Archive for October, 2010

31
Oct
10

AND I AM HOMESICK AGAIN!

With only PhP 250-worth of facepaint and a taxi-cab-fare, my wife and our kid enjoyed trick or treating in TriNoma Mall in Quezon City this afternoon. And of course, my OFW self  became homesick again! :(

Can you blame me for missing them so much on fun moments like this?

Look how my talented wife, transformed Gabby into a TIGER CHEF in this year’s Halloween…

nice, ano?

via skype : “honey, napagkamalang halloween display si gabby sa triNoma sa ganda ng facepaint na ginawa ko; dami nagpapicture sa kanya when we’re trick or treating kanina.” …*imissmyfamily!*

I miss sharing plates with my son! Anak, sarap ba ng pizza+macchiato frap?

I also miss those food places in Manila.. Gelatissimo (mayroon din dito sa Penang but it aint yummy without you!),

I miss CIBO! It’s one of our favorites!  :)

FORTY ONE DAYS left and we’ll be together for your holiday vacation here in my work place in Penang.

I love you, honey+Gabby! See you soon…

28
Oct
10

VOTE DOCGELO, NOW NA!

My dearest blog buddies,

Do you believe in the cause of Overseas Filipino Workers?

Do you trust the fact that OFWs and expats’ sacrifice is all for their families?

Do you care to support me in Pinoy Expats Blog Awards (PEBA) International Photo Contest (open for amateur photographers, expats/OFWs/bloggers and non-bloggers) ?

If you do, then follow these steps :

1. Click the photo below (my entry to the contest) which will link you to the PEBA fb site.

2. Click LIKE in the PEBA site.

3. Look for my photo entry in the PEBA site and click LIKE. Comments are so appreciated.

I need tons of VOTES, people! :)

TERIMA KASIH (thank you!) from Penang, Malaysia!

you LIKE, it don't you? he he he

Photographer : Angelo Nino M. Santos, MD
Location: Penang, Malaysia
Profession/Job: Medical Lecturer
Interpretations/Short Explanation: Reason For My Being OFW : To Restart & Rebuild My Family In His Time.

27
Oct
10

TRICK OR TREAT 2010

One of the agonies of an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) like me is being physically absent in those moments that are supposed to be shared with the entire family.
But thanks to modern technology, those memories can reach you in a blink.

my 6-year-old son, Gabby is second from right, geared up as a scarecrow

This morning, my loving wifey, Tina immediately posted photos of our kid, Gabby in her facebook account. The pictures were taken from Gabby’s preschool Halloween Party.

She told me that they woke up at 5 in the morning, set up Gabby’s make up and dressed him up to the part for the 8AM kiddie party.

so there were ninja, pocahontas, glam girl, Gabby as scarecrow and lady vampire at Twinkle Toes Academy Inc. preschool Halloween Party 2010

And guess who won MOST CREATIVE HALLOWEEN COSTUME AWARD?

PANALO !!! Gabby with his preschool teachers, Teacher Ofie (Nursery) and Teacher Janet (Prep); not in photo Teacher Claire (Kinder)

Of course, GABBY!  He’s been winning it for 2 years in a row!

Last year, he was the coolest Ninja…

Even Mr. Edu Manzano commented, “You look good!” 3x when we spotted him at Greenbelt 5 last year.

Can’t blame the guy; my son’s really cute, right? he he he :D

Way to go, Tina+Gabby!

Victory Party at 711? LOL!

I love you so much! Miss you!

See you in a month and half time here in Penang!

25
Oct
10

UNUSUAL DINING AT T.BOWL

Back in 1997 when we were still on our first year in Med school, we did cadaver-dissection in our Gross Anatomy laboratory per group.  More or less 10 medical students were assigned to one specimen to study each systems beginning with Integumentary or skin down to the skeletal; that means, from removal of the skin, each muscle, each nerve, each blood vessel wasn’t left unnoticed.

