This blog is featured on an article written by Samuel Medley with title, “5 Expat Blogs About Malaysia You Should Read” on Expat Go Malaysia. Thank you very much! The entire article is found here :
Posts Tagged ‘ofw
This blog is featured on an article written by Samuel Medley with title, “5 Expat Blogs About Malaysia You Should Read” on Expat Go Malaysia. Thank you very much! The entire article is found here :
Tags: family, Life, Filipinos, doc gelo, docgelo, photography, ocw, ofw, beyond toxicity, blogger, tourism malaysia, hotels in penang malaysia, e&o hotel, filipinos in malaysia, staycation, must visit in penang, must visit in george town penang, postaday, luxury, expatriates, eastern oriental hotel penang, family boding, beautiful hotel in penang
The theme of this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is so apt for what we’re having now. For 3 days and 2 nights, my family and I are spending the lovely weekend over a SPONSORED luxurious staycation at EASTERN & ORIENTAL HOTEL PENANG’s 123-square meter-CORNER SUITE. They invited me to review the newly built Victory Annexe Wing of this incredibly beautiful only-seafront view-hotel in George Town, Penang, Malaysia that boasts of heritage and timeless elegance; best, I’m experiencing everything with my family. It’s a sweet ESCAPE from our usual daily routine. It’s totally different experience that deviates us, even for a bit, from all hassles, stress and challenges of daily living in abroad. We cannot be grateful enough!
These photos are just teasers of the upcoming blog series about E&O Hotel Penang. Stay tuned!
This is my entry to WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE : ESCAPE
Tags: 2013 singapore blog awards, 2013 tatt awards, award winning blog, award winning blogger, awards, blog, blog anniversary, blog awards, blog review, blogger from the philippines, blogger in malaysia, blogging, celebration, citation, docgelo, expat, expat blog, expatriate, filipino blogger, lifestyle, lifestyle blogger, ocw, ofw, ofw blog, overseas blogger, photo blog, photography blog, pinoy blogger, recognition, travel blogger
08 May 2013. Wednesday.
Beyond Toxicity @ docgelo.com officially turns 6 years old today!
*applause! applause! bow!*
I’m not throwing any blog contest or giveaways but simply celebrating it with sincerest gratitude to my few loyal readers particularly those who have been writing comments on my posts through the years unconditionally.
Thank you very much! Maraming salamat po! Terima Kasih! Xie xie!
Ushering this blog’s 7th year is a list of exciting BLESSINGS this May 2013 and more pleasant ones to come!
*drum roll, please!*
- Nomination in the 2013 Singapore Blog Awards in 4 blog categories (Best Lifestyle Blog, Best Individual Blog, Best Family Blog & Best Travel Blog). Thank you very much! List of finalists to be announced in mid-June. Awarding ceremony on July 6, 2013. At stake along with recognition, prizes and freebies is a fully sponsored trip to Northern Territories, Australia! I want to win! I want to win!!! However, as 30 % of the judging criteria will be coming from public votes, will you support and vote for my blog if and when it gets in the finalists’ list? *crossed fingers*
- Nomination in 2013 Tatt Awards, Globe Tattoo, Philippines (Best Photo Blog or Microblog). List of finalists to be announced mid-June. At stake is recognition and PhP 50,000 cash prize for the Regular Blog Category. Just like in 2013 Singapore Blog Awards, I’m very thankful for the nomination and I’m hoping for the best to be in the finalists’ roll. Once in, your votes will be needed for this blog to win. I want to win! I want to win!!! But if it’s not for me, I’ll still take pride in being nominated this year. To God be the Glory!
- Invitation for Tina, Gabby and I to a sponsored 3D2N accomodation at one of the five 123sqm-Corner Suites at the newest Victory Annexe Wing of the luxury-5-star-hotel, E&O Hotel Penang for hotel review and blog feature, May 2013
- Invitation for Tina, Gabby and I to a sponsored dinner at 1885 fine dining restaurant in E&O Hotel Penang for restaurant review & blog feature, May 2013
- Invitation for Tina, Gabby and I to a sponsored 3D2N accomodation in Hotel Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen, Singaprore, May 2013
- Invitation for Tina, Gabby and I to a sponsored 2 day-access to theme parks of choice by iVenture Card, Singapore, May 2013
- Last year, one of my photos landed on the pages of Postcards on Lonely Planet Asia magazine…
- And for this year, the Associate Editor of Lonely Planet Asia emailed me recently that one of my photos of the Long Neck Women from Padaung Tribe in Myanmar who are currently refugees in Chiang Mai (blog post HERE!) will grace one of the Postcard pages of Lonely Planet Asia on its July/August issue. Big deal enough for the non-pro/amateur photo-enthusiast in me!
- And of course, I am still euphoric for winning the 2013 and 2012 Best Expat Blog Award from Ministry of Tourism Malaysia and all that happened concerning this blog last year (blog post HERE!)
Thank you so much to those people who are happy when we are happy!
My greatest appreciation goes out to those who nominated this site to those blog awards, to our few but very generous sponsors, to those who tirelessly recommend me and my family to our sponsors and of course, to those who continously express love and support, I cannot thank you enough. God bless all of us more! Mabuhay po kayo! Maraming salamat!
Tags: achievement, angelo nino m. santos, awards, blog awards, cuti cuti malaysia, datuk sri dr ng yen yen, doc gelo, docgelo, dr. angelo nino santos, expat, expat blog, expatriate in malaysia, family, family & living, filipino blogger, food, food blog, fun, george town, klcc, kuala lumpur, kuala lumpur convention center, kuala lumpur malaysia, lifestyle, lifestyle blog, lifestyle blogger, malaysia, malaysia blog awards, malaysia international tourism blog conference and awards, ministry of tourism malaysia, mitbca, mitbca 2013, ofw, overseas filipino worker, penang, recognition, social media, tourism, TRAVEL, travel blog, travel blogger, what to see in malaysia, where to go in malaysia
2013 March 6th, Wednesday.
2013 Malaysia International Tourism Conference & Blog Awards | MITBCA
Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
Beyond Toxicity @ docgelo.com is named
2013 Best Expat-Malaysia-My-Second-Home-Blog Award Winner!
The scene was surreal. Almost deja vu of what happened last year…
2012 MITBCA blog post HERE!!!
It’s truly an honor to receive another recognition for this personal passion, particularly of which 80% came from public voting. I cannot be grateful enough to all those who follow and read this site since I started this virtual home back in 2007 in the Philippines, to those who remain loyal readers and commenters after we have moved to Penang, Malaysia to work and of course, thank you to those who voted for my blog to win last year and this year’s MITBCA! Your support is absolutely priceless!
Terima Kasih to Ministry of Tourism Malaysia and all the people behind MITBCA for appreciating and lifting the spirits of movers of Tourism and bloggers in Malaysia in general. Awards like this is certainly inspiring and motivating! Maraming Salamat po at Mabuhay po kayo!
Similar to last year’s event, MITBCA offered two-day-bloggers conference for free, but because I chose to limit my absences from work in Penang, I decided to attend the awards night and skipped the meeting of the like-minds and international movers in social media including a bunch of fellow Filipino bloggers. That was a wrong move from me. I could’ve learned so much from them but to regret is futile. Nonetheless, I met them in the Gala Dinner & Awards Night that was far better than last year’s. Proof that collective efforts have been put just to nail this year’s success of MITBCA! Kudos to everyone involved! The ceremony was nothing short of fantastic!
I arrived of course, with TEAM DOCGELO; who else but my loving wife, Tina & our bundle of joy and pride, Gabby!
We’re so happy to meet again Ms. Emila Yusof of emilayusof.com, two-time-winner of Best Tourism Lifestyle Blog Award from MITBCA and who happens to be the Malaysian Illustrator and Children’s Book Author who custom-made my very own blog header! I am one of his huge fans and she remains an inspiration!
While local entertainers were doing their great parts on stage, we were busy dunking our forks and scooping our spoons to the delightful dinner they prepared. There were visual and gastronomic treats! It was a complete sensory feast!
And the speakers from where I came from, the Philippines! Here’s Vince Golangco (second from left on the photo below) of www.wheninmanila.com.
Blogie Robillo (second from left of the photo below) of www.robilloblog.com
Tonyo Cruz (second from left of the photo below) of tonyocruz.com
It was flattering when one of my fellow Filipino Bloggers shouted, MABUHAY! when my name was called as one of the winners, even overwhelming when Tonyo Cruz himself, told me, “kinikilabutan kami to see someone in Barong on stage” (kindly seek Google Translate, thank you!)
Blogger-winners included Best Tourism Travel Blogger, Squall Chin of www.wretch.cc/blog/squallczk whom I first met in Singapore Blog Awards last 2012.
And again, Ms. Emila Yusof of emilayusof.com, winner once more of Best Tourism Lifestyle Blog Award. Bravo!
For complete list of winners, visit www.mitbca.com.
More than the awards and recognition, I thank the Lord for my loving and supportive family!
They’re my LIFE! I love you, honey! I love you, Gabby!
After the wonderful awards night, we walked a few steps to pay homage again to Malaysia’s magnificence, what else but the Petronas Twin Towers. En route, we dropped by Aquaria…
And just before midnight, our eyes set on those incredibly stunning twins again!
Malaysia, Thank you very much for everything!
To God be the Glory!
Tags: backpackers' paradise, celebration, celebrations in malaysia, chinahouse, chinahouse penang, chinese arts, chinese drum performance, chinese god of wealth, chinese heritage, chinese new year, chinese new year 2013, clay molding, cny, cultural and heritage chinese new year celebration penang, culture, doc gelo, docgelo, dragon dance, drums, expatriate in malaysia, expats in malaysia, family, festivals, fun, george town penang, heritage, heritage trail penang malaysia, life in malaysia, lifestyle, lifestyle blogger, lion dance, malaysia, murals, must do in george town penang, must do in malaysia, must see in penang, must visit in george town penang, ofw, ofw in penang, penang, penang malaysia, prosperity, southeast asia, street arts, street arts in george town penang, street photography, TRAVEL, travel blog, travel blogger, trishaw, year of the snake
If I have to narrow down the reasons to be thankful, for living and working in Penang for almost 3 years now, being personally exposed and immersed to diversities in this UNESCO’s World Heritage Site will absolutely be on the top of my list. It’s always amazing how spending few hours in this quaint area of Pulau Pinang, either in an ordinary sunny day or during a very auspicious occasion, can be utterly enriching! Every experience exceeds expectation. Each visit has been a sensory feast! And this year’s Chinese New Year Cultural and Heritage Celebration in George Town, Penang wasn’t an exception!
I’m sure my wife, Tina (who had to stay again in our apartment during our visit for CNY to the island, for her to do the usual chores and get enough weekend rest), is also grateful for the countless times that our 8-year-old-son, Gabby has been discovering Malaysian tradition and cultures beyond books.
How could you not enjoy entering an art gallery for FREE?
Because I knew our afternoon will be packed, a bladder break was a must! So before we continued our CNY-merriment in the streets, I invited Gabby to walk towards Chinahouse restaurant just to have a decent minutes in toilet.
The streets of George Town were filled with murals and new steel-rod- art installations that are great addition to the existing ones. Those whimsical caricatures on most walls mention a bit of something from this town’s past and present lifestyles and whatnot. It’s certainly a refreshing and innovative approach in bringing art, history and culture readily accessible to both local and foreign tourists. They easily appeal even to kids like Gabby!
On the spot demonstrations of Chinese arts of sculpting, painting, weaving and even clay-molding were definitely crowd-drawing!
Needless to say, it was effortless for me to further enhance our son’s appreciation to the arts and someone else’s culture and tradition and more so, the need to value and constantly hone one’s skills and talents for self-improvement, forever and ever, Amen! LOL!
How often do you see a volume of men dressed as Chinese God of Wealth?
*What a sweet welcome to the year of the snake!
Regardless of our ethnicity and belief, we all wish this year to be more prosperous one!
No CNY celebration would be complete in any Chinatown without those traditional dragon and lion dances. And this year, Gabby and I were happy to witness an incredibly different performances in Kapitan Keling Mosque street.
It was a pleasure watching the performers from the time they prepared their acts, even happier of the fact that we savored everything in a very strategic spot. Despite my captures were so amateurish, the event was so momentous!
Vibrant colors, dynamic and synchronized moves are common to dragon and lion dances, but performing them on top of stilts or tables (one group had steel tables, the other was more daring dancing on wooden ones) made it more thrilling to watch!
I wish I had better shots! Everything was so awesome!
Enter the Dragonsssssssssssss!
Photographers and other people with camera (like me!) tried to obstruct our best view of the event, thus I had more difficulty in documenting the scenes. I cannot blame them, it was really exciting!
The celebration continued with a 68-drum-performance from an all-girl-group! Amazing!
They’re beaming with passion!
I kept on shouting with the crowd behind us and for a while, Gabby kept clapping his hands too! It was truly an outstanding performance!
No matter how imperfect the photo was and the dusk was upon us, I just had to snap my camera with one of those wonderful drummers and Gabby.
Because the roads in these areas were temporarily closed to traffic, public buses and cars were rerouted making us walk and enjoyed some more minutes in George Town. Our feet brought us to Chinahouse again and this time not only to void but to grab some bites before hopping on the ferry and bus to go home to Butterworth.
It was another happy day in George Town! We cannot be grateful enough!
How was your Chinese New Year celebration?
Tags: best expat blog, blog awards, doc gelo, docgelo, expat blog, filipino aroad, filipino blog abroad, food to eat in malaysia, malaysia blog awards 2013, malaysia international tourism blog awards, malaysia international tourism bloggers and conference awards, mitbca 2013, ocw, ofw, online contest, places to go in malaysia, sights to see in malaysia, support docgelo, tourism malaysia, tourist spots in malaysia, travel blog, traveling, what to eat in malaysia, what to see in malaysia, where to go in malaysia
For the second year in a row,
it is my honor that this blog is nominated
in the 2013 Ministry of Tourism Malaysia’s MITBCA Best Expat Blog Award category.
“Since the debut of the Malaysia International Tourism Bloggers Conference & Awards in 2012 which rewarded some of the world’s most accomplished Travel-Social Media Bloggers, MITBCA 2013 is set to spin this year’s event with a more exciting approach, leaving others to admire and emulate upon. Malaysia has set its pace to be on the forefront of reach into social media. Undeniably, there is a definitive difference between monitoring our brand in social media and using traditional methodologies in reaching out to build on tourism numbers. Travel is certainly a very hot topic across all social media channels and is one of the Top Three online topics of discussion and engagement. It surely encourages new network build up, new clientele bases and new innovative ideas being put across.” ~Sourced from www.mitbca.com
Last year’s moments were surreal (blog post HERE!), and to be honest about it, I do not mind experiencing it again! But that’s impossible to happen without your generous support.
And why does this humble site deserve YOUR VOTE?
Let these photos that were previously featured in last year’s blog posts
remind you how my family and I create our own adventure here in Malaysia.
So if you believe this blog is worthy of your generosity,
Here’s how to VOTE
Go to this link :
then click the log in fb button,
once logged in to fb,
click the list of category and choose EXPAT,
then hit the VOTE button for docgelo.com.
Maraming salamat po!
Thank you very much!
Tags: food, foodie, lifestyle, doc gelo, docgelo, food blog, market, noodles, food blogger, travel blog, travel blogger, thai food, shopping, ocw, ofw, pad thai, expat, southeast asia, night markets, backpacking, overseas blogger, lifestyle blog, thailand tourism, overseas blog, lifestyle blogger, expatriate blog, must see in thailand, chiang mai, backpacking asia, backpacking thailand, what to see in thailand, where to eat in chiang mai, where to shop in chiang mai, cheap shopping, thai cuisines, enoki, expatriate blogger, solo travel, budget travel, what to do in chiang mai, night market, tha phae gate, tha phae gate chiang mai, things to do in chiang mai, places to go in chiang mai, what to eat in chiang mai, things to do in thailand, must see in chiang mai, where to shop in thailand, vacation in chiang mai, chiang mai blog
Arguably, the best way to discover a place is to explore its public market. It’s a common venue where tourists and travelers casually commune with the local people and find their food and commodities that more often than not, represent a slice of their culture and lifestyle. Whenever I get a chance to bring my feet to a town or city that’s new to my senses, a planned or otherwise visit to a palengke, mercado, marche or pasar always makes a trip worthwhile. And what I did immediately after I checked in to my guesthouse in Chiang Mai wasn’t an exception.
Luck was on my side when I found out that A Little Bird Guesthouse is just a stone’s throw away from the main road in downtown Chiang Mai. After a few steps from the narrow alley where that backpackers’ favorite is located, this park at the middle of the road greeted me.
Tuk tuk as King of the roads. This must be Thailand!
Before I rode a tuk tuk en route to the market that was recommended to me by the one managing the guesthouse, I strolled my way to this Wat or temple.
My first sighting of the image of the Enlightened One in this part of Thailand.
And His people who best know the importance of being stress-free doing what else but Tai chi!
Walk, walk, walk…
It was almost past 6PM and this part of Asia had the sun still shining! Just like in Malaysia, it’s amazing!
Saw a handicraft store that’s very usual in my part of the globe.
Then I came back to the main road and hopped on this tuk tuk. Meet my first ride in Chiang Mai…
Off we goooooo!
For 60 baht or 6 ringgit (USD 2), the friendly old driver took me to the near end of Chiang Mai Night Bazaar in Chiang Khlan Road called Anusarn Market. The ride took around 20 minutes but was not a problem to me for my eyes enjoyed what they saw.
Without a map at hand and no research on the place prior to the trip, I really thought the first market I saw was the Anusarn itself until the tuk tuk driver continued to drive amidst the Thai traffic.
Every corner of each street and alley is picturesque! Shot this while inside the tuk tuk..
At last, Anusarn Market!
Spotted these colored foldable plastic lanterns; I liked it for being so light and handy; notice its packaging? I passed it up for I was so conscious of my limited budget.
Low cost everything is what Anusarn Market boasts of. If you’re a Filipino, you’ll feel its Divisoria-like appeal!
Admittedly, I didn’t come to this market to shop but more so to EAT. I was told at the guesthouse that authentic and cheap Thai dishes are best eaten here so I went. First restaurant I saw was this Seafood something. I chickened out prior to flipping a sample of its menu at its entrance. I was allergic at steep prices at that time.
I gazed at its right side and I was attracted to eat there. More spacious, open air, looked more affordable and delicious.
The view from where I sat…
And here’s my first set of authentic Thai meal from Chiang Mai…
Green Papaya Salad, Pork Satay, Pad Thai. Mango Juice. Nagutom po ako sa layo ng biyahe! Paid THB 300 (30 ringgit or USD 10) for everything. I was so hungry that everything tasted good. It was already dusk when I finished everything.
I roamed around and checked the stalls. I saw these Northern Thailand hats handcrafted by hilltribes. I almost bought a piece but I told myself to hold on to my pocket. I ended up buying one for Gabby from a refugee in the village I visited the next day.
I didn’t shop anything at Anusarn and the night market close to it except a handmade sling bag for 170 baht that I used during my short stay in Chiang Mai. I bought a few souvenirs for Tina and Gabby somewhere else. Nonetheless, my eyes and camera feasted on what they saw…
Can anyone identify these yarn-looking dolls? Are they used for witchcraft? lol
Amidst all commercialism, poverty still exists.
Moving on. Thai massage, anyone?
Must be relaxing from all the walking and shopping…
I headed to the main road and hailed tuk tuk again. Dropped by Tesco convenience store and bought bread and a liter of distilled water before walking back to my guesthouse. Along the way, I saw these adult-themed Thai art works on a wall. What can I say? Ahhhhhhrtistic!
That ended my first day in Chiang Mai. I started my 4D3N in this city by going to Anusarn Market and likewise, I wrapped up everything by spending my last night at another palengke, the Tha Phae Gate Night Market.
This brick-walled gate located at the center of the main road is also a walking-distance to where I stayed in Chiang Mai. In short, access was hassle-free. And because it was few days before welcoming the New Year, the Tha Phae Night Market was beaming with all its glory.
Arts for sale. I want! But never dared to ask the price.
There was a stage and a program that made the mood in Tha Phae Gate even more festive!
Thrilled with EXOTIC food? Crocodile perhaps?
What about Deer or Ostrich? Thank God, they’re labelled honestly.
I almost gave in to these New Zealand mussels and Razor Clams…
Until I craved for another dose of Pad Thai…
After all, I never eat too much of this noodle dish when I’m out of Thailand, therefore INDULGE!
My last meal in the Rose of the North : Pad Thai, Bacon Wrapped Enoki, all washed down with fresh Coconut juice!
If shopping in Chiang Mai could not seduce you, eating Thai food would definitely lure you.
- Padaung / Long Neck Women & Other Hill Tribes in Thailand
- Doi Suthep Buddhist Temple
- Elephant Show, Elephant Ride, Ox-Cart Ride, Bamboo Raft Ride, Orchid Farm
- Chiang Mai Zoo : Pandas, Koalas And More!
- Beyond Boundaries : Penang-Hat Yai-Bangkok-Chiang Mai
- Anusarn Market, Tha Phae Gate Night Market and lots of Thai Food!
