6 to 9 January 2011
I have visited Thailand for various reasons. In 2007, I was there to cheer for our national team during the Southeast Asian Games. I have joined a number of triathlons there, including last year’s 70.3 Ironman Asia Pacific Champs in Phuket. I have also been there to study their land registration system in connection with a bill I filed in the Senate to streamline our land registration and prevent double titling.
My last trip was with my daughter Max who turned 16 years old this year. My little baby girl. My first born. She is now just a few inches shorter than me. She is growing up so fast. I wanted to spend time with her. I decided to take her on a trip. We chose Thailand.
When I travel with my kids, I always try to include a tour that will expose them and help them learn more about the city or country’s history and culture. For this trip, we went on a river boat cruise. We had a lively guide who filled us with details of Thai history and customs. As we moved along the Chao Phya River and klongs (canals), she pointed out different structures and explained their significance.
When we got to the Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn, we got off the boat and roamed around. It was a beautiful temple made of broken ceramic. I dream of building something like that here! We climbed the temple. The steps were very very steep.
Max wanted to explore on her own, so I let her.
According to the website of the Tourism Authority of Thailand:
“The temple was built during the Ayutthaya period and was originally called Wat Makok after the name of the local village Tambol Bangmakok. It means “Village of Olives”. Wat Arun gets its name from Aruna, the Indian god of the dawn, hence its common name The Temple of Dawn. The location of the temple is in the area that used to be occupied by the palace of King Taksin who re-established the Siamese Kingdom after the fall of Ayuttaya more than two hundred years ago. The main Buddha image is believed to have been designed by King Rama II. Wat Arun, often called The Temple of Dawn, is one of the most remarkable visual identities of Bangkok. The imposing Khmer-style prang or tower is 67 metres tall and decorated with bits of porcelain that was used as ballast by boats coming from China. It is surrounded by four smaller prangs. Construction of the prangs were started by King Rama II and completed by King Rama II.”
When we got down, she wanted to try on the costumes. So she did. Whoa! Suddenly, my Filipina daughter was transformed into a Thai princess.
I am not Thai. We have no Thai blood as far as I know. But look at this child of mine, does she not look like a Thai Princess?
After that fun picture taking session, we went back on our boat, learned a bit more about Thai culture and finished our cruise.