KL… set… go!

•October 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

When we arrived teleported from Singapore to KL. We were several hours ahead of schedule. I mean waaaaaay ahead of schedule. We were welcomed with a silent treatment, because it was like 3:30 in the morning. We booked a room at the Equator hostel a week before the trip. It’s the same hostel where we stayed exactly 2 years ago. I like its homey ambiance, unassuming aura, clean facilities and friendly hosts. However, when we arrived, it seemed like everyone’s in deep slumber, we waited outside the gate for an hour but no one’s responding to our distress signal. We can’t blame them, they’re expecting us to arrive at 6-ish. And we never thought of booking a plan B Hostel.

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Monette suggested that  we can stay in the police station until dawn breaks. We both paused for a jiffy–“NOT!”

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“can we just go to the nearest Starbucks? oh, everything is still closed”

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I walked couple of blocks along Lorong, and EUREKA! Just like a cheesy movie plot, providence played a cameo: the good guy ran-out of bullets in the middle of an action scene in an abandoned warehouse, and then  there’s a new gun conveniently sitting prettily right beside him… There’s another Hostel that wasn’t there a year ago. And so we rudely woke the receptionist, Thana, by furiously knocking on the window (CLICK HERE to read a separate entry about Thana). And so we walked-in and good thing, they got available dorm beds for us.

Classic Inn hostel is a softer version of its contemporaries in the post war row houses cum hostels along Lorong 1/77A. The dorms are clean and comfortable. We took two beds in the mixed dormitory. When Monette opened the sliding door slowly, her eyes quickly adjusted in the dark, then she gasped and closed it instantaneously.

“HOH MY GAWD, RONNIE”.
“why? what’s wrong?”
“there’s a guy in the room!”
“uh, duh! its a mixed dorm!”
“he’s sleeping…
uh, duh…”
“….NAKED!”
“oooh–WHAT?!”
“Happy FI-YES-TA!”

PhotobucketHere’s another unsuspecting victim (by the way, he knows that we took his photo)

They got an al fresco porch in front where you can eat breakfast, read papers or randomly talk to other backpackers. They also got a small garden where they hold an acquaintance barbecue parties for the guests. Breakfast is free, they serve roti canai with sambal dip, butter toast, fresh fruit and coffee or tea. we shared the table with a retired couple from London. We talked about travel, work, economy, politics and they taught us pointers about Life… We walked off the breakfast table, and we never saw them again. We never got the chance of asking their names and introduce ours, but we had a very meaningful conversation with them.

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CLASSIC INN
52, Lorong 1/77A, Changkat Thambi Dollah,
Off Jln Pudu 56100, K.L. Wilayah Persekutuan
Dorm MYR30/person
http://www.classicinn.com.my/

EQUATOR HOSTEL
70, Lorong 1/77A, Changkat Thambi Dollah,
Off Jln Pudu 56100, K.L. Wilayah Persekutuan
Dorm MYR25/person
http://www.equatorhostel.com/

Going out of KL via the international airport, it is not as convenient like in Manila. It is outside of the city, one hour and a half  travel by bus (Like manila to Clark). We didn’t expect this. Our flight to Siem Reap is at 7 AM and we have to be in the airport at least two hours before the scheduled flight, but buses will not operate until 5 AM. Cabs are ridiculously expensive. It may range from MYR100 -MYR200 while buses are only MYR9. But now you can take the newly opened KLIA EKSPRES. I haven’ tried it but it will be a shorter trip and will cost around MYR35 (one way).

Click here to KLIA EKSPRES website

So we decided to catch the last trip to the airport and stay there overnight. With only 1 hour before the last bus, we still managed to go to the mall in front of our hostel to eat a good nasi lemak, because we’re unsure of the food in the airport, then we took off and run for dear life. We’re like contestants of amazing race, running with our huge bags, catching our breath, squeezing ourselves in the LRT cabins. Some drama because I lost my train pass. But we were able to get there in time.

We reached the airport at around 9:30 PM. then we started thinking of ways how to kill our time and how to try finding a comfortable corner to sleep… for it’s going to be a long 10 hours of waiting.

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TIP: Air Asia is the most affordable airline of choice to Siem Reap. But unlike Cebu Pacific that has free baggage allowance of 15 kg, you have to pay something around MYR15, so make sure you reserve few extra Ringgits in you pocket.

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th_ronsign

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learn from the masters and win some

•October 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Learn:

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See how everything falls into place as business experts from Travel Club share their stories of success.
Watch Negosyo Atbp. at NBN-4 on Saturday;
October 17, 2009 at 5:30p.m.

Win:

Hop On Board!

Sign up for a chance to win products and Sign up and Shop for a chance to win free flights!