Tags: 2012, bukit bintang kuala lumpur, bukit nanas, catholic church in kuala lumpur, catholic church in malaysia, christmas, christmas 2012, christmas decors, christmas lantern, christmas tree, cocktails, doc gelo, docgelo, expat, expatriate in malaysia, family and living, family blog, family geteaway, feast village, feast village in starhill gallery, food blog, food blogger, foodie, holiday, indian food, jw mariott hotel kuala lumpur, kuala lumpur malaysia, lifestyle, lifestyle blog, malaysia, malls in kuala lumpur, malls in malaysia, mojito, must see places in malaysia, must visit in kuala lumpur, ocw, ocw in malaysia, ofw, ofw in malaysia, parol, pavilion mall, pucca, sangeetha, st john cathedral kuala lumpur, starhill gallery, tourism malaysia, travel blog, travel blog malaysia, travel blogger, village bar, yuletide
Christmas 2012 Blog Series includes :
- Our Christmas Day Masquerade Lunch Buffet at Shook!
- The JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur Experience
- Our Accomodation in Hotel 1915 Kuala Lumpur
- Our Noche Buena and Media Noche
Happy 2013! I hope everyone had a blast in your holiday celebrations as much as we did. I just came home last December 30th from my very first (hopefully not the last as per permission from Tina) solo backpacking trip in Chiang Mai and enjoyed 4D3N of awesome Thai-adventure! But prior to that, my family and I left our work and current home base in Penang and went to Kuala Lumpur from December 22nd-25th, last year (still feel quite weird saying that “last year” phrase!).
24 December 2012. Leboh Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Immediately after we checked out from our budget hotel accomodation in Hotel 1915 and left our luggage and bags in its concierge, we strolled our way to a nearby Gereja Katolik (Bahasa Malaysia for Catholic Church) called St. John Cathedral located approximately 5 minute-walk from Leboh Ampang or the so-called, Little India in KL and around 10-15 minute-walk from Masjid Jamek LRT station. I learned about St. John Cathedral via what else but googling and thankfully, it’s located so close to where we stayed for our first 2 nights.
Despite there was no scheduled Holy Mass that high noon, we entered the church, said our prayers and words of gratitude. There was an atmosphere of Christmas-in-the-Philippines somehow in this part of Malaysia with the sight of parol at the facade (Christmas lantern that symbolizes the star in Bethlehem that guided the wise men and shepherds to the Infant Jesus) and a belen or a Nativity scene beside the main altar.
St John Cathedral | No. 5 Jalan Bukit Nanas 50250 Kuala Lumpur | www.stjohnkl.net
Then we headed back to Leboh Ampang for that necessary lunch. We were thinking of getting our bags first from Hotel 1915 and tranfer to JW Mariott where we decided to spend our Christmas eve but we opted to fill in our almost empty tummies before anything else. Glad it was on the top of our priorities; Abraham Maslow would agree!
Another happy problem rose and that was where to eat? The area boasts of common fastfood joints -from McDonald’s, Burger King and Chatime and some local restaurants and hawker food stalls. It wasn’t difficult for Tina and I to convince Gabby for us to have an Indian-Malaysian lunch because our wonder boy himself loves to put his hand on some Cheese Naan and dips it to dahl or some spicy sauce before savoring it in his discriminating mouth. Soon enough, we found ourselves seated inside the airconditioned Indian Restaurant in Leboh Ampang called Sangeetha.
Lunch @ Sangeetha, an Indian Vegetarian Restaurant
Tina and Gabby had baskets filled with Cheese and Garlic Naan with cheesy dip for their light lunch. It’s a family favorite!
While the big-eater-in-me sampled one of the restaurant’s most frequently ordered items from their menu. It’s called Sangeetha Special Thali and this is how lovely it looks like :
Sangeetha Restaurant is a vegetarian restaurant so it offers less guilt on the diet (for those diet-consicous).
Sangeetha Special Thali was served beautifully first with vegetarian-orange-colored soup that’s thick and hot and flavorful! Then it came with a visually stunning set of cup of rice, a piece of chapathi, papadom and dried salty chili. Those carbo-rich items placed at the center of the entire set were complemented by Indian saucy dishes- kootu, potato masala, rassam, veggies that reminded me of lumpia, dahl, yoghurt and sweet and yellow dessert. A scoop of berry-flavored ice cream was also served as part of that Sangeetha Special Thali set. And did I tell you already that those dishes and even the rice were refillable? I didn’t challenge my appetite to ask for another serving. Everything was satisfyingly good and I highly recommend it when you find yourself in this part of KL but my palates are still biased with Restoran Kapitan in the heart of Lebuh Chulia in Pulau Pinang.
We collected our luggage and bags from Hotel 1915, hailed a cab (we could’ve taken the LRT as we used to when we were there if not for our heavy loads) and trooped to Bukit Bintang.
Checking in at JW Mariott was a breeze. Detailed review of our stay deserves a separate blog post.
After quick freshening up, I was excited to bring my family to Feast Village at the basement of Starhill Gallery which is located exactly adjacent to JW Mariott -we didn’t even have to go out of the building of the hotel (everything mentioned is owned by YTL).
When I was invited to an exclusive food-tasting-tour last November, Feast Village at Starhill Gallery generously gave me a 100-ringgit-voucher to be spent either at Fisherman’s Cove or Village Bar.
Look at how Gabby’s amazed with the live lobsters and fish-ready-to-be-cooked-upon-order at Firsherman’s Cove.
A decision was made by the two. We sampled Village Bar for free and passed up Fisherman’s Cove.
Once again, I was in awe with this ultimately quaint bar located at the basement of Starhill Gallery. I’m glad my family loved it too! We all admire those vibrantly colored and fascinating lamps; Tina and I wished that we would have a lanai one day with all of them dropping from our very own ceiling. Lovely, isn’t it?
With a 100-ringgit-free-voucher at hand, we ordered Mojito, Cosmopolitan and Vanilla Madagascar from a Filipino bar tender in Village Bar. I had the Mojito, Cosmopolitan for Tina and of course, Vanilla Madagascar which is non-alcoholic for our kiddo. A serving of assorted nuts was offered free.
After those drinks at Village Bar in Feast Village, we went to Pavilion Mall which is located just across Starhill Gallery and Mariott. It was a fine afternoon filled with Christmas spirit and a very blissful atmosphere amidst the holiday rush.
Festive mood in front of Starhill Gallery and JW Mariott Hotel…
In my opinion, Pavilion’s holiday decors and ornaments topped that of Suria-KLCC-Shopping Complex’s this year. Pavilion’s nothing but magnificent! One Christmas tree was absolutely not enough! lol
We had no game plan in mind but to buy something for our Noche Buena that we planned to celebrate inside our room and for Gabby to buy a Lego toy. Inside Parkson’s Department Store, Tina’s excitement was so apparent after seeing Pucca dolls. I was somewhat left out because I don’t know anything about Pucca! I did nothing but to capture the moment! …Picture!
We grabbed what we wanted for our Christmas Eve dinner from Mercato grocery and Lavander Bake Shop inside Pavilion and went out of the said mall. It was already dusk and Jalan Bukit Bintang was indeed living up to its name (Bukit Bintang means star hill); everything was lit up! Bikit Bintang was screaming Christmas!!!
It was a lovely night for my family. Will definitely share what we think of JW Mariott, what it needs to improve and provide to clients, our Noche Buena and Media Noche soon on the concluding post of this Christmas 2012 Blog Series.
From my family to yours, Happy 2013, everyone and may we all have a healthier, happier new year!
Cheers to more family bonding, food and fun adventures!
Tags: best buffet in kuala lumpur, buffet, bukit bintang, christmas, doc gelo, docgelo, Eat all you can, Eat all you want, expat, expat life, expatriate in malaysia, family, family and living, food, food blog, food blogger, foodie, holiday in malaysia, masquerade brunch, masquerade christmas buffet, ocw, ofw, shook, starhill gallery, vacation, where to eat in kuala lumpur
Christmas 2012 Blog Series includes :
- Our Christmas Day Masquerade Lunch Buffet at Shook!
- The JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur Experience
- Our Accomodation in Hotel 1915 Kuala Lumpur
- The Day Before Christmas 2012 in Kuala Lumpur
- Our Noche Buena and Media Noche
- more posts to follow!
*Warning : This is another visual overload. You know the drill before you drool. I suggest you get yourself a tall glass of iced water prior reading this post and salivate involuntarily. lol
25 December 2012. Christmas Day. Feast Village, Starhill Gallery, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.
Tina, Gabby and I had the grandest Christmas Day celebration in Kuala Lumpur and we hope you enjoyed yours too! We spent Christmas eve in a deluxe room in JW Mariott Hotel and savored our simple Noche Buena feast and a satisfying breakfast buffet meal at Shook! (both deserve a seperate blog posts). We were given the privilege of late check out at 2PM but we managed to settle everything at 12noon and went back to Shook! to grace their Masquerade Christmas Day Lunch Buffet!
This gastronomic experience is nothing short of spectacular! Of all the eat-all-you-want feasts we enjoyed from the Philippines to Malaysia, Shook! Christmas Masquerade Buffet Lunch at Starhill Gallery in Bukit Bintang (which literally means, ‘star hill’) is the most fantastic, stellar and stunning, certainly entertaining, lavishly fascinating gastronomic experience to date with all those scrumptious spread of Chinese, Japanese, Malay, Italian, Continental cuisines perfectly paired with free-flowing champagne (we passed up the bottomless champagne and opted to wash everything down with Evian water)! Shook! offers this splendid theatrical buffet every Sunday but for us who currently live more than 300km from Kuala Lumpur, we’re thankful for the chance that we had it on the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas! What a great time and reason for such indulgence!
I spoke to Mr. Raj, one of the main men behind Shook! in Feast Village and he proudly told me all those holiday decors and pretty ornaments were prepared by the staff themselves. Bravo for such efforts! They creatively set the ambiance and the mood for everyone’s enjoyment. Even the tiniest details on the tables were not overlooked. What a visual and digestive feast it was!
“The sun looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal.“
Apart from the buffet spread, diners had the opportunity of choosing entrees on the menu; we selected one for each of us. Clockwise from top photo : Tina opted to try a beef dish that was pleasantly plated while I didn’t miss the chance of having seafoods and that Shook’s award winning dish that I sampled last November when they generously invited me for a tasting tour at selected restaurants in Feast Village, the Dancing Prawn. Gabby’s choice was predictable and classic; he had his favorite, Ebi Tempura that seemed like all coated with batter but were all nibbled by Gabby so I guess it successfully passed his young discriminating taste.
There were Mongolian BBQ, Roast Turkey and Beef Ribs (which I also sampled, delicious, tender & flavorful!), Western Style Salad Bar, Selection of Fresh Seafood and Oyster Bar, Chinese, Malay, Indian and Thai Food Counters, Cheese Buffet, Antipasti and more but my palates were so biased to what I don’t usually eat on a daily basis. After all, it’s Christmas, must eat your favorites. And for me, it’s seafood dishes and Japanese!
While Gabby loves Ebi Tempura, I also share the love for such dishes with Tina. Look at my lovely wife’s plates…
This is the only eat-all-you-want that we experienced amazing entertainment. There were clown-balloon maker, magician, juggler, all staff dressed in Medieval splendor, there’s Santa Clause who went table to table giving candies to the old and the young as if the dessert spread wasn’t enough, and yes, there was live band and choir singing what else but lovely Christmas carols! Everything’s magical! Surreal!
The service of all staff of Shook! at Feast Village was quick, warm and friendly! Everyone deserves a salary raise if you ask me! They surely complemented everything on this fabulous feast!
Food. More glorious food!
Desserts were absolutely divine.
Cups of cappuccino to end a beautiful meal.
The buffet started 12PM and lasted until 3:30PM; too many food, so little time and stomach! lol. As we bid goodbye to the best buffet experience we had for 2012, we were gifted with freebies of heavenly chocolate cupcakes topped with moist and decadent chocolate icing and Christmas ornaments. What a great takeaway!
Apparently, one can never measure happiness with anything money could buy. It’s not on the food we eat, the gifts we receive, the cars you drive, the things you shop but it eternally springs on those precious moments we spend with people who love and treasure us. My biggest joy for Christmas 2012 was celebrating its meaning with my family and seeing ear-to-ear-smiles on their faces. Priceless definitely!
May the good Lord continuously shower all of us with more of His bountiful blessings this 2013 and beyond.
Have a Prosperous, Healthier & Happier New Year, everyone!
*This is NOT a sponsored post but special thanks goes out to Shook! and Starhill Gallery people, Yati, Raj and Rachel Yong! Warm regards to all the staff particularly to the Filipino crew at Shook!
Feast Village, Starhill Gallery | 181 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur | www.feastvillage.com
Tags: doc gelo, docgelo, expatriates, expats in malaysia, family, family fun, filipinos abroad, how to go putrajaya, how to go to putrajaya, kuala lumpur, lifestyle, lifestyle blog, lifestyle blogger, masjid putra, mosque, must see in kuala lumpur, must visit in malaysia, must vsee in malaysia, nadi putra buses, ofw, photos of malaysia, pink mosque, putrajaya, putrajaya malaysia, putrajaya mosque, TRAVEL, travel blog, travel blogger, traveling, travelling, vacation
Christmas 2012 Blog Series includes :
- Our Christmas Day Masquerade Lunch Buffet at Shook!
- The JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur Experience
- Our Accomodation in Hotel 1915 Kuala Lumpur
- The Day Before Christmas 2012 in Kuala Lumpur
- Our Noche Buena and Media Noche
22 December 2012. Saturday. Masjid Putra or Putrajaya Mosque, Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur. After checking in at Hotel 1915 Kuala Lumpur, we simply dropped our bags and luggage, hit the shower and off we went to Masjid Jamek LRT station which is located a few steps from our budget-boutique hotel. We didn’t have a game plan but to do tourist-things in Putrajaya, Malaysia’s federal administrative center.
Like the LRT & MRT in Manila, Yamanote Line in Tokyo, MTR in Hong Kong, BTS in Bangkok and MRT in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur’s LRT lines spell efficiency and commuter-friendliness. A city is always easy to explore when there’s dependable transport system. And for this year’s Christmas holiday of my family in Malaysia’s capital, we chose to use more of the trains and less of taxi cabs not only to save on the pocket but for speed, comfort and convenience.
Upon reaching the Masjid Jamek LRT station on foot, we asked the counter to break our bills into smaller notes and coins, then purchased tokens from touch-screen dispensing machines. Adventure begins here!
From Masjid Jamek, we arrived in KL Sentral terminal at around 5PM. Despite we’ve been to KL Sentral quite a number of times already, we still needed to ask for directions. We transferred train line to KLIA Transit to get our feet to Putrajaya Sentral. It’s our first time to ride KLIA Transit and the experience was amazing! Better than riding a bus, or the old KTM train in KL and yes, better than driving your own car on those traffic jammed highways! The trip from KL Sentral to Putrajaya Sentral via KLIA Transit train only took around 25 minutes.
We hopped off the KLIA Transit train (that takes its passengers to Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the other terminal besides Low Cost Carrier Terminal), stepped out to Putrajaya Sentral station and inquired again. While my family sat on one of the benches, I asked the counter what bus number should we take to get us to the Putrajaya Mosque, or more famously known as the Pink mosque. The friendly staff instantly wrote down the bus numbers on a small piece of paper but we decided to take the cab instead for the reason we wanted to be there quickly.
Because it’s almost evening (or it was already evening as “evening” for Malaysians begins after 2PM!), I got nothing in mind but to take my family to Putrajaya and experience another piece of must-visit-places in Malaysia. After all, our stay in this part of Asia is only until God-know-when! We never wasted time and took photos near the magnificently built, Pink Mosque.
“The Putra Mosque, or Masjid Putra in Malay language, is the principal mosque of Putrajaya, Malaysia. Construction of the mosque began in 1997 and was completed two years later. It is located next to Perdana Putra which houses the Malaysian Prime Minister’s office and man-made Putrajaya Lake. In front of the mosque is a large square with flagpoles flying Malaysian states’ flags.” (via Wiki)
I’ve seen the Pink Mosque during our few trips to Immigration office in Putrajaya back in 2010 but we were shuttled by our company’s bus then. I was too lazy to google how to commute going here but luckily and thankfully, we never got lost and found our way easily. We thought of going inside the mosque to appreciate it more however, we were told at the Informasi that non-Malaysian (non-Muslim) visitors are only allowed within the Mosque until 6PM so we simply roamed around and killed the time.
It was comforting and was so pleasant to see restaurants such as Nando’s and Secret Recipe along side with other local food kiosks inside an airconditioned food place within the vicinity of the mosque; plus even more surprising is a sight of a kiddie-play place!
Kodakan begins with a little bit of yamutan and more of kulitan…
Flying or diving? This photo is one of my favorites! Ang kulit!
A stone’s throw away from the Putrajaya Mosque is that emerald green domed, Prime Minister’s Office.
He also tried to play as giant…
Tina took this photo and commented to me, “your teeth look like dentures!” lol
More kulitan moments…
Nakakapagod! (Tiring!) But fun! We walked our way approximately 100-meters from the Prime Minister’s Office to the bus stop. En route, picture-taking again!
After 10 minutes, the bus arrived. With only 50 cents (PhP 7 or USD 0.16) per passenger and Gabby’s free, we took the Nadi Putra Bus on our way back to Putrajaya Sentral bus station; the ride took around 10-15 minutes. Of course, picture! This family’s happiness involves photos and more photos!
Alighting from KLIA Transit train at around 8:45PM in KL Sentral, we transferred to LRT train to go back to Leboh Ampang. As we walked our way to the platform, we saw kiddie murals which we probably overlooked earlier because we’re on a rush. The Samsung-sponsored cartoonish paintings on the walls and stairs have environment-awareness theme, just wonderful. So, another photo-op was done. Picture!
It’s almost 9PM, must have dinner! At a local coffee shop near our hotel, we chowed down “lightly”.
Best meals and moments are yet to come as Yuletide 2012 in KL continues!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, everyone!
Tags: amateur photography, doc gelo, docgelo, expat, filipino family, filipino family in malaysia, food blog, food blogger, foodie, hotels in penang malaysia, lifestyle, lifestyle blog, lifestyle blogger, macalister mansion, ocw, ofw, overseas blogger, pastries, penang malaysia, photography, photos, photos nikon, tea time, travel blog, travel blogger, twg, twg tea
My family and I welcomed the first day of the last month of the year with smiles from ear to ear as we spent a lovely weekend afternoon in one of the most charming boutique hotels in George Town, Penang, the Macalister Mansion.
It was Tina who initially thought of having a family portrait this year as our last was taken more than couple of years ago in a small commercial photo studio back home. Immediately after my wife professed that she wanted for us to have a decent family photoshoot, I googled the web and the first name that popped out of the screen impressed both of us with his work. Serendipitously, we commissioned Sunny Tan for an hour of photo session and we’re glad to choose him as our photographer! He’s so easy to work with; days prior to our schedule, he’s so pleasant to communicate with. We asked for his suggested venues for the photoshoot and everything seemed fine but Macalister Mansion was on the top of my list. I was so happy we all agreed! Even happier that for a change, I got to be on the frames of the photos again as I was photographed with my family unlike my usual role of being behind the lens all the time taking the shots.
As a courtesy, I just had to notify Macalister Mansion about our plan to do the photo session at their lawn and in one of their restaurants. Tina and I were glad to received a positive response from them. The staff was really accomodating and friendly. We appreciated the fact that even their Events Manager gave me a call, hours before our schedule. Too bad their Dining Room restaurant was still closed at our chosen time and they had to prepare for a reserved function so we settled for Macalister Mansion’s Living Room restaurant and their lawn that are equally sleek, splendid and pretty.
We’re all excited to do the shoot however, despite the fact that it was sunshiny all Saturday morning, it started to drizzle at early evening. Nonetheless, our photographer’s brilliant skills shone brighter when he worked with whatever we’re left with. We cannot wait to share it on this blog and on our facebook sites as soon as Sunny’s done with everything in few weeks or so. We told him it’s not only for our family’s keepsake but will be part of our Christmas memories this year and our upcoming 9th Wedding Anniversary by first week of January 2013. He promised to deliver the photos soon!
As we wanted to maximize the afternoon, unwind and free our minds from daily hassles, we went to the Living Room restaurant in Macalister Mansion around 3 hours prior to our photo session. My family and I sampled a few from their tea time menu.
TWG English Breakfast Tea pot for me, uniquely paired it with Mango Sticky Rice topped with Ice Cream. Tina enjoyed her Cappuccino and Strawberry Tart while Gabby had a tasty slice of Chocolate Cake and Berry-Smoothies. Several minutes after, the kiddo requested another plate; he downed Spaghetti with Beef Ragout. What a wonderful light meal we had! Everything’s deliciously divine!
When Gabby and I went to the tandas (toilet) for the necessary bladder break, we saw more fascinating things that pleased our eyes.
Look, the white bear found his match…
So here are my loving and beautiful dates at the Living Room of Macalister Mansion…
Despite and in spite of everything, there are a lot of things to be thankful for! And as for December, it’s indeed the most wonderful time of the year; it’s the happiest season of all!