We went through the course without feeling disgusted about the requisites. We even developed tolerance to sneak in and eat sandwiches, chips or anything to munch even in front of our laboratory tables amidst the strong scent of formalin. I didn’t remember feeling nauseated; it was like nothing for us compared to the gut of an ordinary individual.

If having few bites in Anatomy laboratory wasn’t an issue for us then, eating inside a toilet-themed restaurant seems nothing but fun. 

Dining for some is such a sacred thing. But for others, it can be a whole lot of adventure.

I have not explored eating exotic foods yet and have no intentions of doing so in the near future. For now, my friends and I have tried eating at concept restaurants available here in Penang that serve nothing beyond I cannot eat.

Few weeks ago, we enjoyed Clinic Cafe, and just last Saturday, we tried T.Bowl for lunch…

My lunch last Saturday :

Would you dunk your spoon and fork on a cheesy chicken chop rice served on a miniature toilet bowl? I did! :)

Some may find it so weird, but that’s precisely the theme of this food place.  The ambiance may be unusual but the food certainly delights the palate. Sarap! :)

Because we usually crave for pork dishes (in a predominantly Halal community), my 2 friends (Drs. Alvin & Ronnie) ordered plates with what else but pork…

CHINESE MAMBO PORK RICE (RM 11.90+ /PhP 166.60)

JI LIE PORK CHOP SALAD (RM 7.90 /PhP 110.60).  Oh yes, instead of the usual croutons, there were those equally crunchy pork chop cubes, sinfully d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s! :)

While we all shared DEEP FRIED DUMPLING (RM 5.90 / PhP 82.60).

And for dessert, docAlvin tried T.Bowl’s MANGO SAGO (RM 5.50 /PhP 77) served on a mini bath tub. :)

The mango slices weren’t that sweet as Philippine mangoes. :(

When we asked for iced water to wash down, they served them on unique ceramic glasses…

And I almost forgot to show you the ambiance…

We didn’t sit on toilet bowls but on these benches with backrest, adjacent on the shower area. :)

All in all, food was nice, the place is quite a must-try for curious diners like us.

Question now is, would you dare eat in a toilet resto like this ?

—————————–o

T.Bowl, Queensbay Mall, Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.

24
Oct
10

MUCH ADO ABOUT SATURDAY

23 October 2010. Saturday–With my backpack and few gadgets in tow, my 2 friends and I occupied different tables to plug in our laptops and availed of free wifi at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at Queensbay Mall.

Been lazy the whole afternoon downloading movies, some TV series and CD-albums from a website; watched few episodes of CSI : Miami series which I copied to my external drive from a friend’s downloaded goodies;  sipped CBTL’s Iced Double Chocolate, wished to be intoxicated with Cafe Americano+Fruity Yogurt Swirl (a steal combo at RM 12.50/PhP 175; all in!) but was delighted instead, ha ha! :)

I also had my haircut done via a vendo-barbershop for the first time (last time was from a different salon) at the basement of the said mall; I mean I paid RM 15 for the 10 minute haircut on the shop’s vendo machine, queued for 20 minutes and handed in the numbered card to the hairstylist who barely speaks English. How great was that? Luckily, she didn’t ‘murdered’ my locks, ha ha ha! :)

Bought some non-halal yummies (read : few grams of baby back bacon, minced pork) for baon at work next week.

This going-to-the-mall/s-@-the-Island-almost-every-weekend has become a habit that’s hard to break. You cannot blame someone who’s trying to relax from work and forget homesickness for a while, can you?  *defensive*

Yesterday we enjoyed a bit; for today I’ll be busy ironing clothes and doing little chores :(

Ugh, the agony of an OFW! …I’m not complaining though.

What’s your typical weekend like ?

Happy Sunday, everyone!  :)  Have a blessed new week!

:) PS : We had our d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s lunch at another affordable themed restaurant that deserves a separate post.  After that unique experience at  Clinic Cafe, do you have any hint what concept restaurant we tried yesterday? …abangan!

