bit of almond in the bar.

I have nothing against people who go crazy with Magnum but personally I would still prefer Pinipig Crunch, Twin Popsies or even the traditional Ice Buko with Red Beans.

You may also try Ice Monster which is a healthier alternative as you can select fruits as toppings.

Welcome to Safari World…The World of Happiness

The title of my blog post is the catchphrase of Safari World, one of Bangkok’s interesting attractions. The park is quite far from the Central Business District (approx. an hour drive) but is easily accessible. My friends and I went there last Sunday. Took an Ordinary Bus (No. 115) from Lumpini Park  and paid THB 8.00 per person till Fashion Island (a shopping mall located in Ramintra Road on the outskirts of Bangkok).  From there we took a taxi to Safari World and paid THB 80.00.

We were able to visit the place at a cheaper price because during a recent travel consumer fair in Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre, Safari World has a booth and is selling entrance ticket for only THB 380 per person instead of THB 580. Quite great discount!

Safari World has a total land area of 1,650 rai and comprises of the Safari Park and Marine Park and is open from 0900H-1700H everyday.

We first entered the Marine Park. This area houses vast spectrum of animals from land, sea or air and visitors are entertained with a variety of shows like Orangutan, Sea Lion, Elephant, Dolphin, Bird Show, Spy War and Stunt Show. My friends and I find the Spy War show a bit boring as it seem like an act from some TV Action-Drama series. The animal shows are quite entertaining though and I enjoyed the Dolphin Show and Bird Show the most.


However, the highlight of the Marine Park for me is their newest attraction called Mini World. You will have to go inside a giant bird cage-like space and once there, you will see variety of birds. There is 1 section wherein you could have  the opportunity to feed birds. It’s very cool that birds would fly to either the palm of your hands or your shoulder to eat some of the feeds and you can take photos with them very closely.

Only consideration when visiting the park is that since it is open area, the temperature can be very hot and humid especially during summer but there are plenty of shops to buy water or food or some staff would roam around the stadium before each animal show starts. However, I find the price of their food as well as souvenir 2 notches more expensive than the other popular places in Thailand like Dream World, Siam Park, etc.

After roaming Marine Park and viewing most of the shows, we went to the Safari Park. This area allows the visitors to get to see hundreds of animals from all over the world up close and have the feel of a real Safari experience from their own vehicle or through the shuttle buses that regularly roam the park. We took the shuttle bus and paid THB 30.00 per person. Entire trip took approximately 45 minutes to complete.

There was an area in the park with several lions comfortably resting under the shade of the trees. When our shuttle bus passed by, we were fortunate to see one lion capturing an innocent bird for his “dinner’. Talk about an authentic Safari scene.

I just came to know while writing this blog the information written in Wikipedia that Safari World has been subject to some controversies about the way they keep and treat animals in the Zoo and many groups discourage visitors to support the park because it is almost the same as helping them to continue mistreating the animals particularly Orangutans and Elephants. Not sure about the status of these international scrutiny is at this point.

If you are Bangkok and would like to see the City of Angels on a different angle sans the temples, shopping malls and food stall, then Safari World is definitely a good option.

Happy 3rd Birthday Kikomatching!

It’s actually a belated Birthday Greeting. Nevertheless, I am greeting my pseudonym Kikomatching a Happy 3rd Birthday! It has been 3 years since I started blogging last March 14, 2009. I love writing but never get the chance to share my thoughts to the world through blog so I started creating my own. I remember I can’t even decide if I will use blogspot or wordpress. Finally I decided to use wordpress cos I feel it is much simpler and I never turned back since then.

On my 3rd year as a blogger, I created 150 blog posts, was featured in the Freshly Pressed page of WordPress for my story about the trip in Koh Samed, Thailand. I was wondering why on that day I was getting a lot of comments in my post as well as hundreds of page views. Only when I logged out and logged-in again did I realized my story was in the front page of WordPress. Isn’t it cool? 🙂

I’ve written topics about my various travels, talk of the town issues or even tips on how to lose belly fat! Sometimes I would bug my friends begging them to suggest a good topic for my next post. Few of them are kind enough to give me interesting topics.

I’ve also followed and became close to a few fellow bloggers but unfortunately have not met any of them in person yet. Hope to meet some of you in person someday.

Every time I receive a comment from someone complimenting about my post or the pictures I shared, I am thrilled.
Some people have been following my blog and I thank you for considering my blog worth following.

Three years is really short a period. I will continue to blog as long as I can. I am thankful to my Dad as he inspired me to write. He was a good writer when he was still alive. Many of his colleagues would ask for his help in various correspondences be it a memorandum, letter of apology, recommendation letter, even speech!

