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On my IELTS -Speaking Test   last 5th November in George Town, Penang, one of the topics that we randomly talked about was ‘weekends.’  The stunningly beautiful British lady-assessor asked me, “How do you spend your weekends?”  ….”What are your plans on the coming weekend?”
Nothing has changed. My answers remain the same.

Part of the Christmas decorations of Prangin Mall, in Komtar, George Town, Penang. Reminds me of one of our family's favorite movies, the 2009 animated love story of Carl and Ellie and the Wilderness explorer, Russell.

Because my wife and I work from Monday to Friday and our son, Gabby goes to school 5 days a week too, weekends for us are remarkably priceless!

I consider myself  lucky and blessed compared to other expats and OFWs because I have my family with me.  Thus, my weekends are special because I get to celebrate it with Tina and Gabby.

Almost every Friday night, simple things such as dining together and watching TV shows or movies at home define the start of our weekend break.  Restful sleep follows with the thought that there’s no need to wake up as early as 30 minutes before 5 in the morning because there are no clothes to iron, food to prepare and Rapid Penang bus number 601 to catch, all done in a rush (these are true for Tina and Gabby but as for me, I allow them to enjoy sleeping and curl up in bed until late Saturday morning so I designated myself  responsible in going to public market which is a couple of minute-one-bus-ride-away from our place.  And I chose to do it before the clock hits half hour past 6 every weekend morning. No complaints otherwise we won’t have a thing on our table for the next week; besides, it has been a habit).  We always look forward to every weekend because of all this.

After such personal weekend ceremony, we either hit the roads to catch the bus, hop on the ferry to reach George Town and its malls, museums and whatnot, or spend lazy hours at home with food, TV shows, movies to ourselves.

With or without conscious efforts, Tina, Gabby and I usually have varied forms of family bonding during Saturdays and Sundays. And last weekend was another fun…

The most celebrated season is for kids and kids at heart.

Seeing these Christmas-related displays in one of the malls in Pulau Pinang confirmed that there’s no stopping the season. Even a predominantly Muslim Malaysian state respects and allows Christians to celebrate the commemoration of birth of Jesus.

These are the holiday decors of Prangin Mall in George Town. The simple and non-intimidating mall is standing side-by-side with the tallest building in the island, Komtar. How does it look like?  It’s unique but it reminds me of Isettan Recto, Ever, Manuela (Star Mall) back home. In the words of my in-law, “masang-masa!”

Regardless whether Prangin Mall is jologs or not, its Christmas cheers made Gabby excited for a moment and happy! :)

His happiness continued as we eat lunch in the fast food that he requested…

One of Gabby's simple pleasures : Happy Meal Toy

Although there were hassles in between like, Tina and Gabby forgot to bring their cellphones, so it took me a while to look for them when I went to the ATM machine, and when I tried to remit to my brother in Pinas, I failed to do the transaction via Moneygram for their system was offline at the moment, thankfully still, the family’s main agenda were fulfilled. Last Saturday was all about movies and TV shows. We had movie and TV show-marathons inside a mall and at home.
From McDonald’s Happy Meal toy, the fun went on to First Avenue Mall (across Prangin Mall in George Town) cinemas. First movie was what else but Puss in Boots…
Verdict : Entertaining.  A famous fairytale, Jack and the Beanstalk complete with that gold pooper-duck and her mommy giant duck is incorporated to the story of this animated furry character that sprung from Shrek movie series; Puss in Boots’ heroic and fraternal acts and motherly love are something to watch for.
 With an hour gap, we transferred movie house in the same mall to watch…
Verdict :  OK lah however, I expected more vampire vs wolves encounters but what we got was cheesy honeymoon scenes that made Gabby cover his eyes with his hands without peeping.  We don’t read its books so we’re clueless about the saga. Nonetheless, like Harry Potter movies that stretched to a decade of following from us, and so did Pirates of the Carribean and Narnia chronicles, we felt a little obliged to watch it since it became a part of our movie-going history. The Brazilian paradise-venue for Edward-Bella honeymoon was a refreshing though.
Have you watched these movies? How did they appeal to you?
At home, after that movie date with Tina and Gabby, our eyes were glued to the TV series we follow.