23
Oct
10

ON MY 86TH DAY

It has been nearly 3 months since I’ve left Pinas for work here in Penang and I can say that I have adjusted already;  hmm, well, almost. :)

I have embraced the fact of being exposed to diversity of cultures, religions, colors, foods, public transpo (including taking a 15-min ferry ride just to enjoy weekend at the Island) and to anything you can think of.

There are a bit unexpected hassles in between but what matters most to me are the things to be grateful for.

I’d like to say Terima Kasih / Thank You / Maraming Salamat  to :

  • my employers who have been so warm and humble in welcoming us to their office and to their community.  We’re blessed to work with the most approachable, down-to-earth and goal-and-people-oriented bosses. :)
  • my Filipino colleagues : the 23 other MD-lecturers who continuously and tirelessly exert efforts in trying to lighten up our daily moods amidst our individual homesickness, personal concerns and other issues. I am so fortunate to have met all of you and it’s indeed a great pleasure to be working with you.  Special thanks goes out to my 4 housemates –docAlvin, docCarlo, docDante and docRonnie; you guys have been naughty and nice! he he he… :)
  • our PreMed and Med students who mostly are government scholars; may your dreams of becoming physicians someday come true with your dedication to your studies. :)
  • to the lady who facilitated things for us from the day we got interviewed in Makati to orienting us to bits and pieces about Penang, our work site and whatnot, you know who you are--Maraming Salamat! :)
  • and of course to my loving wife, Tina and our bundle of joy, Gabby, Thank you so much for everything. I know it isn’t easy raising Gabby alone despite my remittances, but honey, you’ve been doing a great job too for our family. I miss you+Gabby, ILOVEYOUSOMUCH! See you here in Penang on December 11.
  • to the few readers of this blog who have been following my adventures from Manila to Penang, thank you po!
  • All glory and praises to our Lord and Savior, we cannot thank You enough!  We love You so. :)

What are you grateful for this weekend?

Have a blessed new week, everyone! :)

———————————o

19
Oct
10

UNTHINKABLE

These strawberries were completely clueless of their fate.

They didn’t have any idea whether they will be eaten wholly, bit by bit, crushed, blended, mashed, or juiced.

Alas, I forgo with the whipped cream and dunked a pair in my oatmeal+condensed milk.

Apparently, no one is certain in this so called life.

Every single thing we do has risks.

Either we go for it or we don’t.

Truth is, life is indeed a gamble.

We wouldn’t know best until we take a great leap.

————————————0

 

 

 

 

18
Oct
10

SINFUL DINNER AT TGIF’S, PENANG

Last Saturday, my housemates and I trooped once more to the Island to unwind, forget homesickness and kill time as usual. We watched an action-comedy flick, The Other Guys, did little shopping after and filled in our tummies with yummies for dinner.

There was no other choice but to sample T.G.I.F branch in Queensbay Mall, Penang Island; if it fairs with TGIFs Manila, food and service-wise.

On our table…

doc Carlo’s lamb chops…

doc Alvin’s Jack Daniel’s hamburger…

doc Ronnie’s Shrimp Diablo pasta…

and my Saturday plate : Jack Daniel’s Chicken…

Inspite of the fun company being with my colleagues here, still I can’t help but to be homesick as I recall our fond TGIF-family moments at TriNoma and Glorietta branches back home…

With special occasions to celebrate or just ordinary days, dining in TGIF’s is always a hit!

Food was as expected, deliciously standard as what we have in Manila but service back home is more welcoming, warm and nice.

PS :  I have a confession to make.

Since we know that TGIF gives freebie to diner who celebrates his/her birthday, I told the wait staff that it was Alvin’s big day that day so she came back with a delightful plate of peanut butter fudge cake. But unlike in Manila branches where Happy Birthday song is usually sang with dance steps and the works, there was none in Penang.

Truth is, my friend’s birthday wasn’t last Saturday but 2 months from now.

I know it’s BAD!

It’s SINFUL!

Forgive me, Lord! *liar, liar!*

It was my first time to do it and will try my best not to repeat it again, so help me God!  *guilty*

But the cake was really sublime, a perfect ending to a sumptuous weekend dinner.

