Archive for the ‘Daily Nam’ Category


Pho ever missing Vietnam

March 17, 2009

It has been close to 6 months since i’ve updated this blog. To be honest, i never thought i’d be writing about Vietnam again. The wife and I still reminisce about the good old days in Hanoi and how we, as a family went through it together and bringing one of the best experiences in our lives. We can’t stop talking about Vietnam.. well, mostly i was the one who still blabbers and compare Manila to its neighboring Asian country.

This blog will serve as my memory of Hanoi and hopefully, will continue to help others in discovering this wonderful country. I’ll try to add some more useful stuff here especially for people who have no freaking clue what Vietnam was all about. Believe me, before i went to Vietnam and decided to move there for a while, I’ve done a lot of research from Googling to viewing images on Flickr. I thought i was ready but boom! When i got there.. culture shock started to set in for the first two weeks. It is really very different once you experience being there yourself. From the rich culture and respected traditions that have been brought down to the current generation of mobile-phone-using-while-riding-on-motorbikes, it is very hard to forget!

Thanks for those that continue to visit and post comments on the site albeit a small population of the web community. All I can say about Vietnam is that I never realized how beautiful Asia was until i went to this country. My love for photography came out along with the spirit of adventure and the thrill of the unexpected. That itself coming from someone who has lived in the Philippines throughout my entire life. What is it about Vietnam? You’ll find out soon as i take you back to my journey there 🙂


My Last Ride.. Hoo-Rah!

October 1, 2008
We will miss you Hanoi!

We will miss you Hanoi!

It’s been more than 5 months since I’ve updated my blog. I’ve been pretty busy with work/family and taking care of our baby Justin is really a handful! Things have been going well and Justin is growing up just fine here in Hanoi but he seems to be getting bored these days. We need to find him new toys soon and better places to go to so he can continue to be entertained and also for his development 🙂

Yep, the title says it all. This will be my last ride in Hanoi. Returning my reliable motorbike next week! Finally going back to the home country after more than a year and it has been an enriching journey here in Vietnam. I’ve learned so much and embraced the people (lahat kami singkit kaya feel at home), adapted the culture and most especially loved the food! Vietnamese cuisine is really something your taste buds will crave.. aah.. bun cha, pho bo, bit tet, cha ca.. yum! The closest we have to Vietnamese food in Manila is Pho24 (which isn’t that good compared to here as the wife has tried it) and Pho Hoa. There’s Hue in Greenbelt though but looks expensive and I’m not sure if it’s still open 😀 Enough about food for now.

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Seasons of Hanoi

May 17, 2008

To celebrate the wife’s birthday in Vietnam, I’ve decided to take her and baby Justin to a great Nha Hang that I recently discovered care of a fellow pinoy expat (Thanks Mark!). This fine dining restaurant is called Seasons of Hanoi located at 95B Quan Thanh Street. It’s a great place with good service and the food is fanstastic. You get what you paid for that’s all I can say 🙂

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So Happy Together..

May 9, 2008

Wow, it’s been a month since i’ve updated this blog. I haven’t had time to do so for the past few weeks as I’ve been very busy with work and the family. I managed to squeeze this in as our little king woke us up and now he’s making all these baby noises and trying to sleep! The Simbols are sleep deprived and a full 8-hour sleep is now outside of our dictionary. It’s 5AM as of this writing and I keep telling Justin he’s in the wrong time zone.. *LOL*


Finally, after close to 4 months (seems like an eternity for me) Anna and Justin are finally here in Hanoi and it was a very tiring and late flight c/o Cebu Pacific.  That’s what you get for a budget airline! 😦 Flight was delayed for an hour and we took off around 11:45pm instead of the scheduled 10:50pm. Anna was carrying Baby Justin throughout the 3 hour flight and I think she’s developed bigger biceps than me now.. hehe.. how do moms do that??? I carry our 18 pounder bundle of joy for just 5 minutes and I’m pooped! Justin pretty much slept through the whole flight and when he woke up..tada! You are now one hour younger! Hehe 🙂

*Ho-Hum* Are we there yet?

It takes a while to get back my parenting skills and I can officially say that my 4 month old Justin now recognizes me again 🙂 ..i’m back to my old paternal duties – Sterilizing bottles, changing diapers (I delegate the poop stuff to the wife *LOL*), preparing milk and playing with our li’l kiddo until he cries from so much laughter.

Feeding Time!

After a grueling and tiring day at work, nothing beats going home and seeing the wife and our baby smile! What’s next for the Simbols… hmmm 🙂


What’s new in Hanoi (Part 2 of 2)

April 5, 2008

Aahh.. breathing mall air! 🙂 at least we now get a bit of it from the newly opened Parkson Mall here in Hanoi. This opened around two weeks ago and it’s becoming popular for the Hanoians as more branded stuff come in to the city. I guess the only time we’ll be visiting Vincom Mall is to watch movies but for now, Parkson is the place to be. Saigon is still the shopping capital of Vietnam as you have the Diamond Plaza, Parkson, Zen and many more. But I’ll take what we have in Hanoi right now and once the family is here, we can do our malling duties but it’s going to be real quick since it’s a small place.

