Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Philippines

First of all, forgive me for not uploading much photos yet. Im still going mobile so its difficult, so till i'm home, it will be up..

Anyway I'll be going home in a few more hours time, and i'm already beginning to miss this place. Though alot of negative things were heard about this country, many people forgot to look at its good side. And I have to admin, its somehow slightly better than Malaysia. Well each country has their own pros and cons. So yeah.

Well whats pulling me to stay is the people here. In my previous post, i talked about how the hospitality of the Phillipinos were very touching. 2nd is the slight chance that i will be furthering my education here. The University of the Philippines, compared to University Malaya, is said to be better and their campus has impressed me.. I'm still considering it. But its a good thing to consider.

My stay here is definitely not satisfying. There are more to see here. I do hope to come back here on cheap flights again.

Take care.. =)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Conclusion NOT!

It has almost been a week here and i have 4 more days to go. Philippines, a place where I thought things were upside down, and so thought my mom. At first I did not really have a good impression on the place, before I left home. But as I took the plane, I knew things are getting more exciting.

Basically, the people here have changed. Thats the most important part. My mom said the last time she came here -about 20 years ago- people will be snatching your luggage at the airport, pushing around and not lining up. Same happends at bus stops where people are pushing their way into a bus, or at the cashier.

To my family's surprise, everything has changed. The people are better, they line up and you rarely see people grabbing bags.

Their hospitality is really good, especially security guards, hotel attendants, waiters and waitresses. The guards are funny and you can say theyre cute. Why? 

The security guards work hard, which is good. Everywhere you go especially at train stations, malls or hotels, there will be security guards and metal detectors. They always give a smile and greet like, "Good evening, po." The word "po" is a word of respect in communication. Like "Selamat po" as in thank you but in a respectful manner.

Besides that, those who guard doors will open them for you with a smile. If the waiters in a restaurant are busy, the guards will be the one to seat you, get the menu and sometimes newspapers for you. We never see this in Malaysia. True hospitality I guess. But this I respect of the Philippines.

Not to mind the hostage situation, but that can happen anywhere around the world.

Somehow, it seems good to be around here, but the traffic jams are really bad. I dont really know the exact timing as i always sleep halfway through my journeys, but you can say that it takes about 2 hours to get from Subang Jaya to KL in Malaysian terms.

Therefore, visit Philippines. It will be a good experience for you, especially when you can visit those beautiful places like the Taal Volcano.

take care.. =)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

reunion.

It was old, old and old.

I went for dinner with my family and uncles with his daughters, son and grandsons, not forgetting his in-laws too and some friends. It was a good time as we ate and had fun. It was the first time meeting this part of my family.

Soon we went to their house, which was also my mom's home when she was a kid. She grew up there, and it's still there now. It's old. The house, the picture frames, the furniture. But as old as it was, it was nice. Historical stuff especially those which were own by the family is nice to see.

The best was to see my grandfather's picture. I never really knew how he looks. He was gone before i was born. But, i heard he was a great man, helping alot of people at office, and towards the family too.

My other cousin, Bryan was not there that time as he is a sailor transporting goods worldwide on a ship.

take care.. =)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Oh my..

Malaysians should be lucky to live in Malaysia and its government.

It was too close, to either be part of it or too near it. It is referred to a danger, or just easily explained as a hostage situation.

We checked out of H2O hotel in Manila at around 9.00 a.m. My mom's brother picked us up with his classic white vehicle. We went off to visit the people we owe as they helped us a lot. Meanwhile, a hostage situation took place half a kilometer away from the hotel i used to stay at, the Quirino Grandstand.

A bus filled with tourist from Hong Kong and a few Philippinos was visited by a local police officer. i do not want to get too detailed. But thank God we were away earlier.

All we did for the day was visiting and being stuck in bad traffic jams. We also had dinner with our friends who once visited us in Malaysia back in 1992. Gmenier and Kat Mendoza were the kids, whe we had a really good chat with. Great times and food. We had dinner at the Rocks restaurant.


We went to another hotel as my dad had work. I was in the room watching the local news about the hostage situation. it was from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. About 7 were killed in the incident. Not to mention that in another scene, a Korean was killed and 2 others were kidnapped, who were together reps of UNICEF. Thankfully it was said that the 2 were released. Scary to hear all this news, as im so close to the scene. Im not saying to not visit the Philippines, but be careful no matter where you go. It can happen anywhere.

Take care.. =/

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tips to climb the Taal Volcano

Tips,
  • Bring water for the journey up. 1 fresh coconut juice (50 pesos) from the top is enough to get you down.
  • Wear shorts, not jeans, or anything comfortable for hiking.
  • Wear spiked shoes. The slopes are quite steep and sandy. You can slip easily.
  • Hike up, not horse. You got more time for photography and wind, save your money too. It is about 6 kilometeres and 2 hours up and down. If you are not used to hiking, it is no problem as you can rest on the way.
  • Trust the tour guides. They are settlers there and bear lots of knowledge. They can speak abit of english, but quite informative to on the names of the areas. But i hope you have a friend who speaks their language too. 
  • Bring sun lotion. You can easily get sunburned there. 
  • Wear hats that can be tied. Umbrellas are useless. The winds will just damage them. 
  • Bring a camera.
  • The journey up and down, it is for you to experience. =)
Any other questions, ask me. I climed up that hill to the top. =)

Take care.. =)

Day 2 in the Philippines

*phew* I'm finally back at the hotel. Today was really tiring...