Good thing, we didn’t have gastroenteritis after that white lie. Don’t do it at home or anywhere else, kids!

BTW, how was your weekend?

—————————————–o

17
Oct
10

PIECE OF CAKE

Don’t you wish life would be like a piece of cake?

I don’t.  Honestly, I appreciate few difficulties, sad moments and bit of daily hassles not because I am pessimistic and masochistic, hell no! ha ha! :)  but like you, I know these things make us stronger and better persons.  Do we have the same perception?

Whatever you think, that chocolate cake made my afternoon last week. However, sweeter thing than that plate was the fact that I scored a 50% off promo airfares from MNL-KUL for Tina+Gabby from Cebu Pacific for my family’s 2 week-break here in Penang from second week of December to a day after Christmas.

Imagine, I only paid PhP 11,304.64 for their 2 roundtrip tickets; inclusive of 2-way seat-reservations and travelsure insurance; all in!  It may not be a better deal  than “piso fare” but I felt so lucky to availed it for them.

If the entire universe will conspire, I plan to go home with them after their 2-week-stay here for me to pig-out on lechon, excelente ham, keso de bola, kare-kare, pan de sal, tocino, longganisa, binagoonga, bibingka, puto-bumbong etc. spend New Year in Pinas.

I’ll make sure it’ll be a happier yuletide for all of us.  Now, I only wish we have a FFW button to press to pull the days to December; I’ll definitely do it in a heartbeat.

Enjoy the new week, everyone!

God bless us more.

———————————————–o

14
Oct
10

DO YOU DIG FERRARI?

OK, I have to admit that for few minutes last Sunday morning, my world ceased revolving as my entire attention was focused only on that prancing horse logo.

Never had I’ve seen several Ferrari cars parked on a mall and a hotel before; there were at least 30 of them according to the event’s poster on the mall but we’re still lucky to see 4 at Plaza Gurney’s facade and another few near the lobby of a hotel in Batu Ferringhi here in Penang Island.  There was a festival to promote this drool-worthy sports cars.

With aura of luxury and boasting of elegance and style, this Italian car never fails to fascinate people from all walks of life.  Agree?

Now, can anyone educate me about Ferrari ? How much a unit costs so I can start saving now ?

….for a ferrari matchbox that is, he he he! :)

13
Oct
10

LAST SATURDAY

09 October 2010 –My friends/housemates and I decided to create another weekend adventure.

If you’re a follower of this blog, you probably know our route from Penang Mainland to Island, right?

If not, let me refresh you :  From our penthouse in Butterworth, we’d usually hopped on a public bus called Rapid Penang and take a 5 min-ride to Jetty, ride a 15-minute-ride via ferry to reach the bus station in George Town, Penang Island.

Cost of the trip is cheap (our place in Butterworth to Jetty = RM 2 (PhP 14);  roundtrip ferry ride  RM 1.20 = PhP 16.80 and we’re free on bus rides, well, not actually but we already purchased an RM 80-ride-all-you-want-for-a-month pass few weeks ago).

Another 45 minute ride via Rapid bus and finally we reached our destination. Luckily for us, Rapid buses provide free wifi (don’t you wish to have this in Manila too?) and one of my buddies have access to GPS via google maps on his mobile (make that mobiles, he has 3 smart phones and lotsa other tech gadgets!) so despite the fact that we’re clueless of the place, we’re guided by directions, cool eh?

After checking in at a backpacker’s hotel, we left our bags and trooped to Plaza Gurney again to unwind. We headed directly to the 7th level of the mall to buy movie tickets for the 7:30PM screening before having early dinner at CLINIC CAFE.

To forget all our anxieties, homesickness and whatnot, we opted to watch a comedy that made me laugh so hard from beginning to end.

Have you seen Dinner for Schmucks?  It almost felt I inhaled nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas) the whole time we’re inside the cinema. :D

It was almost close to midnight when we arrived at our hotel which wasn’t as remarkable and as comfortable as Tune Hotels in George Town where we stayed a couple of weeks ago.