“A mouth-watering dramatic musical TV series packed with hit songs, delicious recipes and vibrant choreography, set in a fast-paced and cut-throat world of culinary arts. Taking place in The Avilon, a famous restaurant, The Kitchen Musical is a story about Maddie, a rich, young girl straight out of Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, and her journey of self-discovery. Despite being the daughter of the restaurant owner, Maddie chooses to get the support of her colleagues by winning their trust. Featuring Pop Idol and Star In A Million finalist, Christian Bautista, as sous chef Daniel.

The Kitchen Musical is 100% Hot & Spicy!”  text and photo sourced from AXN’s  The Kitchen Musical

It’s a delight for a Filipino family like us living few miles away from Pinas to see Filipino talents on a Pan-Asian musical series (READ : Malaysia’s not covered by TFC (The Filipino Channel) thus we rely only on live streaming websites for TV shows and movies from Pinas).  Although they have varied accents that for some may be disturbing, we consider it part of entertainment. I personally like the genuine artistry of its musical director and arranger, Gerard Salonga who managed tocreatively infused amazing songs from different musical genres to the delicious flavors and fascinating scenes this show have been offering.
Sunday was about Gabby’s cartoons from SpongeBob Squarepants, Little Einstein, Mickey Mouse Playhouse, Mr. Bean and others. And since we only have one LCD TV, we usually take turn in watching our favorites.
Another show that defines our weekend is The Amazing Race. Seldom we catch its primetime screening on weekdays because of preparation for the coming work days, so we make up for its episode reruns every Saturday and Sunday.  The adrenaline rush while traveling and competing makes this reality show a sure hit that’s difficult to miss.
Tina, Gabby and I also follow another reality show but uniquely inclined to culinary. It’s on Asian Food Channel (AFC) by E&O (Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang) Next Celebrity Chef where some of its contestants are recruits from the Philippines.
Those shows, movies and a lot more in between had occupied our hours of family bonding last weekend.
There are so much reasons to anticipate and look forward to another weekend!
And (as I write this) did I tell you that we’re still enjoying a long weekend, because today, Monday is a holiday here in Malaysia?  :)
Gabby and I continue to have fun by playing this simple toy I bought fro less than 2 ringgit (less than PhP 14) in the public market last Saturday…

Pick Up Sticks : Guess who's winning?

How’s your weekend?


Tina and I were astonished this Thursday afternoon upon seeing one of my friends’ posts in my own facebook wall. She shared a video she found uploaded in youtube with our wedding photos (not one, not two but many!) together with some other foreign couples’ pictures over David Pomeranz’s love song! The thing is, we don’t know the person who used our photos and uploaded it on the video-sharing website. We would have appreciated it more if she/he asked permission to use our photos and we would have granted him/her our sweet nod. But I must state, Gabby was happiest to watch that video with his parents’ wedding photos.

View it HERE!

PS : Because some of the photos were not uploaded anywhere, neither in our online wedding album nor on my social networking sites (this blog, fb & twitter), the person who created and uploaded the video must have been so resourceful with a good taste and great sense in choosing our photos among so many other married couples around. hahaha! Thank you but next time, please ask permission. It’s called courtesy and ethics, in case it slipped your mind. *wink*



We’re only half way through the week but I felt I have done so much of both unimportant and essential things.  I have been quite preoccupied with several things that were good enough to slightly diminished my boredom and homesickness.   

Work has been busier lately with the incoming lectures in Anatomy-Physiology; coupled with its Laboratory or Practicals and Tutorials for PreMed; an almost endless everyday-meetings with my colleagues and bosses but I am not complaining. Despite of the paper works and powerpoint presentations that go with it, I am grateful for so many things the past weeks and could not entertain to think any negative thoughts.

There’s still that nightly Skype with Tina and Gabby, regular preparation of my baon (cooked foods + fruits) to work, ironing my work wear, washing laundry and dishes –things that an expat do on a daily basis. Nakakapagod din minsan! Talaga naman!

But who would not be excited if you know you’ll be reunited with your family in 38 days and counting?  Just last night, I took out my credit card (again!) and purchased airfare tickets via online reservations at Cebu Pacific (MLA-KUL) and Air Asia (KUL-PEN) for Tina and Gabby. 