Cebu Pacific Air.Com and Primer Group of Companies invite you to visit participating outlets and get a chance to win one set of the “featured product” every other month as well as roundtrip tickets for two to selected domestic destinations via Cebu Pacific every other month.

Mechanics:

1. Fill out a CRM form and get a raffle coupon at any Primer stores*. You may qualify for a Regular Raffle Promo (RRP) or a Special Raffle Promo (SRP).

2. For the Regular Raffle Promo (RRP), customers will get a chance to win one set of the “featured product” every month. There will be two consolation prize winners of one product per draw. Non-winning entries after each draw will qualify to the succeeding RRP draws.

To qualify for the Regular Raffle Promo (RRP), you must update your existing CRM form at the Primer Store where you first registered or fill out a CRM form at any of the Primer Stores.

3. For the Special Raffle Promo (SRP), customers will get a chance to win roundtrip tickets for two to selected domestic destinations via Cebu Pacific every other month. There will be  one winner per draw. Non-winning entries after each draw will qualify to the succeeding SRP draws and Grand Raffle draw. Validity of domestic flight airline tickets won are up to one year after the receipt.

To qualify for the Special Raffle Promo (SRP), you must update your existing CRM form and purchase an item worth at least Php1,000 at any of the Primer stores to receive one raffle coupon or purchase an item worth at least Php1,000 and fill out a CRM form to receive a raffle coupon.

4. All raffle entries must be completely filled-out and dropped in the designated drop boxes inside the Primer stores. Winning raffle entries should match the customer information in the CRM form. Otherwise, the entry will be nullified and the prize forfeited.

5. Promo runs from October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010 at selected participating Primer stores*.

6. Deadline for the submission of all raffle entries for the RRP and SRP will be at the close of business hours on the last day of every other month.

7. Draw dates for both the RRP and SRP will be at 3pm on the 2nd Friday of every other month at the Primer Star office located at 2282 Leon Guinto St. Malate, Manila. Grand Raffle Draw will be on October 8, 2010.

***for more details, drop by at any participating Primer stores***

*The Travel Club (Alabang, Ayala Cebu, Festival Mall, Gateway, Glorietta, Power Plant, Robinsons Manila, Shangri-La, SM Bacolod, SM Baguio, SM Batanggas, SM Cagayan, SM Cebu, SM Clark, SM Davao, SM Iloilo, SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, SM North Edsa Annex, SM Pampanga, TriNoma, SM Marilao, Robinsons Tacloban, V-Mall, General Santos, Greenbelt 3, Marquee Mall)

*Bratpack (Ayala Cebu, The Block, Greenbelt 5, Robinsons Galleria, Robinsons Manila, SM Cagayan, SM Davao, SM Davao, SM Pampanga, SM Southmall)

*Flight 360 (The Podium)

*The North Face (Glorietta, Shangri-La, SM Cebu, SM Davao, SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, SM North Edsa Annex, Cagayan De Oro)

*Recreational Outdoor Exchange – R.O.X. (Bonifacio High Street, Taguig)

*Columbia Sportswear (The Block, Festival Mall, Gateway, Greenbelt 5, Limketkai, SM Cebu, SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall)

*Kickers (The Block, SM Megamall, SM Southmall)

*Res|Toe|Run (Ayala Cebu, Gateway, Glorietta, Robinsons Galleria, Robinsons Manila, TriNoma, Marquee Mall)

*Sledgers (SM Cebu, SM Mall of Asia, TriNoma)

*Tough Jeansmith (Shangri-La, TriNoma)

*Sanuk (The Block, Glorietta, SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, Robinsons Manila – Kiosk, Limketkai)

*FitFlop (Rockwell, Ermita Kiosks)

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it’s ronnie’s turn!

•October 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

ronnie2

To my partner Ronnie…

You have a world to conquer. Don’t let this year take toll on your bones.

Take flight, as you’ve always done for your soul is boundless.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Love you much! Mwah Mwah!

ronnie1

going vegan…

•October 14, 2009 • 4 Comments

This entry makes me frustrated. Yeah, frustrated. First, Ron and I returned to Bukit Bintang from Batu Caves and the blasted heat of the sun-baked my skin five pigmentations higher than my normal. Thana led us into this side street where we had the most amazing lunch. Amazing because it was a south Indian Meal and was NOT all spicy, and I like the fact that it is authentic (we were the only tourists inside. I am at times blind, but I noticed everyone, and I mean everyone, was Indian). But we were so dead tired and burned that we did not remember to take pictures! We didn’t remember the name of the wonderful restaurant! We didn’t even know what the Indians call the banana leaf rice in their language! There is just this… (and two videos sitting in the pc waiting to be edited…)

banana leaf rice

We are terribly sorry that we cannot share where we had this… But I guess the preparation for the Banana Leaf Rice is ultimately the same everywhere they serve this. Everything starts with the positioning of the banana leaf. The tail end should be at the left end of the person then you wait for the assorted viands and rice to be served. Sautéd, curried and pickled vegetables and papadum (thin crispy Indian wafers) are lined on top to make room for the rice topped with gravy. I especially liked the deep fried-to-crisp sweet potato and left out the curried string beans because it was a bit too spicy for my taste buds. Of course there’s no other way to enjoy the meal but to eat with our bare hands.

