Siem Reap’s odd couple, guesthouse proprietors Peter Oxley and Virgilio Calaguian, are still recovering after their Cockatoo Resort and Restaurant, which opened its doors in August, was badly affected by the September Siem Reap floods, with all the rooms knee-deep in water.
Guests at the resort had to be relocated to other hotels, and bookings had to be cancelled while the resort shut down for a month.
Meanwhile, in a second blow, Calaguian’s house in his home country, the Philippines, was also flooded and his treasured classic movie poster collection, as well as career memorabilia, “just vanished” when his library went under.
The duo had an eclectic mix of jobs before relocating to Siem Reap and reinventing themselves as resort proprietors.
Oxley, who lived in Tokyo for almost 20 years, acted in advertisements and once impersonated director George Lucas in an elaborate prank on a famous pop star for Fuji Television. He also worked as a commercial photographer, including a very brief stint as a paparazzo when David Beckham was in Tokyo.
Calaguian won prestigious awards in the advertising industry as creative director for Standard Advertising in Manila, which held accounts for Nissan Motors and Canon cameras among others, before becoming a travel and lifestyle writer for Lonely Planet and other publications.
The two are now on a steep learning curve to master their new career and are planning 40s and 50s classic film nights, wine-tasting evenings, and maybe live music and barbecues to attract guests and locals to their resort.