Archive for May, 2011

30
May
11

PENANG BOTANICAL GARDEN

My first exposure to the idea of horticulture was when I was in fifth grade after my teacher asked us to bring plants, small figurines (I brought a tiny bridge and a water well, both made of ceramic), pebbles, moss, soil and a glazed pot, he taught us to make a “dish garden”. 

From then on, I have thought I would have an intense fascination with such, much more to have an instant green thumb; I was absolutely wrong! haha! :) Well, at least, I learned to appreciate twigs, leaves and flowers.

It was a long tiring week for us but we’re not complaining. In fact, we’re even grateful for days passed by so fast and weekend dawned in a swift.

The challenge has been always to make a variety of experiences every weekend. Apart from finding solace every time we attend mass, it’s a bit sickening when you only go to malls, dine and shop a little and repeatedly do it on a Saturday-Sunday-basis (read : expat life can be dull or fun!). 

In a place where most women cover their hair (and practically everything!) with veils for religious purposes, my wife decided to have hers rebonded, haha! It was her very first time to go to a beauty salon, spend a few money for her virgin locks and that was one of her ideas of creativity with weekend.

While my wife’s long straight and shiny hair was under that UFO-looking steamer, Gabby and I decided to leave her inside the mall, hopped on the bus and went to find our own unique Saturday. From bus, we rode this tram that took us to Penang Floral Festival in Penang Botanical Garden…

I have been to a few Botanical Gardens of other countries and honestly, that of Penang wasn’t that impressive (my personal favorite is the Winter Garden in Auckland, New Zealand). Yes, Penang Botanical Garden is a good venue for picnics; a place for strolling and jogging or just kill time and commune with nature but I think I have seen a lot more fantastic gardens before. Nonetheless, the festival made it livelier, with so many plants for sale and for photo-enthusiasts to enjoy…

My son and I never bothered to know the names of the blooms neither asked the vendors of their  commodities’ prices, what I remember was we were in awe of the colors.

Among the flowers, I can identify this easily because its name was the brand of the notebooks I used back in college.

And from my PreMed Botany class, I knew this is a pitcher plant…I told Gabby that this plant can trap insects effortlessly. Please don’t tell me they remind you of condoms…oops!

There was a showcase of bonsai too!

Simply amazing!

It was a total feast for the eyes! I felt like a bee, admiring those vibrant and wonderful God’s creations.

Much to my son’s delight, Penang Botanical Garden has these voluminous tailed mammals wandering freely all over!

we almost locked eyes! i wonder if it recognized an old familar face, "long lost relative?" haha! nah!

Like any day in Penang, the sun was unforgiving last Saturday afternoon so after an hour of stroll and getting close with Mother Nature, I decided to go back to the mall where we left Tina (inside the beauty salon).
We brought 2 affordable & small potted bonsai (of course, they’re small; they wouldn’t be called such if they’re not!) as pasalubong for Tina (to bring to our new home come July).
Gabby and I became sweaty and all, I had to freshen him up; changed his shirt but nonetheless, he had his first-hand lessons on nature appreciation and he liked it. It was a day less ordinary.
We ended our Saturday with a simple dimsum dinner after attending anticipated Catholic mass.
Enjoy the new week, everyone!

 

25
May
11

OLD SCHOOL TOY

In the age of computer games, tech gadgets and applications, creativity in play and activity is still alive.

Several weeks ago, Tina and I brought Gabby to a toy store in a mall.  After giving him the liberty to pick a new toy he fancies within our prescribed minimal budget (read: mura dapat sa hirap ng buhay ngayon!, haha!), he disregarded our toy-suggestions and handed me this at the counter…

We gave our thumbs up for his choice. It wasn’t pricey and more importantly, we didn’t want to kill his artistic inclinations…

It’s one of the best options with his almost daily routine of computer games and watching cartoons and downloaded movies and at times, reading his books (FYI, he’ll start his schooling here in Penang in August, God willing).

But in between being artistic and (God forbid–) being interested in our fields… 

Tina and I still like him to be what he wanted to be.  Last week, he professed he still wanted to become a chef, restaurateur and hotelier someday.  So help us, God! :)

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Do you still remember your favorite toy/s before?

