Wednesday, November 12, 2008

water of life

Cambodia is home to Southeast Asia's biggest lake - Tonle Sap which for many Khmers, represents the lifeblood of the country. On its ebbing tides was forged one of the world's greatest empires - Angkor.


More than a thousand years later, life still goes on and living still exists on its waters. I have been fervently visiting the lake but am still mesmerized by its vastness and silent power... and more importantly, how the people have managed to survive it.

The most recognizable part of the lake to the outside world is the floating village of Chong Kneas...


Most of the homes here are floating, which means they are built on boats or on barges - making it easy for dwellers to transfer their homes wherever they want. Now who will ever evict you?


Shopping is also very mobile - why go to the market when the market can go to you? Now if only H&M's Comme des Garcons is peddled this way!


Here, only two things are essential - a sturdy pair of legs and a spool of courage to brave the unpredictable waters...


Friendships can be forged on water...

or on land...

Make your way to school or the school makes way for you (at the end of the day, the floating school brings its students home! No kidding!)...

Fancy a game of basketball on a floating gym? Now let's see if Kobe Bryant can still make a dunk while being seasick!


Waiting for the day's catch...

...sometimes, the waiting pays...
...but some simply wait... and wait... and wait...

The lake and its shores are throbbing with lost souls finding directions...

and its young souls...

...eager to find life's answers...

Here, one is surrounded by water, but thirst is still enevitable.

But for those who thirst spiritually, the floating karaoke church (a former karaoke pub converted into a catholic church!) is a good place to quench your souls...

34 comments:

Luis Batchoy said...

it's a habit of shores, still loven. And the beat goes on so they say... or shall I say, and the waters flow on? Great photo essay as usual!

kegler747 said...

Naku gusto ko yan puntahan, napapanuod ko lang yan sa Discovery at National Geographic Channel. Parang ganyan din yung nakita ko sa Halong Bay sa Vietnam pero lake naman ito.

chezza said...

I only heard of a floating market in thailand, and now, a floating karaoke? now that's a first! I wouldn't mind living in a waterworld as long as I have means to sing my heart out ;)

the spool artist said...

@luis batchoy: thanks... shore thing about that... ika nga ni sharlene gonzales eh... high tide or low tide?

@kegler 747:you should see it! it is worlds apart from halong bay... the lake regularly gets features from national geographic because of its creatures... some from the jurassic age and thought extinct... until they show up being sold as food in our markets here straight from the lake!

@chezza: it's floating everything here... from floating crocodile farm to floating barbershops! kaya disaster sometimes ang haircut g mga tao dito dahil nakalutang ang kanilang parlors and couldn't keep still from the waves! hahaha

Patrick said...

Astig pa gani ila basketball court, wood pa, didto sa amon lapok, half court pa! Plus 10 pa si Kobe, batuan ko sa da one on one! hehe!

i want to visit that place one time.

the spool artist said...

hahaha, you should patrick! sosyal gani ila ya basketball court! now if only they have a floating golf course din! lol...

RONeiluke, RN said...

astig naman pala ang mga bahay at establishments dyan! talgang nalutang silang lahat! i was amazed by the floating school and gym! really cool! :)

i love the narration (captioning)... and how you made a story with your pics :)

wala ka talagang kupas..brilliant :)

Asian Traveler said...

The floating homes are unique. I hope to visit Cambodia someday.

eunice said...

Your photos are not only nice but can touch people's heart, that is something I want to learn!!! =D

i.d. said...

Thanks for your comment! I love the Pantime clock too but unfortunately it looks like a student project. I found it here: http://swissmiss.typepad.com/weblog/2008/10/pantime.html

KRIS JASPER said...

Again, beautiful set of photos...

I hope you'd visit me here in UK and take photos of me and convert it into art.... hayyy.... That would make me very happy! lol.

the spool artist said...

@roneiluke: i cannot imagine you being here with the imagery and the blast of sensory overload present dito... i'm sure you will create more fantastic stories and tales with what you see, hear, taste and smell... basta!

@asian traveler: you should visit cambodia! it will truly complete you as a traveler! thanks!

@eunice: thank you, thank you... coming from you, that is indeed a big honor!

@i.d.:thanks... was just taken aback by its wittiness since i use pantone a lot in what i do!

@kris jasper: or better yet punta kayo dito ni A for your own location shoot! Dapat gawin nating ala Paris Vogue na drama! hahahaha.

Borneo Falcon said...

The floating house looks like a nice concept. Not sure I ever seen something like that before

ZJ said...

Love your series, Loven!!
Ako man, I was lucky enough to have visited this amazing lake. Did you know that the Amazing Race teams(American edition) were in Chong Khneas??? They went to Koh Andet in the middle of Chong Kneas to get their clues and one of the tasks was to shoot baskets at the floating basketball court!! Boy, that was fun!!

Pa-share lang, this is one of my favorite picture of a floating village.

the spool artist said...

@borneo falcon: don't you just love the idea of being able to move your house wherever you wish? i'll give you a tour of the lake if you decide to visit cambodia!

@zj: my staff actually saw them near the old market area but i didn't know they went as far as the lake! cool! will definitley watch out for that episode on AXN! I love your shot of the lake. Where did you take it from?

