Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Snippets 12.15.09

  • My parents and I went up to Baguio last weekend to watch the 100th Nite Show at the PMA, the annual cadet variety show held 100 nights before graduation. I was bursting with pride when my brother played the cello.

  • the parents + open & close parentheses
  • During the program, they had a fashion show wherein the cadets modelled all of their official uniforms--17 different outfits all in all, from their pajamas, to their excercise uniform, classroom uniform, study uniform, to their full parade regalia. They even have a bathing attire (gray bathrobe + white towel) that they wear to and from the shower and loo! Cadets can have as many as six "costume changes" in a regular schoolday, maybe even more.
  • Baguio was exceptionally chilly last weekend. I wonder how much worse it will be this Christmas and New Year. The place we'll be staying in for the holidays has a fireplace, I hope my dad and my brothers can get it to work. I'll be bringing hot chocolate with marshmallows. And whiskey.
  • Our monthly paydate was moved from the 25th to the 15th of the month. I don't like it. We're now paid on the same day as everyone else, which means longer queues in ATMs and in banks.
  • Yesterday, I had one of my lightest workdays ever. I must have worked just a total of two hours max, I was able to watch the last five episodes of Glee on my computer. Bitin, super! I hate it that I have to wait for March for the next episode.
  • It's been almost two months since our backpacking trip, and I still have to post our Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Ho Chi Minh photos and stories on Facebook and here in my blog. My notes are still in my trusty Moleskine. This is why I can never be a travel blogger, or a blogger blogger. I procrastinate too much. That, and the fact that I can't really write and take decent photos.
  • Interacting with our counterparts in Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Spain, etc.) is just all in a day's work. And every time, every single darn time I speak to someone in Austria, songs from The Sound of Music play in my head for hours afterwards. Like today. LSS to the max.
  • I can't wait to see my boyfriend tomorrow for a midweek date. I still have vacation leaves for the year that I need to use up, I filed one so I can have dinner with my beloved. We'll celebrate our 38th month. I still refuse to use the word monthsarry, it's not even a word.
  • Abet's trip to Bangkok next June has just been confirmed, and I'll tag along again, of course. Six days of glorious authentic Thai food, I just can't wait! He will probably be busy the entire time like he was when we went to Singapore, but I don't care, I'll have a blast on my own.
  • I am seriously craving for Royce' chocolate-covered potato chips.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Happy birthday to me!

I'm having a really good day today, I love it!

I'm on vacation leave (I never work on my birthday), but I celebrated earlier with my officemates and ate a ton of food. I re-watched Glee, with my mom this time. I ate a ton of food again at home. A package of chocolates arrived for my sister from one of her PMA suitors, which I'll get to eat anyway. My sister and I will have dinner with Abet later at Mom & Tina's (her pick) before we get our third and last cervical cancer shot at my office. Oh, and our cash Christmas gift from Shell (in lieu of gift baskets) was credited today. Wheee!

I'm off to collect my birthday kiss from my favorite boyfriend! Good day, indeed!

Toodles!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pug Envy

Meet Pugly, my officemate Bennie's new baby:

He's got the face only a mother could love:
But I think he's just adorable:

Three of my officemates now have pugs (Jarwin has Teddy and Jerry has Kimi). They're all siblings. I am so envious I want to cry.

I can't afford to get a pug right now. First of all, I don't have the money to buy one, and secondly, I just can't take care of it. I can't deal with doggy poo. I share a Labrador Retriever with Abet, but Django lives with him, so I don't do any of the dirty work. I just play with him on weekends when Abet has already bathed him and cleaned his pen.

But I really, really, really want a pug.

Maybe I could convince Momon to handle the cleaning of the dog's poo, save some money, and maybe I'll change my mind when Eliza's mommy pug has another litter.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

An Afternoon in Malacca

Malacca or Melaka, two hours away by bus from Kuala Lumpur, is a vibrant little city teeming with history. It has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July of 2008. There are many interesting historical sites in Malacca because of its rich past, having been colonized by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British.