 

20
May
11

KOTA BHARU, KELANTAN SERIES : BUDDHIST TEMPLES

Being one of the towns bordering Malaysia and Thailand, Kelantan is obviously rich in culture and religion. It’s considered to be the cradle of Malay civilization and is predominantly a Muslim state but inevitably Buddhist temples sprung like mushrooms.

More than being tourist spots, these temples are apparently sacred sanctuaries.  However, one could not help but admire its architecture, interiors and ambience.

On our second day in Kelantan, we had temple visit overload. We went to see the Temple of the Sitting Buddha…

The Shrine of the Standing Buddha…

And a Reclining Buddha that’s bigger than the one in Penang… *yes! position matters!*

This Reclining Buddha is enshrined in a bigger than life gymnasium-like-temple.  At the lateral and the back areas of the enormous image are even more images!

Few kilometers away, we found ourselves appreciating the facade and interiors of the Sitting Buddha Temple which are truly spectacular!

Awesome looking dragons guard its entrance…

And there’s spontaneity in its interiors…

Tina and Gabby went inside the temple of the Sitting Buddha first, as I was still in awe outside. Then as I walked in, my wife hurriedly called my attention to see these art works…

A few we found to be disturbing…

Every detail gave us goosebumps, or we’re only clueless of this religion, sorry!

Can anyone share anything on this? *so busy  lazy to research and google!*

I wonder if people from other religions also get curious and fascinated with our very own. Either way, I am definite that whenever we go to a new place, my family and I will always include temples and mosques and other houses of prayer to visit.

Do we think the same?

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——-This blog series includes :

16
May
11

KOTA BHARU, KELANTAN SERIES : BUFFET AT RENAISSANCE HOTEL

I completely understand that it’s essential to sample local cuisine from a place you’re visiting for the first time.  And I forgot  did not do that when we were in Kota Bharu. *epic failure!*

Defensively, there are 3 reasons why we didn’t have the chance to taste Kelantanese food – firstly, we have limited time (lame excuse, I know). Secondly, when you’re on a trip with a 6-year-old kid, it’s more often than not that he would prefer to eat in fast food joints rather than to try native delicacies (I’m not blaming you, Gabby! I love Pizza Hut and A&W too!). Lastly, we were weak to resist the hotel’s buffet spread…

At Renaissance Hotel, Kota Bharu manned by Marriott, the restaurant that offers International cuisine was so inviting, thus we gave in.


Only those who have hypersensitivity to prawns and cheese would say no to these sumptuous dish…

peborit ko 'to!

Nice to know : UDANG is the local term for shrimps / prawns in Bahasa Melayu.

How do you like your plate to be seasoned?  Mine, not too much. I have an aversion to strong spices.

Fish and beef : perfect on a plate!

Here we go again : shameless display of our pig-out plates… yum! yum! yum!

Tina and I loved the Korean beef (the one with sesame seeds). Tender. Juicy. Tasteful. Although it isn’t my favorite, there was lamb cuts too that was hard to miss. No after-taste actually.

Tina’s plating was beautifully done… agree?

tina's plate

…as if she’s not hungry! haha! :P

My taste buds also tried the pasta, potato wedges and local crunchies that weren’t that greasy.

can't get enough of those prawns

Every meal must have sweet endings!

What would you pour in your ice cream? chocolate syrup? kiwi? orange? the flavors were too many to handle!

We never forgot to eat fibrous fruits!

Sublime. Divine. Irresistible.

I posted a teaser on facebook about this food porn that it’s not our common gastronomic adventure. On the second thought, it was! The spread might be a bit less than usual but the elements of casual dining I enjoy the most were all there –good food, friendly ambience, affordable price, impeccable service,most of all, the company of my lovable family.

What do you look for in an eat-all-you-want dining?

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——-This blog series includes :

13
May
11

KOTA BHARU, KELANTAN SERIES : RENAISSANCE HOTEL

At almost an hour before 10PM, we’re already in Penang Sentral bus station in Butterworth; ready excited to enjoy the long weekend (last 30 April – 2 May 2011).

It took a 5 1/2 hour bus ride for us to reach Kota Bharu in Kelantan, a quaint town in Northeastern Malaysia bordering Thailand. From the station in Kota Bharu, we took a cab that brought us to Renaissance Hotels where I booked an overnight stay for a reasonable (read: very affordable) price.

