Archive for August, 2010

31
Aug
10

3 YEARS IN A ROW

Looking at photographs of annual events makes me more reflective on how time flies so fast.  On my son’s photos taken from their preschool’s celebration of Linggo Ng Wika every August, it’s so apparent how he has grown from a cute and chubby boy to a charming little man now.

On August 2008, Gabby who was then a Nursery pupil, was a little Katipunero in their parade.

A year later in his Kindergarten, he appeared like a very young statesman, so dapper in his Barong Tagalog; charming, isn’t he?

And just last week, Tina emailed me the photo that showed how she became resourceful and creatively made used of our old table runners from Baguio City and bought some rooster feathers just to transform Gabby to look like someone from the Northern Philippines. :)

Our son was assigned by his preschool teacher to be the “apo” or looked like a “mumbaki” to me, as the entire Preparatory level was dressed to represent the northern tribes…  Gabby led his group in dancing the lullaby chant of the natives, Salidumay.

For 3 years since he started schooling, this was my very first time to be absent in his activities.  :(

There goes the  little sacrifice of an OFW dad.

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28
Aug
10

PETRONAS TWIN TOWERS

My dearest Tina and Gabby,

It was roughly 4 hours since we got home from Kuala Lumpur as I post this.  We’re all dead tired from going there from our place in Penang via our service bus but everything was worth it; it was such a fruitful day for all of us.

I was immensely mesmerized by the incredible beauty of the Petronas Twin Towers. Standing below those iconic buildings for the very first time was so surreal that I just wished both of you were with me.

Despite the long day, I was silently jumping for joy upon seeing  Malaysia’s pride as world’s tallest buildings before 2004 and what has remained to present the tallest twin buildings.

Suria KLCC 6-level-shopping complex located immediately at the foot of those magnificence houses almost all famous brands. I even saw Harrod’s which was notably high-end English brand with several labels that I only see from broadsheets and magazines.

Good thing was that they’re on clearance sale.  My eyes popped out when I saw G2000 formal jackets were discounted for only RM 99 (PhP 1386) from its original price at RM 600+. But my excitement diminished when I found out that their biggest size was only 52 while I wear 54. :( My fellows got some pairs and I just settled for a purple silk tie.

And so I decided to stroll alone and luckily found myself inside Zara Men at Suria KLCC’s Ampang Mall .  There I found my size; bought 2 formal jackets (they’re new ones, not overruns) for work and got a nett discount of RM 500 (PhP 7000) from their original prices plus I rewarded myself a Zara Men black mailman’s bag which I bought on its regular reasonable price (I’ll tell you my expenses over Skype, ‘ney).

When I was about to pay at the cashier, your voice saying, “Ang mahal nyan ‘ney, kaunting tipid!” rang over my ears or was it my conscience? LOL! :D  In my defense, those items I bought were really work essentials, honey.

My female colleagues went loco over shoes. One even bought eight pairs!  I can’t blame them for such great discounts. I  told myself I’m fortunate blessed because my wife isn’t fond of shopping for bags and shoes like usual females do.

Here are some shots before we entered Suria KLCC…

Dusk falls over Malaysia at around 8 in the evening. Succeeding photos were taken at around half hour past 6PM.

There are a lot of fascinating sights behind Suria KLCC and below Petronas Twin Towers.  We saw an establishment that seemed like a mosque to me…

KLCC Park  has jogging and walking paths, a children’s playground and a dancing fountain similar to that of Bellagio in Las Vegas less the music.

While the senior medical-educators went on their way inside the mall, the younger ones took time to kid around…

Apparently, we’re really happy with the experience.

After doing some shopping, all of us met up at around 10PM and headed for our bus back to Penang. We got home in Butterworth at 4:30AM, Saturday.

God willing, I can bring the 2 of you here one day.  We’ll see.

I’d like to doze off for few hours more before I start my weekend so bye for now;

Take care and I love you both! -tatay-doc.

26
Aug
10

UNDER THE CRESCENT MOON

25 August 2010, Wednesday –My fellow Filipino medical educators and I were honored to attend our very first event in Penang, Malaysia.

As you may know,  they refrain from eating, drinking and sexual relations from dawn to dusk during these times. They practice this for patience, humility and spirituality.

Gathering for the breaking of the fast after sunset is Majlis Berbuka Puasa.

On crossed legs, we sat on the floor in front of each other; there were separate areas for men (lelaki) and women (perempuan).

