Posts Tagged ‘family bonding



My wife, Tina & our son, Gabby in Malacca, Malaysia on our second visit, June 21-23, 2013.

Our 7-hour-night-trip via bus from Butterworth, Penang to Malacca on our second visit to one of Malaysia’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites was absolutely worth it!  Despite everything (read : haze from Sumatra’s slash and burn farming that greatly affected Singapore & some states of neighboring Malaysia; yes, including Malacca  but not as severe), we had so many reasons to be thankful for. Quality time with family was spent, gastronomic feasts were enjoyed, special memories were made. :)

For this midyear family getaway, we stayed in Melaka for 3D2N

on sponsored accomodation at the barely month-old,

Quayside Hotel.

We arrived and checked in so early at 6AM in spite of the regular 3PM check in. Thank you!

Modestly looking warehouse from the outside, impressive interiors with warm hospitality awaits inside.


Minimalist, masculine and industrial with homey atmosphere made the renovation true to its history of being a century-old- Customs warehouse in this side of Malaysia. My family and I found it so promising and definitely, a great option compared to the usual theme of hotels in Malacca.

Among the 39 rooms in Quayside Hotel, our home for this holiday was Azura Suite with king-sized bed, tasteful details and a stunning view of the Malacca River.

Gabby felt so home immediately. Best indication of a right place to be! The parents were happy! :)


Attention put to details and corners was very apparent. Everything looks simple yet uniquely quaint.


We’re told that breakfast is served at Halia Inc, Restaurant and Coffee Bar starting at 7AM. So after checking in, we freshened up and trooped to the next door establishment to sample their goodies, more so to pacify our borborygmi (growling stomach sounds). ;)

Halia Inc, Restaurant and Coffee Bar

Over all interiors was patterned after the hotel’s old-Customs-warehouse-theme. First glimpse instantly reminded me of Martha Stewart and Jamie Oliver; if you know what I mean. On the presentation and taste departments : As good as it gets!


Let’s get down to business, shall we?

Here’s the usual shameless display of what we chow down. Breakfast : Day One was a delight with my favorite Malaysian dish, Char Koay Teow that’s served on the buffet spread with generous ingredients of plump prawns, slices of squid and taste that’s not overly spicy, perfectly adjusted to foreigner’s taste buds. Some breakfast staples also included a variety of breads partnered with butter and jam, fresh tropical fruits in season, DIY-congee, chicken sausages, fried rice and scrambled eggs (not on photos), washed down with freshly squeezed OJ and nice blends of coffee.

Signs of happy diners : Loving the day and ear to ear smiles!

Breakfast Day Two : Set Menu of Western and Local favorites.

Weekend getaways are made of these worry-free-smiles!

We intentionally chose another charming spot at Halia Restaurant.

Obviously, happy and hungry. No further captions needed, hehehe! :P

My family had each plate of pancakes smothered by raspberry jam, half-boiled-eggs and French toasts while I enjoyed my first meal on the second day with local fried noodles (Beehon) with sunny-side-up-egg, some pudding and coffee bread (super delicious!) and fresh fruits all packed and served Baba-Nyonya style. :)


Dinner during our second night was savored at Halia Restaurant again, nonetheless a feast! Prior enjoying our ala carte orders, we engaged in an interesting talks with the owners, Shara & Stuart, and their friendly local staffs particularly, Jaqueline, their fascinating barista who hails from Kuala Lumpur. After taking in some recommendations on what to sample, Team DocGelo was certainly pleased with another memorable epicurean experience.

Behind those photos are moments to cherish! Naks! :)

Tina, Gabby and I chose these yummies from Halia’s menu :

Mushroom Soup (Soup of the day) Served With Garlicky Sourdough Toast

All-Cheese-Pizza (by request sans toppings) for Gabby

Linguine Aglio Olio With Prawns, Squid and American Mussels for me

Oat-Crusted-Norwegian Salmon, Yuzu Butter Sauce, Market Vegetables for Tina

Asam Boi : Sweet Calamansi and Preserved Plum (local refresher) for me

Lime, Mint, Soda Mocktail for Tina

Halia Inc.’s Tiramisu

Sticky Date Pudding, Caramel Sauce, Vanilla Ice Cream

Cappuccino for Tina

Mocha for me.



Are we satisfied with what we tasted from Halia Inc.’s menu? Those smiles mean a lot! :)


I’m no hotelier or a man in the Tourism industry but I personally think the 3-star-hotel category of Quayside Hotel is underrated. Just because the hotel doesn’t have swimming pool or lifts because it’s only a 2-storey-structure doesn’t mean it couldn’t satisfy what tourists and guests are looking in an accomodation during leisure or holiday.


About five (5) minutes away from Melaka Sentral by taxi cab, situated at the center of Heritage Site, just after that giant Malaccan water wheel, along the Malacca River. A stone’s throw away from commercial malls, public and night markets, the famous Jonker Street, Red Square where Christ Church Melaka and Clock Tower are located. In order words, VERY ACCESSIBLE, so go book Quayside Hotel on your next Malaccan trip!


Spacious, stylish and comfortable.

Wooden floors from lobby to hallways to suites! Impressive!


Local staffs were courteous and fluent in English (apparently, a big plus to travelers & tourists).


Surprisingly, reasonable and highly competitive with the other hotels around.


Delicious! Complimentary breakfast included on the package.


Fast and FREE!