After interrupted uncomfortable sleep in the bus, it was heaven we felt on this beautiful bed.

How could you resist such volume of comfy pillows?

Tagged as the only 5-star-hotel in Kelantan, Renaissance Hotels run by Marriott doesn’t disappoint.

The front desk officer was so generous enough to talk to her manager for us to be allowed to check in at 5AM instead of early check in I availed online which was supposed to be at 7 in the morning (and not the regular check in sched of 2PM) for free! The half-day rate that we’re supposed to pay for checking in 2 hours before their “early check in time” was waived. That’s  beyond efficiency in customer-service!

Kami naman ni Tina basta may kape kahit 3-in-1 solb na! :D

But the Deluxe room we got has more to offer than 3-1 coffee…

Free use of gym (which we passed on in favor of laziness), steam bath, whirlpool but Tina and I separately sampled their sauna after Gabby had his time on the kiddie swimming pool.

We really had fun time at Renaissance. Did I already mentioned we also tried their dinner buffet? *That deserve a separate post* And everything –from the accomodation plus dinner buffet inclusive charges and taxes cost less than you imagine. :p

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——-This blog series includes :

13
May
11

KOTA BHARU, KELANTAN SERIES : BATIK MAKING

Indubitably, Malaysian Batik is an art in itself. The process of making it has been part of the colorful culture of people from eastern states of Malaysia including Kelantan. What makes it different from batik from other countries is the absence of human and animal designs with the exception of butterflies because their religion forbids the use of animal images as decorative motifs. Nonetheless, geometrical figures, floral and foliage in large designs make it aesthetically appealing.

On our second day in Kota Bharu, we met our taxi cab driver who served as our tour guide as well; our trip started at around 2PM. Although I have a list of places of interest, we appreciated that Mr. Nasri who was endorsed by his colleague, Mr. Kamel (the equally friendly driver-tour guide on our first day) suggested we go first to a nearby Batik factory.

Roughly 10 minutes after leaving the hotel, we found ourselves amazed at how Batik is made.

Perhaps, because we were in awe, I forgot to ask the name of the factory.  Mr. Nasri explained that most of his tourist-passengers from all over the globe who visited Kota Bharu were brought to this batik making factory and inevitably marveled. He told us that the technique used in Kelantan differs from batik making process in Indonesia and other Asian countries.

Ladies who make the batik use heated wax to outline every design in the fabric. This will keep the colors in particular shape once applied.

They also use rock salt to have a desired effect.

The prints are truly praise-worthy!

Batik can be worn by men in formal dinner and ladies may combine them with modern fashion. The government suggests the wearing of Batik every 1st and 15t day of the month as a part of their 1Malaysia campaign (sourced from Wiki)

Do you see yourself wearing a Malaysian Batik ?

Stay tuned for few more posts on this series. Terima Kasih!

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Special thanks to our friends whom we met on the road and made our Kelantan trip more than amazing :

Mr. Nik Mat Kamal -our taxi cab driver-tour guide on our 1st day; you may reach him at +60129909538 and +60199735439.

Mr. Mohd Nasri Mohd Nawi -our taxi cab driver-tour guide on our 2nd day; you may reach him at +60139425241.

Mr. Muhammad Dain bin Othman (Pak Dain) -the owner and expert maker of Wayang kulit (Shadow Puppet which I will blog soon); his gallery is located at Simpang 3, Morak, Palekbang 16040, Kelantan; website : WayangPakDain

to Gula Kapas who responded to my query by emailing me a google map of the location of wau bulan makers in kelantan.

and to our student, Ain and her dad for welcoming us in their hometown.

——-This blog series includes :

10
May
11

KOTA BHARU, KELANTAN SERIES : SITI KHADIJAH MARKET

Either in black and white ….

or in burst of colors…

Siti Kadijah Market or the Central Market of Kota Bharu in Kelantan appears to be interesting to me and to those who have experienced it.

Some say that you’ll learn a lot about a place when you explore its public market. I cannot agree more.

From the fresh garden produce…

To dry goods that are uniquely appealing…

This vibrant 3 storey public market was the first place we went to after we hopped into a taxi cab that toured us around which was referred by the hotel where we checked in.