After finishing the meal, we folded the banana leaf halfway towards us as we enjoyed the meal so much. Folding it the other way around means otherwise. I’d say it was the most interesting meal I’ve ever had to date since I travelled and would have another one when I get the chance to go back to Malaysia.

And because we needed coffee to replenish our dehydrated caffeinated veins, we were on a roll to find a Starbucks. Unfortunately, there was none in a strategically positioned area where we can watch the Petronas Tower explode its night lights. We had to go to Coffeebean and Tea Leaf to get our fix. I bought the ever coveted Sampoerna for RM5.00 (10 sticks). Yes, it is the best cretek cigarette in the world. The last time I had it before the trip was 3 years ago when it was introduced to me by my friend Paolo who used to work in Malaysia. He aptly described it as cigarettes for kids. Gudang Garam and Black Bat taste like blah! compared to Sampoerna. Oh, and this was when I got Ron back to smoking. So sue me…

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th_monsign

The Caves of Batu

•October 12, 2009 • 1 Comment

I generally thought there was nothing other than the Petronas Towers in Malaysia that could quite catch my attention. It was sparkly and all, but when Ron told me there was this huge Hindu statue in the country, I just had to see it. It also helped that it was shiny and golden, and I am a girl and I like them shiny things…

As soon as we finished our hearty breakfast; Ron, Thana and I went on our way to go to the Batu Caves. We walked a long deal passing by the penitentiary building to Kota Raya central market. From there, we took Bus 11 in front of Bangkok Bank and paid RM2.50 to get to the sight.

We arrived Batu Caves and found the grounds full of pigeons. It was terribly hot but didn’t stop us from taking a photo-op.

batu cave doves

We approached the cave in awe as the world’s largest statue of Lord Murugan welcomed us. Standing at 42.7 meters, it was a sight both terrible (as when you hypothetically look at a god and you feel fear and love and oneness with the universe) and awesome.

batu cave

batu cave2

batu cave ron2

We had to climb 272 concrete steps to get to the main “hall” leading to other temple complexes inside. There were macaque monkeys everywhere, especially on the steps as they look at people clawing their way up the cave.

batu cave4

batu cave monkey

The gopuras were as intricate as the ones in Singapore. I was bothered that the temples looked alike everywhere we went and apparently, the artist who founded Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur was also the same person who installed the temple caves. The architecture is Dravidian, which is described as pyramid shaped temples which are dependent on intricate carved stone in order to create a step design consisting of numerous statues of deities, warriors, kings, and dancers.¹

batu cave3

The inside was huge with several small shrines dedicated to other gods like Hanuman, the monkey king who helped Rama rescue his wife Sita from Ravana.

batu cave ron

Seeing so many places of worship and learning about different religion made me realize our deep need to connect to permanence which is this earth. It is the fear of something terrible like death that binds us to immortalize our souls. I love Indian literature. There was a time I can recite the Ramayana and Mahabharata by heart, but that was a long time ago. This love has to be revived…

batu cave5

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th_monsign

Petronas

•October 11, 2009 • 2 Comments

(Please excuse the photos, we used point and shoot cameras here)

I’ve been to Malaysia twice, first was in march of 2007 as a side trip of my 9 day Singapore stint. I traveled 870 kilometers from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur just to see one thing–the Petronas towers. Who wouldn’t want to see something as majestic as the structure once tagged as the tallest in the world? The world’s spotlights all focused on it when it opened in 1998. KL became popular overnight, a must visit destination among tourists and backpackers alike.

100-4484My first photo with the twin towers in 2007

It’s an entry on my 1000 things to do before I die–to have my picture taken with the twin towers. I was too excited to do that. That’s why when I first saw the towers few meters away, I couldn’t help but sprint my way to it, barely feeling that my skin was burning from the scorching heat of the summer sun. I literally dropped my jaw and talked to myself dreamily “so this is the building with a floor plate design based on basic islamic geometry of two interlocking squares creating an eight pointed star…. yada yada yada….”

I stood in front of it for like an hour, wide eyed, like an autistic child staring at a spinning object. And then all around me was silence, deafening silence….

I decided to go to the mall under/below the towers. Yes, there’s a mall-The Suria KLCC to kill time while waiting for the Petronas night lights to turn on. By the way, the building is best photographed at night.

petronas

Thrift Tips: The shops in Suria KLCC is a bit pricey as compared to Glorietta, so  wardrobe shopping is not advisable. Chocolates are cheaper though (they make Cadbury in Malaysia, FYI). You may also want to try the food court. They serve good authentic and affordable cuisines like sambal, nasi lemak, nasi goreng and oh, try their bread talk, the hints of malay flavors are quite interesting.

