I have gotten used to hearing about the Philippines being the largest Christian nation, in terms of percentage of participation in Asia that I still find myself surprised when I see traces of Christianity in other Southeast Asian countries. Which is stupid, because being the “largest” should not mean we’re the only one. And yes, Christianity also prevailed in Vietnam, and combine that with French civilization due to France’s occupation of the country in the past, and you shouldn’t be too surprised to stumble upon the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral while walking Ho Chi Minh’s streets. Read more
I cannot believe we’re nearing the end of July, guys. Time flies so fast when you’re having fun. Or so busy. Which is sad, because deeeern, when do we get to do all the fun things, eh? I’m having a bit of a walkabout-drought here, it’s a good thing I can let my mind drift back to previous visits, like this one foray into a palace in the heart of Saigon: the Independence Palace, or the Palais de l’independance.
People visit museums for several reasons. One of the most common reasons is so that they could take a peek at something far removed from what they are familiar with, and be transported back in time, albeit through relics, photographs or works of art. However, I doubt that a visit inside the War Remnants Museum would make you want to go back in time, to this particular wartime.
Remember how I said that, when I was inside the Hoa Lo Prison and was surrounded by what may be one of the darkest periods in the history of Vietnam (the French occupation, to be more specific), I felt this certain heaviness that kinda made it difficult to breathe? Well, that still did not prepare me for my visit to the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh. The pain is real, and I wasn’t even part of that period of history. (This post is rated PG. Parental Guidance is strongly advised… due to some violent and graphic images and descriptions.) Read more
“A rifle in one hand and a plow in the other.” “They fight during the day, and farm at night.” Those were some of the realities of war. For someone who has lived in relative peace time for all her life, my grasp on life in a war zone is limited to the books I’ve read, the movies I’ve watched, and the news clips on TV and online. When I was visiting Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi, there was heaviness in my heart. When I visited the Cu Chi Tunnels…. s**t just started to get even more real.
I never heard of Caodaism before the day that we stopped by this place on our way to Cu Ci Tunnels. Oh, I knew we were stopping by a temple somewhere, but I thought it was just one of those regular temples, not an entire hub of an entirely different way of life. So let us check out the Cao Dai Temple… and what it means, shall we?
My original impression of Vietnamese food consisted mainly of spring rolls and pho. Aside from udon, I’ve always had a lukewarm response to anything noodles or pancit, which explained my lack of interest in trying out pho. But when I was in Vietnam, and I got the chance to have a taste of authentic Vietnamese food, I had no hesitations whatsoever. And what do you know, I actually ended up appreciating Vietnamese food more than I expected.