How could we miss Kota Bharu Central Market when in fact it’s one of the most photographed places in Kelantan. It’s nothing but common market but it frequently draws crowd particularly tourists perhaps because of its unexplainable charm.

Tina found a pair of cheap brooch pins with lady bug design for only RM 5 (PhP 70)

We bought two malong for only RM 10 (PhP 140) each for pasalubong to one of our friends.

The Kelantanese woman graciously posed with Gabby with her nicely printed merchandise

We’ve been to Chatuchak Market in Bangkok that’s so huge that even a day isn’t enough for you to enjoy.  But nothing compares to our very own Divisoria! :p

Do you usually explore public market/s when you travel?

——-This blog series includes :

10
May
11

AND THE WINNER IS…

Four years of blogging. 248,232 hits and counting. Comments I value. And more importantly, blogger-friends and readers whom I so appreciate unconditionally. These and more are the little perks of having my own virtual universe. :)

Before you know the winner to my BLOG CONTEST 2011, allow me to share my own answers to my queries. 

1. If you are to live a different life, what would it be, where, with whom and why?

I’d like to be a chef in Paris, living with my (same) family and do nothing but cook and travel the rest of the globe. 

2. What is the most unforgettable meal that you had and why?

Previous Noche Buena during the time that my family is still complete – with my grandparents still living and all the feasts meals I’m having with my own family.

3. Why do you follow Beyond Toxicity (shameless flattery, c’mmon it’s my blog anniversary haha! but honest answers would get a plus!) ?

Let me modify the question : Why have you been blogging for 4 years now?

I started blogging just to have something for my son (children to come, hopefully) to read and browse someday. I never expected that it would be an extension of my social life.  Often, comments really help me in making a decision or post a reminder and at times, can be amusing. It’s more than rewarding.

How did I come up with a winner? I asked a favor from Doc Jane, who’s a Pathologist from Philippine Heart Center, an educator, a schoolmate in Med school and presently working with me here in Penang, with Tina to pick 3 choices after I printed all the participants’ entries. Both Tina and Doc Jane who are non-bloggers made their choices separately. I also made my own (believe it or not) impartial choice. The common choice stood as winner.

The unanimous pick :

1. If you are to live a different life, what would it be, where, with whom and why?
-Hmmm….T\this is hard. But if I had to answer (remember my Wimpy kid post?), I would say I would like to live duting Jesus’ time, as a commoner, just to see if I would believe in Him then. :)

2. What is the most unforgettable meal that you had and why?
-Ang hirap naman nito! Ang dami eh! I guess the last “meal” we had as a family before my mother dies. Kumpleto kami nun sa NKTI. We ate KFC in the cramped hospital room, as all members of the family were there. If I could have meals like that every day, I would.

3. Why do you follow Beyond Toxicity?
-What can I say…I’m a nosy person! I love reading about other people’s lives! He he! Just kidding! Seriously, I feel I learn something when I read your blog, not to mention I feel like I’m keeping up-to-date with a “friend.” :)

And the winner is….*drum roll, please*

KG!

*Grace, kindly email me your address where I can send your prize. My email is at the “CONTACT DOCGELO” page at the upper portion. Thanks! BTW, you didn’t win because you were insistent!

Terima Kasih to all those who joined. I know it’s not because of the prize but you wanted to share the fun.

Read the other entries here ->BLOG CONTEST 2011

08
May
11

THINGS TO CELEBRATE

This blog is taking a short break from Kota Bharu, Kelantan Series to celebrate 2 wonderful events today.

The world is incomplete without mothers. I love my own. and I love the mother of my son. Mabuhay ang mga nanay!

Meanwhile, my universe is incomplete without my blog! It’s the 4th birthday of Beyond Toxicity, a blog that is more than my virtual soul but something that gives reverence to family.food and fun! And to all people all over the globe (naks, global!) who spent/spend time browsing my posts, more importantly, the valued readers who left/leave comments and frequent my humble site, Maraming Salamat po!

As for my little blog contest, we (the 3 judges : doc jane, tina and myself) already came up with a unanimous winner. The name, the entry and how we chose the winner will be included in one of the posts within the week, so stay tuned! Terima Kasih to those who joined! I really appreciate it!