Excellent. Relaxing. Not Intimidating


Other than offering local cuisine together with Western favorites on their menu at Halia Inc Restaurant, Quayside Hotel also supports Malaysian culture, artists and their creativity by putting up its very own boutique shop and art gallery.


While our family highly recommends Quayside Hotel in Malacca based on what we experienced for 3D2N stay, here’s a short list of our humble suggestions for their improvement. *PLEASE BEAR IN MIND that all these were noted ONLY at Azura Suite, the hotel lobby and Halia Inc Restaurant & Coffee Bar, after the hotel’s ONE MONTH of operation. These comments and suggestions do not reflect the present condition of all the rooms in Quayside hotel & Halia Inc Restaurant. To us, everything’s fine but could have been better with enhancement of the following MINOR observations and personal suggestions :

  • Glass shower room at Azura suite needs (rubber-)sealing at the bottom of its glass door in order for water not to flow to the floor, to keep the toilet area dry at all times.
  • The sink at the toilet’s nice but must have soap dish(es).  A packet of thread & needles, plus comb will complete the travel necessities.
  • While hot and cold shower’s refreshing, a shampoo holder will be a good addition to the soap container inside the shower.
  • We appreciate the availability of iron and iron board, hangers and safe inside the wardrobe but better to provide at least a pair of long umbrellas and sets of room-slippers too.
  • A telephone at the bedside table in Azura suite could provide security and convenience to guests.
  • According to my wife, Tina, some fresh flowers and framed arts could make the lobby and first floor lounging area prettier.
  • In Halia Inc. Restaurant and Coffee Bar, I personally suggest the use of place mats under plates to protect the handsome wooden tables from early worn out.
  • Tina and Gabby suggest the addition of cereals and other fruit juices during breakfast. My wife also mentioned the spread could’ve been better with the provision of a bread toaster for guests to do their own toast.
  • Other than these small issues, WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND Quayside Hotel and Halia Inc. Restaurant and Coffee Bar to all tourists and travelers in Malacca! :)


Special thanks to Quayside Hotel, Halia, Inc Restaurant & Coffee Bar, and to Stuart and Shara for the generosity.

  • Quayside Hotel & Halia, Inc Restaurant  & Coffee Bar | No. 1, Jalan Merdeka, Quayside Heritage Centre, Banda Hilir, 75000 Melaka | Tel. No. : +606 284 1001 | Fax : +606 284 1002/1003.
  • Website :
  • facebook :
  • Email : (If in case you’ll be writing them, tell the very young and inspiring owners, Stuart & Shara that you read about their beautiful establishments here and please give our warm regards to them. Thanks!).

*While this is a sponsored blog post, the words are all mine unless quoted, and were never influenced by anyone.

Some photos on this post were taken by my lovely wife, Tina. I’m proud of her creativity! Day 3 Breakfast photos and menu are not yet included on this post as the blogger drafted and completed this entry prior to breakfast on 23rd June 2013 (without sleep on his own will & passion for blogging).

More stories and photos to come on this blog series, so stay tuned! :)



Malacca Strait & George Town, Penang viewed from our little balcony last June 13, ’13, Thursday.

Two days before the Father’s Day weekend, Tina and I arrived home from our office, Gabby from school at late afternoon. We were all greeted by gusty winds and big waves from the Malacca Strait via our little balcony at our 11th floor apartment. Little did we know that scenes in Pulau Pinang were even worse as telecom tower, electric poles and numerous trees already fell to the streets in George Town, Penang. We sat and prayed together and tried to calm down Gabby who was too anxious of the sight and sound of seemingly impending storm. But for three 3 years of stay in this side of Malaysia, I know they don’t issue typhoon signals unlike in our country, The Philippines. And true enough what appeared to last as unfavorable weather for whole night, thankfully ended an hour or so. We were relieved.

The next day, we went to work again, and Gabby to school as usual with a sunshiny climate. The weather was confirmed to be Bipolar, perhaps, even Schizoid. :)  Tina didn’t rely on her instincts but googled the weather forecast online. No threat or warning to spoil our plans for the weekend. We were again relieved.  

Saturday came and we hopped on the bus at around 9AM, boarded the ferry at jetty in Penang Sentral and reached the island safely.

All smiles aboard the ferry from Butterworth to George Town.

It was almost 10AM and (thankfully) the sun was shining its brightest. We strolled from jetty in Weld Quay to Gat Lebuh Armenian simply to see two of the 11 (soon to be established) new sets of murals with cats as theme.
Cat mural #2 located at Gat Lebuh Armenian.  How do you like it?

Finally, we met Skippy,  the meow meow of the 11 cat murals in George Town. Have you seen a bigger cat mural than Skippy?

Skippy the cat and the black rodent mural located at Gat Lebuh Armenian. :)

After few touristy things, we strolled our way to catch the bus at Lebuh Chulia or Chulia Street. We passed by one of the remarkable heritage sites in George Town, the clan house or kongsi of Cheah family with its newly installed gates. It looks grand as ever!

Cheah Kongsi. Gates are open to welcome tourists at month-long George Town Festival 2013.

Rode the bus, got off Komtar and went up the 8th level of First Avenue Mall in George Town to buy movie tickets for afternoon screening. After which, we hurriedly went down and took the cab, despite the fact that our next destination can be reached by foot, we didn’t want to be late to our 11AM reservation to an eat-all-you-want-Asian restaurant in a mall that we’ve never been to.

Penang Times Square

With only lunch buffet at our initial game plan, we managed to make our weekend memorable again.