*This is NOT a sponsored post. However, my family and I would like to thank the following :
Macalister Mansion | 228 Macalister Road 10400 GeorgeTown, Penang |
Tags: amateur photography, asia, filipino in malaysia, kuala lumpur, lifestyle blog, lifestyle blogger, malaysia, mus visit in asia, must see in asia, ocw, ofw, petronas, petronas twin towers, photography, photos, southeast asia, TRAVEL, travel blog, travel blogger, travelling, twin towers
Despite I’ve seen them for a few times already, getting an opportunity to leave my current work place here in Penang temporarily to revisit these iconic towers in Kuala Lumpur still gives me the thrill. I’ll go to Malaysia’s capital again on mid November to run an errand and to attend to an exclusive invitation that’s blog-worthy. I cannot wait.
Tags: amazing thailand, architecture, asia, bangkok, bangkok blog, bangkok tourism, buddhism, cabalen, culture, doc gelo, docgelo, dress code in grand palace bangkok, expatriate, faith, filipino expat, filipino expatriate, filipino overseas, garuda, grand palace, grand palace bangkok, grandiosity, hari raya holiday, how to get to grand palace bangkok, lifestyle blogger, must see in bangkok, must see places in thailand, must visit in bangkok, must visit places in bangkok, must visit places in thailand, ocw, ofw, southeast asia, temples, thai, thailand, thailand blog, things to know about the grand palace bangkok thailand, tourism in bangkok, tourism in thailand, TRAVEL, travel blog, travel blog bangkok, travel blogger, travel guide to bangkok, traveling, travelling, tuk tuk, tuktuk, vacation, what to see in bangkok, what to visit in asia, what to visit in bangkok, what to visit in thailand
19th August 2012, Sunday. Sawadee Kap from Bangkok! My family and I arrived in the City of Angels in the Land of Smiles by bus via Penang-Hat Yai-Bangkok route on the early morning of Saturday and we’ll be here until first few days this week. Tina and I are currently savoring days off from work and Gabby from school on August 18th-26th, yay!!! Thanks to Malaysian holiday for Hari Raya celebration (end of Ramadhan season). Revisiting Bangkok felt like a homecoming; time flies so fast that it has been 8 years after our very first trip to this incredibly charming city back in January of 2004 for our honeymoon.
I opted to feature our family’s Bangkok adventure in this blog series randomly. The second day of our holiday started at almost 10AM in the grounds of the majestic Grand Palace. It was our very first time to experience its Anna-and-the-King-like-splendor; everything seemed like just in the movies!
As everyone knows, traffic in Bangkok can be very notorious but not last Sunday. We reserved taking the BTS and rode a taxi cab instead from our hotel in Pradipat Road in 10 minutes at 100 baht; affordable to me when compared to taxi fares in Penang and Manila. Reaching the Grand Palace was certainly hassle-free. We immediately enjoyed the necessary tourist thing called picture-taking! Few minutes after, we found ourselves at the ticket counter of this must-visit-Thailand attraction paying the admission rates of 400 baht each; quite expensive but our experience after proved it’s worth every cent!
A few months back, I asked my friend, Dyan to do an itinerary for this short break, the same way she did for our Singapore vacation last year. With her practical suggestions, I heeded almost all her words. I told Tina that Dyan reminded me that dress code in the Grand Palace is strictly observed. Ladies should flaunt no skin and must be in long skirts. My wife’s almost covered-everything-outfit even received a comment from the lady at the gate. “She should have sleeves.” Tina showed the sleeves of her cardigan that she wore over her dress; she was even ready with a shawl to cover every inch of her integumentary system, hehehe! The lady at the gate smiled and said, “Oh!” and allowed us in.
Men should not wear shorts and bermudas when visiting the Grand Palace. However for tourists who would come in inappropriate attires, the staff provides Thai-wrap-around skirts for female visitors in skimpy outfits and Thai-cotton-pants for males all for free but with refundable deposit.
The very first thing we witnessed inside the Grand Palace was a display of something spectacular. Faith of devotees was beyond amazing!
Here’s my lavish visual synopsis of grandeur, splendor and beauty of Grand Palace in Bangkok… Enjoy!
Hail to my prince and queen…
Everything’s a headturner. No detail left unnoticed. Every spot is picturesque! The photo-enthusiast in me was in a bliss!
Stunning is an understatement! My amateur photo skills didn’t do justice apparently. I did my best and enjoyed capturing the magnificence…
Despite the sun was so unforgiving, our visit to Grand Palace was another uniquely wonderful family experience! I’m glad Tina and Gabby enjoyed every minute!
One of my personal favorites are the volume of colored garuda! I love the contrast of the mirror mosaic gem-colored tiles against the gold! It’s a visual feast!
Doing the necessary : That tourist-thing!
More acts of devotion in front of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha…
We asked Gabby to mimic what the others were doing. He got a long stemmed lotus, dipped it in the brass bowl with water and sprinkle some to his head. Correct me if I’m wrong, it must be a sign of purification if not, a blessing.
Photography and taking videos aren’t allowed inside the Temple of Emerald Buddha for this is of course, a sacred ground. I respected not to snap a photo of the altar in spite of the fact that it’s so tempting. Visitors should also remember that hats must not be worn inside the temple and footwears should be removed and left on the racks at your own risk prior entering the temple. Another thing NOT to do is to point your foot toward the image of the Buddha; better sit on crossed legs instead.
Deep and vibrant colors of various gems and jewels are done in great details!
As Tina became busy with her very own videography done via her ipod touch, she noticed it’s nice to capture images mirrored on those colorful glass pillars. The effect is a kaleidoscope! Try to find me on the next photo!
We left the Grand Palace before high noon, crossed the road to Au Bon Pain for some croissant, soup in the bread bowl, cheesecake muffin and cups of smoothies (separate Bangkok food post, soon!). Refreshing! Following our light lunch, we headed to Wat Pho (to be featured on another separate post).
Indeed, a trip to Bangkok is definitely incomplete without a visit to Grand Palace! It’s an ultimate delightful experience!
Tags: adele, autocity penang, buffet, docgelo, docgelo.com, Eat all you can, expat in malaysia, expatriate, family, filipino abroad, filipino expat, food, food blog, food blog review, food blogger, food in penang malaysia, food photography, foodie, fun, http://docgelo.com/, Ice cream, international blogger, japanese cuisine, japanese dishes, Japanese food, jimmy choo, love for food, malaysia, night life in penang malaysia, ocw, ofw, penang, penang malaysia, photography, photos, restaurant in penang malaysia, restaurants in penang malaysia, roast beef sandwich, sashimi, scallops, someone like you, Starbucks coffee, subway, subway melt, subway sandwiches, sushi, tao, tao authentic asian cuisine restaurant, tao japanese cuisine, tao japanese restaurant, tao restaurant, temaki, travel blogger, whitney houston
We defy stress from a weeklong work and some bizaare challenges that come with living in another country by spending quality time together, either simply being lazy at home or going out on weekends. It breaks the monotony of our seemingly routinary lives here in Penang on weekdays (home-school-home for Gabby and home-work-home for Tina and me). Needless to say, we enjoy our togetherness longer every Friday night, Saturday, Sunday and during holidays, thus, we usually have efforts to make the most out of it (In Tagalog, SULIT!).
And whenever my family finds extra time and budget to go out, gastronomic adventures have been integral part of the fun! Frankly speaking, savoring good food has been therapeutic and a delightful measure to combat all the hassles away. Of course, the choice of food places and menu should always be unanimous among us!
Subway never fails to unleash the sandwich and cookie monsters in us. My family and I always opt to make our Subway sandwiches into a meal so that we get a cup of drink plus 2 cookies per sandwich, which we favor over a bag of Lays potato chips. Tina and Gabby love Chocolate and Double Chocolate cookies. While I also like their choices, I frequently go for Macadamia cookies; it’s deliciously good! Admittedly, Subway has been a favorite of the family. At reasonable and affordable cost, we get to savor freshness in every bite!
Before the clock hits 7PM when we watched Upin & Ipin, Live! at a carnival in AutoCity, Juru, Penang one Saturday, our tummies were filled by early dinner-cum-late-afternoon snack at Subway. Gabby had Roast Chicken-no veggies, just mayonnaise (I know, he should eat greens and he usually does at home but not in Subway), Tina had Roast Beef while I chose Subway Melt and both of our sandwiches contained everything except Jalapeno and olives.
Dinner came at past 9PM. We had eat-all-you-want and this time we went Japanese! But because we only had reservation on the same day at around half hour past 5PM, the Japanese food place was already packed hence, we were assigned to a table at their open-air-area. It turned out to be a better option because Tina, Gabby and I got to watch a live band show plus Gabby experienced dining while his legs crossed.
Because we became preoccupied looking at the menu, we failed to note the name of the band. Toinks! However, Tina and I had a strong hint that the two lady lead singers are voices from the Philippines. We might be wrong of course, but the English accent that landed on our ears when they sang their repertoire almost confirmed it; we just failed and was too shy to ask. Nonetheless, they threw a remarkable performance of a variety of songs mostly from classic hits of Whitney Houston (Indaaaaaaay, will always love youuuuuuuhuhuuuuuu!) to the very now, Adele (Someone Like You) and so much more!
Tao Restaurant’s Japanese buffet specializes in ala-carte-eat-all-you-can. Simply put, food is only delivered on the table upon order. In a way, we liked it because it assures the freshness of the dishes compared to the ones found on a spread. We already experienced it once in Manila when we dined at Chef Laudico’s Bistro Filipino in Bonifacio Global City several years back.
These were the dishes from Tao that earned thumbs up from the 3 of us.
Temaki : Hand rolled Soft Shell Crab (2 orders), California and Smoked Salmon. They’re satisfyingly good, a visual treat too! This is why I love Japanese food -they’re both art and sustenance.
Ebi tempura : Gabby’s default choice. I didn’t sample it but by mere looking, the prawns had too much batter nonetheless, our son munched it happily!
Sushi Moriawase : Took me to heaven!
Sashimi Moriawase : Fresh cuts! …Salmon and tuna sashimi are happiness!
Fried Crabmeat with Cheese : The cheese lover in Gabby liked this.
Tina ordered Ika Spicy Age : A fried and crunchy-spicy squid dish. Just okay.
I think this is called Beef Bacon Skewer : We liked it too! :D
Salmon Teriyaki’s another just fine.
And if there’s one dish that’s worthy of visiting Tao again and again, it’s this Scallop thingy-I-forgot-its-name but never its taste! Toink-Toinks!
It’s creamy, sweet and spicy; what more can you ask for? WE LOVED IT! Tina and I consumed 3 plates!!! There you go!
And these were the ones that FAILED to stimulate our palates…
A bigger scallop-let-down-dish-so-unremarkable-i-didn’t-bother-to-note-its-name. Glass noodles and scallops fusion wasn’t good on this plate.
Pickled Papaya Salmon. #ayokonito.
Cheese-something. #anotherforgettable. Gabby, Tina and I are fond of cheese but this one didn’t hit the mark.
Beef Ribs that looked like pork chops had nothing to rave about. Sorry.
Ebi Fried Kani Mayo. I so love prawns, crabs and mayonnaise but the combination didn’t worked on this dish. #soggy #supersaturated
Tina ordered this Mushroom dish but I so believe my very own home cooked buttered garlic mushrooms is far better than this variety.
Lobster sandwich. I ordered this when I thought I was not struggling on satiation yet. The end point : I didn’t even taste it. #whatawaste!
My bad comments on several dishes from the menu of Tao impose a challenge for enhancement. I’ve to be honest and far from being biased on my review. On a positive note, we loved Tao’s bottomless drinks (we only had iced tea, but Tiger beer was also free-flowing), and dessert included in the rates. The cost of the buffet for the three of us was reasonable; in fact, was only equivalent to half of an adult-rate in a hotel buffet in Manila. Another plus point of Tao was the courtesy of the wait staff. Prompt and friendly service without being pushy makes every dining experience commendable.
The raspberry flavored ice cream was such a wonderful ending to this meal! Tina and I loved it but Gabby passed it up.
I had an arrangement with our usual taxi cab driver to pick us up at around 11:30PM so while waiting, we had to give in to Gabby’s request for him to have his share of dessert. We left Tao before 11PM and walked few steps towards Starbucks Coffee.
Since Tina and I were so full, it was only Gabby who enjoyed his Chocolate Chip Frappuccino and Chocolate Marble Cheesecake.
For few minutes while waiting for our cab to take us home, I chanced upon this magazine inside the coffee shop that featured one of Malaysia’s pride, Penang-born-world-renowned-luxury handmade shoemaker, Prof. Dato’ Jimmy Choo. I’d like to end this lengthy family-food-fun blog post on one of Jimmy Choo’s quotes from that featured article…
Until our next stress-busting-family bonding!
Tags: animated, carnival, cartoon characters, cartoons, chicken dance, chiken dance, children, children life, doc gelo, docgelo, dusk, expat life, expatriates in malaysia, family, filipino expats in malaysia, fun, http://docgelo.com/, kiddie life, low light photography, malaysia, nikon D7000, ofw, penang, photography, upin and ipin, upin and ipin in penang, upin and ipin live autocity penang, weekend fun, world of fun with upin & ipin
When I was in the Philippines some 2 years back, my descriptions of Malaysia only revolved in three phrases. Their country’s very effective Tourism tag line, “Malaysia, Truly Asia!” that’s so compelling to make you feel the urgency to fly to Kuala Lumpur in a blink. Next was the incredibly iconic, Petronas Twin Towers that never fail to mesmerize me at dusk until now; they’re magnificently stunning! And lastly, the most popular animated characters from Malaysia, Upin and Ipin. Our 7-year-old son, Gabby has been into Upin and Ipin even long before coming to Malaysia. He has been watching the show religiously on Disney Channel and made it as one of his favorites. Believe it or not, our kiddo had suggested for the two Malaysian cartoon characters be included in the parade in Hong Kong Disneyland when he was asked by one of the staff during our last visit to the theme park early this year. It’s how big Gabby’s admiration to these duo. And as for me apparently, after I became an expatriate here in Penang, my perceptions about Malaysia have been improved but I still associate the identity of the country with those few phrases, specially Upin and Ipin!
30 June 2012, Saturday. Imagine our joy that night when we saw Upin and Ipin, Live at AutoCity, Juru, Penang! What’s even happier was to see Gabby performed an impromptu dance with Malaysia’s famous cartoon characters on stage with the other children (my wife, captured the stint on video at the last part of this post). Despite the weather didn’t allow us not to perspire, excitement was upon us!
We were lucky to be accomodated warmly by Farhan and Daniel, two of the many men behind this seemingly modest yet fun-filled carnival who gave us a VIP access that allowed us, particularly Gabby, to enjoy the rides for free! They even gave us a nod to have a special photo-op with the two mascots after the show but we had to bid goodbye for buffet dinner (blogging next!).
First and only ride we tried as dad-and-son was the bump cars. Admittedly, I had fun more than Gabby! He was a bit surprised on how speedy those cars could go on a single step. He swore he’ll never ride bump cars again but I bet his spur-of-the-moment-decision would change once years are added to his age.
After a few carnival rides, we trooped to the venue of the show and while Upin and Ipin were still out of sight, Tina and I were delighted to take turns in capturing the kids who pre-enlisted to join the Upin and Ipin Coloring contest.
Then the much-awaited stars of the show arrived and strolled their way to the stage…
One thing that’s definite about Malaysia : almost the entire country, if not all, love Chicken Dance! It was one of the dances that our company introduced to us during a few-day-workshop years ago; even Gabby instantly learned it when we attended the 2012 MITBCA Blog Awards where no less than the Minister of Tourism led the audience to groove to Chicken Dance! Its popularity to Malaysians perhaps, properly equate to the love for Upin and Ipin.
Now here’s a run down of how Gabby and other children savored that minute on stage dancing Chicken Dance with Upin and Ipin! No rehearsals needed! No kidding!
Fastforward Play : Now, please yourself for a minute or so and watch Gabby and the other children’s on-the-spot-performance of Malaysians’ favorite, CHICKEN DANCE with Upin and Ipin on stage!
The children’s happiness was infectious! They cheered and danced with Upin and Ipin tirelessly! What a worry-free night it was!
If you’re in Penang, Malaysia (also in time for George Town Festival 2012) or nearby states, and would like to experience “World of Fun with Upin & Ipin”, catch the shows and the carnival that runs from June 30 to August 6, 2012 at 6PM-12MN daily at AutoCity, Juru, Penang. Admission rates are only 4 ringgit for adult and 2 ringgit for kanak-kanak or children. Tokens are sold at 2 ringgit each. *Special thanks goes to “World of Fun with Upin & Ipin” particularly to Farhan and Daniel for everything!
Tags: amateur photography, art, art pieces, children, congkak, culture, d' ark, d' ark school, d'ark private school, doc gelo, docgelo, dslr, education, expat, expat life, family, family blog, family life in penang, fastfood, food blog, foodie, fort cornwallis, francis light, fun, george town, george town penang, georgetown penang, heritage, history, http://docgelo.com/, kids, masterpieces, mcdonald's, mcdonald's happy meal, mcdonald's meals, museum, museums in penang malaysia, must see in penang, must visit in penang, nikon, nikon D7000, ocw, ofw, old town, old town penang malaysia, old town restaurant malaysia, paintings, parenting, penang malaysia, penang museum, penang state museum, personal blog, photography, photos, private school in malaysia, private school in penang, sir francis light, sungka, tourist spots in penang
9th June 2012, Saturday. If you must know, Gabby already joined an educational trip back home when he’s still in his pre-school years, so this one’s his second but his very first in Penang. Despite the fact that I have already been to the itineraries before, Tina and I made sure that we attend to our son’s because it’s one way of spending quality time with him. It wasn’t only Gabby and his schoolmates, a few parents and teachers who enjoyed their field trip; Tina, my mom and I also had fun! Oh, yes, the entire family was there! It was an absolute breather from our routinary work-home-work-home-life during weekdays and there’s no brighter day than seeing our child happy. Moments like this are non-negotiable.
Everyday, there’s a ton of things to be grateful for. The weather’s fine and we received little acts of generosity from people who have a ready hand even without asking. We didn’t need to call a cab to transport us from our place to Gabby’s school as both his school’s Principal and his service van driver offered to pick us up. The day was too perfect to start by breakfast in one of our favorite food places, Old Town. After filling in our tummies, we took few steps towards Gabby’s school and hopped on the tourist bus.
There were two itineraries for this field trip : The Penang State Museum and Fort Cornwallis. I have been to these places before but not with Tina and Gabby. Going back to places rich in heritage, history and cultures with family and schoolmates is definitely a learning experience. And as for Gabby and the other kids, they were given a task to complete before lunch; answers to the questions on the ”quiz” provided can be all found inside the museum. Hats off to Principal Jasmine for doing such! Going through the display in the museum became twice the fun!
A lot of things in this two-level museum can easily fascinate anyone. Although it’s filled with things that Malays, Chinese and Indians of Malaysia’s history used in ages, present generation including our kids can relate to them. Case in point, those luggages and trishaws for traveling, and children realized without saying that their tablets, smart phones and other gadgets would have not been brought to market if these things of the past had not been used.
TYPE ko ito, what about you?
It also houses a modest but beautiful collection of art pieces…
In the Peranakan or Straits Chinese chamber, one of the highlights is an intricately designed Wedding Bed…
And an authentic photo of a Peranakan couple taken on the day they tied the knot…
The Penang State Museum also has interactive sections that Gabby and Tina tried…While watching them play congkak or what we call back home as sungka, it made me wonder how many children nowadays still know how to play or at least, care to learn these games amidst online games and applications available now?
Photo-ops is a must in a field trip…
The group proceeded to Fort Cornwallis, in Esplanade, Penang; it’s the largest standing fort in the entire Malaysia.
If you’re Filipino or someone who has gone to Manila, this would make you feel like it’s Fort Santiago, although I would proudly state that the forts in the Philippines are far better built and preserved.
History and Wikipedia stated that Sir Francis Light initially took possession of Penang Island from Kedah and built the original fort. At present, his monument stands proud near the gates of Fort Cornwallis. The fort is one of the favorite tourist spots in George Town, it’s also used as a venue for cultural shows, and a park where most prenuptial photos here have been taken…
On a much lighter note, Fort Cornwallis became my family’s venue for kulitan (*insert english translation here*…google it if you please)…
When the clock turned into lunch time, we all had to go back to the tourist bus and head back to the mainland to wolf down one of those kiddies’ favorites, McDonald’s…
Because of work (for Tina and me) and school (for Gabby) during weekdays, we only get to spend more quality hours together as a family every weekends, so activities like this that promote family bonding, learning and fun are always welcome! It’s always a priceless treat!
How was your weekend, everyone?
Tags: amateur photography, Caesar's salad, cakes, caramel cheesecake, cheesecake, chicken dish, dessert, dining, dinner, dinner date, doc gelo, docgelo, eating, expat, expat life, family, family date, family fun, family life, food, food photography, foodie, fried chicken, grilled chicken, malls in malaysia, nando's, nando's penang, nando's peri peri chicken, nando's restaurant, ocw, ofw, payday, penang malaysia, peri peri chicken, photography, photos, restaurants, restaurants in malaysia, restaurants in penang, sunway, sunway carnival mall, sunway carnival mall malaysia, sunway mall malaysia, sunway mall penang, sunway penang malaysia
It was supposed to be a spur-of-the-moment-dinner date with Tina that she thought of, just after we received our pay last month. It’s a RARE and remarkable moment (she’ll kill me for this!) when my wife asked me via our personal emails (how sweet! hahaha!) if we could go directly after office hours to Sunway Carnival Mall in Seberang Perai, Penang (that’s in main land as she didn’t want to take the ferry ride to the island–worried that she might have another vertigo attack). I am too weak to resist!