06
May
11

KOTA BHARU, KELANTAN SERIES : WAYANG KULIT -THE SHADOW PUPPET PLAY

OK fine, I guess I must be having regression, haha! After satisfying my craving to see authentic Kelantanese WAU BULAN or MOON KITES, our second day in Kota Bharu was highlighted by our trip to the Kelantan Malay Traditional Shadow Play Gallery.

The signage at the facade of Kelantan Malay Traditional Shadow Play Gallery

The friendly Malay taxi cab driver, Mr. Kamel who toured us for 4 hours in Kota Bharu on our first day (01 May 2011, Sunday afternoon) endorsed us to his fellow, Mr. Nasri the next day because his car broke down. The equally tourist-friendly, Mr. Nasri brought us to interesting places within and outside his simple town (that deserve separate posts) and one of them is the gallery that makes authentic shadow puppets for actual plays and decor purposes.

The experience was another one for the books!

Traditional Shadow Puppets in actual play-size made from COW HIDE; charaters are lifted from the epic-love story of RAMA and SITA

Guests and tourists can immerse themselves in the actual activities with the puppet makers/craftsmen (without any entrance fee at the time of our visit).

I'm glad Gabby (and Tina) enjoyed trying to make wayang kulit puppets. The experience never happens on a daily basis!

Regret : Because I am in awe capturing the moment in photos, I forgot to try it myself. Nonetheless, my family was happy with the exposure.

According to the expert in shadow puppet making and the owner of the gallery himself, Mr. Muhammad Dain B. Othman, it takes one to four days to  complete a puppet made from either cow or goat hides (cow hide puppets are obviously more expensive than those made from goat hides).

He told us that he’s scheduled to be in Kuala Lumpur the following day so we felt so fortunate to meet him because he personally explained the process of wayang kulit making, its instruments and actual play performance, and almost everything about it.

I noticed Pak Dain (or Mr. Othman) was taking pictures of his visitors, and true enough, he showed an album filled with photos of foreigners who were fascinated with his craft and toured his place. And so I took the chance of having my family photo-op with the man himself…

( from left to right) Tina, Gabby, our friendly taxi cab driver-tourist guide, Mr. Nasri and Mr. Pak Dain (Mr. Othman wearing plaid button down shirt).

The masterpieces in actual performance size made from cow hide and artline colored inks then varnished.

Looks like the antagonists of Ramayana...

I consider myself lucky because I had a chance to watch the original Filipino musical play, RAMA at SITA in UP Theater years ago FOR FREE! My mom then was associated with some companies related to the music-movie industries hence we got free tickets to concerts, shows and whatnot during those years. That was the time my interest in Ramayana sprung. Imagine how I was silently jumping for bliss when I saw these puppets inspired by that epic. It was AWESOME!

Medium-sized Wayang Kulit puppets made from GOAT HIDES. On the upper right are Rama puppets and on the upper and lower left sides are Sita puppets.

After our brief hands-on exposure to wayang kulit making, we were led to a room where we saw framed puppets for sale and the actual instruments use in shows.

Traditional drums used in Wayang Kulit performances

The adjacent room is where musicians and puppeteers play during the 2-hour show. Ten people are involved to make a shadow puppet play work.

gong, gong, gong, gong, gong!

Mr. Pak Dain asked his staff to show us how the show is done. Banana trunks are used to hold puppets that are not needed in a scene. A small wooden box serves as the frame for the light to cast colored shadows on the white cloth. Live music is played with these gorgeous traditional instruments.

And because we’re overwhelmed with the experience, we bought puppets as souvenirs. We brought home medium-sized ones and what characters of Ramayana would be more fitting to have but the leads of course. We’ll have it framed once we get a chance…

Tina's hands holding Sita, Gabby's holding Rama...

Two days after we came home from Kelantan, Gabby asked about Rama and Sita; luck was again on my side because I didn’t exert much efforts in explaining to him their epic-love story for I immediately found uploaded videos of Rama at Sita musical on youtube that starred local Filipino singers, Ariel Rivera and Chiqui Pineda and a whole lot of great talents! Imagine a 6 year old boy asking about Ramayana. You can blame his father for that. hehehe!