My love. My life. :)

Haven Delights, Penang Times Square

It’s our first time at Penang Times Square and apparently, first time to dine at Haven Delights. Before someone makes a conclusion that everything here’s far from reasonable, let me be defensive in stating that it was Tina’s idea to buy discount-vouchers from when she saw online that Asian Buffet in Haven Delights was on promosi. We only paid RM 56 (USD 17.96) for the buffet meals good for 2, and didn’t pay anything for Gabby as per text message of the manager of Haven Delights when he apologized to something I chose not to write about. After all, the misunderstanding was already settled and our eat-all-you-want-lunch turned out better than expected.

Similar to its adjacent buffet restaurant, TAO that we already sampled from another branch, Haven Delights offers a spread that includes free flow of fruit juices and iced green tea. Other than that, the rest is served upon order from their buffet menu. Surprisingly, we noticed Haven Delight’s buffet menu has wide variety to choose from. The interiors and overall ambiance aren’t cheap, although I suggest for them to have a better choice of house music that must go with the buffet theme. Nonetheless, those red lanterns, and cozy lights aptly set the mood for Asian gastronomic experience. To be honest, it wasn’t the best buffet we’ve sampled but for its price, it was an absoulte steal for the three of us! Happy Father’s Day to me! Happy me! :)


It was also our very first time to purchase voucher at and it was indeed a good buy!  At least, our first impressions were all nice. Now, on to business. If you’ve been following this blog for quite some time now, you know that I have been keeping a love affair with Japanese. I like how creative their dishes are; I appreciate how Japanese cuisine provides both art and sustenance. So when Tina told me that the restaurant she chose via in Penang features Japanese food among other Asian delights, I gave it a nod in no time! :)

This is the rundown of what we tried from the buffet menu… Drum roll, please! :)

Miso soup from the spread. Warm and nice.

Mussels No. 1 as they called it but to us, they’re Baked Mussels. Cheesy. We liked!

Szechuan Beef. Surprisingly tender, tasteful, everything’s right. Recommended!

Temaki. Soft Shelled Crab & California Hand Roll. Gabby and I shared these two; thumbs up! :)

Santen Sashimi. Sashimi, for as long as fresh, remains my favorite so I’m biased with this bowl.

Motoyaki Scallops. Another must-try, another personal favorite but size of scallops was a bit disappointing.

Salted Pepper Mantis. Go order this too at Haven Delights. Bite-sized goodness!

Orange Pork Chop. We frequently order the Crispy Lemon Chicken from a Chinese restaurant back home; this one reminded us of that.

My world revolves and rotates for Gabby & Tina. :)

Ebi Sushi, Salmon Sushi. Need I say more?

Mixed Tempura. There was no Ebi Tempura alone, so Gabby opted for the next best thing.

Haven Special Maki, Smoked Eel Roll. Improvement on the maki-making would make it better.

Eat, Pray, Love.

Lamb Teriyaki over Japanese Rice from the spread. Tina’s plate -she said this combo was fine.

Motoyaki Scallops, round two : 5 orders. Yum! Yummier if only they’re bigger.

Ebi Mango Sushi and other delightful things on our table.


Haven delights customers particularly during dinner could eat al fresco with the view of George Town’s streets and diversity. Case in point, the Catholic Church stands almost behind the Hindu Temple with no conflicts, whatsoever.
Penang, we’ll surely miss you one day! Thank you for everything!

One more shot, with the mighty, Komatar this time. It’s the tallest building in the island. Iconic, isn’t it?

Lunch buffet starts at 11:30PM with taking of the last orders from diners at 2PM.  We finished past 1PM. Burp! :) Just when I thought we’re heading back to First Avenue Mall to watch the 2:45PM screening of the newest remake of Superman movie, Man of Steel, we saw another restaurant that was featured on called, Full House.

Gabby wanted dessert while Tina and I were craving for our caffeine doses. We gave in. We tried Full House too, for the very first time.

FullHouse Restaurant, Penang Times Square

It’s not difficult to be charmed with the space, interiors and menu of FullHouse. It’s a lifestyle store that also sells T-shirts and some novelty items to match the incredibly dainty epicurean experience. We only had coffee and for Gabby, a serving of creme brulee but dining at Full House felt like so fresh and pleasant. I predict that we’ll drop again to sample entrees and other offerings soon.


Best thing that we do while waiting for orders : freeze the moments via photographs. And when the orders are served, take pictures again! It’s a habit hard to break. Can you blame Tina and I if the cups of our caffeine came with art?

Latte for me. RM8.90++ (USD 2.85++). The cute coffee art made me smile, the taste made me satisfied.
Cappuccino for Tina. RM 8.90++ (USD 2.85++). The blend passed Tina’s meticulous taste!
Creme Brulee RM 10.90++ (USD 3.50++) and Choco Blended RM 9.90++ (USD 3.17++) for Gabby. :)

We left Full House in Penang Times Square with wider smiles and happier tummies. We crossed the road and took a taxi cab again, in order not to be late at the 2:45PM screening of Man of Steel.

Man of Steel at First Avenue Mall

It has been several months since the three of us last watched a movie together, popcorn (and upcoming movie, Monster University’s) tumbler of Coke are a must! :)


Before and after the Man of Steel movie, Gabby made a statement to us by saying,

Ben 10 is better than Superman; he got more powers!” 

