Saturday, January 24, 2009

Gong Xi Fa Cai

Good morning, everyone! Selamat Pagi!

I'm back in Ipoh now from my 2-week vacation in The Philippines. But not too long, because tomorrow, I'll be heading north to Penang to celebrate Chinese New Year with my hubby's family.
It's time to pack again... :)

I really hope that Ipoh's weather will be clear today so that my cloths can dry on time. Otherwise I won't have enough cloths to bring to Penang. I brought so many dirty cloths from my 2-week vacation.

All in all, my trip to The Philippines would have been great if not because of 4-hour flight delay that I experienced on the way back to Ipoh. The worst thing, the passengers were not even informed in advance. So, my children and I had to wait for 3 hours before we found out that the flight departure time had been changed to 4 hours later.
Thank God we were travelling in business class so we had the invitation to the executive lounge. Thank God my children were behaving well while waiting for boarding.
After we landed in KLIA, we still had to continue our journey by land for another 3-hour drive to Ipoh. By the time we entered our house, it was 3.30am already. We were exhausted. My son had to skip school because he just could not wake up and he told me that his body ached.

We had 1 day to rest before we start our journey to Penang to join the exodus of Chinese New Year balik kampung. We will have to leave early from Ipoh because the traffic was already very bad on Friday.

I hope to be able to post more stories and photos for you when I return to Ipoh.

In the mean time, I would like to wish you Happy Chinese New Year. Gong Xi Fa Cai! May the year of Ox will be a great year for you all.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Trip to Manila

Since the day I landed at Ninoy Aquino Airport, Manila, The Philippines, people always speak to me in Tagalog. They thought I am Filipino. I have expected this because I do look like the Filipinos... :) especially when I introduce my self with my full name. When I'm out of my country, Indonesia, people always think I come from The Philippines. I'm fine with that. I just have to inform my nationality to people when they start to speak in Tagalog to me. They will give me a big warm smile because they also understand that the Indonesians and the Filipinos look alike. :)

I thank God for giving me the opportunity to visit Manila. I think I'm just lucky to be able to spend a 2 week-vacation here with my 2 children. It's like hitting a jackpot especially during this economic downturn.

I was very surprise to find out that Manila looks exactly the same as Jakarta, Indonesia, in almost everything, such as: the traffic jam, the people, the way of life, the transportation (they have jeepney, we have microlet. They have motorbike trishaws, we have becak (trishaw)/ojek(motorbike taxi)). It's like going back home to me. The main difference is just the language we speak. But some of the people I know in Manila know how to speak bahasa Indonesia as well. So, when they speak bahasa Indonesia to me, honestly, I completely forget that I am in The Philippines.

On this trip I don't stay in the heart of the city but in the area called Alabang. Alabang is in the south of Manila. It's about 1 hour drive from Manila with traffic jam or about 30 minutes without the jam. I'm not accustomed anymore to the hectic situation in big city like Manila. I prefer to stay out side the city where things are more in order and cleaner.

So far I have visited Manila, Santa Rosa, and Tagaytay. I can only visit Manila on the weekend since there is less traffic on the weekend. I don't like to get trapped in the long traffic jam. It's a waste of time. I personally don't really fancy visiting Manila. I went there just to visit Manila Cathedral and St. Agustine Church in Intramuros. Going to Manila to me is like going back to Jakarta. Even when I go back to Jakarta, I seldom go out of the house because of the traffic jam everywhere.

I prefer Santa Rosa and Tagaytay. Santa Rosa is on the same direction as Tagaytay. The trip to Tagaytay reminds me of my trip to Puncak (near Jakarta). Along the way to Tagaytay, I saw many people selling tropical fruits such as pineapples, bananas, manggosteens, pandan coconut, jackfruits, etc. The fruits are fantastic! I love the pineapples and the pandan coconut very much. They sell the pineapples 100 Pesos (approximately 8 Ringgit Malaysia) for 6 pineapples and 10 Pesos for 1 coconut. I also saw people selling steamed corn on the roadside.

It's very cold at Tagaytay because it is higher up the mountain (volcano actually). The soil is also very fertile. I can see the pineapples, corn, and coconut plantations along the way. The view was fantastic. I could see a small volcano inside a volcano (Taal Volcano). Too bad I did not have a chance to visit People's Park at Tagaytay.

So far things have been great. The people I met are very helpful, polite and friendly. I hope to enjoy this trip as much as I can. If I have a chance, I'll post more story for you. In the meantime, you can view the slideshow of some photos I took here in The Phillipines.


Friday, January 09, 2009

Mabuhay! Welcome!

Happy New Year everyone! How are you? How's your new year party?

It's my 1st post for the new year and it's already the 9th day. How time flies!

Since my last post, I found it extremely hard to sit down and write a blog because I've been traveling so much with my 2 children on tow. In fact, at the moment, I'm writing this blog from my room of a beautiful hotel in Manila, The Philippines.
Magandang umaga (good morning - tagalog) to you all!

The year 2008 has been great for me. I had a new addition to my family. The 1st half of the year was about preparing for the coming of this new addition and the other half of the year was about taking good care of this beautiful addition to my family to make sure she would always be healthy and happy. The 2008 was also a year for me to adapt to my new title as a mother of two children. The year has gone by so fast because I was always busy and for the first time since I moved to Malaysia 4 years ago, I had friends to hang out with. So, in 2008, I didn't spend a lot of time sitting in front of my computer all the time and looks like in 2009 I will not have much time either as 2 children will need my attention more.

2 months after I gave birth in 2008, I already went back to my traveling habit... :)
I took my 2 children going back and forth to have vacation in Kuala Lumpur and Penang. We even celebrated New Year in Kuala Lumpur watching the mirror reflection of great fireworks display from Petronas Twin Tower in our hotel room. My children are too small to join the crowd.

For my 2 month old baby, her 1st vacation was in Penang. We stayed in Park Royal hotel. It was a wonderful trip because I had a chance to relax and to swim while my husband helped me to take care the children in the children playroom. We loved to stay in this hotel. The hotel has direct access to the famous and beautiful Ferringgi beach. It serves great buffet breakfast for the guests. No wonder this hotel enjoys a high occupancy rate during the holiday seasons.

Now, at 4 months old, my baby has had her 1st flight to Manila. She was very excited. It was a new experience to her. She didn't sleep a lot during the flight. She was busy cooing and screaming. I felt sorry for other passengers who seated near us. Fortunately, the flight was not too full so most empty seats were around our seats... :)

I would love to be able to post a story from Manila but unfortunately I have to get ready to have breakfast downstair before it finishes. So, hopefully I will be able to find sometime to sit down again and write you the story.

Though I have a brand new beautiful laptop now, it doesn't guarantee me of being able to use it. I love my new laptop by the way. It's Lenovo 3000 G230. My son uses my laptop more than I do. At 4 years old, he is very skillful in using a computer. He even knows how to go to youtube! He loves to watch fireworks shows and his favorite children shows in youtube. I always have to monitor him when he's in front of the computer.

I pray so that every one will have a great year this year. It will be a year full of hardwork and determination to survive this economic downturn. No one is immune to it.