The event which was in Bahasa focused beyond religion but concern. Videos about inundated Pakistan were shown to raise not only awareness but to plea for help. Donation box was passed on for voluntary contribution.

After they prayed, we feasted on what the’ve served…

Most of us, Pinoy meducationists graced the event wearing our national pride.

with Dr. Ermel, Ronnie and ACMS staff; photo taken by Dr. Lito

With my limited knowledge about their religion and beliefs and our gradual exposure to their culture, I welcome new learnings and experiences with arms wide open.

25
Aug
10

MY MISS UNIVERSE…

Ms. Mexico may have won the title for this year and our very own Ms. Philippines, Maria Venus Raj’s 4th runner up feat and her “major, major” mistake problem has become a trending topic on most social networking sites, nonetheless, she’s still a pinay to be proud of, but for me, my Miss Universe forever is of course my one and only lovely wife, TINA! :)

i love and miss you ‘ney+Gabby! :)

See you+Gabby here in Penang in late October.

*photo by Ariel Javelosa

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What’s your take on our bet, Venus?

22
Aug
10

MY OTHER UNIVERSE

21 August 2010, Saturday – Finally, we moved in to our new home in Penang. :) From our temporary abode somewhere in Kepala Batas for more than 3 weeks, 4 of my male colleagues and I have began rocking a 2-storey-5-bedroom-penthouse at the 4th level of a condominium in Butterworth.

Look at the handsome lobby…

The first floor of this condo boasts of an inviting swimming pool, a gym and a sauna and a quaint Japanese kois pond.  I can’t wait till I bring Tina and Gabby here in late October for a short break, I bet Gabby will enjoy frolicking in the kiddie pool…

The 4 male-medical educators whom I am sharing the place with are my batchmates back in Med school.  Getting along with them isn’t new and far from being difficult. We all have experiences of living in dormitories and appartments during those days that we’re all cramming for exams, medical duties and other school stuffs ergo, living in a condo now in a foreign land is just a step higher from what we’re used to.

It was almost high noon when we transferred our luggages and essentials to our spacious new home.

Here’s a peek at day-1 of our penthouse-living…

The first floor has the dining and living areas, a kitchen and a laundry room. The unit is somewhat fully furnished except for 2 rooms without beds and wardrobes. But we’re not complaining because the fixtures and electric appliances seemed all new and what’s more amazing is the presence of split-type air conditioning  units even in dining and living rooms.

I am grateful to my fellows that they allowed me to occupy the master’s bedroom for I have a kid and wife who’ll be visiting every now and then and who knows, might consider living with me here next year (our contract to this beautiful unit is only for a year but renewable to another one, hence options are open!). The monthly rate is affordable specially when shared at RM 1500 (PhP 21,0000).  I say it’s hard to chance upon a place like this in Manila or possibly else where.

Take a peek at my room…

It’s equipped with Elba split-type a/c, a bath tub, wardrobe, a dresser and a king size chiropractic bed that’s so comfy I had a restful sleep on my first night.

I know you’ll agree to the fact that having a daily good night’s sleep or even a cat nap on a lazy weekend is priceless. So I prioritized to include in my first and few purchases in Penang a set of bedsheets, pair of pillows and a bolster.

My sleeping heaven is still a work in progress; I’ll try to save to buy few more sets of linens. I also want a firmer pillow; I prefer it than those softy ones.

I bought a wooden laptop mini desk with cooling pad in a furniture shop where my friends bought their other fixtures. I haggled it from the friendly Chinese owner from RM 99 to RM 88.  *best when Skyping with Tina+Gabby*

My room opens to its own veranda that’s too perfect for a coffee or reading nook.  Take note that the gorgeous sight of lush greens before the bay across George Town in Penang Island can also be appreciated morning after mornings from my windows.

The view from my veranda…

Almost all houses within the vicinity are outrageously huge and expensive; most are with luxury cars and whatnot.  We were told that the community is mostly of rich Chinese families and Malaysian aviators who report for duty at a nearby air base.

Despite the fact that we’re all boys in the unit, we managed to pull our resources, headed to the grocery and bought foods and stuffs needed for the next days until payday comes.

The boys got so excited in seeing non-Halal section in Jusco Supermarket in Prai City that they hoarded few pieces of raw meat; chicken (possibly for tinola for we got enough of curried and spicy chix at work place), and yes finally, PORK and BEEF!