Oh and did I already tell you we slept few meters from BATU FERRINGHI?—>It’s a beach area in Penang Island where a lot of large hotels, restaurants, night market and souvenir stores are located. But did it impress me?  Read on…

Wish this was our hotel but it wasn’t, he  he :)

Some of our senior colleagues who first visited this beach mentioned only little praises about it. I cannot blame them. I and my friends were also bit disappointed with the shoreline, the waters and practically everything about Batu Ferringhi. :(

We woke up Sunday morning with eagerness and zest to walk on the beach, watch the sunrise and just stay lazy but we did not even spend more than 20 minutes; expectations failed, sorry.

It was exactly a year after Tina, Gabby and I savored Boracay Island so Batu Ferringhi truly suffered comparison to our local paradise back home.

Just look at the dirty waters on this beach; I’m sorry but Penang authorities have a lot of maintenance to do to at least fair with the crystal turquoise waters and pristine sands of Boracay or relaxing beach resorts in Cavite or Batangas at least…

We didn’t want to spoil the entire Sunday morning, so we rode the bus again and found our way to this restaurant with fascinating name.

We were just early and it was still closed when we arrived there; we failed to sample how it feels like to eat seafoods at the end of the world! :)

One of my friends suggested for us to continue our joy ride up to Balik Pulau; a small town at the other side of the mountains of Penang Island.

Don’t ask me if we enjoyed our morning trip. I slept through our 3-hour-bus ride en route from Batu Ferringhi to Balik Pulau to Komtar in George Town and back to Batu Ferringhi again to check out from our hotel.

What saved my Sunday morning was the fun of being with friends and the fact that we set aside our worries and stress the past week even for few hours.

See you on our next adventures!

———————-o

11
Oct
10

CLINIC CAFE

My ever dearest Tina,

Of course, you’re the first whom I thought of when we saw and decided to dine at Clinic Cafe in Plaza Gurney last Saturday. I certainly know you’d like this themed restaurant too. My friends here and I are now planning to put up similar food place in Manila if given a chance to save for its capital.

Honey, being an Operating Room Nurse that you are, I know you’ll like the OR lights for the dining table, he he he. But seriously, I know too that you’ll be amaze with the bay view outside the resto.  I’d like to take you and Gabby here when I find time and means to bring you here; but with how things are going now, question is, when? hmmm…

I know some people might feel different with the entire concept particularly those who are not in our same playing field, but if Malaysian diners loved it and the non-medical businessman-owner had his risks in introducing Clinic Cafe to Penang market (so far they only have two branches at the moment; one in Plaza Gurney in Penang Island and the other is near Sunway Carnival Mall in Butterworth) I think it would be a nice idea if we bring the same themed resto to Manila or at least take some inspiration from it. *wishful thinking*

The doctors in us were like kids fascinated at those wheel chairs and hospital-ward-like areas that provide an entirely unique ambience and totally amazing dining experience.

Would you dare eat your fried rice and crispy prawns on a kidney basin? Or drink iced lemon tea and cold water from an Erlenmeyer flasks ? Cute ‘no?

The food and drinks were not only affordable but indeed a must-try! Yummy! :)

Caesar’s salad…

Chicken cutlet with ketchup on a syringe! :)

Non-spicy chicken wings…

Twas a nice early Saturday dinner for all of us!

How I wish we already have the budget to bring the dream resto to life, hahaha!

So do you think it’ll be a hit in Manila?

Oh you know how Pinoys can be so meticulous and choosy when it comes to food and dining; but the sure thing is, since we’re all foodies in the medical field, everything will be served delicious and sterile, he he he…

I love you, ‘ney! Give Gabby hugs and kisses for me. :)

—————0

Here’s there fb account –> Clinic Cafe

08
Oct
10

RECESS LESS ORDINARY

It’s a running joke for most of my age that whenever ask about favorite subject in school, one would easily consider recess and not any other academic.  I can’t blame them; most of us during our younger years really anticipated for food breaks, didn’t you? :)

In my son’s preschool, it has been a mutual decision between parents and teachers for kids to celebrate their birthdays with their classmates during their 30-minute recess.  It makes their birthdays memorable when fun is shared within the classroom. So when there’s a school party, there’s always more to look forward to recess!