Papa, this blog is for you!

Thank you once again and God bless us all!

Wandering in Wat Arun

Many tourists have flocked to Thailand to enjoy the Sand, Sea and Som Tum (read as: Food). However, a lot of travelers also find the temples in Thailand as unique and amusing this blogger included.

I am a fan of great civilizations of the world and I really hope I have the time (and the money) to visit ancient man-made wonders. I was fortunate to visit Angkor Wat of Cambodia sometime last year as well as few old temples in Thailand like in Ayutthaya and looking forward to visit other places like Great Wall of China, Forbidden City, Taj Mahal, Borobudur then after which the other farther places.

I’m fascinated by the sheer beauty of the various Buddhist temples I visited in Thailand. Every temple I see has their own characteristic and charm. Last Saturday, me and 2 friends decided last minute to go to Wat Arun also popularly called Temple of the Dawn.

I’ve passed by Wat Arun many times in the past years I’ve been based in Thailand but never get to see the temple up close as mostly I view it from the deck of the various Dinner Cruises I took every time a friend is visiting. At night, Wat Arun is fully lit up and is already a sight to behold. However when you see the temple at arms length, you will admire the intricate design and architecture as well as the picturesque view of Bangkok from the top of the temple.

According to Wikipedia, Wat Arun’s full name is Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan taken from the Indian God of Dawn, Aruna. The temple got it’s name because “the first light of the morning reflects off the surface of the temple with pearly iridescence.”

Wat Arun is located at the other side of Chao Phraya River (Thonburi side) which is considered as old Bangkok. Entrance fee is THB 50 per person. Visitors are also expected to follow the dress code when visiting this temple. Ladies should not wear revealing clothes (sleeveless) or wear short pants. There is a skirt rental in the ticket booth at the entrance for 20 Baht. Men are also expected to wear proper attire.

The Central Tower is quite high and you will have to climb a steep steel ladder to get a better view of the surrounding areas from the tower (also called Prang).

Then on the banks of the river which is just opposite of the temple, public commuter ferries are plenty. To cross the other side of the river, one must pay THB 3.00 per person. Then to go to the other station near the city (most tourists drop at Si Phraya station) you have to pay THB 15.00 per person.

After getting off at Si Phraya we decided to take a walk to Chinatown which is not so far away (around 20 minutes walk) to have our sumptuous dinner of Chinese Food.

Singapore Sojourn (2012)

I just came back from a 5 days Singapore trip last week. It was my first trip to this mini-city state this year but me and few friends are already planning to go back mid of this year. Time and again, this city has never failed to amaze me with newer sights to see and better things to do.

It was such a busy trip as mainly the purpose of my travel is for business and a bit of leisure is just a bonus if time permits. Didn’t have the chance to go perfume-hording this time but was able to enjoy the food and some new attractions.

Me and a colleague tried Duck Tour. It is such a popular tour for Thais so we have to try and see for ourselves what makes it attractive. It is a land and water tour (half of the trip you will traverse the concrete streets and the other half, the vehicle will wade the waters particularly the area along Marina Bay.

We were in the middle of the tour when it started to drizzle so most of the pictures I took while on water is a bit dark and gloomy. Tour Duration is 1 hour. You will get to see a different angle of the now famous landmarks of Singapore: The Singapore Flyer, The Esplanade and Marina Bay Sands.

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We also did inspection of the new Resorts World Sentosa hotels as part of our job. Isn’t it great that your job requires you to be able to see and stay (at times) those fine hotels that normally you would only see in the glossy magazines or travel books?

We went to Equarius Hotel as well as the Beach Villa. These 2 newly opened property completes the accommodation part of RWS. Equarius Hotel is a refreshing hotel. The moment you stepped into the lobby, there is huge waterfall replica with cascading waters and plenty of green. Really relaxing colours.

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We’ve also inspected The Beach Villa. Actually, there is no sandy beach in sight. However, the Villas are overlooking the Bay and the tall skyscrapers of modern Singapore is definitely a sight to behold.


Was also able to try Transformers The Ride which is the latest and most expensive ride in Universal Studios Singapore (USS). It is not an extreme ride like Battlestar Galactica and The Mummy but the sheer technology used (they define it as hyper-realistic 3D thrill ride) will definitely give you a feeling like you are in the middle of the battle between AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS. Everyone in the capsule I was in was clapping and rejoicing as we “Freedom Fighters” successfully defeated the villains. Unfortunately, you cannot take photo or video of the ride.

Hopefully my Singapore trip with friends will push through middle of this year. It is their first time in Singapore so I would let them “Get Lost” in Singapore (taken from the latest PR campaign of Singapore to Australia).