Then, her maternal being melted into bits after she received a phone call from Gabby at lunch time. Our kiddo who’s currently enjoying his 2 week-school holiday asked his mom, “Mommy, pwede ba ako sumama sa date nyo ni Daddy?” (“Mommy, can I go with you and Daddy on your date?”) Tell me, how do you say No to such query? So, I was like, “OK, Let’s just ask Mommy (my mom) to bring and accompany Gabby at the bus stop so he can instantly hop on the bus (we’re riding from work as it passes by our place in Butterworth), anyway, I’m planning to go out with Mommy the next day (which never materialized).”
And there you go, we had our Friday-payday-FAMILY dinner DATE at one of our favorites, NANDO’S!
Gabby was only 4 and half months old when we first dined at Nando’s in Botany Mall, Auckland, New Zealand back in 2005. And since our taste buds were accustomed to our local Pinoy love-favorite, MAX’S Fried Chicken and also to one of our default choices, KFC (which Tina and I consider as lifesaver on days when we don’t favor the menu at our present office’s cafeteria and Gabby’s favorite too!), we found this Portugese-South African casual food place, Nando’s as fresh to the palate and uniquely tasteful! Too bad that as of this posting, no one has ever brought Nando’s yet to our beloved, the Philippines. Hypothetically speaking, if money isn’t an issue for Tina and me, we could have pack our bags and luggages and head home to franchise Nando’s or, Old Town Coffee & Restaurant, or Restoran Kapitan or Roti Boy (which deserves a separte post) –those are my family’s favorite food places here in Penang. Oh, well, that’s only me wishing upon a star! But seriously, that’s how we like Nando’s; a bit pricey but money’s worth, definitely!
Caramel Cheesecake was the first to arrive on our table at Nando’s, Sunway Carnival Mall. Oh yes! Without asking us, the wait staff delivered the dessert prior to the entrees. Not a problem to us anyway, but apparently, it may spoil someone else’s appetite. Nonetheless, it wasn’t difficult for Gabby to choose this dessert; the boy, like his parents know his palate so well.
For the nth time dining at Nando’s, Tina, Gabby and I opted for Lemon and Herb rather than braved our tongues at their mild, hot or extra spicy Peri-Peri Chicken; we just had Lemon and Herb chicken even as toppings of our Caesar’s salad. But Tina and I savored their Garlic Peri-Peri sauce to spice up our grilled chicken a little….OK, fine, with only Lemon and Herb, kami na ang duwag!
I’m such a potato-boy! I like potato salad and those baby potatoes! Coleslaw is also a no-brainer order for me, hahaha!
While you can obviously tell who chose corn on the cob and fries, his mom went for grilled veggies and some humongous fries too.
At Nando’s or wherever we dine and the food on our plates are all just secondary. What matters most is the moment spent with the family. Now that’s cheesy!
*BEHIND THE SCENES : Tina made another video and pressed FFW to make it chipmunkie; you may want to peek at what actually happened on this dinner. Watch and see how Gabby struggled with his chicken, hahaha!
Tags: blogger in malaysia, bloggers in penang, doc gelo, docgelo.com, dreams, eat play love, eat pray love, expat, expat blogger, family, filipino blogger, hope, http://docgelo.com/, Life, life abroad, malaysian based blogger, ocw, ofw, penang malaysia, personal blog, photography, rambling, random thoughts, rapid penang bus, straits quay
En route to one part of the island, I captured this advertisement mounted on grab handles in a commuter bus that Tina and I ride daily, the Rapid Penang Bus. It says EAT. PLAY. LOVE. For a moment, it made me wonder whatever happend to PRAY? I answered my own query in thinking that Straits Quay is one of those premiere residences in Penang with luxurious restaurants fronting the sea and not a place of worship. Although, for most of us, we can pray regardless where we are, still it’s a mall and hangout place. We’ve been there once; savored coffee and pastries at Charlie Brown Cafe and we wish to go back whenever we find a chance. I digress. The tagline of the ad (as well as the title of the movie-novel where it was inspired) made me think if anyone could still complain of a routinary life when all you do is EAT PLAY PRAY LOVE? One must be so content with life with such limited verbs to do and must be so happy to forget about WORK, PAY BILLS, WORK.
As a young family man in the middle of his 30s, I want to devote more quality time with my family, I still need to do more things, I aspire to go to places I’ve never been to, I need to find a more fertile ground where I and my family could grow best and where better opportunity awaits.
When I’m not satisfied with how things are, it doesn’t follow that I am ungrateful to whatever blessings I receive. It only means I yearn for better things.
When I don’t want to settle for something mediocre, it doesn’t follow that I am arrogant and hard to please. It only means I understand that quality should never be compromised at all times.
Whenever I am anticipating something that’s life-changing and the opposite happens, I remind myself not to dwell in despair.
Now that there are chances to improve life again, I’m constantly keeping my spirit up and hopes high.
My family and I lift everything to the Lord! He knows best for all of us.
“And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” ~Romans 5:5.
deserve need something greater.
And I know best things happen in His time.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11.
Tags: beyond toxicity, black sesame ice cream, blog review, conveyor belt japanese restaurant, doc gelo, docgelo, docgelo.com, ebi, expatriate, family, family blog, filipino expat blogger, first avenue mall, food, food blog, food review, foodie, green tea ice cream, Ice cream, international blogger, japanese cuisine, japanese dishes, Japanese food, japanese ice cream, kani, ofw, overseas blogger, passion fruit ice cream, personal blog, pinoy expat, restaurants in malaysia, restaurants in penang, sakae sushi, sakae sushi first avenue mall penang, sakae sushi george town penang, sakae sushi malaysia, sakae sushi penang, salad, sashimi, scallops, sushi
I may be a-die-hard-ADOBO-at-heart (read : my palates love Filipino dishes, apparently) but I have been keeping my love affair with sushi, sashimi and sukiyaki for the longest time, even prior to 2005 when I set foot in TOKYO and have savored authentic Japanese dishes for 14 unforgettable days (read it all here –>
and the rest is on my sidebar). That being said, I may not be a connoiseur but I know my palates so well. I may not have expert knowledge on the Japanese cuisine but my taste buds can clearly perceive what it likes from otherwise.
Actually, to state that I love Japanese food is an understatement. I immensely adore how Japanese meals serve both as art and sustenance. I appreciate the creative preparation to every dish. The unusual presentation of sushi and the exquisite skills exerted in slicing tuna and salmon and other fish for sashimi are impressively beautiful.
I conisder myself blessed because my current work place, Penang, boasts of unimaginable gastronomic diversity from its local community of Malay, Indian and Chinese, not to disregard the influences and fusion of Western cuisines and other Asian dishes like Japanese.
Last Sunday was one of my luckiest days! With my wife, Tina in tow, I attended an exclusive invitational Bloggers’ event at SAKAE SUSHI, First Avenue Mall, George Town, Penang. The event was hosted for food bloggers to sample the NEW MENU from Sakae Sushi.
The first couple of Beyond Toxicity were the very first to arrive at the event around 15 minutes before noon. Actually, we reached the mall early at few minutes past 10AM and had quick breakfast at our favorite coffee shop at the lobby; we really made sure not to be tardy for Sakae Sushi (read : we’re extremely excited, obviously). Then, we were friendly received by the staff and the Senior Marketing Manager herself, Ms. June. I have not been used to the fact that some people from Penang easily recognize my accent as someone from The Philippines (it always makes me wonder if my English sounds so weird with distinction…I digress) and Ms. June was not an exception. She candidly said with a smile, “I know, you’re from the Philippines!” She was warm enough to catch our attention as she casually explained Sakae Sushi and its creative and constant innovative approaches when it comes to uplifting lifestyle dining experiences. After Tina and I spent few minutes chatting with her, I took advantage of the moment with less diners yet inside the restaurant and took captures of what it has to offer. Not for long, Sakae Sushi was packed with hungry customers craving for Japanese food.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT SAKAE SUSHI
Freshness and a wide variety of ingredients per dish makes it authentic.
Open-Kitchen-Cooking : I like seeing how my food is prepared. It’s entertaining! Plus, santitation must be non-negotiable. Look at my captures on the chefs preparing sushi and other goodies; they all looked like they’re inside an Operating Theater! Amazing! (I want to learn how to do sushi!)
Wide selection at affordable cost. Majority of dishes on the menu are HEALTHY too!
Quick, friendly and attentive service.
Use of technology : iPad as an interactive menu (order with a flick of a finger!), that sushi conveyor belt is just so Japanese!
Availability of FREE flowing hot tea, chopsticks, wasabi and soy sauce, tissue paper (a rarity in some food places in Penang!) right on the table –diners need NOT to ask for them! That spells convenience and customer-friendliness.
FAMILY FRIENDLY. They got kiddie meals too!
WHAT I DON’T LIKE ABOUT SAKAE SUSHI
Limited space to walk around (I’ve been to 2 of its branches in Penang; both dining areas have small spaces or perhaps, I just think that with huge volume of patrons, Sakae Sushi definitely deserves a bigger area).
No “Irasshai mase!”-greetings. Although the Sakae Sushi staff are always ready with smiles to greet you, and as much as I know Sakae Sushi presents Japanese food as CONTEMPORARY and edgy, I still wish they would greet diners in authentic Japanese greetings. Konnichiwa and a bow would be so wonderful! *just my 2-cents-worth*
Uniforms of service crew are not authentic. I like to see wait staff wearing traditional Japanese wear -Kimonos and wooden slippers, FTW!
Ambience is too casual; it’s OK for me but a choice between something ordinary and an authentic one, I would choose the latter any day.
Addicting choices that one would want to get hold of all sushi from the conveyor belt, or press every page from their iPad menu to sample everything! hehehe!
WHAT I THINK OF SAKAE SUSHI’S NEW MENU THIS YEAR
Now, let’s get down to business.
Tantalisingly fresh servings of prawns, tuna flakes, snow crab leg and assorted vegetables serve with creamy goma dressing.
I like this salad because it has greens and generous servings of my favorite seafoods perfectly complemented with a tasteful dressing. I want to order this again on our next visit! It’s that good!
And of course Japanese meal isn’t complete without either sushi or sashimi. To me a good sushi is something that screams FRESHNESS! Needless to say, I do NOT want my sushi to smell or taste fishy. A good sushi is not soggy; neither the fish or seafood is too hot or too cold when served. And Sakae Sushi’s selection doesn’t disappoint!
Look at that beauty. Awesome plate, is it not?
Intricately-designed roll of tempting grilled salmon, shrimp roe, and mayonnaise on a delightful maki.
With Sakae Blossom, I have only one word to describe all of its ingredients : FAVORITE! …Need I say more?
Succulent half shell scallops grilled with cod fish roe.
I would chow down scallops any day rather than oysters. This Hotate Mentaiyaki could have been perfect for my taste if it’s more buttery and cheesy. It’s just me. ;)
Luscious roll consisting of whole cooked prawn with assorted vegetables and mayonnaise wrapped in a light crepe layer.
I like the light crepe as roll layer; it’s the next best thing to nori in my vocabulary. However, I prefer my prawn without shells and all.
SOFT SHELL CRAB MAKI
Mouth-watering maki creation of crispy soft shell crab, sweet beancurd, sushi rice and spicy mayonnaise.
Soft shell crab + mayonnaise = another winner maki for me!
TINARI AVOCADO EBI
Succulent whole prawn mixed with delicious vegetables and salad dressing, wrapped in sweet beancurd skin.
The avocado makes it delicous!
Beatifully crafted flower rolls with delicate raw salmon petals and sushi rice centre topped with mayonnaise and a luxurious sprinkle of shrimp roe.
Hands down to Hana Maki. This to me tops the list of the newest offerings from Sakae Sushi. Tina also agrees. This one’s such a gorgeous sushi! I can eat this Hana Maki everyday, any time, baby!
KAISEN PIRIKARA NABE
Appetising hotpot of prawns, cuttlefish, salmon, mushrooms, and assorted vegetables in flavorful kimchee soup.
To be honest, I developed the aversion to anything with Kimchi (or kimchee as Sakae Sushi spells it). Don’t get me wrong, I’m still dreaming of taking my family to South Korea one Spring day someday but I don’t think I will like kimchi or anything with it. This Kaisen Pirikara Nabe, in all fairness, has a subtle taste, you may want to try it for yourself.
Japanese curry wheat noodles with chicken.
I also find it difficult to love curry. Sorry. Maybe because curry in Malaysia is so different with The Philippines’, ours back home is a milder and my tongue is as alien as I am here. Nonetheless, Sakae Sushi’s udon or wheat noodles in this soupy dish is to die for! I love that udon!
At this moment, my wife and I were almost struggling in being satiated. And it’s a delicous feeling of fullness, mind you! However, we could have not forgiven ourselves had we not sampled Sakae Sushi’s luxurious ice cream set…
The flavors are all interesting particularly Black Sesame and Dragon Fruit as it’s our first time to taste such uniquely amazing ice cream and I have to cast my vote to that tangy and sweet Passion Fruit as my favorite among the flavors.
Thank you so much to SAKAE SUSHI @ First Avenue Mall branch, George Town, Penang!
We certainly enjoyed your new menu!
We’ll be back very soon.
Terima Kasih to Penangite bloggers, Vincent Yu and Willie Wah for the invite!
*If you’re in Penang, Malaysia, do drop by and try those yummies at Sakae Sushi, located at 4th level, First Avenue Mall. There are also other branches in Penang and other states in Malaysia. If you’re in other parts of Asia, you may savor Sakae Sushi in Singapore, Vietnam, China, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Until this blog’s next episode of FAMILY.FOOD.and.FUN!
PS : You may be wondering about Gabby and her Mamita, for they’re not with us on this event. While Tina and I were devouring Sakae Sushi’s newest offerings, our 7-year-old son Gabby and his grandmother were glued watching Men In Black 3 in the same mall. We ate together before and after the event (yes, we do love to eat!), and did a little shopping for Gabby’s essentials.
Tags: amateur photography, beyond toxicity, break of dawn, buddhist temple, buhay ofw, butterworth, Butterworth Malaysia, butterworth penang, catholic church in malaysia, Catholic church in Penang, congee, dawn, daybreak, dim sum, disney movie, doc gelo, docgelo, dumpling, entertainment, expat life in malaysia, family blog, family life, food, food in penang, foodie, grocery, happy meal, hawker food in penang, hawkers, john carter, john carter movie, keoy teow soup, Life, mcdonald, mcdonald's, mcdonald's happy meal, morning, movie, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Penang, nikon, nikon D7000, nikon photography, NVBM, ofw, pao, penang food, photography, photos, photos taken nikon D7000, pinoy abroad, saturday morning, shutterbug, siopao, snack, spongebob, taylor kitsch, weekend, you tiao
Don’t be deceived by the photos above, they may look as scenes taken at wee hours of the morning but it was almost seven o’clock when I captured them in a blink, en route to the first scheduled Catholic Mass one weekend (read : Tanghali na kung sumikat ang araw sa Malaysia at gabi na ang paglubog nito). I hopped on the bus at 15 minutes before 7 in the morning with my family in tow. After the short bus ride, we strolled our way to the church. Gabby, Tina, my mom and I heard the 30-minute Mass in English in this parish called Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Hello, Mr. Sun!
Gereja Katolik = Catholic Church. The NBVM Church is located at the back of this old chapel.
That old chapel (or was it the parish office now? who knew?) in front of the church compound was always kept locked, or perhaps it was still early to open it. Nonetheless, I found a visual stimulus in its rustic metal padlocks over textured wooden doors.
Because it was only half hour past seven in the morning and the mall and the grocery are still closed, we decided to take our first meal of the day in one of the local food stalls across the street. The eatery or carinderia for us Pinoys, or as Penangites call it, hawkers is situated in front of a small Buddhist temple which apparently caught my attention.
The caridenderia’s big enough to sit 100 people; well ventilated and offers a variety of drinks and tummy fillers.
PRICELESS morning smiles…
Children, say, KEOY TEOW SOUP…
LOVE at 8 o’clock in the morning…
With warmed stomachs, we took another bus ride to one of the malls in Penang mainland.
Lunch was done in McDonald’s, in favor of Gabby’s collection of Happy Meal toys currently featuring his favorite, Spongebob. Then we decided to see a movie at around 12:30PM. It has been a while since we last munched caramel popcorn inside a cinema.
After the movies, must buy groceries…
After the groceries, must satisfy growling tummies again! We had purple yam balls which we didn’t like (nothing’s special), taho or what they call here, tofoo far with brown sugar syrup, 3 bowls of dried scallop congee that we topped with fried bread called yoo tiao from the restaurant called, I love Yoo. The congee bowls were made even more tasteful with a dash of soysauce and sesame oil. A tall glass of cold soya for Gabby, and a cup of white coffee for me completed the light meal. Solb!
We could not be unhappy when there are more reasons to be grateful!
Tags: family, traveling, family bonding, love, doc gelo, docgelo, family life, family and living, ocw, ofw, pinoy expat, kuala lumpur, petronas twin towers, filipino in malaysia, klcc, twin towers, expats, tourism malaysia, malaysia tourism, petronas twin tower visit, naia 1 toilet, tourists, tourists in malaysia, skybridge visit, petronas skybridge tour, travel to malaysia, travel to kuala lumpur, trip to kl, trip to kuala lumpur, visit to petronas bridge, love at first sight, family of ofw
It was actually love at first sight. She’s so iconic; mesmerized me effortlessly and blew me away the first time I saw her from the foreground back in 2010. She has an identical twin who’s equally gorgeous; they’re both breathtaking!
I can’t help but fall in love with Petronas Twin Towers every time I see her. It’s my 4th time to be in Kuala Lumpur, Tina and Gabby’s second and my mom’s first (except she passed by the city with my dad en route to the airport last year). We grabbed the chance to revisit Malaysia’s capital city again to celebrate this year’s long Chinese New Year weekend (we’re on holiday until Tuesday, 24 January 2012) and to accompany my mom (who’s visiting us from UAE) in (re)exploring KL.
Believe it or not, Gabby’s Lola did our itinerary for this trip. My mom surfed the net for top 10 must-visit sites in KL, personally called contact persons of each destinations including our budget hotel concierge to inquire about the whereabouts, transportation and whatnot; after which, she spoke to me of what’s best to do to maximize our 3D2N break et voila! After casual deliberation, our priority’s to experience the Petronas Twin Towers Skybridge Visit.
It was around past 6 in the morning of Saturday, 21 January 2012 when our 5-hour-bus-ride from Butterworth, Penang reached Pudu Sentral (formerly Puduraya) at the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Thank God we slept comfortably on the midnight trip so we headed directly to our budget hotel in Chinatown. Since regular schedule for check in is at 2PM and we arrived early at dawn (sunrise in Malaysia’s later than you expect), we just dropped off our luggage and bags and hurriedly trooped via taxi cab to KLCC-Petronas Twin Towers.
My mom was right. Tickets to the Skybridge Visit should be paid and claimed the earliest possible time, ideally in the morning of the day of your tour. We already saw groups of tourists heading to the basement of KLCC to queue for tickets; we followed suit. I went on queue and asked my family to freshen up at the tandas and grab something for breakfast from the nearby convenience store; we took turns in doing so.
The zigzag lines of people grew so fast!!! Look, at half hour past 6AM…
and just before the office opened at 8:30AM…
Despite the many tourists, there was no stampede, no loud noises, discipline was observed. Very good!
When the gate of the office opened and the line moved at a nice pace, photo-ops are limitless…
Finally, after almost 2 hours of waiting, we got our tickets for the 9:15AM visit! I believe they’re making a census out of the number of citizens per country who came to appreciate Malaysia’s iconic towers. I smiled with pride when I saw the name of our country on our tickets!
As of present, the schedules for the Skybridge Visit are as follows : 9AM, 9:15AM (the one we availed), 10AM, 10:15AM, 11AM, 11:15AM, 12PM, 12:15PM, 1PM, 1:15PM, 2PM, 2:15PM, 3PM, 3:15PM, 4PM, 4:15PM, 5PM, 5:15PM, 6PM and 6:15PM. So the visiting hours stretch from 9AM to 7PM every Tuesday to Sunday and is closed on Mondays. *Phone and advance bookings are not be entertained.
Entrance fees for Malaysian adults and kids are cheaper at RM 25 per pax (PhP 350) than for foreign tourists, RM 50 per adult (PhP 700) and 25 ringgit for kids like Gabby (7-12 y/o, ages younger are free!).
Soon after we got the tickets, we brought our feet to the Check In area where like any terminals and highly restricted places, all our bags and things were scanned on an X-ray machine; all visitors were subjected to body-check; everyone was provided a color-coded ID, stickers for kids, and those with bags were advised to leave them at the package counter except for valuables.