They’ll be coming over with 20 kg of luggage each on March 19. Yeeha! They’ll be here with me in Penang for at least we (Tina and I) have contracts with our employers. (FYI, Tina nailed a 1-year renewable contract with Penang Adventist Hospital during her 2-week December break here but she still has to wait for the release of her Malaysian Nursing Council Registration before she can start exploring the Operating Room).

Remember, AMANDA ,my violin?  We’ve started playing music together for the very first time as I’ve started my weekly beginners’ class with her. Ang saya, during the one-hour session, I’ve relived my rondalia days when I was in Grade 4 playing banduria with my schoolmates.

And tomorrow, I’ll bring my other toy baby,  ALFONSO to work to try to capture some scenes and whatnot. I still have to exert efforts in reading its manual, online forum on photography and ask anyone who cares to share their expert opinion about getting started on DSLR photography to a newbie like me.

I’m in love with my camera and violin.

I have started watching a TV series of a psycho killer named DEXTER via downloaded episodes online copied directly to my external drive from my colleague-friends. They’re at Season 5 already, I just started with Season 3 Episode 1 this afternoon and to think that there are 12 episodes per season, there are more to catch up with them.

At this early, I am thinking things like transferring to a new condo for rent at the Island on or before August –this means, I and Tina have to be ready with at least RM3000 (xPhP 14) for the 2 months advance, 1 month deposit plus budget for things to buy like the basics of urban living.  And then there’s Gabby’s education here.  I’m planning with Tina’s approval, to enrol him first to piano lessons (Gabby prefers it than violin) on April then scout with them an  appropriate school for our kid. I think we can enlist him on or before January intake here; at least we have the resources by that time; I hope. *crossed fingers*

I also have other financial and family problems that are not supposed to be discussed publicly. Oops, did I just mention it?

I try not to dwell on problems that I cannot handle alone. I’d better be busy with something more fun and productive.

I still wish to spend a whole day sleeping in my bed, thinking of nothing. I am so weak to do it!

And you?

How’s life treating you lately, if  I may ask?




Apparently,  being abroad and away from your love ones isn’t easy. You should be creative in killing time. You got to be tougher in battling with solitude. Otherwise, you’ll be in the losing end.

In my 4 months of working in Penang, it has always been an effort not to be lonely.  Other than going to the malls during weekends, mostly not to shop but just stroll and pig-out, or more often than not, spend time in coffee shops, surfing the net for cheap airfares and whatnot, I also download CD-albums, movies and TV series.

When I was in Pinas, my wife and I enjoyed watching the following series…




And never did I imagine I’d be glued on GLEE!

It started with downloading weekly epsiodes from season 2 few weeks ago, then it became a hard habit to break.

I found myself singing, snapping fingers and stomping my feet while watching this fantastic scene in my room; see for yourself…

Reminds me so much of my High School days.

I’m officially GLEEk.

And you?



After our dinner the other night,  my wife Tina and I decided to have another DVD marathon of Prison Break Season 4 episodes until wee hours of the morning since we’re both off from work the following day.  Just like Lost, Grey’s Anatomy and E.R., we have lots of catching up to do with Prison Break. 

Our excitement to finally continue watching the series was heightened last week when I learned from my usual blog-hopping that that Season 4 finale showed the main character’s death.  Oh yes, Michael Scofield died and my wife is currently grieving for his passing.  She was affected and felt she lost a love one too, LOL.   FYI,  Wentworth Miller who portayed Scofield is one of my wife’s eye-candy.  I rest my case.

Its plot revolves on the saga of two brothers – Michael Scofield, a genius structural engineer who intentionally went all the way to rescue his elder brother played by Dominic Purcell who was wrongly imprisoned and was put to death row at the Fox River State Penitentiary, Chicago.


In prison, they encountered other inmates – Sucre, T-bag, C-Note, “Tweener”, correctional officer named Brad Bellick, and the prison doctor Sara Tancredi who fell in love with Michael Scofield.

1854From its first season to its last, we usually spend weekends, or days-off to engage in DVD marathon.  The story has tons of twists and turns. From getting into jail to jail break to being in jail again, a lot of scenarios happened in between the seemingly viscious cycle. It was never boring. There may be loopholes but excitement always builds up when a plan is busted or when they succeeded.