Oh well, he grew up with his breed of animated characters and fictional heroes on screen but seriously, we all enjoyed this action-packed Superman movie. The treatment to the story and twist was made contemporary different from the previous ones.  I didn’t browse anything about it prior watching, so I was stunned to see Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Amy Adams casted as support to Henry Cavill’s iconic role. I was in awe in every second of the movie. We literally finished our caramel popcorn which unusually happens in other movies. It was that entertaining!

daddy's day

What else can I say but I was happiest with my family that Saturday! I may not have everything but they’re my greatest blessings! :D

Till our next family bonding! Enjoy your celebrations, everyone!

*Haven Delights | No. 77-L1-34, Penang Times Square, Jalan Dato Keramat, 10150, Penang, My.

*FullHouse |No. 77-G-20-21,61-65, Penang Times Square, Jalan Dato Keramat, 10150, Penang, My.

*This is NOT a sponsored post.



Kite flying, like George Town Festival is for everyone to enjoy!

08 June 2013, Saturday, George Town, Penang.  There could never be more appropriate way to make a grand celebration soar to the heaven but to take it literally to the skies! The idea of having drums and kite making and kite flying in an incredibly massive open field, in front of Penang’s Town Hall and City Hall called, Esplanade or Padang Kota Lama, was too perfect to call people across the lifespan to gather and celebrate the official opening ceremony of  George Town Festival 2013. After all, everyone, regardless of age, ethnicity and economic status surely enjoys kites and kite flying! 

Right after spending almost half day from lunch at Queensbay Mall, my family and I trooped to Esplanade to witness the GTF 2013 official opening, aptly called, Taking Off! 

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Town Hall, George Town, Penang, Malaysia. Photo taken July 7, 2013, Friday prior to I Musici Concert.

The night before the event, I was invited to watch I Musici Di Roma (Blog post HERE!) and before I went to the musical concert held at Diwan Sri Penang, I saw, for the first time, the larger than life art installation called, Theatre of Ships made for Penang by Indonesian artist, Joko Avianto. I was happy to bring Tina and Gabby there the following day.

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Theatre of Ships. Larger than life installation. Inspiring!

Must have touristy shot! :)
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Detail shot of Theatre of Ships. I heard more than 3500 bamboos were used to create this masterpiece!

The use of bamboos, in my opinion is a genius! This tallest of the grass species is known for being resilient at any weather, it can sway even with strongest winds and typhoons; bamboos are actually that symbolic! And to create a giant masterpiece out of it made everything even better!

I also liked the idea of involving kites as I think kites are symbolic too! Kites represent flights of many things! My family and I love kites and kite flying! My son and I flew a 5-ringgit-plastic-kite that we bought from Tesco supermarket in Penang and brought and flew it in Cenang Beach, Langkawi (Blog post HERE!). We even spent a Labor Day holiday back in 2011 in Kota Bahru, Kelantan, just to witness how moon kites, or Malaysia’s Wau Bulan are intricately made (Blog post HERE!)

wau bulan, kota bahru, kelantan 2011
We appreciated how Wau Bulan or Moon Kites are intricately made in no less than Kota Bahru, Kelantan in 2011.

It goes without saying we loved how GTF2013 opening ceremony was done.

Surprisingly, we saw a kite being flown from our country, the Philippines! Despite its simplicity and lack of striking and vibrant colors, it was one of the kites that soared highest against the wind that Saturday. ASEAN nations were invited to particpate in GTF 2013 opening ceremony  :)

Best of all, families of various races and ages came together one afternoon under the sun and blue sky! It was a sight to behold!


There were many tents around Padang Kota Lama that were put up for hawker food stalls that offer affordable local and Western food. From Penang’s famous Assam Laksa, to other noodle dishes like my favorite, Char Koay Teow and Hokien Mee and others, Indian-Malaysian sweet barquillo-like Apom Manis, to Japanese sushi, Thailand’s coconut jelly inside coconut shells and Western’s pizza and ice cream. We sampled apom manis for the very first time and liked it (not on photos). While Gabby enjoyed a small pizza we bought for him, Tina and I savored bowls of warm and satisfyingly thick and rish Shark’s Fin Soup at 3 ringgit each. Delicious! 
shark's fin george town penang
Shark fin’s soup from a hawker stall in Padang Kota Lama during the Taking Off event for GTF2013.

We went home with smiles on our faces and happy tummies! :)


For schedules of events in this month-long celebration of GTF2013 :

*This is NOT a sponsored or commissioned post. Special thanks to Ms. Wanida of GTF2013. Stay tuned for features about GTF2013 on this blog!

Previous GTF on this blog includes :



It was already late evening of Friday, October 5th, 2012 when I got a chance to view the attached photos on my Inbox sent by Gabby’s teacher & school owner taken using her iphone. I smiled and I appreciated the concern, love and care expressed to our son by his generous and thoughtful Malaysian-Chinese teacher. Thank you so much, Ms. Jasmine! The photos showed Gabby and his teacher’s son eating burgers and fries in McDonald’s after school; a simple birthday treat yet so special to Gabby and to us!  Tina and I really found it so heartwarming!


gabby and ethan

Because his birthday falls on a weekday this year, Friday to be exact, we chose not to absent ourselves from work and school thus, another extraordinary weekend was brewed.