Then still few steps at the Check In area, the tour commenced with a brief hologram presentation of the history of the Petronas Twin Towers and some few reminders of what to expect and how to move during the entire visit.
A guide led us to the lift en route to 41st floor where the Skybridge is located. It’s actually a double decked Skybridge–41st and 42nd levels connecting the two towers.
My heart silently pounded for extreme excitement. Like a kid of Gabby’s age or probably younger, I was quietly jumping for joy as we took steps to the Skybridge.
But upon hearing from the staffs that they ONLY allow 15 MINUTE-STAY per 20 visitors, PANIC ran through my veins, became too ANXIOUS in a heart beat; worried of how to capture the moments, the SPECTACULAR VIEW from the Skybridge on such limited time. Do you know how? Like my mom, who more often than not is tensed with tons of things, I really had no “grace under pressure”, LOL!
I am no engineer nor architect, but my jaw dropped in amazement with such magnificent structure.
I just snapped my cam without a concrete plan in mind how to properly stretch the 15-minute Skybridge visit. I was caught by circumstance and drowned by awe but nonetheless, the moment was so surreal! Definitely one for the books!
The view of the garden at the back of Suria-KLCC Shopping Complex at 170 meters above street level…
While I was so excited taking photos, Tina’s busy capturing almost everything in video via her little gadget (from her dad). Then we meet at the moment to pause and smile for photo-ops, haha!
I love this shot!
One more shot before leaving Level 41 and take the lift to 86th floor…
Level 86th is the 2nd observation floor aside from the Skybridge. We were given 20 minutes to savor the amazing view.
“The design of each tower’s floor plan is based on simple Islamic geometric forms of two interlocking squares creating a shape of eight-pointed stars. Architecturally, these forms reflect important Islamic principles of Unity within unity, Harmony, Stability and Rationality.” -–Sourced via “Petronas Twin Towers A Vision Realised” visitors’ brochure.
*Quick Facts :
- Number of storeys -88,
- Height of each tower -452 meters above street level
- Length of Skybridge : 58.4 meters
- Height of Skybridge (Level 41 from street level) : 170 meters
- Lifts : 29 double-decker high speed passenger lifts in each tower
- Escalators : 10 in each tower
- Stairs : 765 flights
- Car park : 5,400 parking bays on 5 levels of basement parking
- Steel used : 36,910 tons
- Weight per tower : 300,000 tons
- Usable space : 213,750 sq meters per tower
- Two annexes : 186,000 sq meters of space *-Sourced via “Petronas Twin Towers A Vision Realised” visitors’ brochure.
*Milestones of the construction of Petronas Twin Towers :
- June 1992 ………………..start of project planning
- Mar 1993………………….start of foundation works
- Apr 1994………………….construction of the superstructure
- Jul 1995…………………..lifting of skybridge
- Jan 1996………………….fitting out of the interiors complete with furniture
- Mar 1996…………………jacking of the spires of Tower 1 and Tower 2
- Jan 1997…………………moving in of the first batch of Petronas’ personnel
- Aug 31, 1999……………official opening by YAB Dato Seri Dr Mahatir Mohamad, the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia -*-Sourced via “Petronas Twin Towers A Vision Realised” visitors’ brochure.
The 86th level observation area is kid-friendly. See how Gabby played his ticket lifting the hologram structure of the twin towers. Aliw ang bata! The other foreigner-visitors waited for Gabby to finish for them to use the monitor to play too!
Our almost half an hour spent at the 86th level of Petronas Twin Towers was definitely unforgettable! It gave us uniquely beautiful kind of high!
I would not mind paying the two towers a visit again in the future. And again. and again. Because I love them so.
*This is a part of a blog series on our 3-day-Chinese New Year holiday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As of this posting, the family & docgelo have returned to Penang.
Tags: architecture, arts, cheong fatt tze mansion, cheong fatt tze museum, chinese, chinese architecture, chinese mansion, culture, doc gelo, docgelo, feng shui, filipino doctor in malaysia, filipinos in malaysia, george town penang, lebuh leith, leith street georgetown, leith street penang, life in penang, museum, museum in malaysia, museums, ocw, ofw, penang malaysia, pinoy abroad, tourist spots in penang, travelling
With Feng Shui perfection, this magnificent dwelling that fused aesthetics and opulence was built with the doors fronting the sea and its posterior on a mountain slope, the Penang Hill, described as “house on the back of a dragon” figuratively.
Its front doors have Chinese inscriptions that read, “Dancing Phoenix and Flying Dragons” which, according to Chinese beliefs can only be found in Heaven. These and more enticed me and my family to listen and enjoy the very engaging one-hour-guided tour at The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion also known as The Blue Mansion.
23 July 2011. Saturday. My initial plan was to bring my family to the biggest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia located in Penang but I guess it had to be rescheduled some other weekend thus, one thing led to another.
The suggestion to pay the Blue Mansion a visit came from one of the Tsinoys I admire, who described himself in his website as “a self-designated life-long citizen and ambassador of Manila”, Ivan Man Dy of Old Manila Walks when he left a comment on my post about our beautiful experience in Yeng Keng Hotel.
With my parents, wife and our son in tow, I arrived with them at Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion with ample time to take photos of its exteriors, prior to our scheduled 1:30PM guided tour.
Located in Lebuh Leith or Leith Street, the mansion site stretches 56,000 sq ft (5,202.4 sq meters) with a total floor area of 33,000 sq ft (3065.7 sq meters). What’s amazing with Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion isn’t its expectedly vast than usual land coverage but its other remarkable uniqueness. For instance, its lot and its neighbors do not follow the alignment of Leith Street which runs in a North-East to South-West direction. This unusual construction was believed to be guided by Feng Shui or geomancy as preferred by Cheong Fatt Tze himself.
With my almost a year of being an expat in Penang, I’d say it is hard to miss this indigo blue structure that can be seen along George Town’s main thoroughfares such as Jalan Penang (Penang Road) and Lebuh Chulia (Chulia Street). However, I didn’t have any idea of its cultural and historic significance until my family and I set foot on its courtyard.
with Komtar, the tallest building in George Town at its backdrop.
The entire tour of the Cheng Fatt Tze Mansion was truly worth indulging! The RM 12 (USD 4.03 or PhP 171) per pax rate of fee was nothing compared to the fascination and amazement we’ve experienced. Imagine stepping on the same venue where the 1992 notable Academy-award winning (1993 Best Foreign Language Film) French movie, Indochine that starred Catherine Deneuve and Vincent Perez was filmed. The Blue Mansion is equally interesting as the man who built it.
In Tuxedo and in Chinese Mandarin Suit. The New York Times called him “The Rockefeller of the East”. Having rags to riches story, with perseverance in his pocket, he conquered himself and had engaged in businesses dealing with pepper, rubber, tea, coffee, tobacco, rice and even opium; eventually became an investor in banks, trader of glassworks, cattle and textiles. He became philantropist and had abundant wives of 8 (of whom wife #7 was the favorite), concubines and hand-maidens. He had his last will and testament that ordered the Mansion would only be available for selling after the death of his son (1989). Photo sourced via www.penang-vacations.com
CHEONG FATT TZE
“Arriving penniless from Guandong province, China,to this part of the world at the age of 16, Cheong Fatt Tze grew to become one of the most historic and colorful personalities of the era. “One of China’s last Mandarins and 1st Capitalists”, such was his aura and fame that the Dutch and British authorities ordered that flags be flown at half mast throughout their colonies when he passed away in 1916. Of his vast empire, Cheong Fatt Tze chose Penang to build the most elaborate of his homes and to raise his sons. It is reputed to be one of two such buildings of this size, outside China and certainly the most perfected. While the Mansion’s floorplan is essentially Chinese, the overall effect is ecclectic and typical of 19th Century Straights Settlements architecture. Gothic louvered windows, Chinese cut-and-paste porcelain work, Stoke-on-Trent floor tiles, Scottish cast iron works and Art Nouveau stained glass are among the features to be found in this inspired work of art. The aura and “chi” of the man pervades the entire edifice.
The dilapidated Mansion was acquired in 1990 with the prime intention of achieving a return to an authentic original form. Traditional materials and methods have been utilized and the end result has been nationally and internationally acclaimed. Winner of “Most Excellent Project” Award at the UNESCO Heritage Awards 2000, the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion has earned its place as one of Penang’s foremost tourist destinations, a historical reminder of a past era and a man whose dream will live on it the majesty of his home.” *Sourced from the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Georgetown bookmark giveaway at the gate.*
Couplets, such as this door found at the side of the Mansion after its restoration are symbolic as the proverbs, “There is permanence in the rising of the sun and moon.”
The only disappointment I had was the fact that photography’s forbidden inside the Mansion. Nonetheless, I confirmed from our excellent tour guide, Ms. Lyn Fong a.k.a Sally, that once a guest checks in in one of the 16 rooms for a bed and breakfast (or any room or event package preferred), –yes, The Blue Mansion is one the gorgeous boutique hotels in Penang) taking of photos is allowed except during tour hours (11AM, 1:30PM and 3PM).
Chien Nien, or the technique of porcelain cut and paste shard works of art were very prominent in every corner of the house. The process entails the use of small and colored porcelain bowls, each intricately cut to form a 3D effect on the designs that tells Chinese tales; piece by piece -the work was tedious but wonderfully restored!
We absolutely marveled at these features : The center of the mansion has the greatest “chi” according to Feng Shui experts. That beautiful spot was surrounded by 4 metal pillars with intricate designs, made by Macfarlanes in Glasgow, Scotland.
The Mansion also has timber filgree paneling with gold leaf gilding which was also painstakingly restored to its full glory.
The walls and the ceilings were perfectly built in such a way that water collected from rain will be running quickly (water in feng shui means MONEY!) and the basin which has 2 openings in the center of the Mansion will let it run out slowly.
In the middle Ms. Lyn Fong’s tour guiding when we were at the center of the mansion and while she was discussing about water and money, I had my widest smile when she told me that I am sitting in one the luckiest spots of the Mansion which is one of the water openings.
The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion has all the essential elements : Metal, Wood, Air, Water, Fire (fire represented in the house by its generous oil lamps). Its stairs are made of 28 steps (28 in Chinese is good luck) of which the first 3 are made of granite, a good foundation to swiftly bring wealth.
The Mansion has fantastic glass stained windows with pineapple and fan designs to fan-in wealth inside the house. Windows have wooden shutters without nails but close and open with its Yin and Yang designs.
The tiles at the floor of the entire house came from Europe.
Obviously, red is auspicious color in Chinese and not blue. We learned that the Mansion was only painted indigo blue because at that time, almost entire George Town, Malacca and Singapore were painted with the same hue.
The beautiful day is incomplete without souvenir shots even only from its courtyard…
Gabby’s paternal lola and lolo.
If you’re planning a trip to George Town and a pit stop at Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, make sure your tour will be flawlessly guided by Ms. Lyn Fong (a.k.a Sally) whose passion to her work emanates to what she does best. Thank you, Ms. Lyn! We hope to see you again in the near future!
Once again, I am impressed with what Penang has to offer. It seems almost every weekend is a surprise! George Town has been consistent in drowning me and (now) my family in its diverse cultures and colors but one thing is definite, we are not complaining!
Tina and I hope that with Gabby’s smiles, he will soon appreciate his early exposures to the influences of this multicultural state, and may his inevitable immersion to such diversities contribute to his being positively.
Visit their website at *The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
Tags: appeal to jollibee, balikbayan box, bible, boy bawang, choc nut, eng bee tin hopia, expat life, family, family life, greenhills shopping center, hopia, jollibee, knorr mixes, mama sita's mixes, mcdo, mcdonald's, mixes, mung bread, ocw, ofw, pasalubong, penang, penang bridge, penang international airport, penang malaysia, pinoy expat, religious articles
09 July 2011. Saturday
We left our home in Butterworth at half hour past 11 in the morning. It was another memorable weekend for my family.
After knowing that Transformers is only showing on 3D in one of the cinemas here, we decided to pass on the movie because my wife doesn’t want to watch anything that may trigger and aggravates her vertigo. Instead of a movie-date, we immediately brought ourselves to a Chinese restaurant and indulged in some dimsum and noodles for lunch inside Queensbay Mall, the biggest in the island that’s few kilometers away from Penang International Airport.
We needed to kill time before we pick up my dad who came from Pinas on dependent visa (valid until my work visa expires) via Kuala Lumpur, to continue his being dutiful lolo to his apo, Gabby.
The no-drama-and very casual-reunion at the airport was almost like we just last saw each other yesterday.
After the meeting, must eat Mcdo! Funny thing was, he’s also treated to Mcdo breakfast meal by my brothers in the morning of his flight right before leaving Pinas, haha!
Note to Jollibee : If you can bring your branches to Brunei and other parts of Asia, sa Penang wala pa! We’ll be your very first patrons, when that day comes. Promise!
I arranged a pick up service with a friendly Indian taxi cab driver, the same guy who helped us haul and transfer our things when we moved in to our new place a week ago exactly. The trip from Penang Airport (Penang Island) to our place in Butterworth (mainland Penang) cost around RM 70 (PhP 980).
Daddy’s first glimpse of that 25km Penang Bridge….
After that long stretch of magnificence comes another flyover that connects the roads going to Butterworth. The structure mimics the majestic Penang Bridge…
Then the time came to unwrap his 25kg Balikbayan box (yes, he didn’t have any luggage and only brought few of his clothes to accomodate and bring our request).
Tina wanted something from Pinas for our living room table centerpiece. My brother, Mac bought these balls for us from bazaars in Greenhills no less (tyangge, syempre!). For the meantime, Tina placed her balls on one of her plastic banana leaf plates until I’ll find something more appropriate.
And because religious articles are apparently hard to find in a predominantly Muslim state…
More reasons to be happy…. Lapid’s Chicharon, FTW!
Thank you, Lord for all the blessings, big and small.
Tags: appartment, breakfast, butterworth penang, condo, condominium, dinner, doc gelo, docgelo, expat, family, family & living, family blog, family life abroad, filipino in malaysia, fish dish, food, food blog, foodie, garlic buttered prawns, home, home and living, lunch, ocw, ofw, penang, penang malaysia, personal blog, prawns, sea view, seafoods, seaview condo, shrimp dish, urban living, vista perdana, vista perdana butterworth
You don’t have any idea how I appreciate and value my readers’ comments. When I posted that We’re Itching To Move In to our chosen appartment to rent here in Butterwoth, Penang, I got helpful words from my blog buddies and one of them came from Marga aka Midge, the passionate blogger behind Sybaritic Diversions, whom Tina, Gabby and I met in one of her informative and fun sessions of Chocolate Appreciation 101 in Heavenly Chocolates, she generously shared the essentials to bring before one occupies a new home.
Superstitious or not, I heeded to Marga’s words for I knew there’s no harm if those little items will be the first to be hauled.
I was truly overwhelmed with suggestions and pieces of advice to make our personal space as homey as possible. Online friends who mostly I haven’t met are always unselfish to share their ideas. Even on tweeter, fellow blogger-educator and an architect at that replied to my request when I asked her expert advice for free! Thank you, Architect Reena of Reena’s Thoughts . I really appreciate it.
Here’s a peek to our home in Butterworth…
Limited space requires you to be creative in maximizing everything. Without being boring but minimalist, our unit is still a work in progress.
Huggables : we bought some uncoordinated pillows to put life and colors in our living room.
The curtains were bought on sale. From RM 114 (PhP 1596) each, we only paid RM 28 (PhP 392) each.
Gabby’s choice : Because we love our almost 7-year-old kid, we gave him a chance to put on some decors that he likes. At the console table, there are framed photos, indoor potted plants and our boy’s little things.
While shadow puppets of Rama and Sita made from cow hide and artline inks that we bought from Kota Bharu, Kelantan which we haven’t framed yet stand side by side with our wedding photo, on the other corner of the living room lies another Gabby’s favorite : Plants vz Zombies!
Tina’s favorite area of the unit…
We’re fortunate that in Penang, discounts can get as low as 70-80% off. Tina bought these electric kettle for only RM 29 (PhP 406) from RM 99 (PhP 1386) and the mini oven for another affordable price.
The very first meals were memorable! Despite we truly miss having pandesal in the morning, breakfast with Spam Lite, rice and coffee tasted great as we ate as one family.
The lunch with paksiw na bisugo was superb! Do you eat bisugo?
While I only went to the public market which is a bus-ride away and mini groceries downstairs to purchase some more stuffs, I have to give credits and much love to my wife because she exerted extra efforts to prepare our first dinner.
Udang (the Bahasa Melayu term for shrimps or prawns) is cheaper in Penang than in Metro Manila. The cost here ranges from RM 16 – 25 per kilo (PhP 224 -350) thus enabling us to enjoy it every now and then.
We only invited one of our senior colleagues who also lives in the same building. For almost a year now, she stands as my/our genuine friend, comforter and a nanay-nanayan. She came with her sister and together, we shared our very first dinner. We could have invited another senior-fellow who have inspired me so much about family life, life in general and whatnot but I thought he’s busy enjoying the weekend with his own family. (read : We’d rather keep one or two friends only here in Penang rather than have an entire community who backstabs us; our world will peacefully revolve without them!).
At anytime of the day, our porch offers a relaxing view; now we know how it feels like to dwell in those hotels and serviced appartments along side Roxas Blvd back home; the only difference is, it’s a lot affordable here in Penang for the purchasing power of Ringgit is higher than Philippine Pesos.
The coming days will be brighter. As we begin to enjoy our new home, my parents from Manila and UAE will be coming over to share the love and fun with us. Gabby will continue schooling here in August and the rest, I know will be epic.
A new chapter of our expat lives unfolds.
Happy Father’s Day to all daddies in the world!
To my in-laws, Papa Chito, Maligayang Araw po ng mga Tatay!
Daddy Larry and Jun, Happy Father’s Day po!
To my uncles and truest friends who have sons and daughters, to my cousins and cousin-in-law, and to my blog buddies who are fathers too, let’s celebrate fatherhood everyday!
And of course to our very own Daddy Benruh, who despite imperfections, managed to raised us 4 by being an OFW himself (just like his eldest and youngest now), thank you! And to my brother, Captain Mike, Happy Daddy’s Day too!
Tags: de la salle university, de la salle university dragon boat team, doc gelo, docgelo, dragon boat, dragon boat festival, expat life, family, family life, Life, life abroad, ocw, ofw, penang, penang international dragon boat festival, penang malaysia, philippines dragon boat team, rowing, sports, teluk bahang, teluk bahang dam
While most people in Penang were still sleeping and curling up in beds last Saturday morning, my wife, Tina, our 6-year-old son Gabby and I were already on our feet to the bus stop at few minutes after 6AM. The reason was simple : to get a glimpse at the 32nd Penang International Dragon Boat Festival held in Teluk Bahang Dam.
I initially considered sleeping with my family in a cheap hotel in George Town to be up and early at the rowing site but Tina vetoed the idea; I surrendered to her choice.
I never expected that we would have a long hike getting to the venue.
Although it took us only few minutes to be at the jetty after hopping to the bus from our place in Butterworth, we’ve waited around half an hour for the bus to arrive and spent another 30 minutes for the ferry to arrive in Penang Sentral that will take us to George Town; note that the usual ferry trip takes around 12-15 minutes (Why ride the ferry? We’re staying in mainland Penang where our work site is and “the life” is in Penang Island so whether you own a car or you commute, either way, you still have to cross the bay via ferry–for both vehicle owners and commuters or take the long Penang Bridge).
We had another bus ride from George Town to Teluk Bahang; it’s Rapid Bus 101 that took us there for almost an hour. Now you can do the math computing for our travel time! It was almost 9AM when we got off the bus and immediately bought some chilled bottled water at the convenient store within a gas station. Oh, and by the way, we went there with fellow colleagues, Dr. Y and Dr. C.who are also photo-enthusiasts.
Dr. Y : “One kilometer na lang daw iyong dam, lakarin na lang natin! Kaya ba nyan (referring to my son)?“ (It’s still 1 km to the dam, let’s just walk; is it OK for Gabby?)
Me : “Sure!”
And my simple honest nod to his question took us for that unexpected morning hike.
After passing by Penang Butterfly Farm which we haven’t been to, we had that unforgettable almost 45-minute-uphill-walk to the dam. (You might think we could have taken a taxi cabs but ‘teksi’ here in Penang require to be contacted by SMS or phone call if you’re not riding it from their stations; or we could have hopped onto another bus but it would take another hour for us to wait).
We walked though this long and winding road…. Tina and I are just proud of Gabby; he took his steps through it with less complaints.
It was a good relief when we finally saw the dam…
The 2-day-competition held June 11-12, 2011 had entries from Guam, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Macau, UAE, China, Malaysian states like Kedah, Perak, Selangor and Penang of course but Tina and I had our widest smiles when we heard the name of our country, the Philippines who, at the time of our arrival at the site was already rowing at the preliminaries.
Guess who competed for The Philippines…
Me to Tina : “Tanggal pagod nang marining ko ang “in lane….The Philippines!” (My fatigue was nothing after I heard, “”in lane….The Philippines!”)
Unlike in other foreign cities, there is rarity of Filipinos in Penang so understandably, it’s nice to see and meet Filipinos, more so if they’re here to represent our country.