When Gabby started schooling more than 3 years ago, I have been religiously involved in preparation of his birthday but this year’s different. Because I am presently here in Penang, the responsibility was left only to Tina. Despite the fact I have sent my remittance a week before his birthday, I felt so guilty being physically absent on one of my son’s happy moments. :(

My homesickness heightened when I received the photos from Tina. Oh well, the agony of an ordinary expat…

Here’s the birthday boy with his dutiful Preparatory teacher, Ms. Janet…

I asked Tina to buy him a shirt at TriNoma Mall; I was expecting Gabby will pick something bright yellow for it’s his favorite color but he has other preference now…sign of a growth and development?

Goldilocks doesn’t disappoint…

Weeks before this occasion, I asked Tina to compare kiddie birthday packages of common fast foods but she opted to go with our usual tradition every Gabby’s big day –home cooked yummies.  So there were the usual macaroni cooked ala spaghetti in tomato sauce + lotsa cheese, breaded chicken fingers+cheese powder and juices in tetra packs, solb! :)

Thanks to my budget-conscious, ever efficient and loving wife, our son’s teacher and his classmates, the birthday party in school last October 5th brought another widest smile to our dearest, Gabby.

Make good in school not only in recess, anak, OK? :)

I love you, Gabby! :)

Give your mom a long embrace and sweetest kisses for me…

——————————————0

05
Oct
10

OUR BREAKFAST AT OLD TOWN

02 October 2010, Saturday –After our overnight stay in Penang Island via a short but restful sleep at Tune Hotels in Burma Road, 2 of my friends and I checked out at around 10AM and walked toward New World Plaza which is a stone-throw away. It was a hands-down decision to try and eat breakfast at OLD TOWN...

My wife knows how breakfast is so important to me. I cannot function fully when my stomach is empty. I need power breakfast or at least a warm cup of coffee. And so when my 2 housemate-colleague-friends and I headed to Old Town, I was silently jumping for joy like a kid for finally, I’ll get to try their goodies.

I ordered ROTI KUKUS KAYA and MENTEGA or

KAYA and BUTTER STEAMED BREAD, RM 4.20 (PhP 58.80)

Other than dimsum and dumplings, I haven’t eaten other stuffs direct from a steaming basket, have you?  This makes this bread fascinating; they’re one of the softest and a sure must-try when you’re in the region.  The combination of kaya (that tastes like mildly sweet coco-jam) and butter is just perfect.

As you may know now, I’m a coffee person, so I didn’t let the chance pass without sampling OLD TOWN WHITE COFFEE, RM 3.50 (PhP 49), hot also available for cold at RM 3.90 (PhP 54. 60).  It’s neither that bitter nor too sweet; was fine for me.

Other than coffee, I wanted something to further warm my tummy. So we asked the wait staff  her recommendation; like the best seller from Old Town; she pointed in a blink the first page of the menu…

HOR FUN (KWEOY TEOW HALUS) AYAM IPOH or

OLD TOWN IPOH CHICKEN HOR FUN, RM 7.50 (PhP 105).

Doc Ronnie and I ordered the Hor Fun and it was indeed comforting. I like the fresh flavor of prawns infused to the soup. We both like anything with prawns, actually. While Doc Alvin got himself  CHICKEN BARBECUE RICE; however he was told that Ayam BBQ (ayam=chicken) is finished (yes, they use the verb “finished” frequently, like I hear it more than 3x daily) so he opted to have the white chicken toppings and preferred noodles instead of rice. His order came with a fried dumpling soup and he got himself a tall glass of cold chocolate drink.  Solb!

After our satiating breakfast at Old Town, we walked through Burma Road and reached an Indian-owned shop for clothes called Kamdar where we bought some pairs of pants and denims at cheap prices. In the afternoon, we went again to Queensbay Mall to shop for much needed-grocery supplies and finally headed home before dusk.