One of us volunteered to cook (sarap ng luto mo Doc Dante!), another fixed things in place, while I washed the dishes.

FYI, after almost 3 weeks of being OFWs in Penang,  it was only last night that we get to cook our own meal. And guess what we had for our very first dinner after that long and tiring Saturday?

One of Pinoy favorites, PORK ADOBO spruced up with mushrooms and pineapple juice… Sarap! :)

Being in a country that does not patronize eating pork except in few Chinese eateries where grilled liempo is served, eating lean pork meat in soy sauce and vinegar (that’s also hard to find!) is such a big deal for us!

To Drs. Alvin, Carlo, Dante and Ronnie, here’s to more adobo-sessions in our little sanctuary!

19
Aug
10

SENTI

Matamis, kasing-lasa ng pan de coco at coco jam ngunit iba pa rin kung nasa atin ka.

Kahit pala simpleng pan de coco mula sa paniderya sa Pinas ay nakaka-miss kung OFW ka na.

It has been exactly 22 days since my fellow  Pinoy doctor-educators and I left our families, our country and our lives in Manila for work in a medical university in Penang, Malaysia.

Despite the frequent use of Skype, SMS, e-mails and phone calls, we’ve been seriously missing our loved ones and a whole lot of things back home.  We’ve started experiencing the discomfort of being away from places we’re so familiar with, to our daily routine and even simple things like enjoying our common meals.

Being away from our usual lives and getting out of our comfort zones make us more sensitive and sentimental.  I just want to perceive all these as challenges in exchange of a better life for my wife, our son and myself.

Inspite of a more lucrative career and a promising professional and personal growth,  nothing can ever replace the warmth of smiles, kisses and embraces from people who matter to us the most.

Note to self :  Welcome to buhay OFW, docgelo!  Isipin mo na lang, mas malungkot kung hindi ka nabigyan ng ganitong pagkakataon at higit na mahirap ang mawalan ng pera para sa pamilya. Cheer up, you’ve got so many friends & relatives backing you up and a lot of blessings pouring from Lord. :)

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

16
Aug
10

BE INSPIRED IN PENANG ISLAND

15 August 2010, Sunday –After we attended the 8AM Catholic Mass in St. Anne for the second time and indulged in grilled liempo once more in a Chinese restaurant in Bukit Mertajam, my colleagues went home to our temporary villas via our shuttle service bus while I decided to create my own Sunday adventure by exploring some fascinating spots in Penang Island.

I hopped on the Rapid Transit bus line from Kailan to Jetty in Butterworth and enjoyed the joyride for an hour; I also took a 15-minute ferry ride to Penang Island and another bus ride to George Town that brought me to Lorong Burma or Burma Road.

One of the reasons why I visited Penang Island alone was to be inspired by the diversity of cultures and religions.  As my first take, I was so fascinated by the 2 Buddhist temples from 2 different Asian countries located in 1 street.

First stop : Thai Buddhist temple called Wat Chayamangkalaram temple.

Elaborately structured like the other temples I’ve seen, this was built in 1845 by a monk who came from Thailand.

Stunning entrance to the temple…

Lotus candles illuminate the sacred ground…

One of my favorite quotes by Buddha :

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

I like the lotus flower detailed even on the temple’s floor.

Wat Chayamangkalaram temple houses a 33-meter-gold plated image of reclining Buddha.

I’ve read that this image depicts the tranquil state of Buddha as he perceived his death. The serenity that beams on his face reminded me of his enlightenment.

Even his feet reflects humility.

At the back of the statue of reclining Buddha are several other images of him in various positions. On its background are niches with urns of departed devotees.

Second stop : Dhammikarama, a Burmese Buddhist temple  located just across the Wat Chayamangkalaram temple.

Sima Shrine Hall inside this Burmese Buddhist temple has one of the world’s tallest standing Buddha.

My reflection on its enormous size is the thought that regardless of religious beliefs, there is always a higher being who looks upon us.

More statues of the Enlightend One…

After visiting those 2 temples, I got in the public bus again, went to Prangin Mall in Komtar; inquired about some travel tour packages and compared rates.  Since I thought of bringing my wife and kid to Penang for a brief vacation in perhaps 2 months from now, I began to plan and scout for itineraries to maximize their visit. Thankfully, I was not disappointed.