Until its season finale, every scene was gripping.  I was already half-awake but could not put myself to sleep completely without seeing its ending.  Michael Scofield and his team had to claim “the company’s black book-SYCLLA” for the government allegedly, in exchage of their immunity from captivity.  They had executed the plan and did the unthinkable. But in the middle of it all, the lead character’s nose was grossly bleeding  every episode just to point out that he has a hypothalamic hematoma which required surgery.  It was done delayed.  Next scenes showed- their mother, unknown to the brothers to be still alive, has something to do with the Scylla.

It was already four in the morning and we’re already experiencing natural sedation.  We decided to stop the DVD to get some sleep.  We still have 6 episodes to follow and haven’t seen the finale where Michael allegedly died. In my own quest to end my wife’s skepticism,  I surfed the Prison Break official website and scanned the recaps of episodes that can be found in this SOURCE.

It is where I read this :

“Sara calls to Michael that it’s time to go… but the Michael she’s speaking to is a child. Her child, Michael Jr. She says it’s time to go see Daddy. They arrive at a cemetery, where they meet up with Linc, Sucre and Mahone. Michael Jr. puts flowers on a headstone… while Linc leaves an origami crane. Everyone pays their respects. As they leave, we see the inscription on the headstone:

Michael J. Scofield
September 8, 1974 – November 4, 2005
Husband, Father, Brother, Uncle, Friend
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”


——————————————————————————————————>Do you watch PRISON BREAK ?



One of the TV series that my wife and I are fond of watching on DVD is LOST of which the main plot revolves on the lives of survivors of plane crash stranded in a mysterious island.  LOST is a drama series with lots of twists in between. I don’t know with you, but we found it engaging.  The various characters are interesting – the lead played by Matthew Fox is a doctor, who became so close with Evangeline Lily’s who’s an ex con…


Do you watch LOST? 

We became a bit busy and LOST in watching it, we still need to find time to catch the seasons we’ve missed.


Following a drama behind the story of plane crash survivors unfold on a mysterious island can while away time.  But it’s far different from watching actual news on TV or via the www that a huge jet that braved the thunderous storm disappeared in its flight.  It’s scary when it happens on real life.

I was in brief moment of silence after I woke up this morning learning that  the news already confirmed  the missing Air France jet carrying 228 people crashed at sea.  Air France flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Paris,France disappeared in the middle of Atlantic Ocean last Monday.

photo by AFP

Unfortunately, 3 days after the tragedy, no bodies were recovered, no signs of life was noted as they searched the spot where only floating debris were seen.  The black box of the aircraft is still to be found, until then the cause of this catastrophic incident is unclear.  

Real life tragedy is never entertaining.

Regardless of your religion, let’s pray for the grieving families for them to find strength in facing this awful fatal event.



42090It was a blessing in disguise that I was off from work today and I got to enjoy the live feed of 2009 Americal Idol finals night.  Honestly,  I’m not much of a fan and would only watch the remaining 5 or 3 contestants booting each other one after the other everytime there’s a season. 

With the recently concluded AI Finals, it was a blast!  I don’t know with you but I enjoyed it since most of the guests who performed were truly icons in their own right. They had Black Eyed Peas, Jason Mraz, Keith Urban, baby! Man, they rock super!  Cyndi Lauper doing one of her classics “Time after time” with the flame-haired top 10-finalist Allison Iraheta;  Lionel Richie who was great in singing his hit  “Hello” with American Idol top 3 Danny Gokey and it sure brought me back to my wonder years during the eighties.  Carlos Santa also graced the show with his strings, the rock bands Queen and Kiss, and no less than Rod Stewart and comedian/actor Steve Martin also had their own intermissions with other Idol contestants. 

Although one of the judges, Simon Cowell himself commended that both finalists were winners for what they have reached since the beginning of the contest, and as they were given new Ford each,  the big night was for this year’s dark horse/underdog Kris Allen, 23 year old from Conway, Arkansas who set a new record having millions of votes to his name over Adam Lambert,  judges’ favorite. 

Hands down to America for being innovative with every choice, from President to their Idols. 

 Applause, applause!


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