We only had half a day in Malacca, and here were some of the sites we were able to visit:

Malacca
Memorial Pengisytiharan Kemerdekaan

We didn't go inside the Memorial Pengisytiharan Kemerdekaan (Proclamation of Independence Memorial) because of time constraints, we just passed by, but here you'll be able to see exhibits about Malaysia's history from the time of the first sultanates leading up to the country's independence.

Malacca

A Famosa is what remains of what used to be an old Portuguese fortress. The fort was destroyed during the Dutch invasion, all that's left are the walls. I can't believe we weren't able to take pictures of the cannons just in front of this entrance.

Malacca
goofing around inside A Famosa

St. Paul's Church is just up the hill from A Famosa. The path to the church allows you to enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the town.

Malacca

Malacca

St. Paul's Church, built by the Portuguese in 1521 was once the prayer house of the Portuguese Catholics and became a fortress in 1567. When the Dutch took over, it became a burial ground for their noble dead. Some of the tombstones are still along the walls inside the church.

Malacca

A statue of St. Francis Xavier stands outside the church ruins (with one hand missing). He was buried here briefly in 1553 before his remains were transferred to Goa in India.

We went down Bukit St.Paul (St. Paul's Hill) towards the Red Square, and we saw that we were 10,632 kilometers away from London:

Malacca

The Red Square is the beautiful square around Christ Church and Stadthuys, both red buildings, like most of the buildings in this area.

Malacca

Malacca
Abet inside the Stadthuys
(Don't ask me what he's doing there, I have no idea.)


Malacca

The Christ Church was built by the Dutch from 1741 to 1753. This is the oldest Protestant church in Malaysia. We didn't go in, but inside are hand-made pews dating back to 200 years ago.

Also in the square is the Tang Beng Swee Clock Tower, built in 1886...
Malacca

...and this fountain.
Malacca

Trishaws, pedicabs decorated with bright plastic flowers and blasting pop music from speakers, are a common sight, each more gaudy and louder than the last.

Malacca

Malacca

The sign above points to the Eye on Malaysia, a 60-meter tall portable Ferris wheel that used to be in Kuala Lumpur but was transferred to Malacca just last November 2008. This is just one of the tourist attractions that we didn't get to visit because we didn't have the time, among them Bukit Cina, Hang Li Poh Well, and other churches, temples, forts and museums. Half a day in Malacca just isn't enough. Still, I'm glad that despite our limited time in this historic city, we were able to experience the very vibrant Jonker Walk that evening.

Jonker Walk post coming up next.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Fenix Inn, Malacca

Abet and I are King and Queen of Cheap Accommodation. The cheaper the hotel room, the better. We're out most of the time anyway, the room is is just a place to rest, shower, and leave our things, so as long as it's safe, clean, and in a good location, we're fine. I do have one additional requirement though: an ensuite bathroom. I like to take my sweet time inside the bathroom, and I have this habit of arranging all my toiletries in the bathroom as soon as we arrive and keeping them there until it's time to pack up, so no shared bathrooms for me, thank you.

This is why we ended up in Fenix Inn in Malacca. It was the least expensive room we found online which had its own bathroom: RM98 (P1,372) on weekdays and RM118 (P1,652) on weekends for a double room (we were there on a Friday night and paid the weekend rate). It was pricey for our backpackers' budget, but we really didn't have much choice.

The room was small but fully carpeted, and this was actually my favorite among the five rooms we stayed at during our trip for one good reason: the sheets. They were of high quality/high thread count and were soft as butter against my skin. There was also an extra pillow, a big plus.

Room comes with wired internet. Abet was able to connect when we arrived in the afternoon, but after we got back late in the evening, the internet connection was down. Abet was told by front desk that it would be down for a week.

Bathroom was nothing to complain about. I wish I could say the same for my photography skills.

