Freeman Cebu Sports

Myanmar on my mind

SPORT EYE - Raffy T. Uytiepo - The Freeman

If you are wondering whatever happened to yours truly the past two weeks and nowhere to be found in Cebu, well it’s because I was out of the country. I was in Myanmar, together with my siblings Dr. Jun Uytiepo and Chiquit Armonio for a much needed break.  We first touched down in Yangon after a three-hour layover in Bangkok, Thailand. We were whisked to our hotel and decided not to go out anymore as we have to catch an early morning flight to ancient town Bagan, which is located on the banks of the Ayeyardy River and home to the largest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins, dating from the 11th Century.  History tells us there were as many  as 13,000 temples but only 2,200 remain today. Furthermore, many were toppled during an earthquake only this August. We were just amazed with the splendor and beauty of the sites but my sister Chiquit complained of an aching foot as we have to take off our shoes and socks before entering a temple, considered sacred by the Burmese. We checked in at the posh Bagan Amazing Resort Hotel and reserved for a hot air balloon but the rain and strong winds spoiled our day as our schedule was cancelled.  Some of the must-see temples were Ananda and Shwe-zigon temples considered icons in Bagan. We were mesmerized by the centuries-old temples you would think you’re in the movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark” or “Lara Croft.”  The following day, we boarded another domestic plane (one hour flight) to Heho and finally to Nyuang Shwe,were rested for an hour in our hotel before going to the Red Wine Mountain, a wine factory.The next day we were off to Inle Lake , a 14-mile long lake blanketed with floating gardens, water hyacinth roots and tomatoes.  A very unique style of fishing is performed by oarsmen who balance on one leg while holding the nets with their hands.  We had lunch at the floating restaurant before proceeding to more monasteries. Again, it reminded me of Shaolin temples of China where many monks reside. One of our most interesting visit was to the long-neck ladies. Tradition says these women put rings on their necks to protect the gold  from thieves.  The next day, we took another domestic flight to Yangon and visited the iconic Shwedagon pagoda, the country’s biggest, rising to 330 feet and plated with 22,000 solid gold bars.  The base of the stufa is encrusted with 4,531 diamonds with the largest at 72 carats. The next day, we knew we were back in Manila because of the traffic at the airport with news flashing on TV regarding more “tokhang” victims.

Did you know? 

1976  Olympics decathlon champion Bruce Jenner (now Caitlyn) married former Miss Tennessee Linda Thompson, also an ex-girlfriend of Elvis Presley.  Linda now 65, is an Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated songwriter who has two sons with Bruce este… Caitlyn, named Brandon and Brody.  After four years Linda and Bruce separated and would you believe? married composer David Foster in 1991.  In 2005 they split. 

NOTE: Watch out for my Myanmar feature on The Freeman’s Lifestyle.


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