Nothing beats the Malls in Manila though as Parkson doesn’t have dedicated shops for each brand and it’s more of like our Rustan’s in the Philippines. Considering the price of real estate here in Vietnam, don’t expect Henry Sy to put up an SM here.. 🙂

As usual, I was on window shopping mode only and they’ve got pretty good lines here such as Giordano, Lacoste and CK (soon to open), Geox, Ecco, Adidas, Nike, Roxy, Hush Puppies, etc. Not much for the kids though so we won’t be buying anything for kiddo here. Here are some more pictures inside and the foodcourt gives you quite a selection from Singapore, Thai, Japanese dishes and you get a good view of the busy streets too!



What’s new in Hanoi? (Part 1 of 2)

March 30, 2008

Pizzahut entranceAaah.. the sweet smell of a developing country is now more evident. Foreign investors keep coming in and the best way to take part of it is with the recent opening of PizzaHut in Hanoi.. Yey! One of my all-time faves back in my high school days with the Eat-All-You-Can craze! The wife and I actually had a couple of dates there sharing our bacon cheeseburger pizza and as always, I finish the pizza crust for her, we ordered our usual rootbeer and after that, it was back to conquering the mall! SM North Edsa pa lang ang uso dati eh.. hehe 🙂

PizzaHut has been around for quite some time especially in HCM. Thank goodness they’re not forgetting about our beloved Hanoi city. Kudos to the owners for.. a little plug-in.. “making it great”! I had to try it of course after being deprived of western food that I’m accustomed to eating back in the home country. The place had good ambience, clean and it’s actually the best PizzaHut I’ve seen for quite some time… well these are the things you would expect anyway for a newly opened resto.

Making it Great!

The resto is modernly designed and the waiters can speak some English too just to make sure they get your order right. They serve more than pizza just like in the Philippines and now have different kinds of pasta, appetizers, soups, a bit of seafood and more!

Now what did I order?

Calamari goodness!
Calamari for appetizers..
Chicken corn soup to wash away the oily calamari sins..
Yum, Pizza!
Personal Pan Supreme Meatlovers!
Total damage.. 143,000 VND! Damn! Hehe 🙂 This won’t be a regular weekend meal for sure 🙂


Me and My Nouvo

March 24, 2008


Xe May (ˈmō-tər-ˌbīk). This is now my official transportation here in Vietnam. I used to ride a Xe Om (motorbike taxi) but I just got tired of being a passenger in the mercy of an unknown driver. Not to mention the hassles of negotiating the fare and the inconvenience of finding one during late hours in the office.

I rented this bike in preparation for Tet last February since I anticipated public transport would be scarce. Anh Loc and I went to a place inside the Old Quarters and I got a good deal for a Yamaha Nouvo! It’s fully automatic and I’m used to riding one by being a passenger for 6 months! I was initially going to get a SYM Atilla which was a typical scooter here but the Nouvo was just too good to pass up. Got a good price for it since I’ve rented it for 3 months and it now takes me anywhere within Hanoi 🙂  Have Helmet, will Travel!

I remembered the first time I drove a motorbike and it was a small scooter back in Taiwan. My A-ma (grandma) let me drive it by myself on the streets and I remember her smiling as I drove away. Take note that this was way back in the late 80s or early 90s (couldn’t remember) and I only circled one block and almost threw myself off the bike by hitting the brakes too hard on the intersection. It was scary but exciting. Hyew! That was the last time I rode a two-wheeled motorized vehicle…

..until now! Thanks to some lessons from Anh Loc, I’m officially a biker in the busy, chaotic streets of Vietnam 🙂 Within just two hours of practicing –how to zigzag, accelerate, emergency brakes, turning while leaning, small u-turn.. I graduated with least I thought so.  Safety is still the top priority — Helmets on, side mirrors aligned, check the brakes and off we go! Some interesting things you can do or see on the streets of Hanoi that I normally wouldn’t be able to without my trusty Xe May..


…Books on the streets


…Cows on the streets (moo!)


..I finally found Nan1 HA!


..National Heroes monument. It’s awesome at night.


..Kids after school.. uuuy.. HHWWPSSP! 🙂


..getting a new badminton racket.. with free string!


..Teens hanging out at night with their bikes. Yes, they were in front of me during a stoplight in an intersection.

Brangelina in VN

..nuff said.. if Brad and Angelina rides a Nouvo.. that’s the bike for me! 🙂

The only way to get around and experience Vietnam is through a motorbike.. I’m glad I finally got to drive one myself and like I said in my previous posts.. I’ve been converted 🙂