Little did we know that Gabby told his teacher the reason why he’s not having  that ceremonial birthday cake candle blowing over the usual birthday song singing with party hats, some pasta and loot bags in school like what he used to have back home (If you’ve been following this blog, you’re familiar with Gabby’s SPONGEBOB THEMED 5TH BIRTHDAY PARTY ) it’s because we planned to celebrate his 8th birthday the way we know how : BUFFET!!! :)

Long before his big day, we already talked and decided where to spend it; and among the hotels and restaurants we’ve tried, a unanimous decision was made : G Hotel at Gurney Drive, Penang!



Among the few premier hotels and restaurants in Penang that my family and I have sampled, G Cafe in G Hotel has always been remarkably pleasant. We like its polite and quick service, great tasting dishes with a wide variety but not overwhelming, and its contemporary and edgy, elegant and sophisticated but non-intimidating ambiance. Not to forget its reasonable and affordable cost for an eat-all-you-want dining on lunch, high tea or dinner. They even made it more budget-friendly as we availed of the 15% discount offer that we got for being Rapid Penang Bus commuters. :) Best of all, G Cafe staff granted my request for a FREE birthday cake with a candle to blow for Gabby! They gave an instant nod without hesitation; many thanks to that! :D

There are other restaurants inside G Hotel and at G Cafe, there are two dining spots. It’s our third time to eat inside G Cafe’s airconditioned dining area and have not favored yet their open-air eating space.

So here’s where we sat and dined…

And here’s a portion of their eat-all-you-want-spread that evening…
I like their simple and minimalist display and fixtures that perfectly complemented the modern and somewhat masculine appeal of the entire all-day-dining-restaurant. I also think the use of BLUE tones in lighting and glasses excellent! It’s quite uncommon choice for restaurants yet so regal.

g cafe g hotel penang malaysia
G Cafe offers different themed dining every night and it was our second time to try their International Cuisine-BARBECUE NIGHT!
grilled prawns and meat g cafe g hotel penang
There were grilled prawns, grilled lamb, grilled fish, and grilled squid…
grilled goodies 2

Roasted lamb, anyone?
roasted lamb g cafe g hotel penang
Tina and I tried a few slices from the carving station but honestly, we’re not fanatics of lamb unlike the others despite G Cafe’s version was tender.

Usually, it’s a toss between salad and soup for me, I went for the latter first and enjoyed every spoonful of sweet corn and chicken soup! It was thick and superb! Really tasteful!


But then again, I thought I am just a mere mortal and very weak to pass up on these yummies! Tee hee!
I did not! We did not pass up on the salads. We had a little bit of everything!

We liked the Smoked Duck Salad even though I was telling Tina how I missed G Cafe’s Prawn Salad (told you, they’ve variety every night!), the fusion of the smoked duck meat cut into strips and those mango and veggies in julienne cuts were an absolute match made in Penang! ;)

How about Smoked Salmon Salad that beautifully blended with those avocado cubes?
Irresistible! Then you see more Hors d’oeuvre like different chunks and slices of cheese and biscuits…
And then there’s this crunchy and sweet and a bit spicy dried fish called IKAN BILIS ISTIMEWA which to me was one of the most appetizing appetizers I’ve ever tasted! Or is it an entree? Hahaha!  FYI, istimewa means special!  It reminded me of  a locally dried fish back home called, Danggit, although it’s all salty and crunchy when fried, this Ikan Bilis Istimewa came with flavors and texture that burst every bite! Sarap! Sedap! It’s really something you’ll crave for! Delicious sans vinegar! I wish I had more servings!

Meanwhile, here’s my salad plate…
Tina’s seafood plate…

Everything was fine particularly the salmon sashimi except for the scallops; they were flat and disappointing!
sushi and seafoods

While the birthday boy was certain of his choices…
Our palates savored the sushi rolls too! I always profess my fascination to Japanese dishes. It’s amazing that they’re both art and nourishment at the same time! My love affair with sushi and sashimi makes me wonder if I’m half blood Japanese, hahaha!
sushi 1
sushi 4
sushi 2
sushi 3
Tina tried the Chicken Shawarma and Roasted Lamb. I tasted their version of Shawarma before and it didn’t impress my tastebuds. I’m still partial with similar Mediterranean favorite back home.
lamb and chicken shawarma
Tina’s plate filled with grilled stuffs…
grilled goodies 1
And here are my plates…
grilled goodies

There were a lot more dishes on the spread and a noodle station that we failed to sample. Nonetheless, we made sure we reserved gastric space for desserts.


desserts 0

In our third time to dine at G Cafe in G Hotel in our more than two years of being expatriates in Penang, we’re loving the fact that we have experienced the evolution of dessert offerings. Let the photos do the talking. Sweet, sweeter, sweetest! :D