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The other part of this blog series :

BACK FROM KOTA BHARU, KELANTAN

WAU BULAN or MOON KITES

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Special thanks to our friends whom we met on the roads & made our Kelantan trip more than amazing :

Mr. Nik Mat Kamal -our taxi cab driver-tour guide on our 1st day; you may reach him at +60129909538 and +60199735439.

Mr. Mohd Nasri Mohd Nawi -our taxi cab driver-tour guide on our 2nd day; you may reach him at +60139425241.

Mr. Muhammad Dain bin Othman (Pak Dain) -the owner and expert maker of Wayang kulit (Shadow Puppet which I will blog soon); his gallery is located at Simpang 3, Morak, Palekbang 16040, Kelantan; website : WayangPakDain

to Gula Kapas who responded to my query by emailing me a google map of the location of wau bulan makers in kelantan.

and to our student, Ain and her dad for welcoming us in their hometown.

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More of Kelantan and its culture and colors soon….

04
May
11

KOTA BHARU, KELANTAN SERIES : WAU BULAN, THE MOON KITES

Beyond fascination, I was effortlessly seduced by its intricate designs after I saw its beauty on photos from pages of a book while killing time in a bookstore one lazy afternoon. I surrendered to the desire that I and my family have to see it up close.

Perhaps, I felt the need for another breather from our usual mall ratting-house-bumming routine every weekend. After all, it’s a long weekend in Malaysia since May 1, 2011 fell on a Sunday, the next day was posted as a holiday.

One of my senior colleagues even commented that I might be having regression. I laughed at his candid opinion about our unusual family getaway and reviewed myself if I’m really having such! I had few times of flying boka-boka (our local paper kites) and some fancy and commercially bought plastic kites before but for the record, I never had a chance to fly nor see kite this gorgeous.

It became more interesting after I learned from online readings that the logo of the flag carrier of Malaysia and our fifty sen (cents) coin here carry its image…

I promised myself that I will bring my wife and our kid to where it’s made for us to experience appreciation first hand. The plan in mind was to go to Kota Bharu, Kelantan  during this year’s Hari Raya (or Eid, that marks the end of Ramadan) that will come by the last week of August.

And so, after little researches done on the web and picking pieces of advice from our student and colleagues who hail from the said town, the date previously preferred were found to be not the best days of travel because most people will be coming home from various places to celebrate the holidays with their family (read : traffic jam, packed town!).

Luck was on my side when Tina agreed to go with me and Gabby to Kelantan earlier than I initially thought of. I hurriedly browsed the web (the ever reliable, Tripadvisor) for hotel reviews from tourists who had visited the place and decided to reserve a room in the only 5-star-hotel in Kota Bharu (which deserves a separate post). Soon after, I found myself buying tickets for the 3 of us in Penang Sentral, the bus station in Butterworth (Adult fare RM 35 or PhP 490 = USD 12.25+; child fare RM 25 or PhP 350 = USD 8.75+)).  The excitement was heightened.

I have arranged a meet-up with one of our PreMed-scholar student, Ain who’s going home to Kelantan earlier than our trip. She volunteered to get us return bus tickets from her town which I paid just before she left. Everything was instantly organized -from our transportation, hotel accomodation, to our itineraries. A tour was born in a jiffy!

Amazingly crafted with at least 3 layers of colored paper framed on bamboo sticks; some are made to fly, others serve as decors

We left Penang Sentral at 10PM, Saturday after a day-long training at work (yes, I attended a camp-facilitators’ workshop before hopping on the bus); thank God we managed to doze off during our 6 hour trip. From Kota Bharu bus station, we hired a taxi cab that took us to our hotel (RM 20 =PhP 280 or USD 7+). The hotel staff was so nice that they had allowed us to have early check in at 5AM without extra fees (supposed to pay half-day rate because early check in is defined at 7AM while regular time for check in is at 2PM). Before getting additional hours of sleep, I asked the front desk staff to look for a cab for us with an English-speaking driver who can serve as tour guide for 2 days; the hotel shuttle and cars (which apparently are more costly) were fully booked.

Mr. Safee, 53 year old Kelantanese-Malay who has been making wau bulan masterpieces both for flying and decors for more than 30 years

In a matter of few minutes from our first two destinations (which will be posted soon on this series) as we left the hotel before lunch time, we reached Kampong Badang in Kelantan, which is a few meters away from Pantai Cahaya Bulan. We stepped foot in a nondescript, almost nipa-hut looking house that stands in sand. My heart beat faster than I could imagine.