Although I am seriously missing my usual choices for breakfast like tuyo, daing, itlog na pula, danggit, HOTDOGS and BACON STRIPS, LONGGANISA and TOCINO, with diversity of cultures and religions here in Malaysia, food variety is as wide as you can ever imagine.

————————————-o

05
Oct
10

HE’S TURNING 6 WITHOUT ME =(

It’s my son’s 6th birthday today and

it’s the very first time for me to be away with him on his big day. :(

I hope your mini-school birthday party turns out to be fun, Gabby. I’m sorry tatay-doc can’t be there to celebrate with you.

I’ll make it up to you and your mom when you visit me here on December, hopefully.

I love you always. Give your mom warm embrace and long kisses for me, OK?

Happy Birthday, anak! :)

03
Oct
10

WORRY-FREE WEEKEND

01 October 2010, Friday –Onboard the 12-minute-ferry-ride from Jetty in Butterworth to Penang Island, I told 2 of my housemate-friends that it has been almost a year since I extremely enjoyed thinking nothing and just stayed worry-free for few days; this was when Tina, Gabby and I experienced Boracay Island for the first time last year.  Those days were really priceless.

Because of countless life’s stressors–work-related, domestic problems, monthly bills and daily hassles, I always look forward to days when life would be easy and nice.  It’s an apparent need for all of us to stop, breathe and smell the roses once in a while.

And so after I’ve done my part  as an expat-father and and OFW-husband to my loving family (read: our nightly skype & remittance sent!), I and 2 of my friends decided to forget about everything and just end the week and welcome a new month.

Without definite plans in mind but to enjoy our weekend, we arrived in Komtar in George Town at around 4PM and finally purchased our individual public bus-whole-month-pass. This will allow us to roam around Penang Mainland and Island and ride buses to and from work with just a simple flash of a card. The Rapid-bus-preferred ride-all-you-can-card with passenger’s name and ID photo is presently available at RM 80 (PhP 1120) for first-timers and RM 75 (PhP 1045) for monthly renewal.  We’ve computed our daily and weekend transpo expenses for the entire month and it’s a sure cost-saving measure.

After our first try on our cards by hopping on Rapid for free, we found ourselves in front of a check-in-counter of Tune Hotels in Burma Road.  We chose to stretch our Friday night and just rest after at an affordable hotel in the Island.

Here’s the receptionist checking my passport after we’ve paid an overnight accomodation.

With branches all over Asia, Tune Hotels-5-star-beds at 1-star-prices is indeed a must-try particularly by budget-conscious people like us.

All rooms have only 11 square-meter-space with toilet and safe; it’s the smallest hotel room I’ve been to actually. The entire accomodation cost around RM 88+ (PhP 1,232) per room, inclusive of the use of air conditioning unit for 12 hours (yes, you can opt to have only the ceiling fan for your pleasure with no extra charges).

The bed and the linens were comfy enough, toilet and shower were spic and span.

Why splurge a fortune when you’re not spending the whole day inside the hotel rooom anyway?

Few steps from Tune Hotels is a welcoming restaurant owned by Chinese called, Santorini. I initially thought Mediterranean dishes predominate their menu but it’s still Asian. We didn’t complain because we had the right choice for our dinner place.  What we ate were neither intimidating nor spicy. Considerably, our comfort food for the week…

Each of us got a plate of Combo Mixed Seafood with Fried Rice, RM 8.90/plate (PhP 124.60); ang sarap! We promised ourselves we’ll drop by again sometime to savor this dish again.

As if it wasn’t enough, I also ordered one of the famous noodle dishes in Penang, Char Keoy Teow, per plate costs RM 5.90 (PhP 82.96)…

The fragrance of sauteed ingredients and delicious taste of prawns make this noodle dish one of the favorites in Penang.

One of my friends, Doc Alvin tried this Kimchi Ramen from Santorini.  I’m not into Korean food and I am not partial to spicy foods either; well, depends on the mood perhaps, needless to say, I didn’t dare to sample it.