desserts 8
desserts 9
desserts baskin robbins
Who knew my family and I could enjoy an eat-all-you-want Baskin Robbins ice cream? I don’t know about you, but for jologs like me, it’s a big deal already! A BIG PLUS for this buffet actually! ;)
So my sweet tooth became happier again with every scoop of Baskin Robbins included in the buffet spread. I had Mint Chocolate Chip and Vanilla which are two of my favorite flavors, I also had Strawberry Sherbet and Green Tea. I was content with just the scoops sans toppings and syrups. I’m a purist when it comes to ice cream or at least in this occasion.
desserts g cafe g hotel penang baskin robbins
While Tina was in bliss with her gummies toppings over her Baskin Robbins…
desserts g cafe g hotel penang baskin robbins 1
I wish all the sweets in the dessert spread had labels. Because there were none, I relied on my gustatory skills. These bite-sized cakes that tasted peanut butter at its creamiest earned my thumbs up!
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Another must-try at G Cafe’s dessert spread is this beautiful pastry. Believe it or not, the filling inside those dark chocolate cream icings is a tiny strawberry –just imagine the tug-o-war of bitter-sweet taste of the dark chocolate against the sour-sweet taste of strawberry. The combination’s brilliant! Then each was sandwiched by a light chocolate meringue. Wonderful! The toothsome flavors and luxurious textures were so amazing! I’ll bring back my family there for these!
desserts 5
How about a munch-all-you-want macarons? Heavenly. Just heavenly.
desserts 3
The birthday boy loves cheesecake…We all do!
desserts 4
Mini Cupcakes, FTW!
desserts 6
I’m now lost for superlatives to describe these…*drooling*
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desserts 2
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One of Tina’s dessert plates… yes, one of them! :)
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While here’s a shameless display of mine…
desserts g cafe g hotel penang 1
After a great and hearty meal, must have coffee.
And before you forget it’s Gabby’s 8th birthday celebration, here’s the documentation of that special moment…
G Cafe at G Hotel became uberly generous again in granting my request to provide a FREE birthday cake with a candle for Gabby to blow. Thank you so much, G Cafe! …And just so you know, Gabby held the bread knife to slice his birthday cake just like a CIRUJANO would do an incision; we didn’t coach him to do so. :)
The necessary family portrait…
Happy 8th Birthday, son! WE LOVE YOU VERY MUCH!


*This is NOT a sponsored post for G Cafe at G Hotel, Penang. We wish! :D




It started with a simple tweet. It ended with grand quality time with the family. I posted on twitter that I was craving for Restoran Kapitan’s Chicken Tandoori and Cheese Naan. I was really wishing to grab a bite of that favorite Indian dish and unexpectedly, I received a wonderful response from Hard Rock Hotel Penang. My  casual tweet received an extraordinary invite. Hard Rock Hotel Penang replied that my craving’s a good one and they invited me and my family to experience their lavishly unconventional beach front hotel and resort located at the heart of the famous Batu Ferringhi, Penang, Malaysia. How could you say no to such offer, when in fact, its location in Batu Ferringhi is so accessible by car or via Rapid Penang Bus # 101 from Weld Quay or jetty in George Town.

Admittedly, I am happy that I gave my nod to the invitation. The entire experience redefined what Penang means to me and my family. The 3D2N staycation in Hard Rock Hotel Penang made us realized that Penang is bigger than being one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, more than being our current work place, larger than having diversities and multicultured communities; it’s actually greater than meets the eye! Penang truly deserves the vast attention it gets from local and foreign tourists. Our short but sweet weekend escapade at Hard Rock Hotel Penang proved that the island is made extra special by having a FAMILY FRIENDLY premiere hotel, a great advantage above the rest.

Let me begin the sharing of our family’s experience and my personal review of Hard Rock Hotel facilities, services and its food and beverages by showcasing one of my favorite shots I took from the balcony of our seaview deluxe room…

Enticing, is it not? :)

Simple but lovely touches like this personal note made our stay so special…

My recall of Hard Rock dates back to the Philippines’ HRC in Makati City and our short visit to Las Vegas ages ago. Hard Rock Hotel Penang and its Hard Rock Cafe located at its facade reminded me of those stupendous memories.

We liked how they enshrined the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson ala-Abraham Lincoln right in front of HRC, so cool! :)

The iconic Hard Rock logo recreated in this fine drop-light chandelier dominates the entrance to the lobby.

Tina and I love Beatles, who doesn’t? We grew up hearing their songs on air and from my parents’ turntable. Thus, it’s amazing to see Beatles-inspired artworks, sculptures and mosaic-tiled-paintings all over Hard Rock Hotel Penang’s lobby and Hard Rock Cafe.

The sight of the check-in counter with a reception bar concept might be intimidating and discouraging for some guests with families and children, or perhaps to non-alcoholics, but I, myself marveled on the fact that Hard Rock Hotel Penang is absolutely, FAMILY-FRIENDLY bar none. Read and view this entire 2-part-blog-series and I need not convince you.

Few steps from the reception area at the lobby are fascinating memorabilia from music icons of rock and roll and other genres. From a 500-collection of costumes, to musical instruments, awards and whatnot,  guests and visitors would surely feel being in one of the most relaxing hotel and resort and at the same time, a funky museum that houses an unparalleled treasure that highlights the wide span of rock and roll era.

Immediately after the staff at the reception handed me the magnetic keys to our room, we went up to 5th floor.

No, we’re not booked at the Rock Star Suite, but there’s always a next time, isn’t it? hahahaha! :P

We were provided a seaview deluxe room that opens to a private balcony that’s too perfect for watching sunset, reflecting on life’s simple pleasures, meditation, savoring cups of coffee or even to while away time and think of nothing. The room and the view are definitely glorious!

This is one of my favorite corners of the room as it kept me relaxed and at the same time a bit busy in keeping in touch with my virtual world. I don’t think I’ll be at ease when I’m not hooked online. Thankfully, Hard Rock Hotel Penang provides FREE wifi/wireless and wired/broadband with rapid accessibility. The connection’s fast, it made me and my family happier! :)

“Rockin’ Rooms : Hard Rock Hotel Penang has 250 tastefully designed rooms including 17 suites. Most rooms are with sea views and private balconies. Lagoon view rooms come with direct pool access. All rooms and suites are well-equipped with DVD/CD players, interactive LCD, TVs, iPod docking stations…”

The size of the seaview deluxe room and the height of the ceiling spell the difference…

While pillows are available in various softness, the bed isn’t too firm nor too soft; it has the right feel to provide utmost comfort.  I like the immaculate white sheets too. All in all, my family had restful sleeps for 2 nights in this bedroom.