Because I marveled too much at those temples, I only felt I needed to load my tummy when I saw my kid’s favorite fastfood; what else but McDonald’s. :)

Big Mac meal + Strawberry Cornetto McFlurry are such a joy! :)

I just miss enjoying McDo meals with Gabby.

After that hearty late lunch, I hit the roads again and made a quick stop at one of George Town’s famous landmarks.

Queen Victoria’s Clock Tower

It was already 4PM when I got in the ferry again back to Jetty, Butterworth.  I was almost breathless when I ran a few meters just to make it to the 15-minute sea ride; my shoe laces got untied.

Experiencing Penang is such a blessing; I look forward to more wonderful and meaningful days despite the sacrifice of being distant from my family.

“Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.” ~Buddha.

———————<@

PS : There are no entrance fees to these temples and they allow visitors to take photos. Just remember to remove foot wears before entering. While public bus rides via Rapid in Penang cost around RM 1.40 to RM 2.70 (PhP 19.60 to 37.80); roundtrip ferry transfers in Jetty, Butterworth is priced at RM 1.20 (PhP 16.80). There are also FREE bus rides around George Town; be sure to catch those from Jetty when you visit Penang. :)

13
Aug
10

KNOCK, KNOCK!

Doors of opportunities open at a given time, it’s up to us whether we enter or leave.

I wasn’t ambivalent when the chance to work abroad came along about a couple of months back. I am dead sure to do the job that has been my passion despite the sacrifice of leaving my wife and son back home. I strongly believe that if you’ve set your mind and heart on something, the yield is nothing but positive.

On my 15th day of stay in Penang, Malaysia, my cup still overflows with gratitude to everyone who have contributed in bringing me to where I am now. I am only at the foot of the so-called mountain-to-climb but I feel so fortunate for each day has been a blessing.

Everything would not be possible if the entire universe did not conspire. To my family, closest friends and their relatives, to the people who brought me to this work in this medical university, I am and will forever be thankful.

I am sharing with you the simple words I’ve emailed to my employers this morning with the hope to infect you with gratitude.

Greetings!

I’d like to express my sincerest gratitude for giving me a chance to work with other Filipino Medical educators, and be a part of whom you called the school’s Meducationists. Rest assured, Sir, that I will contribute to the growth of the medical school and its people with the best of my abilities.

Thank you too, for facilitating our accomodation and making us feel so welcome in Penang.

I take pride in being a part of our institution.

Sincerely,
docgelo

13
Aug
10

LAST MOVIE I SAW IN MANILA

I watched Inception in Greenbelt 1, Makati City with Tina and Gabby (yes, even our preschooler son joined us in seeing this film; seemed like he liked it too!) last 28 July 2010, the day before I left for Penang, Malaysia for work.

I don’t know about you but I think it’s one of the most intelligently crafted and well-written stories for movies. It was talkie but never boring, digital effects was at its finest, the plot and the ending were both unpredictable;  a brilliant one for me.

Have you seen Inception?  What’s your take on this movie?

——————————–

My fellow Pinoy Medical Educators here saw Inception last weekend in Jusco Mall, Queensbay, Penang Island while I roamed around for a little shopping for essentials. Movie ticket cost RM 10 (PhP 140), almost similar to the price in Manila (but everything here, particularly cost of living is much affordable than home).

13
Aug
10

SOME THINGS I MISS

Before I left Manila for long-term work in Penang, I savored not only my family but the company of old and new friends. My family and I were treated a lot of times to restaurants with dishes that I have been missing. Here are couple of those dinner dates we enjoyed.

GUMBO, SM Mall of Asia, 23July2010, Friday.

This dinner at Gumbo courtesy of my great friend, Rob of Sensory Replays was shared with 2 other cheerful blog mates, Chyng of No Spam, No Virus, No Kidding! and Dyan of Princess Dyanie. (Photos below taken using Dyan’s cam. Note to self: I should work hard, settle what needs to settle and buy myself a DSLR, LOL).

Thanks Rob, Dyan & Chyng! How are you, guys? Kain tayo ulit sa Pasko pag uwi ko; or you may come to Penang and I’ll show you around; KKB (dutch treat) nga lang, LOL!

Next Eat-Out THE NEXT DAY: FISH and COMPANY, Shangri La Plaza with best friends, Rob and LG, my wife Tina and our son Gabby.