To wash down, we had refreshingly good tiny pitchers of iced tea flavored with passion fruit and strawberry…

Before hopping into Rapid bus again to go to a mall, we walked inside a huge pet shop and marveled at several fresh and salt-water aquarium tanks, some cute dogs and cats for sale, and even rare furried pets. It was a pet-lover’s paradise!

No photo-taking was allowed inside but the insistent-me still captured this : a school of blood heart-shaped parrot fish for sale…

I think we spent almost an hour inside that amazing pet shop before the 3 of us headed to Gurney Plaza Mall in Gurney Drive. We trooped immediately to the cinemas at its 7th level and queued for last-full-show-tickets.  We could have watched an action-packed film but ended with a mushy one, the soul-searching movie of Julia Roberts, Eat Pray Love.  Although it’s a talkie film that put me to sleep for few minutes repeatedly, I personally enjoyed some scenes shot in Italy, India and Bali.

After the movie, we felt the need to chow down again and the sight of 24-hour McDonald’s was just comforting.

Since the 3 of us aren’t that alcoholics (I only drink when occasions call for it; but rarely actually), we were content with mall-ratting and just forgo of anything but clean fun.

We headed back to Tunes Hotels at around 2 in the morning and officially called it a day at almost 3AM.  We checked out at 10 the next day and walked through the breakfast place at a nearby plaza.

It wasn’t as fun as those times I had with my wife & our kid but this weekend was indeed a breather from our daily routine here in Penang.  I thank God created friends. I am grateful for weekends!  :)

To be continued…

Up next : Breakfast at Old Town.

:D How’s your weekend?  Enjoy the new week. Be blessed!

————————————————

01
Oct
10

MY SECOND MONTH ABROAD

30 September 2010, Thursday –It has been exactly 2 months since I arrived in Penang.  There has been a whirlwind of experiences; adjustments in work, diversity of cultures, colors and religions and life in general on my new ground  are still a work in progress.

Remittances to my family have been sent twice and there are a lot of other things to be grateful for.  However, despite the downpour of blessings, there are factors beyond control that even if you stretch your patience to the fullest still go down to your nerves and irked you out.  Cest la vie! –It doesn’t take one to be cerebral to understand that in this thing called life, there always black against white.

Anyway, I didn’t spoil my last day of September for nothing. After work, my fun-loving-housemates and I went straight to the Jetty in Butterworth and headed to the ferry with few things in mind –to enjoy the night at Penang Island; buy essential stuffs we’ve been wanting to have and just forget about whatever anxieties bugging us.

Sunset viewed from the ferry…

We roamed around a bit and reached Queensbay Mall where I bought myself a 500gb Samsung external drive and joined 2 of my friends for our late dinner.

Other than my family and a few friends, I miss a lot of foods seriously. Believe it or not, it took me 2 months to grab a bite of pizza again!  So every bite was like a piece of heaven!

pizza hut's super supreme pizza at queensbay mall, penang island

Two of my friends and I have feasted on this thin-crust pizza and plates of pasta…

Seafood Marinara for Dr. Ronnie…

Unfortunately according to him, it looked better on photo that it tasted.  It has an ingredient that he (or most of us including me) hates the most –curry.  At least we ordered pizza that I guess, saved his night.

Spaghetti Bolognese for Dr. Alvin…

He finished the entire plate, so he must have liked it.

Moving on to my dinner plate…

Seafood Lasagna…

It was cheesy with few shrimps and fish bits; just enough to compliment my pizza craving but nothing much to rave about other than it was new to my taste as I was used to tomato-based lasagna back home. Nonetheless, I was happy with my dinner. It was a soothing break from our daily meals.

As October comes upon us, we’re hitting the roads and waters again this afternoon to do much-needed grocery shopping and to buy other essentials.  I am taking a mental note to hold on to my few ringgits and not splurge too much on sale and discounted items here. For most shopping addicts, it’ll take super powers to resist 70% off ;  so help me God! :)

:) How was your September?

Here’s wishing we’ll have more blessings and positive things to come!

——————–<@




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