After the DLSU-Philippines finished 3rd at their first row before the official Opening Ceremonies…
we caught them having their much needed-stretching…
then had their cheer for victory…
Meet some of the foreign and local Dragon Boat rowers…
Nice to see varied colors of uniforms!
The 32nd PIDBF had Standard Boat and Small Boat Races of 250meters and 500meters, with Open, Women and Mixed categories.
But wait, our beloved Philippine flag was displayed upside-down, gera ito! (means war!) Had it not for our colleague, Dr. Y who told the people there to fix our banner, it would have been in the air for two days wrongly.
As a beginner in violin, I was so impressed at these Chinese youngsters who played at the Opening Ceremony that was done at 10AM, their band played upbeat pop songs fit for the competition.
At around few minutes past 10, we decided to leave the event while our colleagues, Dr. Y. and Dr. C stayed until 5PM. According to them, DLSU-Philippines Dragon Boat Team placed 1st in one of the races that day, congratulations!
It was fun watching people…
Luckily, as we walked down the road, there was an empty taxi cab that passed by, so it saved our legs and feet in going back to the bus stop.
Although admittedly, we were fatigued from the event, we never regret our decision of attending it. As Tina and I witnessed how Gabby was strong-willed to finish the hike with us (as if he had other options!) and for being exposed to friendly competitive sports, I was reminded of the fact that if you really want something (like success in any task, or a glorious win),
there are a ton of ways to do it, but otherwise, you’ll just offer reasons to make up for not trying.
PS : While on the Rapid Bus 101 going to Gurney Mall from Teluk Bahang, we figured out it’s a perfect time to freshen up and try another wonderful lunch buffet! *burp* –>here’s our dining experience at G Cafe in G Hotel, Penang
Tags: asian dishes, asian food, buffet, cakes, chinese food, desserts, dishes, doc gelo, docgelo, Eat all you can, Eat all you want, expat, expat life, expat living, family, family and living, flavors, food, food blog, foodie, foods, g hotel, g hotel gurney drive, g hotel malaysia, g hotel penang, guinataan, hotel in penang, hotels in malaysia, hotels in penang, Ice cream, international cuisine, lunch, ocw, ofw, pinoy abroad, traveling, travelling, vacation
I wish to bring back my family there to experience their room and amenities too someday.
Tags: beryl, beryl's, beryl's chocolates, chocolate boutique, chocolate boutique penang, chocolates, cocoa boutique, cocoa boutique penang, desserts, doc gelo, docgelo, expat life, family, family and living, filipino abroad, flipino doctor abroad, food, food blog, foodie, holy week, ocw, ofw, our lady of sorrows parish penang, penang malaysia, pinoy abroad, sweets
This year’s Holy Week has been personally different in the sense that the turn of events kept me grounded. I sincerely said my apologies to my Creator, and to those people I’ve wronged and received some sorries in return too. Admitting your fault and taking the blame may be a sign of weakness for some, but I believe otherwise. I feel, it takes tons of strength and courage to say you’re sorry about something and far from being arrogant. Humility in this day and age is still alive or at least, we take efforts in keeping it viable in our bloodstream.
Chance officially led me last Friday to leave work earlier to spend some time with my family and reflect. Before dusk, we attended the Station of the Cross delivered in English and Mandarin at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in George Town, Penang. This is one of the churches here where I find solace and peace of mind amidst uncertainties of living an expat life.
On a lighter note, just when every Catholic soul on Earth was fasting, my family and I only observed total aversion to pork for almost a week as our annual sacrifice; our appetite has been as usual
Sinfully, we indulged a little. Below are the proofs of my confession.
Although Beryl’s chocolate has been a favorite of most tourists who visit Malaysia, the diversity of choices from other brands is almost limitless.
We found this store called Cocoa Boutique located at Jalan Bagan Jermal, Pulau Pinang; it’s a stone throw away from Gurney Mall.
Vezzo Chocolate has wide unique variety : chili chocolate, curry chocolate, fruity chocolates (durian, banana, rasberry, apple, orange), tongkat ali chocolate, sugar-free chocolate, nutty, tiramisu, milk and dark and the list goes on…
I gave my wife and kid the liberty to choose their preference. We got (from top left to right) orange chocolate, tiramisu, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, cappuccino, almond+white & dark chocolates (Penang and Malaysian mini-bars) and rasberry chocolate.
Exquisite. Exotic. Exceptional. These are the 3Es on the label of these sweet-tooth temptation. I have to state, these handmade chocolates are luscious enough to clear out your worries and make you feel stress-free even for a bit. Its texture and flavors are enticingly delicious.
The important thing about Lent is not giving up chocolates but it’s to give up sin.
How was your week?
Happy Easter, everyone! God bless!
Tags: boats, doc gelo, docgelo, environment, expat, family, family loving, filipino abroad, filipino in malaysia, flowers, food, food blog, foodie, fun, garden, lakwatsa, lily pod, lush greens, mother nature, must see in penang, must visit in malaysia, must visit in penang, must visit in southeast asia, nature, ofw, parks, parks in penang, penang malaysia, photography, pinoy expat, spices, teluk bahang, teluk bahang penang, thai, thai dishes, theme parks, travel blog, traveling, travelling, trees, trip, tropical spice garden, tropical spice garden penang, water lily
If there’s one thing I love about weekend, it’s the opportunity to escape from my daily routine. The freedom of having time to relax, sleep all day or be in another place -inside the church where I find my weekly dose of peace of mind while attending anticipated Holy Mass, or being in my favorite coffee shop or in bookstore browsing and sniffing books, inside the cinema watching movies, dining and giving in to cravings of delicious bites, being a mall rat for a day, or simply doing anything and being anywhere far from my work desk; I always look forward to enjoying the weekend; it’s simply awesome and refreshing!
For 2 weeks now since my wife and kid arrived from Manila, my days in Penang have been happier. I always take efforts in planning and thinking of how to maximize and enjoy our weekends to the fullest; after all, it’s the only chance in a week that we can be together the whole day.
Last Saturday, 02 April, 2011 wasn’t ordinary. I was excited after my wife agreed that we bring Gabby to Tropical Spice Garden in Teluk Bahang, Pulau Pinang, a roughly 2-hour bus and ferry rides from where we stay in Butterworth. It’s a breather from going-to-the-mall, grocery shopping and other things we usually do to while away the weekend.
When was the last time you communed with Mother Nature?
How often do you appreciate her wonders ?
How well do you know those spices in everything we take in?
Would you like to see those spices in bushes before they end up in your kitchen jars?
We arrived at that piece of paradise few minutes before 10AM. At the reception, I paid RM 35 (PhP 490 or USD 12) for the 3 of us, as we availed of their family package. Citronella oil was provided to ward off mosquitoes before we entered the tropical lush greens. Unfortunately, because I forgot to wear sleeves, and wished I have those nylon slip-on fabrics commonly worn by bikers and trekkers and the fact that I easily perspire, mosquitoes feasted on my left forearm. Tina was so alarmed I might catch malaria or dengue but I guess, it wasn’t meant to happen; and the wheal and pruritus (read : itchiness) subsided few hours after. Good thing that Gabby was wearing a jacket and Tina had no mosquito bites. Nonetheless, I and my family had incredibly fun moments at Tropical Spice Garden.
The entrance to that seemingly oasis of tranquility…
Few steps from the facade, we were immediately drawn into a tropical forest with walk steps in between varieties of foliage and few blooms…
Do you play Plants vs Zombies ? Do you recognize those lily pods ?
Admittedly, we saw more of huge trees and plants and less of those spices.
We had several laugh-trip and kulitan-moments…
Believe it or not, drizzling stopped before we hopped off the bus and entered this garden. The climate became so perfect for a stroll amidst that tropical forest…
We met some foreigners who were learning how to cook Malaysian dishes using fruits, veggies and what else but tropical spices, hehe…
Apart from being lush garden of spices, century-old-trees and exotic flora, Tropical Spices Garden houses its very own Tree Monkey Restaurant where we had our delicious light brunch.
Of course, food would not be absent in our family’s adventure….
When was the last time you ate comfortably lounging on crossed legs?
I loved the fact that great attention was given to little details of this Thai restaurant…
From the ceiling, table tops, and whatnot, not a single detail was overlooked…
Would you like to eat your meal on a tree house?
Needless to say, the ambiance of Tree Monkey restaurant is far from being intimidating; it’s so inviting and fascinating; so does their menu…
As if one soup isn’t enough –we had Mushroom soup which has surprising texture beyond being thick and creamy and that usual thin and salty soup…
Tina gave a nod to my choice : Thai Seafood Paella…
It’s not spicy as expected; just deliciously flavorful!
Sure, we definitely miss some things about the Philippines, and so I ordered what’s close to our taste buds (mangga at suman) – Mango Sticky Rice…
Were able to washed down everything by these thirst quenchers…
Daddy Gelo had freshly squeezed OJ…
Mommy Tina enjoyed iced cold Caffe Latte
Adorable Gabby sipped iced cold Chocolate drink…
What’s even more worth remembering about our dining experience at Tree Monkey was the fact that we met 2 friendly Filipinas and an Indonesian (standing at the back) and Thailander (not in photo) wait staffs…
After our hearty light brunch, we stepped inside the little spice museum right across the restaurant.
Betel Nut, Cumin, Turmeric, Star Anise, Fennel, Clove, Black Pepper, Cardamon, Cinnamon, Coriander seeds, Nutmeg, Chilli. These and more are the spices of this garden…
Apparently, we enjoyed our Saturday morning…FUNtastic!
If you’re like us who, sometimes want something unconventional over the weekend, make your own adventure as simple as communing with yourself and with Mother Nature; it’s gratifying!
Look at my mag-ina, parang ayaw umalis at iwan ang lugar, hehehe!
Tropical Spice Garden is such a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of daily activities. Fresh air, lush surroundings, informative trek, great food, family bonding – what more can you ask for?
For details about Tropical Spice Garden, visit their website [HERE].
Until our next family adventure!
PS : After leaving the gates of TSG, we rode Rapid Penang Bus again and went to one of the malls in the island called, Midland Plaza and took the chance of 90% discount offered in Popular Bookstore. Then, we headed to another nearby mall, Plaza Gurney where Gabby and I had our haircuts done and ate our late lunch. We capped our Saturday after we attended the English anticipated Holy Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish.
Tags: buchi, butterworth, cartoons, chinese dish, chinese food, condo living, doc gelo, docgelo, expat, filipino abroad, gabby, Johnny Depp, life abroad, life of an expat, living abroad, lotus balls, movie rango, movies, noodle dish, noodles, ocw, ofw, penang, penang malaysia, pinoy abroad, pulau pinang, rango, taho, too foo far, urban living, vista perdana
Je suis tellement heureuse pour vous. Dis bonjour à Ma’am Santos
Que Dieu vous bénisse toujours
(I’m so happy for you. Say hello to Ma’am Santos May God bless you always) -This was one of the several comments I’ve received on facebook after I’ve posted a photo of my son and wife’s arrival in Penang International Airport last Saturday. Those words came from my wife’s student, Myeen, who’s born in
Belgium and raised in France. Pinas but spent her 10 years in Belgium and had traveled France and some countries in Europe. I always have my widest smile every time she posts comments on French; such a beautiful language I wish I could learn. Won’t you be happy if others are happy for you and your family as well?
And so I became the happiest man alive on the day I finally brought my family to Penang. They’ll be staying here with me until God knows when.They arrived safely from Manila to Kuala Lumpur via Cebu Pacific (4-hour-flight) then had another flight from KL to Penang via Air Asia (about an hour-flight). I saw them coming out of Penang Airport at around 6:10PM last Saturday. That moment was surreal!
We’re all thankful to the Lord for despite the vertigo episodes that Tina was having during their entire flight until they reached Penang (imagine, she fainted down to her knees in front of the immigration officer at Kuala Lumpur-LCCT airport) plus the fact that she was only one to carry all the 37 kg of check-in luggages and 13 kg of handful of cabin-bags, not to forget that the rains (only) poured from heavens when we’re already in the cab enroute to our condo, they arrived safe and sound. God was indeed good all the time!
Tina wanted to hear mass the next day but I knew there’s no scheduled English mass last Sunday at the parish where I frequent so we postponed it the following weekend.
We hopped onto Rapid Penang bus, hit the roads to the jetty, transferred to the ferry then took bus again to the Island. (Cest la vie for we’re still living in Penang mainland, but before August hopefully, we get to transfer to a new place in the Island itself).
I took them to Queensbay Mall, one of my favorite malls in Penang Island where I usually spend my days off inside its coffee shops and cinemas. Tina and Gabby only had one chance to go to Queensbay during their 2-week-break here last December.
At the Queens food court, we feasted on Beef Fried Rice, Yee Mee noodle dish, peanut and lotus balls (aka buchi) and Too Foo Far in brown sugar, of in Pinas we call it, taho less tapioca or sago. Sarap kumain pagkasalo pamilya!
Then we watched the movie that had Johnny Depp’s voice, Rango…
It wasn’t difficult to like Rango for the three of us are all followers of most Johnny Depp’s kiddie-movies. The fantastic visuals and spectacular scenes plus the splendid voices rendered to the animated cast made the movie truly entertaining. Rango, like most contemporary cartoons is filled with matured themes and quotes that kids might find to early to absorb. Like how many kids can easily grasp the importance of a hero finding his true self? Nonetheless, I saw Gabby smiled and laughed at few chase scenes and that was enough for me as I start to fill in those days that we’re away from each other.
The following day after my work hours, we visited few of our colleague-friends’ home-away-from-home.
It’s so comforting that my fellow MD lecturers welcomed my family to their living rooms (actually, i personally requested if we can peek in at their condos for Tina to have an idea of how Pulau Pinang urban living looks like). You don’t have idea how hard it is to live as an expat with barely friends and relatives you have lived with since you existed until you become one.
Chance led me to discover the song that’s so apt for our present family status.
I honestly don’t know who Bruno Mars is and am completely clueless with his music until I stumbled upon this wonderful song that speaks my thoughts exactly. Please do yourself a favor, click the video and sing to your heart’s delight! Let me know of what you think.
Tina and I are aware that we took the big leap as we begin to live and thrive here in Penang that’s absolutely far from our own comfort zones. We’re taking one day at a time; hopefully in God’s will, we may be able to become happier, healthier as we begin our new life here.
What’s most important now is we’re one family again.
God bless all our loved ones!
Another chapter in our family life will unfold today.
My life in Penang will be happier for this late afternoon, my wife, Tina and our kid, Gabby will arrive from Manila via Kuala Lumpur. They’ll be staying here with me on dependent visa until (my work visa expires) God wants us to be here.
I certainly know how difficult it is for my wife to leave Manila for she will be missing two valuables in her life -
-her Ate who’s a doctor and a medical educator too (happens to be my classmate-friend back in Med school) and is the only immediate family she got in Pinas; the rest of my in-laws are based in the US and
-her job as a clinical instructor and a skills laboratory lecturer for Nursing college students in which Tina have been passionate about for some years (I think she didn’t resigned but only filed an indefinite leave of absence).
My wife shall begin to work here in Penang as an Operating Room Nurse once her license from MNC is issued. While waiting, she’ll continue to be the best personal and private teacher to Gabby as we prepare him for schooling here (read : we need to save first for Gabby’s private foreign school because its cost is so steep although the cost of living isn’t).
I know that with my family’s presence, I’ll be more inspired to wake up every 5 o’clock in the morning to hit the roads to work.
Another reason of my excitement is the fact that someone close to my family will pay a visit next week.
I already filed a replacement leave in our HR office because by mid next week, one of my best buddies of 18 years and counting, Rob of Sensory Replays will have his lone backbacking trip for a week in Malaysia. He’ll start his leisure tour in Kota Kinabalu on Monday, then we’ll fetch him at the airport on Wednesday and will serve as his tour guide here in Penang until the next day before he leaves for Kuala Lumpur on Friday. Rob is one of Gabby’s dutiful godparents so we expect pasalubong from him of course. haha!
It’s a whole new world for my family; a new life to begin. I am certain that there are reasons why the good Lord made all this possible. We cannot thank Him enough.
Now, you’ll have to excuse me, I’ll have to prepare to go to the island, kill few hours in the mall before fetching my family at the airport. yeehaa!
Tags: akemi uchi, akemiuchi, bed linens, bed sheets, beddings, bedsheets, comforter set, confessions of a shopaholic, discount, doc gelo, docgelo, expats, filipino expats, linens, mall, ocw, ofw, penang, penang malaysia, pinoy expats, queensbay mall, sale, sheets, shopaholic, shopping, shopping addict, sleeping, towels, weekend
As of this posting, I have not seen the 2009 American movie adaptation, “Confessions of a Shopaholic” of the series that was written by Sophie Kinsella; starred a certain, Isla Fisher as the shopping addict. Nevertheless, I had that film in mind as I exerted efforts in waking up early on a supposed to be lazy Saturday morning, hopped on the bus and ferry just to reach Queensbay Mall in Penang Island and grabbed some greatly discounted items with 3 friendly colleagues. Am I a shopaholic? Naaahhh….
Who would pass on the chance of 70 – 80 % off on bedroom items?
Can you resist this ?
Last night, I received a text message inviting me to a Members’ Day at Akemi Uchi, a Japanese shop that sells bed sheets, pillows, comforters, towels and other home items. The message stated a RM 1 (PhP 14) comforter set, up for grab by members (fortunately, I kept the membership card I got after I purchased a regularly priced item last year).
We arrived at Queensbay Mall at 9AM when it’s still closed. *talked about eagerness and excitement* Had some bites and sips from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, then off we went to the mall’s 2nd level where Akemi Uchi is located.
When the store opened its door, I rushed to one of its shelves and luckily got one of those ten-limited-offer Queen-sized comforter set, on sale for only RM1 (PhP 14).
Comforter set = 1 piece- 410 thread count Queen-sized-comforter set, 1 Queen-sized fitted sheet, 2 pillow cases, 1 bolster case ALL for one ringgit (or PhP 14)!
I knew the items to be sold for RM 1 (PhP 14) were very limited but didn’t expect that comforter sets will only be 10 pieces. I should have known the right shelf where they’ve put those great buys earlier; could have picked a nicer color.
I initially offered the RM1-comforter set to my friends, but after I heard a Chinese lady-shopper commented that I am lucky to have one because it’s 410 thread count, I decided to pay for it despite it’s tan, black and red colors (I prefer darker ones).
Look at how my fellows smiled from ear to ear with those loots…
There were foot rugs, bath towels, cotton pillows, tall glasses and throw pillow cases for one ringgit each but each member was limited to 2 pieces of items per purchase only.
I failed to get hold of the towels for myself but handed them to my friends. Nonetheless I was happy with what I got : RM1-comforter set, 2 pieces of foot rugs, a couple of purple satin-throw pillow cases all for RM 1 (PhP 14) each and a RM 30 (PhP 420) rollaway mattress in blue, 76 cm x 196 cm.
And this photo should have captioned with, “Manong tindero, pwede pa bang dagdag diskwento?” hehehe (“Salesman, can you give us additional discount?”)
When I spotted this King-sized (my current bed in the penthouse is actually King size) comforter with bear face-print, I immediately got hold of it for I know my wife, Tina more than our son, Gabby will be delighted for this; right, honey?
I bought that too-cute-for-words-comforter set (with King sized comforter, fitted sheet, 2 pillow cases, 1 bolster case) for only RM 119 (PhP 1666) from its insanely original price of RM 919 (PhP 12,866).
I could just imagine Tina screaming, “Ang cutieeeeee!” once she sees that bear-face-printed comforter.
My colleague-friends and shopping buddies for this day : doc gen, doc roy and doc jane (standing), public health specialists and a pathologist respectively…
Doc Gen even bought linens for her staff at DOH-Leyte and comforters and rollaway mattress too for her kids…
The faces of happy customers!
Those awesome items and the fun company of my fellow lecturers certainly made my weekend!
Tags: air itam, ayer itam, backpacking, backpacking in penang, bayan lepas, baywalk, buddhist, buddhist temples, buddhist temples in penang, burma road, burmese buddhist temple, burmese temple penang, chinese new year, chinese new year 2011, chinese new year in penang, chinese temple, doc gelo, docgelo, fort cornwallis, george town, georgetown penang, kiapo, lakwatsa, lorong burma, lotus, lotus shaped candles, ofw, penang, penang malaysia, snake temple, temples, thai buddhist temple, thai buddhist temple penang, traveling, travelling, trips, vacation, water cabbage
There’s no perfect day to visit Buddhist temples but on Chinese New Year. Why?
And so we did. Together with 8 Pinoy colleague-friends, we trooped to the island via rented van and paid these wonderful places at Pulau Pinang a visit.
First stop : SNAKE TEMPLE
“Built in 1850, the Snake Temple also known as the Temple of Azure Cloud is dedicated to Chor Soo Kong, a priest who was believed to have extraordinary healing powers. However, according to local folklore, a religious man offered the venomous pit vipers shelter from danger and since then, they have stayed in safety of the temple.“
It isn’t called Snake Temple without those creatures I feared the most. (Now, you know my phobia!). Believe me, other than the small Snake Farm beside the temple, they’re scattered at few plants and branches!