Fish and Company yummies :

Despite the fact that I am gradually embracing the spicy and other flavorful and fascinating dishes in Penang, still nothing beats savoring gastronomic delights in the company of your loved ones.

I  miss foods in Pinas, most of all, I miss my family so much.

Thank you Skype, you melt my homesickness away. :)

I love you honey and Gabby!


09
Aug
10

MY 2ND SUNDAY IN PENANG

Guess where my favorite Gola sneakers took me this Sunday morning?

on a ferry ride from butterworth, jetty to george town in penang island, RM 1.20 roundtrip.

We started the day at around 7:30AM by riding the college shuttle service bus along with some of  our International pre-medical students who are also members of the Catholic faith in a 30 minute ride to St. Anne’s Church in Bukit Mertajam, Penang Malaysia.

The church is beautifully located at the foot of a mountain thus, lush greens serve as its backdrop.

It’s so comforting that we now know the place of our Catholic community in a predominantly Muslim and Hindu country. One of my colleagues even found her Iglesia Ni Cristo church here.

After we heard our first ever Holy Mass in Malaysia, our service bus driver took us to a Chinese restaurant where they serve PORK!

After our 9 days of chicken, nasi lemak, and mee goreng, it’s was indeed an excitement for us to see this stall serving pork in a Halal community. For only RM 4 (PhP 56) per plate with rice, we have another reason to wake up early every Sunday morning other than to hear mass.

A  set of lechon kawali with asado sauce, rice and cold milo all for RM 6.50 (PhP 91).

Pork craving satisfied! :) Looking forward to next Sunday! :)

Our service bus took us back to the station in Kepala Batas then we headed off to Penang Island via public bus.  We took a bus for only RM 2.40 (PhP 33.60) from Kailan, Kepala Batas to Jetty in Butterworth where we had a 15-minute ferry ride to George Town.

We could have opted to ride the cab (teksi in Bahasa) from our place to Penang Island crossing the longest Malaysian bridge that serves as one of the landmarks of Penang, but it would cost us RM 35 and up; besides, riding a ferry in Penang isn’t that bad; it’s not congested and properly operated; it’s like our local RORO (roll in-roll out) back home where vehicles and people alight the vessel.

We arrived in George Town in Penang Island few minutes past 1PM. We took another ride via Rapid public bus to Queensbay where Jusco Mall, one of the largest malls in Penang was waiting for us to shop.

Can you resist a month-long storewide 50 to 70% SALE ON ALMOST ALL ITEMS? Teach me how! :)

Since we’re scheduled to move in to our permanent accomodation within the next few weeks, I prioritized buying some necessities like pillow, boltser, bedsheets for my queen-sized bed, some chips to nibble etc.

I bought 2 sets of bedsheets, one Nouvelle 250 thread count for only RM 29 (406) inclusive of queen-sized fitted sheet, 2 pillow and 1 bolster cases and a 330 thread count Momoji linen set originally priced at RM 149 down to RM 29.8. Now that’s a good buy or what?!

My colleagues and I cannot wait for the 30th of the month to have our first earned-Ringgit. It’s definite that after we send our remittances to our loved ones back home, we’ll surely buy more essentials for our new homes.

After eating Nasi Lemak, Nasi Goreng, Mee Goreng and other spicy Malaysian and Indian dishes, Sunday was a time for me to give in to my simple indulgence.

If you’ve been reading this blog for quite some time now, you’re surely familiar with my love affair with sushi. Imagine my smile from ear to ear when I saw a huge stall in Jusco Mall foodcourt that sells cheap but delightful sushi; didn’t think twice and bought one set for RM 8.80 (PhP 123.20).

It’s comparable to the authentic ones I’ve tasted in TOKYO last March.

Unagi set I had the last time we went to Jusco Mall, RM 11.80 (PhP 165.20).

Several hours of walks inside Jusco mall while my fellow medical educators were  watching movies for RM 10 (PhP 140), I found another craving…

AIS KACANG, their version of our local halo-halo, I enjoyed for RM 3.70 (PhP 51.80).

Although, ice was finely shaved, I like our halo-halo more because this has more nuts that sweets. I miss leche flan, ube jam, rice crispies in our halo-halo.

Final sweet temptation I had that day was a peach-mango flavored frozen swirl yogurt topped with almond flakes from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf; this one’s a bit pricey at RM 11.90 (PhP 166.60).