Flat iron and iron stand, a safety deposit box (not in photo), 2 pairs of slippers, bathrobes are all made available inside the wardrobe.  Coffee and tea making facilities, bottles of distilled water are replenished 2x daily.

The toilet and shower also compliments everything in the room. Despite the lack of bath tub (Who needs a bath tub if there’s so much to explore in this resort hotel?), cleanliness, frequent replenishment of toiletries, hand-held and rainfall shower with hot and cold water make every bathroom visits worry-free.

There’s a peek-a-boo-sliding divider from the toilet that to me, appears as a necessity in times of emergency. Oh well, others would consider it sexy; I don’t have problem with that too. ;)

As I first saw the huge mirror inside the toilet, I didn’t notice the framed black and white painting…

The rock and roll theme’s spontaneous! Hail to the King! There’s Elvis!!! :D

I think it’s the first photo that I posted on my facebook as a teaser to this blog series on Hard Rock Hotel Penang. I even captioned it as “I wanted it as a takeaway freebie, LOL!” :P

We left our room to meet few people from Hard Rock Hotel Penang and the other Malaysian bloggers invited. Tina, Gabby and I also checked out the hotel and resort’s facilities and amenities. Man, we were blown away! My personal expectations were met, even exceeded. I never imagined Hard Rock Hotel to have the most kid-friendly swimming pool that we’ve seen to date! It has the largest free-form swimming pool in Penang at 26,000 sqft.  The kiddie swimming pool is a playplace cum swimming pool with both sand and tiled floors for children’s preference! Tina and Gabby were greatly satisfied and happy too! We felt so blessed to have experienced and enjoyed Hard Rock Hotel Penang! I am overwhelemed by the fact that my family and I got to spend quality time in this beautiful resort. At this point, let my photos do the talking…

Spot the rainbow. Hard Rock Hotel Penang must have a pot of gold! The happiness that it brings its guests and visitors across all ages is as precious as gold.

The joy that Tina and I felt when we’re watching Gabby savoring his time in the pool and its playplace was priceless!

I also had a fair share of my own me-time. :) I think it’s healthy and far from being greedy to observe quality time too for ourselves, don’t you think?

I wish moments like this could be infinite. ;)

The premises of Hard Rock Hotel Penang ends just before the public beach nonetheless, its guests and visitors can delight themselves in the sand, sun and waters. To some, particularly foreigners who haven’t seen our country yet, the public beach of Batu Ferringhi, Penang is already a paradise and I cannot contest on that. But  for Filipinos like us, who have high standards when it comes to beaches (read: the Philippines, if you must know, is an archipelago of 7,107 islands), I must be honest enough that we’ve seen far better shorelines in our country (Boracay alone is Nirvana to sun beach and sun worshippers). At least the location of Hard Rock Hotel is a beach front one, it gives its clients options to dive into the pool or bask under the Malaysian sun. Watersports like jetskiing, parasailing, banana boat ride, boat rides to nearby islands and other fun outdoor activities are also available from operators stationed in the public beach.

Gabby also enjoyed his time in the sand… and I mean literally in the sand! :D

My family also availed of the Rock Spa’s foot and leg massage for half an hour (the other option included in the package’s neck massage).  After strolling in the beach, dipping in the pool and taking aimless walks around the hotel, Hard Rock Hotel Penang really knows how to retune and pamper their guests like rockstars! :)

Filipina receptionist at Rock Spa, Niniya with my wife, Tina. :)

Special thanks to the very warm and friendly staff of Rock Spa, Amy, Fifi and Niniya. It’s a pleasure meeting you! :)

HRHP also has Body Rock gym that offers a soothing sight of the pool and lush greens for those health buff hotel guests.

Family friendliness doesn’t stop at the kiddie swimming pool and playplace. Little ones can have their own fun time at Li’l Rock…

While our almost 8-year-old-kiddo who’s in his awkward age (not a kid anymore but not yet a teenages) fits the Teen’s Club to tee!

Tina and I loved the Beatles mania all around Hard Rock Hotel Penang! Even the Teens Club has these iconic figurines. Amazing!

When dusk falls upon us…

Rockin’ and rollin’ of the live band perks up the night and puts everyone at the lobby to the beat!

Live band music, ultimately relaxing and chill out ambiance, what more can you ask  for? :P

We cannot let the day pass without buying a memento. Luckily, Rock Shops, the souvenir stores of Hard Rock Hotel Penang had their Tshirts and other merchandise at 50% off during that weekend!

We bought 2 identical dad-and-son T-shirts in blue. :)

Stay tuned on the next post : GLORIOUS FOOD & BEVERAGE PORN at Hard Rock Cafe, Starz Diner, Sand Bar and Pizzeria of Hard Rock Hotel Penang!

I’d like to echo the words from one of the brochures of Hard Rock Hotel Penang,“It’s all about first class entertainment, impeccable service and center stage attention. It’s an ultimate rock retreat!”

My family and I cannot agree more. Everything in Hard Rock Hotel Penang is an epitome of colossal excellence! :D

Hard Rock Hotel Penang | Batu Ferringhi Beach | 111oo Penang, Malaysia

Take the Hard Rock Hotel Penang VIRTUAL TOUR HERE! :)


Up Next : Food & Beverages at Hard Rock Hotel Penang!