The day started by waking up at about 7.30 a.m. and went for breakfast. It wasnt much, just fried rice, some beef and pork with popiah and hash browns. I was also worried to eat too much as it may trigger myself to go to the toilet for some big business. Anyway, we had a driver for 9 hours. He was a really nice guy, luckily. We were in a Mitsubishi Adventure. It was a 4 wheel SUV, good for the places we were going. It was about 2 hours to go to the Taal Volcano from Manila.

Throughout the journey, we passed squarter homes, old buildings, open grass fields and lots and lots of people. I have no idea what is their population but it is really alot. We reached the Taal Bay, i think it was that, and took a speedboat to the island in the middle of the lake where the volcano was located. The pricing of the boat ride was about 1500 pesos per boat.

When you reach the island, it is 50 pesos per person to go up the volcano (tourist price) and 450 pesos each to take a horse up the volcano. Both plans come with a tour guide as it is a must for a tour guide to come with you, which is really good. They grow up there and settle there. Tour guiding has been their job for generations and they do it for a living, so as for fishing too.

So we decided to climb up the volcano. Though hard but it was great, the view, the cool winds and the hot steamy volcanic rocks. There literally was steam escaping from the rocks, and it was hot. It is possible to burn you if it was hot enough, said the tour guide. By the way, I also got burnt by the sun.

The view at the top was awesome. There was a lake in the middle of the volcano as it is not that active but still active. It was really tiring so we took coconut juice. It was the same price as water, about 50 pesos. so coconut water was my energy drink. To go up and down the hill, it took 2 hours and about 6km average.

We then had lunch at Jollibees, where they had hamburger. Yeah. Pork burger. They dont sell much of that in Malaysia. We then went to the Church of the Pink Sisters, where they say you can write your prayers, submit in and they will be praying your prayers for you. Not that we are lazy, but they give support to your prayers. Then we went back to Manila and it was raining heavily.

Church and Chowking for dinner. Thats about it for the night. It was a tiring day.

take care. =)

Abit more of day 1



So my mom's old friends came by the hotel to go out for lunch. I still could not get theyre names as Philippine names are hard to remember. It's abit of Spanish as they used to conquer this country long before. Anyway, we went to the Pancake House for lunch. They did not just serve pancakes but local dishes too. So I had Aaroz a la Cubana. It was minced meat with fried egg, rice and fried banana slices. It was really good. =)


I also was able to take some photos of the bay area. It's full of yachts too. Then we went of and i bought a new Jansport bag, of course its fake there but it did look nice. So i got it for about 300 pesos, about RM 30>. We went back to the hotel and there i dozed off as i did not have enough sleep and a night flight. Dad arrived as I was sleeping. Then i woke up to take some pics of the sunset, but not what i really wanted. The sun was still so bright and i was hoping for a nice orange sunset. well not today i guess.

We then went to church. Somehow i dont know why we decided to go for mass on the next day. About the church, it is really old. I have its facts in a photo which will be uploaded soon. Nearby, there were old buildings which themed the Spain culture. Looks like Havana too. My bro related it to Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2.

We had dinner at Barbara's. It was a classy restaurant and it's food is high class with a reasonable price. I took Salpicado, which is rice served with tender beef with garlic and olive oil. I also had abit of San Miguel beer.

As usual, we would take the train or Light Rail Transits to go around the city and have a good view from up above. However, the trains will shut down by 9.30 p.m. so we decided to not take the train and took a taxi back to the hotel to enjoy a live band performance at the hotel.


Cebu Pacific, the airline i took.


Abit of the Manila Airport.


Taxi, a Toyota Vios.


A Jeepney.


A hotel driver sending us to H2O Hotel.





Police Station.





Hotel Lobby.























This is how the aquarium room looks like.


Rainy day.











 








People sell items at traffic lights.


Chinese food in a box.


Sunset.


The church.






Inside the restaurant.


Beer.


Salpicado.


The Hotel.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The first time going to my hometown, or not?

With the eyes of a bird i saw the ground so dense with buildings. No wonder they say that the traffic in Manila is bad. I arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Philippines at about 4.45a.m. together with my mom and brother. Originally my dad has work to do so we tagged along as i never been to the Philippines and my mom is Philipino, which makes me half of it. Therefore why not spare a visit?

Yeah you may be wondering where my dad is. He's still at home. His official flight is later in the morning. Back to my state, i'm currently in the water hotel, a.k.a. H20 hotel. Well its kind of on the sea. You can check it out on Google or H20 Hotels in Philippines. Its quite cool in a way that its theme is based on water. Alot is blue and their walls is partially water. Some rooms -of course more expensive- have aquariums as their wall. It is also at  Marina Bay which is said to have a wonderful sunset. Its only 9a.m. here so it will be awhile more to find out.

The room is not bad, furnishing is nice and comfy, thy have High Definition televisions in the room. The toilet is a little weird. The sink is beside the bed and the shower and toilet bowl are separate. At first look, Philippines doesn't seem to be that bad. Though not so developed, but it has a culture of its own. However, food I have not tried yet. I'm suppose to follow my mom to go and see her old friends with a meal. So lets see how it will go. =)