I may have been a glutton again yesterday but that’s because I made my taste buds ready for another spicy week ahead.

Now I’m missing my family again as I remember we usually go to church every Sunday and eat out together. Thanks to Skype for melting my homesickness away.

How’s your weekend?

Enjoy the rest of the week. God bless, everyone! :)

06
Aug
10

THE WEEK THAT WAS

I came to Penang from Manila via Kuala Lumpur exactly a week ago with 18 other Pinoy doctors to work as a lecturer in a huge medical college here.  Most of them are my batchmates from med school;  including one of our former professors and the others are medical consultants from all over the Philippines whom I met only on the flight.  Eight more physicians will be coming in next week  to join our teaching force with the hope that we can blend well with our foreign counterparts from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Canada, Australia, Myanmar and Malaysia.

Thank God my first week in Penang as an OFW has not been dreadful.  I didn’t set any great expectations but to earn and save for Tina and Gabby thus I am not disappointed yet.  It has been so far so good.

Here are some decisions I’ve made and some things I encountered and experienced in my first week here that I’d like to share.

1. Initially, I planned to bring Tina and Gabby here after a month or two because they ‘re eligible to have “calling visas” as my dependents.  I was told that Tina can also work here if she finds an opportunity. However, after a few days of touring the city and going to 3 International Primary Schools in Penang mainland and Penang Island, I found out with the rest of my colleagues who are married with kids, who also plan to do the same,  that the cost of private education here soars to the heavens.

Schooling in Penang is like in the western countries, it’s trisemester; they open September, January and April and ends in July. Facilities, staff and environment-wise, almost everything is at its finest except the fees.  Since Gabby’s age falls on their Year 1 level, I will be required to pay a term fee of RM 3500 (PhP 49,000) and another  term advance fee if he enters  IS here.  Plus, there are admission and registration fees amounting to RM1500 that should be settled upon enrolment. All in all, the cost per term enrollment is RM 8500 (PhP 119,000 or USD 2587), then add another 2 term fees to complete a school year making a grand total of PhP 217, 000 for Year 1 alone and fees escalate per level of course! Is that logical for grade 1? Granting that my minimal salary can afford it, isn’t it still too much for a primary education?

It’s not that I and my wife would like to deprive our preschool son of the best education but we’re just being practical. After all, it is because of my son’s future that I am here abroad.  By thinking so, we decided that Gabby will just continue his schooling as a prep student back home with my wife’s guidance.  I will just find means to bring them here for a week-long vacation whenever our schedules permit ;  perhaps either  before Gabby’s birthday on the first week of October or at the end of the same month during their semestral  break. This will give them a chance to experience life in Penang and probably if God wills it, I may enroll Gabby here on September next year, still depending on how we test the waters.  Another option is for me to go home on Christmas for the holidays.

2.  Penang is a beautiful city. The mainland boasts of colleges, industrial areas, freeways and countryside, while Penang Island cradles George Town, Malaysia’s own UNESCO World Heritage City.

A glimpse of George Town in Penang Island; it's Malaysia's own UNESCO World Heritage City. See you every weekend, George Town and Gurney Drive!

After George Town, we went to Gurney Drive where upscale hotels and hawkers meet before their glorious bay area.

One would take an hour or so to fly to Singapore or Thailand or other Asian countries from Penang.  Travel is more accessible now rather than a luxury because of availability of cheap airfares from low-cost carriers.

Would you believe that an overnight stay on a cruise ship that departs from Penang Island costs only RM100 (PhP 1400) ?  I can’t wait to experience it hopefully soon.

3.  I embrace being in a multicultural community. I’ve travelled a few times but it wasn’t this long that I’ve been breathing same air with other nationalities, colors, cultures and religions.

There are Chinese and other Asians, Indians, Pakistanis, a few Caucassians and others that peacefully thrive in Malaysian soil.

4. Food in Penang came from diverse communities too.  Mild to moderate spicy foods predominate the choices that are very apparent in halal dishes.  I don’t have a choice but to enjoy every bite.  What’s best with it, food is so affordable here that one can buy a Nasi Lemak for only RM 1 (PhP 14). How I wish the same scenario is true in the Philippines.

Chicken Tandoori with Cheese Naan from Kapitan's Nasi Kandar International located at Gurney Drive, Penang Island. SARAP! So affordable at RM8.50 (PhP 119).