Overall, I would recommend Fenix Inn to anyone travelling to Malacca, who, like me, insists on an ensuite bathroom. It's around 10-15 minutes away from Jonker Walk where all the action is, but it's near enough to the most popular attractions such as Christ Church, A Famosa, Stadthuys and St. Paul's Church. The rates are more expensive than the average backpackers' accommodation, but the bed was definitely worth the price. If you love good sheets like I do, you'll appreciate Fenix Inn.

--=-=--

Fenix Inn
156, Jalan Merdeka, Taman Melaka Raya,
75000 Melaka, Malaysia
http://www.fenixinn.com
reservation@fenixinn.com
606-281 5511

Presents!

It's been so long since I gave my parents gift-wrapped presents. I'm sure parents still love the feeling of tearing open gift wrapper to see what's inside. I can't wait for them to see what I got them, teehee!

It's my dad's birthday today, so he gets a present. I got him this book:

Absolutely-American-E4R279L

I still have some gift wrapper left over, and my friend Jarwin just got back from Vegas and brought me some M&M's Premiums Dark Chocolate. I wrapped a box up with a note for my mom:

100_9642

Fun! They each have something to open from me! My mom will give me some of the chocolates, anyway, hehe. The M&M's are so good. And shimmery.

100_9647

The gifts are on the piano waiting to greet them as soon as they get up. I hope the 'rents like them!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Day in Kuala Lumpur

We started our first full day in Kuala Lumpur with a mad dash to the Petronas Tower in KLCC. We wanted to be in line for tickets by 7:30 so we can go up the Skybridge before lunch.

trainstation
picture-picture at the train station
(My mother calls that my 'girl scout' dress. She hates it.)

We got to the ticketing center just before 8am, and there was already a long queue for the free tickets, even if ticket distribution wasn't until 8:30. We got tickets at around 9 am and were scheduled to go up at 11:15am. We hadn't had breakfast yet, so we had a quick meal at KFC in Suria KLCC, the sosy mall adjacent to the towers.

nasi lemak enak
nasi lemak enak at KFC

I had nasi lemak enak with one-piece chicken. Nasi lemak or coconut milk rice is one of Malaysia's most popular dishes and is usually served with anchovies with sambal (chili paste), sliced cucumber, and peanuts (the one in KFC didn't have peanuts).

We still had time to spare after breakfast, so we went around the mall while I ogled the display windows of luxury shops: Chanel, Hermรจs, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, Jimmy Choo... oooh la la! My eyes feasted over beautiful items I can't afford. We also checked out Kinokuniya, the Japanese mega-bookstore chain that we first experienced in Singapore, but we didn't buy any books yet.
We went back to the Petronas ticketing center 15 minutes before our scheduled time and browsed the gift shop while waiting for our visit.

Before we got to go up the Skybridge, we had to watch a short 3D video about Petronas Company and the towers and then had to go through a security check. We then took the high-speed elevator to the Skybridge on the 41st floor, 170 meters above street level. Visitors only have 10 minutes on the bridge.

Petronas Skybridge

There are interesting exhibits about the towers on the way out from the Skybridge visit. Afterwards, we window-shopped some more until it was time for lunch.

Lunch was at Nando's Peri-Peri Chicken. Nando's is a Portuguese restaurant chain whose specialty is chicken in either lemon and herb, medium, hot or extra hot peri-peri sauce, pero-peri being the humble siling labuyo. It's sad that the Philippines is not among the 26 countries in 5 contintents that Nando's has branches in, because the food was really good. Sigh.

P1010447-
1/2 chicken in lemon and herb sauce, corn, coleslaw

P1010454-
chicken kebabs in hot sauce, Mediterranean rice, and potato salad

I took home a bottle of one of their sauces. This is my best friend during my diet days when I eat nothing but boiled chicken. :D

Beside Nando's was Famous Amos, the cookie shop, and the smell wafting from its direction was just heavenly, we just had to buy some cookies.

free smells

After lunch, we were off to the KL Bird Park. On the way there, however, it rained. We had to cancel. I guess I'm not meant for bird parks. We had to cancel our trip to Jurong Bird Park at the last minute went we went to Singapore last year (we ended up on the Singapore Flyer) and now this. Drat. Anyway, look at the design of this train station, the Kuala Lumpur station on the KTM line. It's an attraction in itself:

2

Since we had no where else to go (the rest of the places in our itinerary were outdoors), we proceeded to Pavilion Mall in Bukit Bintang where we planned on having dinner anyway. We got some books at Times Bookstore.