Hard Rock Hotel Penang offers Buka Puasa & Hari Raya Buffets

Buka Puasa at Starz | Starz Diner | Mondat to Thursday | 6:30PM till 10:30PM | RM 60++

Great American Buffet With A Twist | Starz Diner | Friday & Saturday | 6:30PM till 10:30PM | RM108++

Buka Puasa & Hari Raya Barefoot BBQ | Pizzeria | Sunday | 6:30PM to 10PM | RM60++

For reservations call +604 8811 711 ext 8703 or email


*Thank you to Ms. Danielle Fung of Hard Rock Hotel Penang for making this grand family weekend experience possible.



As I wanted to seize the day with my family after we had lunch buffet at Flamingo Hotel  last weekend, we gave in to my son’s request to finally conquer Toys R Us at Gurney Plaza Mall…

Exhibit  A :  Ben 10 Ultimate Echo Echo

If you must know, Gabby has monthly earnings. Since we don’t have a car and our 11th-floor-seaview-appartment here in Penang comes with a car port, we’re having it leased by our neighbor for RM50 or almost PhP700 (USD 15.66) per month and the rental fee goes directly to Gabby’s toy fund personal savings. Whenever needed, I borrow money from Gabby too, so it becomes an emergency fund, hahaha!  (yes, the world revolves clockwise sometimes!) :)  But last weekend, opportunity presented itself when we found our feet inside Toys R Us and Gabby got hold of that Ben 10 Ultimate Echo Echo action figure for 70 ringgit (Too expensive if you ask me, but it has been a while since Gabby had a new toy so Tina and I allowed the boy to be happy, he saved the money anyway). He walked away from Toys R Us with Ultimate Echo Echo despite Tina and I were eyeing on those Avengers plushies at the backdrop, hahaha!

Exhibit  B : Gabby in long pants

Yes, our soon-to-be-8-year-old-kiddo bid temporary goodbye to his cropped pants (puruntongs) for denim long pants and corduroys.  He’s no longer a baby! *cue in crocodile tears*

Exhibit C :  Mangoes and Strawberries

We had afternoon coolers from Chatime; took some photos of course….And I believe my family can pass as Chatime’s ambassadors, don’t you think? hahaha! :D

Exhibit D :  Eating Japanese favorites for FREE!

We had our early dinner at Sakae Sushi in Gurney Mall and used our 50 ringgit (PhP 700) vouchers which I got when Tina and I attended the invitational Bloggers’ Event at Sakae Sushi First Avenue Mall (view blog post HERE).

Since Tina and I had already tasted Sakae Sushi’s 2012 newest menu during the Bloggers’ Event weeks ago, our choices for this early dinner were our personal favorites. My wife had Chicken Teriyaki which according to her was tender enough and tasteful however could have been better if they added more sauce on the rice toppings. Our wonder boy, Gabby had his default order of Ebi Tempura and had him smiled ear to ear. My mom savored grilled salmon with mentaiko mayo; the dish is called Salmon Mentaiyaki. And I opted for my favorite Japanese noodle dish, Sukiyaki. I liked it but sadly not as close as the authentic ones I’ve tasted in Tokyo back in 2010 (view blog post HERE get ready to drool, hehehe!)

Happiness from Tokyo 2010

Apparently, our family life isn’t perfect and challenges come and go. But come hell or high water, Tina and Gabby remain my life till I breathe my last.

*When did you last experienced moments you wanted to freeze?

Carpe Diem, everyone! ;)



If I have to narrow down my list of preferred places in Kuala Lumpur, other than the very iconic Petronas Twin Towers and KLCC-Suria Shopping Complex , I would definitely include Bukit Bintang in my personal must-visit-places-in KL-list. The first time we went there was during the Chinese New Year holiday this year and with so much fascination, my family and I promised to go back again. And every visit has been rewarding with tons of fun memories to cherish.

This upscale shopping and business district in Malaysia’s capital city is comparable to few favorites that I have been to. In so many ways, Bukit Bintang reminds me of Rodeo Drive in LA, Downtown Auckland in New Zealand, Shibuya and Ginza in Tokyo, Canton Road in Hong Kong, Orchard Road in Singapore and our very own Makati City back home. It may be on a smaller and simpler scale compared to those cosmopolitan places but overall, it’s such a vibrant and exciting venue to stroll, shop, dine around or simply while away time during a stay in Kuala Lumpur.

For someone who’s been living and working in a rather more laid back but utterly rich in heritage sites like Penang, a visit to Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur is and will always be refreshing! :)

***Photos were taken in the streets of Bukit Bintang and Pepper Lunch in Pavilion Mall where we savored our lunch last May 8th before heading to the 2012 Malaysia International Tourism Blog Awards. We wolf down Beef Pepper Rice (for Tina, Gabby and me-a plate each!) and Salmon Pepper Rice for my mom. Obviously, it’s not only Tina and I who love Pepper Lunch but it’s one of Gabby’s favorites -not only here in Malaysia (Can someone bring PL to Penang, please! The Pavilion Mall branch in Bukit Bintang is the only one in Malaysia as of the moment) but in Hong Kong and Manila of course!  While the small slice of sublime chocolate cake from Lavander (which we opted prior seeing a branch of Bread Talk) was my celebratory dessert I had as takeaway in the hotel to rejoice this blog’s 5th anniversary. :D


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