Kiapo or water cabbage (where the name of Quiapo in Manila was rooted from) never fails to catch my attention. I don’t know, it’s only green and seems to be ordinary to some but everytime I see one, the sight makes me smile.
Another object of my fascination are these candles in Buddhist temples; mostly we’ve seen were pineapple and lotus-shaped ones.
It was almost high noon when we left Snake Temple and moved on to our next destination…
We took our lunch before asceding to the next temple; most of us came with baon (homecooked foods) from Kare-Kare complete with sweet and spicy bagoong, Pita with tomato salsa, Glass noodles with mushrooms, ponkan and some slices of apples. We also ordered Roast Pork rice toppings from the restaurant that made the meal complete. After our hearty lunch, we began walking the streets toward Kek Lok Si Temple. Enroute, we bought few things we fancied…
Iced Sugar Cane juice. Note how Malaysians serve takeaway beverages (in plastic with tie and straw)…
Then one of my senior colleagues spotted a nice and affordable hat with the name of the country we’re serving. The four of us (Dr. Carlo’s not in photo) bought each of different colors lah!
Second stop : KEK LOK SI TEMPLE
If you’re from Pinas and have been to its Summer Capital, then you’re familiar with Mines View Park. Remember those stalls that sell all kinds of souvenirs from key chains to T-shirts and others, that’s the same scene you’ll see as you go up from the street to the main Kek Lok Si Temple itself. Useful tip : Hold on to your wallets, heads up for a great chance of shopping!
After passing those venue for haggling, this sight of tranquility welcomed us.
Set amidst the lush greens of the mountain, the temple looks spectacular!
“Kek Lok Si Temple means, “Temple of Supreme Bliss”. Construction began in 1890, with the completion of its seven-storey handcrafted “Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas” in 1930. The pagoda is considered one of Penang’s most beautiful architectural wonders with its Chinese octagonal base, Thai middle tier and a Burmese crown. A 30.2 Kuan Yin bronze statue was completed in 2002.”
It was indeed a blissful experience at least for me who was awed by the beauty of this temple…
Those were WISHING RIBBONS available at RM1 (PhP 14) each. I bought 5 and hang it on the tree for offering…
I chose Everlasting Relationship in Marriage, Success in Career (of course, what am I here in Penang for?)
……Health, Safety for Entire Family
and of course, how could I forget the classic, World Peace, FTW!
(Seriously, Egypt’s current unrest and all disputes elsewhere should be settled, so help us God!)
Inside Kek Lok Si Temple, I saw this Happy Buddha that I’d like to buy; but asking for discount inside the shrine wasn’t allowed for proceeds go to the temple itself. It charmed me extremely that I wish when I get the chance to bring Gabby and Tina here when they arrive in Penang on late March, it’s still available.
Some more scenes from Kek Lok Si Temple…
The visit to the two temples led us to another two more. If you’ve been following my adventures in Penang, you know that I’ve been to Thai and Burmese Buddhist Temples in Burma Road, Georgetown already August last year.
where one of biggest images of the Reclining or Sleeping Buddha is enshrined..
Immediately across the road, you’ll find Burmese Buddhist Temple…
where one of the tallest standing Buddha statues is venerated…
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”-Buddha.
Then we met our foreign colleagues at the Burmese temple, they were also enjoying the holiday of course.
But just after Kek Lok Si Temple and prior to going to Thai and Burmese Temples, we requested our Indian driver to take us to Air Itam uphill the Kek Lok Si Temple…
Photo-op by the dam taken by Dr. Yambao with his D7000…(I’m inspired to get one and be under his tutelage!)
It was where we experienced breathtaking view of Ayer Itam Dam…
Without a doubt, God’s presence was felt as we appreciated Mother Nature’s simplicity…
The place is SURREAL! It’s absolutely perfect if you want to escape from the stressful life even for a heart beat. It’s a great place to lay down on the grass under the shade of a tree and do nothing but breathe.
One of my friend-housemates gave in to the place’s temptation to doze off…
Our last stop was at Fort Cornwallis located just before the Jetty port in Georgetown, Penang…
We decided not to enter this walled battery of Georgetown anymore. I’m sure, with due respect to Penang’s history, our Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila and Corregidor Island in between Cavite and Bataan are far better. And so we just sat and had lazy moments watching the crows at the baywalk in front of the fort.
Did I had fun?
To my fellow colleague-friends, Drs. Yambao, Beeboo, Naomi (and her Ole), Carlo, Dante (and his Laine) and Roy, thank you! Sa uulitn, ha!
The celebration of CNY here in Penang isn’t over yet. More things to enjoy over the weekend…
I’ll try to chase dancing lions and dragons tomorrow…
Tags: akademi muzic nee, boredom, doc gelo, docgelo, fascination, hobby, homesickness, interest, learning, learning new things, malaysia, music school, music school in malaysia, music school in penang, musical instruments, ocw, ofw, passion, past time, penang malaysia, playing instruments, playing musical instruments, string instrument, violin, violinist
“It is never too late to begin. Remember that you always wanted to play the piano, paint, write poetry, start a journal, read that challenging book, begin stargazing, learn a little Spanish, take up yoga or qigong, build something special. There will never be a better day to begin than today. Just do it.” –Jonathan Lockwood Huie
At 34, I know it’s never that late to learn new things and pursue other fields of fascination.
I never thought that homesickness and boredom out of living and working abroad would lead me to do things I wanted to do since God knows when.
This beautiful sunny Sunday morning, I went to Jalan Raja Uda in Butterworth, a 5-minute-bus-ride and a 10-minute walk from our place in Taman Robina.
The Chinese owner of the music school and her receptionist were both amazed that I came on the dot at 9AM as I have committed over the phone yesterday.
I cannot hide my excitement to meet her; that’s why! I cannot wait to take her home! My wife, Tina already gave her nod for me to have an affair with my new love.
Meet Amanda, my new love…
Isn’t she gorgeous? I just hope she’ll love me back! *wink*
She’s brand new; they ordered for me from their supplier and did not come from their display…
I scouted a music store in a mall yesterday and also google the web to compare prices, the cost is still cheaper and more affordable in music school.
I will join 3 other MD-lecturer-colleagues in a beginner class for violin on 09 February when the music school reopens after the long Chinese New Year holiday here in Penang (CNY celebration starts Feb 3-4-5-6) and every Wednesdays at 6:30PM (after our office hours end at 5PM) thereafter. Our class is scheduled an hour per week; 30-min theoretical, 30-min practicals.
Like a kid who wanted to explore and try new things, I am extremely excited to learn the basics of violin. Little by little, I believe I can pull it off, who knows, after few months time, I’ll be able to play The Corrs’ Runaway and other beautiful music that Amanda and I will enjoy.
I’ll keep you posted.
Do you know how to play any musical instrument?
For anyone who knows how to play this string instrument, would you mind giving me some tips and pieces of advice about its care, and whatnot? Do you have any songs to suggest for me to play
someday soon? *naks!*
Enjoy your new week, everyone!
AKADEMI MUZIC NEE. 13 Tkt Mawar, Taman Mawar, Jalan Raja Uda, 12300 Butterworth, Seberang Prai, Pulau Pinang, West Malaysia. It’s only right across my senior colleagues’ place, Kondominium Cassia Their website here –> CLICK!
PS : I’m planning to enrol my son, Gabby to play+learn any musical instrument of his choice after he arrives here in Penang on late March with his mom. It’s nice if we can play the violin together but when I asked him on Skype last week, he prefers piano at this early. We’ll see.
Call me the biggest cheese ball on the planet, but it’s one of my favorite movies. Not because of anything but the lines on this film cut through me.
And times like this that I am alone in my room and when Skype isn’t enough to melt my homesickness away, surfing the web for quotes of movies and TV series I like might seem torture but surely is one effective way that helps me kill time. Get it?! If not, it’s OK! hehe
So here’s a couple of those lines from this 1996 movie that I like.
“Hey… I don’t have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I have failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my life. I love my wife. And I wish you my kind of success.” -Dicky Fox.
“I am out here for you. You don’t know what it’s like to be ME out here for YOU.
It is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about, ok? ” -Jerry Maguire.
Do you like watching movies? I do. I like it better than TV.
What are your favorite films and why? *sounds like a trivial question*
C’mmon, amuse me!
Enjoy the rest of the week, everyone!
I considered myself lucky for working in Penang where diversity of 3 races - Malaysian, Chinese and Indian usually comes with festivities and holidays. Yes, January 20th, Thursday was declared a holiday here for Hindu’s Thaipusam celebration. (Google translate : Ang daming paid holidays!)
My fellow Pinoys here and I heard from our Indian colleagues that thousands usually troop at Hindu temples and venues where Thaipusam festivities are held. So most of us feared to be caught in traffic decided to spend our day off differently.
While most of the Tamil community here observed Penance and prayers by as simple as carrying a pot of milk to as daring as mortification of the flesh by piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with vel skewers, I got curious about the ‘homes’ of 2 of our colleagues so I joined our friends in the plan to explore it.
The units have 3- 4 bedrooms, with 2 toilet and baths, veranda, washing area, the works!
And if you think our swimming pool in our condo is awesome…
think again…This is Kassia’s impressive pool for kids…
and the massive pool for kids at heart both located on the condo’s 2nd floor…
A simple yet inviting gazebo with squirting fountain separates the adult pool from the kiddie…
Don’t you wish to live here?
And look, there are more reasons for kids to love living here…
There are sauna rooms inside shower/toilet rooms too; everything is located just by the pool.
For health buffs,
The cost of rent of 2 of my senior colleagues ranges from RM 800 (or PhP 11,200 unfurnished) and RM 1300 (or PhP 18200 fully furnished with flat screen TV, fridge, washing machine, kitchen and sink, toilets etc). Their rent includes the use of all amenities –swimming pool, the gym, etc and did I already tell you that the place offers free wi-fi too?
More gym equipments that can be use at your most convenient time…
I didn’t take a dip (I don’t like swimming; read: I cannot swim!) but my friends did. According to them the pool’s great but the water’s cold.
That holiday was bitin (we felt short) because it was sandwiched in between 2 working days. Nonetheless, it was a nice day for me to forget boredom and homesickness.
Kondominium Kassia is beautiful, reasonably priced but require a bit of walking to and from the bus stops for most of us who don’t own cars here.
By August, our contract with our own penthouse in Butterworth will expire, and Tina and I are planning to get our own unit at the Island near her future work site and Gabby’s possible school. So help us, God!
Other than location, accessibility to everything, comfort of course, what else do you need in an urban living (make that living abroad away from true home)?
I was smiling from ear to ear when I saw these last Saturday…
Too cute for words?
As a father to a preschooler, I cannot help but imagine how those innocent little hands molded these amazing creation. Impressive, isn’t it?
We were hunting for possible school for our kids here in Penang; for Gabby’s first year in Primary (or Elementary), and Primary and Secondary levels for the children of my colleagues. (FYI, our son is finishing his last year in Preschool and is about to enter Grade 1).
From our respective places in Butterworth, we took an early bus trip and met up at the ferry waiting area at 8AM. Oh yes, if you’ve been following this blog for sometime now, you know that we’re now used in crossing the sea via ferry for 12 minutes if we want to
have a life go to the island where everything is.
Let’s put it this way –Malls, tons of restaurants, hawkers and eateries, Tina’s future work site and school for kids and other establishments are all located in the Island. So I’m afraid we have to live in the Island after my contract with our condo in Butterworth expires on August. Everything is still on a planning stage and we’re still keeping our options open, hopes sky high!
Because the school is located inside a seminary-retreat house and situated on hilly parts of Tanjung Bungah, it reminds me of Ateneo campus in Quezon City and Calleruega in Tagaytay…
So we inquired about details of intake (enrollment), uniforms, provision of service bus, medium of instruction (English for it’s a private school for foreigners), extracurricular activities (oh there’s a lot –from swimming, table tennis, musical plays, football, camping, family day, learning to play musical instruments) and of course, school fees…
Expectedly, we were given figures way beyond mediocrity and possibly at par with standards of teaching, location, and whatnot.
I recall, I had a deep long sigh and thought, “Kakayanin ba namin ni Tina?”
And just before I utter a word, the male senior colleague who have already raised professionals told me, “Ayos lang iyan; ikaw nga nag-uumpisa ka pa lang (magpaaral)…” I sensed the reality of my parenthood in his statement.
Enough with the money matters. If it God’s will for Gabby to study there, then it shall be done. If it’s not, then we know, there’s a better plan.
I know Gabby will like these desktops…
Kids enrolled here get to learn their swimming lessons from the nearby Penang Chinese Swimming Club and other sports like football from their enormous playing field…
Apparently, kids here are taught more than what’s written on books…
Check out the school’s web page, they just staged Wizard of Oz production involving all their students. –>Sri Pelita. Faith.Hope.Charity
“Education costs money, but then so does ignorance.”
– Sir Claus Moser
It would take a lot of money to send our son to this private school, which is already considered reasonably priced compared to others we scouted. But we only have 2 options –(1) Send Gabby to this school and work, work, work or (2) Leave Gabby to my relatives in Pinas for him to continue his studies there as (Tina and) I work here in Penang.
The second option is rather painful.
As much as possible, Tina and I want to be with Gabby during his formative years. It’s so hard for any parent to miss the growing years of his kid.
If you are in our shoes, how would you come up with a critical decision?
C’mmon, educate me, please.
I chanced upon this quaint Chinese facade in georgeous tone of green when I was walking in one of the streets of Georgetown, Penang last weekend. I instantly fell in love with it.
Walking around Penang Island is a good way to while away hours particularly on a lazy weekend. The sights on the streets and the street scenes itself are not that difficult to appreciate in this UNESCO World Heritage site. Definitely, there are a lot of fascinating things because of diversities in every corner.
Some of my colleagues and I plan to explore more of the island this coming Chinese New Year (It’ll be holiday here from Feb 3, 4, 5, 6 Thursday to Sunday)! That’s one long weekend to look forward to. And there’s more of Penang that we haven’t seen yet.
Other than enjoying the sidestreets of Penang, my usual weekend is devoted to spending hours inside the mall, either Queensbay Mall or Plaza Gurney just to forget about homesickness and de-stress from the weeklong toxicity from work.
Just yesterday, after 2 of my senior colleagues and I went to inquire about details from a private primary and secondary school here (for Gabby and their own kids which deserves a separate post next week), we went to Queensbay Mall to meet other friends-colleagues, grabbed some bites for lunch at our favorite Filipino-Malaysian owned food stall, Little Wok.
This is my usual lunch set from Queensbay Mall : Little Wok’s Beef fried rice with egg and Tow Foo Far or taho and Peach Iced Tea from other food stalls. In more or less RM 10 (PhP 140) Solb!
Besides spending few hours inside coffee shops (Starbucks or Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf) where wifi is free, we also like watching movies almost every weekend. Last week was Season of the Witch (Nicholas Cage) and yesterday we saw The Tourist (Johnny Depp and the lovely, Angelina Jolie). Have you seen these movies?
Then we commonly capped our weekend inside the grocery to buy food for our baon to work the next week.
Today, Sunday, I’ll hear Tagalog Mass in Georgetown (celebrated every 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month only) , sit in a coffee shop inside the mall again to revised my powerpoint slides for my lecture on Wednesday. The main goal always is to forget about homesickness even just for a while.
How’s your usual weekend like?
Enjoy your new week, everyone!
Be safe and be blessed!
If you must know, our government in Pinas requires all Overseas Filipino Workers who go on leave and/or vacation from their work site abroad to secure Overseas Exit Clearance (OEC) from Philippines Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) and pay applicable fees to Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) before they can be allowed to leave our terminals and report back to work abroad. The total fees for that OEC amount to PhP 2084.18 (POEA processing fee of PhP 100, OWWA membership PhP 1084.18 and PHILHEALTH PhP 900; I and my colleagues paid everything despite we have PHILHEALTH membership from our previous employers).
THE EXPERIENCE OF AN OEC FIRST TIME APPLICANT. After I left the country to be a Medical Lecturer in a University-College in Penang, Malaysia in 29 July 2010, I was very excited to come home (with my wife and kid as they spent 2-week-break in Penang prior to Xmas) to Pinas and spend a week-long days off.
Having briefed by fellow Filipino MDs who have gone home several times, of what to do and how to secure OEC, I thought I knew what to expect. Still, I was astonished by the volume of OFWs who trooped to POEA that same day as I applied for my OEC.
I arrived at POEA at 6:58AM on Tuesday, 28 December 2010 and the security guard handed my OEC application form number 302. At that early, there were already 301 OFWs who came before me; amazing! Apparently, because most Filipinos of course would prefer to celebrate Christmas and New Year holidays at home.
So I queued and when permitted to enter the waiting area inside, I saw the crowd. Nabanggit ko sa sarili ko, “Ang dami nga pala talagang nagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa at kabilang na ako doon!” (I realized that there are a lot of Filipinos working abroad and that includes me already!).
In fairness to POEA officials, the process was organized that day, however they have to make room for more improvements particularly on the attitude of few of them.
An old lady (perhaps on her late 50s) officer at the Evaluation window yelled several times to first few OEC applicants. Goodness gracious, aren’t she aware that we’re the so-called Bagong Bayani? that we’re contributing to the economy of our country as dollar-earners? that our taxes pay their salaries?
To consider that it was early morning, being reprimanded on top of her voice can really ruin your whole day. And so I prepared my counter statement should I’d be yelled at too. hehehe Hindi uubra sa akin yun! But thank God she smiled at me when I approached her window as my number was called after 2 and a half hours of waiting!
I hate to think that my profession made her tone down a bit because I believe they should render their service equally to the public, regardless whether you’re a domestic helper, seaman, doctor, lecturer abroad.
I completed the process of securing OEC (evaluation, assessment, payment) in 2 and a half hours. I saw my colleagues from Penang who came in late that morning still waiting for their numbers to be called outside the building. FYI, they finished at around 4PM. Imagine, they were there almost the whole day! As one of them put it, “Isang araw na dapat kasama ang pamilya na minsan lang makita, kukunin pa nila!”
I appeal to those public officials serving not only OFWs but kapwa-Pinoys in general to kindly render their work with a smile. It definitely helps when you perform with friendliness, efficiency, accuracy and speed.
The same goes to those who are in the Immigration counters, pakibilisan lang po ang serbisyo lalo na sa mga Pinoy na pagod galing sa biyahe.
yun lang po.
How are you and Gabby? It’s been only 2 days since I left home to be in my work site again here in Penang but homesickness has began to kick in again. I guess it’s really part of being away from family. Anyway, I know in 2 to 3 months time, God willing, you and Gabby will join me here for good; or at least until we finish our respective contracts. Aren’t you excited to work as an Operating Room Nurse in Penang Adventist Hospital soon? Let’s pray that your registration paper will be release immediately after they’ve received all your requirements from local offices there in Pinas.
Our trip en route to Penang was eventful; truly one for the books. You know for a fact that it was (Doc)Ronnie who thought of going to Kota Kinabalu prior to Penang for a quick tour of the city and I decided to tag along with him. It was also him who told me to inquire about where to go and what to do on a limited time from one of our (best) PreMed students, Dante who hails from Sabah. So when I did, it led to a wonderful experience we never expected to happen.
From Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in Clark, Pampanga, Ronnie and I boarded a 4PM flight to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
Just after I turned on my cellphone by the time we reached Sabah few minutes before 6PM, I received a text message from Dante’s Dad, Sir Paul that he’s already waiting at the airport to fetch us. *we didn’t think we’d received such warm hospitality*
We were brought to a floating seafood restaurant that features cultural show…
The huge seafood place is built on stilts in a man-made lagoon. We were told it’s frequented by tourists and locals particularly on weekends and holidays but even on a Monday evening, we saw a number of people dining and enjoying the show.
It was our gracious and generous host, Sir Paul who ordered from the stalls of fresh veggies and live seafoods…
Our sumptuous feast in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah….
Grouper or popularly known in Pinoys as Lapu-lapu.
Soft-shelled crabs were divine! Sarap!
Udang is the Malaysian term for shrimps or prawns… It’s Ronnie’s favorite.
Clams in thick and creamy sauce…
Riped mangoes from the Philippines as our dessert…
Some more dances from the show…we found so many similarities with our own not only in the costumes but also in their moves. They also have Tinikling-like dance; a proof that we came from one root. On the right photo were the 2 doctors who made Sabah their pit stop before reporting back to work and their gracious host, Sir Paul. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Sir! Thank you for everything!
Free photo-op with the performers after their show…
After our dinner, he drove us up to a hilly part overlooking the city, then just when I thought that he’ll only drop us off to our hotel lobby, we were pleased that he even stayed longer with us after we’ve checked in.
He offered to accompany us to the airpot the next day so we’re even more delighted.
We woke up at 6AM, checked out an hour after and met him at the lobby. He brought us to a simple place where eateries and stores are located; he treated us again for breakfast. It was another indulgence! We cannot thank him enough…
He ordered white coffee (with condensed milk instead of sugar, sarap!) for Ronnie and I; 3 plates of soyed noodles, and four bowls of tasteful soups –pork, beef, fish and shrimps… It was overwhelming!
He even bought a couple of local papers for us to browse…
And just before bringing us to the airport, he managed to show us one of Kota Kinabalu’s beaches…
It added to a lot of reasons to go back to Sabah.