5.  Buhay-OFW is totally new to me. Every minute has been nothing but a mixture of homesickness and  wonderful experiences.   I just pause and think the reason for my being here; then when the faces of my child and his mom flash on my mind, everything seems surreal.

To quote my fellow doctor here, “for OFWs, sacrifice is synonymous to remittance.”

04
Aug
10

I MISS ADOBO

It has only been 5 days since I left Manila to work as a medical lecturer here in Penang, Malaysia but I miss Pinoy food so much. Although my palate has welcomed spicy and flavorful foods from Malaysia, still nothing beats Pinoy dishes of course.

Here are some of my gastronomic adventures to date.

SEAFOOD FRIED RICE, RM 6.5 (PhP 91).

SIZZLING CHICKEN BLACK PEPPER RICE, RM 6.5 (PhP 91).

KFC in Pinas tastes a lot better than in Penang :(  But I like the Chicken rice (similar to what you have in Hainanese Chicken).  This set cost me RM 11.50 (PhP 161) including that Milo Chocolate Ice Cream that fell bland on my taste.

There were 2 nights that we enjoyed simple dinner in Gurney Drive and Kepala Batas where hawkers predominate those places; we chow down foods that we’re not-so-hygienic despite the authentic good tastes.

I guess it takes guts and will power to savor these street foods. *Pikit-mata muna sa Hepatitis A and Gastroenteritis. (note: those 2 dinner were not eventful health-wise, Thank God!).


So far, I like MEE GORENG, CHICKEN & SEAFOOD BALLS, CHAR KEOW TEOW, BEEF KEBAB, NASI LEMAK, CHICKEN SATAY.  It’s always exciting to taste new gastronomic stimuli; can’t wait to experience the other dishes.

At George Town, one of the UNESCO World Heritage City, we had lunch at a cheap Chinese restaurant where I had YONG TAU FU, a soup based dish similar to Shabu-Shabu.

I had this YONG TAU FU for RM 11.50 (PhP 161) price inclusive of a cold glass of watermelon juice.

To balance the spice, desserts are a must.  One time, my friends and I went to a mall near Queensbay and we indulge in cakes from Secret Recipe. Food from their menu are better than the ones in Manila however, service is otherwise.  On top of our bill, we were also charged with RM 0.5 (PhP 7) for a glass of tap water, plus service charge and tax. Nonetheless, the cakes are to die-for.

CHOCOLATE INDULGENCE, RM 6.5 (PhP 91).

BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE, RM 6.5 (PhP 91)

Food, grocery items, veggies, seafood and other commodities are so affordable in Penang compared to Philippines but like most Pinoy abroad would feel, I certainly miss our very own dishes savored with the presence of our family in the comforts of our very own home. :)

02
Aug
10

HOMESICKNESS KICKS IN

01 August 2010 -Sunday– It was a long day with my colleagues; we were guided on how to go in and out of our work place via Malaysian public transpo : bus, ferry and cab.  From the main land, we went to Penang Island and explored a bit of  their malls, hotels, public markets and the bay area. We ate dinner at hawkers in Gurney Drive then came home to our temporary villas dead tired but nonetheless happy.

When I checked my emails, I first read my wife’s.  It has attachments that made me miss them more– photos recently taken in Tagaytay City the morning after I left the country. My wife and our kid together with my in-laws were brought there by our relatives. It was the very first major homesickness I felt. I cannot help but think that it could have been more fun if I was with them on those moments.

Would you not miss your son if you’re abroad and he tries the zip line even if it was for photo op only?

Gabby’s facial expression looked so real; artistahin? :)

from L to R : bro-in-law, Tina and Gabby, aunt & mom-in-law, Tagaytay City

Although I constantly communicate with them via SMS, calls, emails, and Skype, nothing beats being with them personally.

I miss them so much.  :(

LOVE KO 'TO!

I love you, Tina & Gabby! :)

*all photos in this post were taken by our uncle lou. thanks!

01
Aug
10

QUICK POST : REQUEST FROM DOCGELO

Kindly go to this link–> 2010 PEBA (Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards) and tick nominee #9 Beyond Toxicity from Malaysia (ehem, that’s my blog). THANKS! May 10% popularity criterion po kasi e.  Finals on November.  Maraming Salamat po! LET’S DO THIS! :) God bless everyone.

here’s my simple entry to 2010 PEBA –> In Pursuit of a Better Life




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TOKYO 2010

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