A popular “must do” when visiting KL is going up the skybridge. that’s the shaft walkway connecting the two towers. What’s good about the skybridge is that it’s FREE. The bad news is, there are only 1,300 timed tickets a day and it’s given out on a first-come, first-served basis. First time I went there, the queue started at 7:30 AM, and they didn’t gave out tickets until around 8. And if you are visiting the Petronas Twin Tower Skybridge during a weekend, you will probably need to stand in line 30-60 minutes. Also, after having waited all that time for a free ticket, you only get to ascend to the 41st floor (170m) and you can only stay inside for 10 minutes.

DSC05084Giant Monette, March 2009

Due to time constraint, We never dared queuing up the lines, it’s just way too long. I went to the KL Tower instead. It has far better views and it hardly gets overly crowded even on weekends. It’s not free though (RM8 per adult) and it’s harder to get into (the LRT doesn’t go there so you’ll have to take a cab). But unlike the obstructed view from the skybridge, KL Tower got a 360 degrees panorama and you may stay for as long as you want. And you get to see Petronas on a bird’s eye perspective. YES it’s technically higher than the twin towers because it is on top of a hill.

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TIPS: the Petronas sky bridge is open every Tuesdays to Sundays, 9:00am – 5:00pm (except for Fridays, they don’t operate from 1:00 – 2:30pm). You may also check it out during Public Holidays, except the days around Eid Al-Fitri (end of Ramadhan) and Eid Al-Adha. . Basically if you want to go on a Monday, call ahead of time to check.

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th_ronsign

Ride the ZORB!

•October 5, 2009 • 2 Comments

Picture this: a huge inflatable bouncing ball 3 meters in diameter, rolling freely down a 20 meter high and 45 degree inclined hill, running 130 meters from top to the base floor. Now, imagine yourself strapped inside the ball.

NOW THAT’S HIGH SCHOOL PHYSICS IN ACTION… WITH YOU INSIDE IT!

zorbyes that’s me and raphael inside

Other than taking-up Nursing, Zorbing is one of the most extreme stunts that I did so far. I first saw this on Discovery channel back in 2004-ish, I was drooling in front of the television while watching how they push the harness ball from the top of the hill. It started in New Zealand and the one in Boracay is the first in the country, not a lot of Filipinos are aware that this dare devil playground exist in the island, they started pushing people down the hill mid May of this year, and the ride tickets are selling like Zara clearance items, and they are expecting to get more crowd once they hit the peak seasons of December and Summer.

After our ATV joyride and playing with fishes while reef walking, we head-off to Yapac, then it started raining–EVEN PERFECT! As we watch seven batches of thrill seekers and see them go down the hill, I said to myself “oh, it’s OK, it’s fast anyway, you wouldn’t notice the 15 seconds fly, before you know it it’s over” … and man I was wrong.

Good thing we skipped the buffet lunch in station 2, and head-off to do this with an empty stomach or I could have ended up bathing with semi-digested crab meat and Liempo. I SWEAR, IT WAS THE LONGEST 15 SECONDS OF MY LIFE! Upon jump-off you will feel the inertia pulling from all directions, and after few seconds (which felt like an hour) it will gain momentum, so you would think it’s over, but it just wouldn’t stop! Believe me, I was pretending to scream to scare those who are queued up in the line, but midway, I was really screaming like a high school girl!

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zorbsurviving our first roll!

There are two types of rides. Harness and Hydro: harness is the one I tried first, where you’re safely strapped inside the ball, this is more extreme (and fun) where you can expect to throw your guts out once you hit the base ground. I also tried riding Hydro with Monette and another friend Reggie, the three of us were locked inside the zorb with several pails of water. Although less intense, unlike the harness, you’re not strapped and so you’re like sliding down with nothing to hold on for dear life.

If these rides wouldn’t satisfy your insatiable craving for adrenalin rush (which I honestly doubt) just have your self ran over, Seriously, that’s what we did.

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located at Ilig-Iligan, Yapac, Boracay
open from 9 AM to 6 PM
345/pax
maximum of 80 kg/pax; 160 combined, weight difference of less than 20 kg
zorbboracay@gmail.com
sherilyn_catura@yahoo.com

THRIFT TIP: renting a tricycle to the site may cut around PhP200 off your budget, it is not necessary, free shuttles are departing from the parking lot in front of Boracay Holiday Resort Stn. 2 [behind Boracay Regency & Hotel Seraph]. Beware of the tricycle drivers in blue, absolutely a tourist trap.

watermarkI will be posting the videos soon!

th_ronsign