At the terminal, Sir Paul even carried our luggages to queue for check in; offered us hot milo drink at the lounge while waiting for our boarding time. His hospitality was really beyond our expectations. We’re so grateful to have met him.
We learned that Sir Paul with our student, Dante and the rest of their family already visited Manila 2 years ago. He even had good recall of the places they’ve been to. Sir Paul mentioned he was impressed with Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church and Tagaytay City.
From Kota Kinabalu, we flew back to Kuala Lumpur then headed to Penang via another flight on Air Asia. There’s a direct flight from Sabah to Penang but we purchased our tickets from KL-Penang online long before we decided to go to Kota Kinabalu. Nonetheless, the entire experience of hopping from one terminal to another was amazing.
Someday, I hope to visit Sabah again with you and Gabby; and I and Ronnie also wish to return the favor to Sir Paul and his family whenever they’ll have a chance to visit Manila again.
your one and only *baduy!*
Tags: christmas, christmas in philippines, christmas season, crispy pata, dencio's, doc gelo, docgelo, dumplings, Filipino food, food, food blog, foodie, foods from the philippines, garlic rice, hotdog, itlog na pula, jollibee, kare kare, ocw, ofw, palabok, pancit malabon, pancit ng taga malabon, pandesal, pasko sa pinas, Pinoy food, purefoods, purefoods hotdog, red egg, reyes barbecue, siomai, sulu hotel, tuyo
How did you start your 2011?
My family and I had totally different New Year’s eve. For the very first time in my 34 years of existence, I defied family tradition, superstition and beliefs about New Year celebration. We never had fireworks and firecrackers. We didn’t have 13 round fruits on the dining table that were supposed to symbolize 12 fruitful months and a surplus for the incoming year. We didn’t prepare any home-cooked meals neither bought dishes or cakes from restaurants or fast foods even as take-away. Perhaps because Tina, Gabby and I just came home from Malaysia a day after Christmas and we became so busy allowing time to just pass by. Nonetheless, I extremely enjoyed my days off with my family.
Few hours before the clock strikes midnight last New Year’s eve, Tina, Gabby and I spent simple dinner at Sulu Hotel in Quezon City with my wife’s balikbayan dad who checked in there for his holiday here from Missouri.
During my vacation, we also got a chance to visit my dad and brothers in Pasig City and had dinner with them too.
The three of us watched 2 Pinoy movies (comedy and horror flicks), dined and strolled in malls I truly missed (Greenbelt, Glorietta, Gateway and TriNoma) and really savored my week-long break from work.
Before I report back to work in Penang early next week, I’d like to share with you the foods that I am extremely pleased to eat again after 5 months of being abroad.
Our very first meal after we got home from the airport : Pandesal at goto…
Tina, Gabby and I arrived on 26th December from (Penang via) Kuala Lumpur at around 6AM after we were fetched by my 2 brothers from NAIA terminal 3. We walked to Kawilihan bakery (the best bakery in Anonas/Chico Streets, QC) and bought a supot (brown bag) of pandesal and goto for me! Sarap! miss na miss e! Pandesal never tasted that delicious!
Reyes Barbecue, Glorietta Makati… Five months of no pork barbecue was worth the wait!
Christmas season in Pinas won’t be complete without bibingka (rice cakes). This one was from a stall near Greenbelt chapel. We also had Ferino’s, one of the best tasting bibingka in town.
I am more of bibingka fan rather than puto-bumbong (purple rice cakes steamed from bamboo poles; do you like them both?).
Pancit Malabon : I’d count the days until I can enjoy you again…
Crispy Pata and Kare-kare from Dencio’s …classic Pinoy favorites.
And yesterday, my sister-in-law invited us for a dinner treat with Tina’s balikbayan-dad at Dampa in Libis, Quezon City.
Other than those calcium and iodine -rich yummies, my dad-in-law also missed Dinuguan, so he ordered one…
Of course it was seafoods galore! We had Tiger-Prawn Tempura, Sweet and Sour Lapu-lapu,
Halaan (clam) soup … deliciously soothing!
I cannot imagine a world without baked scallops! hehehe!
Among those sumptuous treats I had with my family in Manila, these two are the ones to be missed…
Purefoods hotdogs (you know that we have raw pork meat in Penang, even various ham but there’s only beef and chicken-dogs).
And, it would take time again before I can dunk my fork at those crispiest Chicken Joy and delightful Spaghetti from Jollibee. I’ll also surely miss that Yum burger and Peach Mango pie… Can someone put up a Jollibee branch in Butterworth, please… hehehe..
On one of our meals at home, Tina prepared Crab meat Siomai, beautifully steamed and was perfectly tasteful but I forgot to capture them in photos *toinks!*
Despite the fact that Penang has been considered as food capital of Malaysia and I and my family and friends are lucky to experience their diverse gastronomic flavors, my palate still belongs to Pinoy foods.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, we’ll have Tuyo, Itlog na Pula at Kamatis and Sinangag for breakfast.
Happy 2011, everyone! May we all have a more blessed year.
Here’s to more blog posts about Family.Food and Fun!
Tags: celebration, Coffee, coffee lovers, doc gelo, docgelo, family, family and living, filipino abroad, food, food blog, foodie, harrods, harrods cafe, harrods cafe kuala lumpur, harrods kuala lumpur, harrods suria klcc, klcc, kuala lumpur, malaysia, ocw, ofw, petronas twin towers, Pinoy, pinoy abroad, suria, suria klcc mall, suria klcc shopping complex
Few hours before Noche Buena, I brought my family to a special restaurant inside Suria-KLCC Shopping Complex to grab quick bites of what this London-based food place has to offer.
Since I cannot afford to take my family and travel to Europe yet, experiencing a taste of it with Tina and Gabby is the second best thing for me.
Tucked within its gift shop, Harrods Cafe is a serene and relaxing food place (noxious on the pocket though but its excellent food and impeccable service made our dining experience all worth it –*pikit-mata sa budget*)
Everything inside was fascinating. The English ambiance that I and Tina only experience in few movies and literatures, to the little details of its interiors, table setting and foods that were served were truly note-worthy.
Tina gave me the freedom to order for the 3 of us to share. Our set included…
Complimentary pieces of bread served with (herbed) butter.
Potato and herbs soup : Although thick and creamy, our tastebuds were quite alienated to it for I think we’re all biased to pumpkin.
I reckon Fish and Chips as a classic that one can never go wrong with. And so does Harrods’ version… Never greasy, no foul-fishy taste; served with long and chunky potato fries and freshest green salad tossed in vinaigrette. *sarap!*
A day in Gelo and Tina’s lives isn’t complete without a dose of caffeine. We shared a cup of cappuccino; foamy as usual, the difference lies on its taste and presentation.
Sugar cubes or brown sugar? Gabby smiled his widest when he tried the tongs…
Tina was delighted too with those sugar cubes!
I’m happy to share the table again with my family.
Nothing really beats being with your love ones.
Happy holidays, everyone!
PS : I wish to bring my family to Europe one day and compare how does KL branch fares with the original.
*wishful thinking* …malay nyo lang, this year KL, next Christmas Europe na, LOL!
Tags: budget hotels, christmas, christmas vacation, doc gelo, docgelo, family, family and living, georgetown penang, malaysia, malls, ocw, ofw, penang, penang island, penang malaysia, pinoy abroad, pinoy in malaysia, prangin mall, tune hotel in penang, tune hotels, tune hotels georgetown
Friday night was a blast, at least for my family and I. It was the eve of our trip to Genting Highlands Resort, the so-called mini-Las Vegas-mini-Disneyland of Malaysia. Excitement ruled as I brought my wife and kid for an overnight stay in a budget-friendly hotel in Georgetown, Penang Island.
“Wow, sosyal!” exclaimed Gabby soon after he tapped the card-key and opened the door of our room. Tina and I were smiling ears to ears with Gabby’s astonishment. It’s nice to see our kid happy and knows how to appreciate simple things.
There’s nothing grandiose but Tune hotels is still consistently clean, fresh and a real value-for-money.
It was already my second time to spend a night at Tune in that same branch and for only RM 88 per room (USD 27.9 or PhP 1240), one can have a restful sleep and worry nothing about catching a flight, or in our case, a bus trip to Genting the following morning.
I highly recommend Tune Hotels for those financially-conscious but won’t sacrifice quality of service and cleanliness. *do i get a discount for this, Tune?*
After few minutes, we walked through one of my favorite eating places in this part of Penang. We had dinner at a nearby restaurant called Santorini…
I wanted Tina and Gabby to experience what I and my colleagues/friends have been enjoying here in Penang. So I ordered my usual-Santorini meal for Tina; it’s Combo plate of various seafoods tossed in a delightful sauce with veggies.
I’m not surprised she liked it. I know her taste of course.
After filling our tummies, we strolled a few more steps from Santorini and found ourselves looking at aquarium tanks with fresh and salt-water fishes, dogs, cats and other domesticated animals in a 3-floor-pet shop. It was just too bad that cameras are not allowed in the store but nonetheless, Gabby was content seeing large kois in a pond and all those feathered and haired and scaled friendly creatures for free!
We left that airconditioned pet shop at its closing time at few minutes before 10PM and walked to Komtar, the tallest building and famous landmark in Georgetown. We dropped by at Prangin mall and marvelled at their holiday decors.
I honestly never expected a Muslim-predominated country will also dressed its establishments to a Christian-inspired festivity such as Christmas. We like it so much! Don’t you?
Their smiles = my bliss!
It’s truly almost Christmas even in this part of Malaysia!
Up next : Our Genting Highlands Adventures!
After a loooong meeting at work way past lunch time today, my friend/colleague and housemate, Doc Ronnie showed me an online advertisement of a local bank here that made my blood boil.
See for yourself…
For heaven’s sake, this is discriminatory! Like many Pinoys back home and all over the globe, I take pride in being one. And our entire race would agree that we Filipinos are more than meets the eye. It’s a given fact that we are not only a country of maids and prostitutes.
As Precious Lara Quigaman, the Miss Philippines who took home the 2005 Miss International crown, was asked during the final round the following question:
What do you say to the people of the world who have typecasted filipinos as nannies?
Precious Lara replied, “I take no offense on being typecasted as a nanny. But i do take offense that the educated people of the world have somehow denegrated the true sense and meaning of what a nanny is.”
Quigaman further elaborated: “Let me tell you what she is. She is someone who gives more than she takes. She is someone you trust to look after the very people most precious to you – your child, the elderly, yourself. She is the one who has made a living out of caring and loving other people.”
In closing, Precious ended her nanny speech with, “So to those who have typecasted us as nannies, thank you. It is a testament to the loving and caring culture of the Filipino people. And for that, I am forever proud and grateful of my roots and culture.” That’s a winning answer, ladies and gentlemen! (Sourced via this website)
As for my family, yes, I (still) consider myself as a struggling father but I and my wife are proud in taking efforts in uplifting our lives. The fact that it’s innate with most, if not all Pinoys to strive harder and maintain perseverance and dedication to work, sets us far from these people who look down on us.
On a lighter note but related topic, my wife, our kid and I had been to a medical institution in Penang Island last Sunday…
No, we didn’t bring ourselves for admission; thank God we’re in good condition health-wise. I and Gabby accompanied Tina to her appointment.
She’s trying her
luck chance to be employed as an Operating Room Nurse staff in this Joint Commission Internatioal/JCI-accredited medical facility.
More than a week before she came to Penang, Tina emailed the hospital, and the HRD and Nursing Department replied to her positively overnight.
Her initial interview went well; the Assistant Nursing Administrator would like to employ her and was told that it’s only up to her to complete the requirements (she only lacks Certificate of Good Standing from Philippine Nursing Boards which she forgot to secure back home for it was not included in the emailed list of requirements) for her to be registered with the Malaysian Nursing Council and for me to secure her and Gabby their dependent visas. If God wills it, we’ll be able to complete everything before the end of next month.
We’re just maximizing every opportunities available. With my wife’s competence, expertise, responsibility and knowledge about her work, I am confident that she will ace the job. If the good Lord wants Tina to work here early next year, it will surely happen. (If that will be the case, Gabby may continue his schooling here and the 3 of us may need to relocate to the Island too by mid next year). If not, we know He has better plans for us.
The location of Tina’s ‘possible work’ is so inviting –lush and huge trees, accessible roads, nice community that’s so near Plaza Gurney mall.
Would you help us in praying for her to land the job?
Abangan ang susunod na kabanata sa buhay ni Gelo, Tina at Gabby
and it feels so good!
Once upon a time, I and my wife thought of working abroad for obvious reasons. But despite the fact that we’re both kids of OFW-parents, it never crossed our minds how difficult it is to be away from each other. Or perhaps, either we less know what to actually expect or we’re in denial that we’re not that tough to withstand distance.
As they say, “everything has its sweet ending.”
Those days of homesickness and loneliness for almost 5 months (read : not even half a year yet!) came to a close as Tina and Gabby arrived from Pinas to Penang (via KL) last Saturday morning, 11th December.
It was good for my family that they boarded the flight via Cebu Pacific with a fellow Filipino who’s a cousin of my colleague here. They only met at NAIA 3 and accompanied each other all throughout their waiting period at Kuala Lumpur-LCCT to Penang Airport via another budget-friendly carrier, Air Asia..
Teksi (bahasa melayu’s term for taxi) rides here in Penang can cost you a fortune (read : kuripot me), so we’re used to riding the wifi-ready Rapid Penang buses…
We went home directly to our appartment and they’ve finally met 2 of my 4 housemates/friends/colleagues. We took shower and freshen up and never wasted time by starting to explore what Penang has to offer…
From our place in Butterworth, we rode a bus again, reached the jetty where ferries that take passenger to and from Penang Island are waiting. Good thing that Tina tolerated the ferry ride despite the fact that she lacked sleep, worse has occasional vertigo.
We’re hitting the roads the sea and even the clouds in this part of Malaysia on the following days.
Japanese food, baby.
When I was in Tokyo last summer, I had an affair with one of my favorite soups. I savored it then more frequently than I can imagine. The most authentic and the best Sukiyaki set that I’ve ever tasted was from a restaurant that I missed out to recall located in Yurakucho.
Other than its thinly marbled and juicy beef slices submerged in very tasteful broth, I liked it so much because I had it for free. My Japanese acquaintances treated me for lunch and didn’t ask me to pay Y1000 (PhP 500) for that set.
Then again, there were days in Gotanda that I settled for its cheaper yet satiating version from Yoshinoya, Y500 (PhP 250).
Whenever my wife, our kid and I dine out in Japanese restaurants back home, I never fail to sample Sukiyaki of course.
From Umu at Dusit Thani Manila, the best Sukiyaki in town, in my opinion.
Enough with my drooling for Sukiyaki.
Last Saturday, my 2 housemate-friends brought me to SAKAE SUSHI to sample Japanese yummies from its branch at Plaza Gurney, Gurney Drive, Penang.
Ambience is casual dining, non-intimidating.
The most interesting part in this food place is the mini conveyor belt where you can simply grab your sushi cravings from.
Everything looks oishi!
Prices at Ringgit (RM1=PhP 14)…
We got some red plates…
Delicious sushi covered with generous serving of roe with cucumber slices and soft shelled crab filling. Sarap!
As I browsed their menu, I knew what I wanted.
If Sukiyaki won my heart over Miso soup, my favorite Temaki is Soft Shelled Crab! It’s the best, I tell you!
Another goody from the conveyor belt : Soft Shelled Crab (can’t get enough!) with cheesy chili sauce on vermicelli.
Tempura Ramen for doc Ronnie…
doc Alvin chose to enjoy Chicken Katsu Don + Mochi balls…
But his ultimately divine dessert was chocolate and vanilla ice cream waffle called Chocholate Yaki…
You might thought I’d leave Sakae Sushi without sampling their Sukiyaki ? Hell, no! hehehe..
Sweet and salty. It wasn’t the best for me, but was good enough to satisfy my craving.
Sakae Sushi got branches all over Penang and 2 in Pinas too!
Tina loves Japanese also, so does Gabby. He likes Kani and Ebi tempura.
Bottom line of this post, it made me hungry and yes, I’m eager to bring my family to Japanese restaurants here in Penang.
It means “thank you” in Bahasa Melayu.
Maraming Salamat to my friends online who never fail to amuse me with their comments and religious follow.
With or without the win in any of these two blog awards nominations for this year, I take pride in being one of your blog buddies.
Beyond Toxicity is one of the 29 finalists of 2010 Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards due December 16, 2010 at Teatrino, Promenade, Greenhills San Juan City.
Docgelo has also an entry in 2010 PEBA International Photo Contest, also due December 16.
Beyond Toxicity is nominated as Best Personal Blog in 2010 Philippine Blog Awards, for 2 years in a row (last year’s PBA Finalist under Family and Living Category); due December 12, 2010 at Carlos P Romulo Theater, RCBC Plaza, Makati.
Good luck to my fellow nominated bloggers!
Do you believe in signs?
I’m not superstitious but I know there’s truth to things that are being governed by forces of nature.
Last night, 7 of my friends and colleagues and I enjoyed our Saturday afternoon at Queensbay Mall in the Island (yes, it has been our usual place where we spend our lazy weekend to unwind). We watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; which for a movie-goer like me who hasn’t read its book version fell a little less in terms of visuals compared to the other parts of the series. Can’t blame the production people for apparently, the story and the movie should be dark to begin with. Nonetheless, I’m still looking forward how it’ll end on its final part next year.
After the movie at around 8:30PM, we had quick bites for our dinner then headed to the bus stop. There we saw huge number of High School students who came in their respective bas sekolah (school buses) already geared and dressed for the Penang Bridge International Marathon 2010. I personally thought that these kids and their schools were both crazy in choosing to spend the night at the vicinity of the mall where starting line is and wait for 7AM. (Whole-Bridge 42K run starts 2AM). But I was wrong.
docRonnie and I registered for the PIBM and thought of going to the Island (by bus, ferry and bus again) from our place at around 5AM to reach the starting line before 7AM.
There were more than 23,500 runners from 13 years old and up who enlisted to join.
4 days ago, we claimed our marathon’s pack that came with the registration fee of RM15 (PhP 210) that includes an official Fun Run T-shirt, runner’s guide book and some freebies from their sponsors (liniment and gel in sachets, 30% discount coupon from New Balance shoes etc) in a non-woven bag.
I even bought a new pair of Nike shoes.
But did we run?
I guess, some things are really not meant to be.
These are the few signs…
1. We initially intended to participate the 10K competitive race (despite my lack of practice in jogging and being a supposedly first-time runner) but Ronnie and I were late in the registration. Because we only go to Queensbay mostly on weekends or when we’re off at work, the only open division when we paid our registration fee was the 10K FUN RUN, nevertheless, we decided to join.
2. When I woke up at 4 this morning and knocked at docRonnie’s door to wake him up, it was raining. It’s unhealthy to run and sweat in the rain, is it not ?
Inspite of the rain, we got up, geared up for the event and hit the streets to the bus stop; thinking that it might not be raining at the route of the race.
3. We were at the bus stop at exactly 5:30AM. We’ve waited until after an hour but to no avail. There was no sight of buses going to Penang Sentral/jetty except for the private company buses.
Teksi (taxi cabs) are scarce here in Penang unless you’re at the terminal or you phone them for a fare not less than RM12 (PhP 168).
We could have earlier thought to spend the night before the run in a hotel at Georgetown or somewhere nearby the race’s starting line.
At 6:30AM, my mosquito-bitten thighs and legs succumbed to docRonnie’s suggestion that we go home and continue our Sunday rest.
I hit the shower again and had my first marathon in my dreams.
I never felt so helpless in my 34 years of existence until the past 48 hours.
While my 6-year-old son was having episodes of vomiting after meals, loose bowel movements on top of intermittent fever ranging from 38′C to 40′C + and was complaining that his head hurts, I was only on skype to monitor him. How pathetic was that?
I feel so sorry that I am not beside him to assess what’s wrong with him; was not there to give him medicine, was physically absent to feed him and cannot personally bring him to hospital for laboratory check up, neither I can even comfort him to say the least.
My wife, Tina who was with Gabby the whole time he was sick, had difficulty in dealing with the situation alone despite being a nurse herself. We both broke down to tears while we’re on skype; my experience was more painful, worse I felt futile because I cannot do anything but pray.
As early as Monday afternoon, she brought our son to a private hospital where blood tests revealed lymphocytosis (an elevated volume of specific white blood cells) which could mean presence viral infection; thankfully his platelet count was within normal count ruling out Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever.
With prayers, love and support from family members, relatives, friends and even anonymous blog and facebook buddies and intake of prescribed antipyretic and increase volume of fluids and much needed rest,
Gabby’s feeling better now. Update : he became febrile again this Thursday morning and will be brought back to the hospital for follow up consult and repeat blood tests.
In those moments, I know I was only helpless but certainly not hopeless for I know God is with us.
I wish I will have the means next year to bring my family here in Penang not only for a vacation but for them to stay with me here for good as I continue with my work. This will all happen if Tina can find work here after I have applied dependent/calling visas for the 2 of them and only if we can afford sending Gabby to an International School here.
My wife and I can only wish and plan things out for the best, but still, we’re both submissive to His will.