With Tina and Gabby are Mr. Kamal, our friendly-English speaking taxi driver-tour guide on Day1 and Mr. Safee, one of the wau bulan expert makers.

To witness how one wau bulan is made was more than wonderful! It’s totally unique experience! We learned that bamboo poles are first soaked in water for a day to make them sturdier before they’re cut into sticks for the frame of the kite. The sizes of the sticks should be equal and precise particularly if it’s intended to fly. Once ready, it only takes an expert moon kite maker like, Safee to complete a masterpiece for one whole day.The designs are usually floral with burst of colors!

Obviously, thrilled :

The next day, Mr. Kamel’s car broke down but he didn’t fail us with the tour by recommending another great taxi driver-tour guide by name of Mr. Nasri. He brought us to so many tourist spots and to another wau bulan maker.

This is the gallery where we bought an authentic wau bulan for wall decor on our second day tour in Kota Bharu.

This one has similar colors to what we brought home as souvenir; on a smaller scale of approximately 2 meters, we bought our wau bulan for RM 45 (PhP 630 or USD 15.75+). We’re excited to display it on the wall of our living room as we move to a new condo-appartment on the 3rd week of July.

not your usual school boy's toy, a wau bulan is creatively made up of its parts : a head, a spine, a waist, a wing and a tail; it has pompoms/tassels too! the tail looks like a crescent moon when flown in the air, hence called moon kite

“The Malay kite takes many shapes of which the most popular is the moon kite or wau bulan. There are also bird-kites, peacock-kites, hawk kites, cat-kites, frog-kites, quail-kites, fish-kites, woman kites and fairy godmother kites” -Virtual Malaysia.

The owner of the shop generously gave Gabby a freebie!

Apparently, it’s uncommon for most families to be interested in arts, culture and tradition but I am glad and proud that my family’s happy too with our wau bulan experience.

The most beautiful wau bulan in my eyes (leafy green design) was not for sale; it's a commissioned work by the museum to safee for RM 500 (PhP 7K+). I maybe disappointed in failing to but this design but the memory of our trip was nonetheless a good substitute.

*International Wau Festival is scheduled on June 2 to 6, 2011 at Pantai Irama, Bachok, Kelantan.

The other part of this blog series :  Back from Kota Bharu, Kelantan

Suggested reading about Wau bulan -> Virtual Malaysia

Here’s a link to a youtube video of wau bulan making : wau bulan

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Special thanks to our friends whom we met on the road and made our Kelantan trip more than amazing :

Mr. Nik Mat Kamal -our taxi cab driver-tour guide on our 1st day; you may reach him at +60129909538 and +60199735439.

Mr. Mohd Nasri Mohd Nawi -our taxi cab driver-tour guide on our 2nd day; you may reach him at +60139425241.

Mr. Muhammad Dain bin Othman (Pak Dain) -the owner and expert maker of Wayang kulit (Shadow Puppet which I will blog soon); his gallery is located at Simpang 3, Morak, Palekbang 16040, Kelantan; website : WayangPakDain

to Gula Kapas who responded to my query by emailing me a google map of the location of wau bulan makers in kelantan.

and to our student, Ain and her dad for welcoming us in their hometown.

————————————————————-<@

More of Kelantan and its culture and colors soon….

03
May
11

BACK FROM KOTA BHARU, KELANTAN

My family and I just got back at 4 in morning today, Tuesday, May 2, 2011 (It was a long weekend for us in Malaysia since May 1 was a Sunday, the next day was posted a holiday) from our short break in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, North East of Malaysia (Penang, where we’re presently based is at North West). Kelantan is one of the Malaysian states bordering its Northern areas near Thailand.

We went there via 6-hour-bus-ride from Penang Sentral (bus station) last Saturday night and checked in one of the most comfortable hotels we’ve been to before Sunday dawn.

We had so much fun after immersing ourselves to bits and pieces of Malay tradition and culture.

Incidentally, these and more will be the theme of my blog series in time to celebrate my 4th year in blogging.

Stay tuned! :)




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