We wandered around the mall (again, more designer stuff) until it was time for dinner. Ah, we waited to have dinner here for months, and it was one of the things we were most excited about with our backpacking trip: Carl's Jr!!! Yep, the burger chain that we sadly no longer have here in Manila. I'm such a fan of Carl's Jr back in college, I celebrated two birthdays here--including my 18th birthday! We were so excited to eat here that we didn't get to take any pictures of the food. This was after we wiped everything out (and we ordered a lot):

P1010595

Dessert was at Baskin-Robbins, our first time, and I had another one of my "why-don't-we-have-this-in-Manila???" moments. We shared a bowl of Pralines 'n Cream, Jamoca® Almond Fudge and Rum Raisin:

Baskin-Robbins

My boyfriend was a happy, happy boy.

Baskin-Robbins

After dinner, we walked towards nearby Jalan Alor to buy more dried meat to take back home.

It was a good day, even if it wasn't exactly the day we had planned. We went back to our hotel happy and full and excited to read our books. Back in our room, we enjoyed our Famous Amos cookies, with beer for him (!) and with Yakult for me.

Afterwards, we got a good night's sleep to prepare ourselves for another adventure-filled day ahead.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Domesticated

My heart skipped a beat when I read this in Nicquee's blog:

What: Corningware, Corelle, Pyrex and Visions sale up to 70%
When: November 12-15, 2009
Where: Kitchen World, 3rd Level Eastwood Mall


I didn't realize I've gotten so domestic to get all worked up over a sale on cookware! I think it's partly thanks to all of the baking I've done lately (but I haven't really baked in months), but I know it's mainly because I get excited when I think about our future home. Yeah, I know, I'm thinking way ahead. I'm probably more excited about having our own home more than our wedding, haha!

Abet and I have agreed that we will not be one of those couples who have the nice wedding and then go back home to live with the parents. It may work for some, but it's not for us. Besides, Abet will be 30 years old then, which is really too old for a married man to still live in his parents' house. We'll probably be in a tiny, tiny shack, but it will be our own (albeit rented) kingdom where we're king and queen. I'm scared and excited at the same time.

We bought some stuff for our future home during our recent trip, and I'm already planning on accumulating stuff over the next two years before we settle down (and just stash them in Abet's room for now), things we probably won't prioritize once we start paying rent and bills. I want to start buying pretty plates and glasses, so that on those evenings when we'll just have jolli-jeep takeout for dinner, we'll still be pretty fancy. I made Abet promise that once we're married, our bed will never have less than 350-threadcount sheets, I guess now is the best time to get a few sets (I have very few indulgences and good sheets are one of them). I think I'll start buying luxurious bath towels while I can still afford them. I've always wanted a stick-on clock like Frances has in her home, I want to have one now na. I want an oven, a pretty birdcage for my future Gouldian finches (another thing I made Abet promise to get me--I'm not as demanding as this sounds, I swear), a beautiful Mama Mary statue, bookshelves... Ooooh, I could go on and on!

I hope I'll score some Corelle plates at this sale, it would be a good start.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Batu Caves

Batu Caves is in Gombak district, 13 kilometers north of Kuala Lumpur. These limestone caves is a sacred place for Hindus. Every January, up to 800,000 devotees and spectators gather here for the Thaipusam Festival:

Images above from http://www.malaysiasite.nl/thaipusameng.htm.

To get to the caves, you'd have to climb up 272 steps and get past macaques. A 42.7 meter statue of Lord Murugan, a Hindu deity, stands near the base of the steps.