G said...

*clap clap clap*

ang galing ng mga pictures!

the spool artist said...

thanks g!

Megan said...

As ever, a wonderful photo essay! What an amazing place!

Dakilang Islander said...

floating gym? heheh napanood ko na rin ata to sa tv...may floating cemetery din kaya dyan..heheh

r-yo said...

hmm. mukhang chocolate yata ang tubig. saan sila kumukuha ng inumin? at me karaoke church? akala ko, karaoke siya sa gabi, tapos churh pag araw, he he. btw, just linked you. check my "new finds" list. :-)

Blue Rose said...

oh, wow! ang galing mo naman mag narrate.

meron palang ganyan. parang mahirap ata ang ganyang kalagayan. takot pa naman ako sa tubig dahil hindi ako marunong lumangoy. hehehe

salamat sa pagbabahagi mo sa amin ng mga ganitong kwento. sa pamamagitan nito ay para na rin akong nakapasyal sa iba't ibang lugar.

the donG said...

astig ng mga kuha! nung una pumipili pa ako sa set na to ang mga paborito ko but i ended up saying, "galing nito!".

ayos ang floating catholic church. could be only in cambodia!

the spool artist said...

@megan: thank you megan. you ought to pack your bags and visit cambodia soon!

@dakilang islander: hehehe. wala po yatang cemetery dito. Almost everyone here is Buddhist, so they burn their dead and keep the ashes, so there's really no cemeteries here... but that would be weird to have a floating cemetery yata, no? tagal mo yatang mag update ng post mo ah! lol

@r-yo: oo, kung sana man lang lasang royce chocolates ang tubig... a floating water refilling station sells water sa mga boat houses but most of them gather rainwater na rin! thank you po for linking me!

the spool artist said...

@blue rose: ay naku, ok lang po dahil sa mga gustong pumunta dito, pinapasu-ot naman kayo ng life jackets... si david hasselhoff po dito din nag transfer ng kanyang baywatch team kaya wag po kayong mabahalang malunod. hehehe. maraming salamat po sa pagbisita...

@the dong: you're right... many catholic devotees from around the globe make a pilgrimage to this church... this is actually their only pride sa churches because all of their French colonial churches from the 1800's were completely destroyed during the pol pot regime!

salingPUSA said...

very informative kuya Loven---I feel like an elementary school student in geography----

....don't know na dyan pala ang pinakamalaking lake sa SEA....

these people are like our Badjao's in the Philippines ayt?

the spool artist said...

hi anton... something like the badjaos in a sense that they live off within the water's riches... but different in a sense that they almost live permanently on a part of the lake wherein the badjaos are nomads...

hahaha... glad to know you're still learning geography from what i post... and i do learn a lot from your blog too! i guess that's what makes blogging so much fun!

REDLAN said...

Kakaiba naman ito. siguro mahal naman ang bilihin na dini-deliver. hindi ko maimagine ang floating houses.

eDreGiN said...

-my Tonle Sap Lake visit was very good kahit pa mahirap ang daan papunta dun. Thankful talaga tayo dapat sa taas kase seguradong anhirap mamuhay doon. I saw a little girl sa maliit na boat with a snake (malaki sya ha) as in nakapulupot sa kanyang katawan to attract the tourists makabenta lang sya ng saging for US$ 1. Tapos, nagulat din ako kase when we head back home diko namalayan yong isang bata sumampa sa boat namin from another boat para magbenta sa amin ng bottle of water. Anyway, ayoko dun sa Floating farm ng crocodiles, kadiri tingnan yong mga buwaya, hehehe...

KRIS JASPER said...

Hey HeY HEy!!!!!

Please tell your wifey na Im from LCSG too. BAtch ko sila ni Juleo.. May friendster kamo? please invite me: krisjasper@krisjasper.com

Anw, Happy Weekend!

Curbside Puppet said...

the first time i saw tonle sap on tv, i thought it was the ganges delta in bangladesh. IT WAS THAT BIG!

i heard it more than doubles its size during the monsoon season.

the spool artist said...

@redlan: actually the good sold here are cheap... the boat shops don't pay rent naman eh! :-)

@edregin: actually, these people have a lot of choices na where to live but they've still managed to cling on to their lives here because it's the only life they knew... seeing them actually how hard they live makes you appreciate your life more na sobrang dali!

@kris jasper: yeah, she told me about it... siling nya you look SO familiar daw... that's why she's been scratching her head for a long time where she saw you... until it occured to her na you came from the same school pala! small world gid ya no? Sige, add ka namon sa friendster!

@curbside puppet: yes, it's really really big! you can't actually see the other side when you're at one edge, so it really feels like an ocean out there... yup, it increases its size twice during rainy season!

totomai said...

i may have stayed in cambodia for 3 days only but i will never forget the experience i had in tonle sap. witnessing the life within the river was really touching.

bulitas said...

WOW!! i'm at awe. such compelling,crisp and powerful images you got here sir. i am an instant fan.

the spool artist said...

@totomai: you should come back to cambodia and explore the country more! 3 days is not enough! be our guest...

@bulitas: thanks. i am humbled by your comment!