PENANG, MALAYSIA: GEORGETOWN

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Hello everyone!

I am back from my Chinese New Year break spent in Penang (Malaysia). It was a 4-day off but since I traveled by coach (10-12 hours), I only got to spend 2 whole days wandering around the island. I took the coach because it was Chinese New Year and flight tickets even to nearby cities would leave a big hole in your pocket. My travel was planned last minute so the budget was really tight. I forked out more than $200 for my bus fare and if you're wondering how much it would cost me had I booked a flight? Triple. It's like flying to my home country on business class so I just opted to travel by land. Anyway, it was a comfortable land travel on a VIP coach so I wouldn't complain anymore. Chines New Year means Singapore is going be a ghost town (shops are closed, even hawker centres aren't operating, hence most residents, especially foreigners, would rather travel).

We chose Penang as our destination for this break because it has a decent beach, at the same time its capital city of Georgetown has interesting things to offer. We were very much looking forward to the street/wall art, their local food, some colonial architecture, temples, museum, old-fashioned buildings and houses that are still intact and have become tourist attractions. Due to multicultural influences, Penang has become a fascinating destination among travelers.

On our first day we joined a bicycle tour and wandered around Georgetown for about 4 hours. The tour was operated by Metrobike and costs 120 ringgit each. It was because our guide (Ken) had so much insights about the places we visited that are mostly temples. He was fun to be with and the group I was with (total 10pax) was also awesome. We looked after another on the road to make sure everyone's safe.


Secret Society
Chew Jetty
Chew Jetty

In front of a Peranakan house (or museum?)
Gong Xi Fa Cai!!!

As it was a Heritage and Food tour, our breakfast and lunch were included in the tour package. We had Indian cuisine for breakfast (naan, madras coffee, roti tissue, etc) and Chinese for lunch (bak kut teh, noodles, etc)

Going Indian

We also saw some street art along Armenian Street in Georgetown 

Kids on a bicycle

I enjoyed our bicycle tour so much but I felt like it wasn't enough to explore every bit of of the town so we had to return the following day before our trip back to Singapore. We rented a car with a driver/tour guide for 4 hours (for 200 ringgit) and went on to visit the entire town.

Sharing with you a few other photos from our 2nd trip to Georgetown..

I just wanted to stay in the car while my friend buys something at the mall but the driver said, "Go out and take photos" So.. there you go. It was taken at the marina, at the back of Queensbay Mall.
It's freakin hot I am melting

One of my favorite spots for photography in Penang (aside from the artworks) is Fort Cornwallis. Located close to the Esplanade and Penang Clock tower (see photo above), Fort Cornwallis is the largest standing fort in Malaysia. Its walls are so pretty it called for a.. well, 'wall shot' Hahah.. whuuuttt?! :D


Fort Cornwallis
"Wall shot" at the Fort Cornwallis
Entrance to the Fort Cornwallis
Entrance to the Fort Cornwallis

The highlight of our Penang trip has probably been the visit to street art/wall painting, also in Georgetown, so I'll make a separate post about it (also to avoid overcrowding this post with photos.

Sneak peek:





More art pictures in my next entry! :)



GONG XI FA CAI FROM PENANG!

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Kung Hei Fat Choi, Gong Xi Fa Cai, Happy Chinese New Year everyone!

I am currently here in Penang, Malaysia (Pulau Pinang), enjoying my CNY break that started yesterday (until Sunday). :) 

No tikoy nor mandarin fruits guys, just a pic of roasted pig posted below! Hihi. 

Have a prosperous year of the sheep/goat! 


PS: My horoscope says it's gonna be my lucky year. So... keeping my fingers crossed!!!! :)





4th!

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EAST COAST WEEKEND CYCLING

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If there's one thing I am proud of about being a probinsyana who grew up in the 80s-90s, it would be the ability to do things not every kid from the city can do. I practically grew up in the neighborhood playing all sorts of street games with the kids of my age. I can play tumbang preso, piko, siato/syato, luksong tinik, Chinese garter... I know how to ride a bike. Although I know some city kids who also know how to cycle, majority of them don't probably because of the limited space they had and the danger of being out on the streets. I'm not saying the province is always safe but I think all types of people can be seen in the city and unfortunately, a lot of them can be bad. Naturally, parents would be protective and may not be letting them out as much.

To this day I still enjoy cycling. It has become one of my regular exercises. In fact, I purchased a foldable bike so I can bring them with me on the train or bus going to the park. But I haven't tried that, the park we went to last weekend is too far from my place it took us almost 2 hours to reach. 

We went to East Coast Park. If you happen to stay in Singapore, be sure to visit the park if you want to escape the toxic city even for a while. There's a lot of shops there that offer bike rental for about $8 per hour. There was this 'weekend promotion' when we went there, we got the bike for 2+1 hour for $10 (you can say that's $10 for 3 hours). If you don't know how to ride a bike then get those 'doubles' (I don't know how to call it but it's the one where 2 people can ride), or those bicycles with balancers. Aside from bike, they also rent out rollerblades. 

There are also food offerings; from hawkers to fancy dining. You will love the selection, I assure you. :)

Anyway, enough of the crap. I just wanted to share with you some photos from my weekend cycling activity with friends, our first alcohol-free activity since the holiday break. Hahaha.











Activities like this make me believe I'm still having a work-life balance. As they say, "Everything in life has to have balance." 

Riding a bike included. :)



ALIWAL URBAN ART FESTIVAL 2015 WITH CHINO L AND CARLA D

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This week I had 2 visitors; one is a cousin from London and the other is a friend from Manila. Yesterday I met with that friend from Manila, Chino. We went food tripping cos he said he wants to go to hawker centres to eat local dishes. This is embarrassing to admit but I know nothing about famous eating spots in Singapore because I'm not a hawker/local cuisine type of person. Singaporean dishes are usually savory and sometimes spicy, I prefer my food plain and bland. Hahah. I am that boring, you know. So there, we spent the entire day yesterday looking for hawker centres. We first went to Makansutra (my usual 'tourist' eating place) but unfortunately it was still closed. We ended up at Newton Food Centre, which I learned, is one of the to go places of tourists looking for local stuff.



After our foodtrip, Chino said his friend is inviting him to their school's (Lasalle College of the Arts) open house. This friend, he said, is an actress. I was like, "Actress? Here in Singapore?" to which he replied, "Yeah, she was in the Kitchen Musical. You know Karylle and Christian Bautista's TV show?" Apparently, it was Carla Dunareanu that we were meeting. Chino used to work with her in Magic (they are both DJs). Perhaps Carla is better known as Christian Bautista's ex-girlfriend. Oh dear, just when I thought my showbiz life is over here in Singapore... hahahaha.. just kidding! :D

Unfortunately, the open house was over when we arrived at Lasalle. Good thing Carla's updated with the happenings in Singapore so she took us to this event called, "Aliwal Urban Art Festival". We walked from Lasalle toward Beach Road area, passed by Bali Lane, Haji Lane, Arab Street and all those interesting alleys. If you are a Pinoy teleserye addict then you must be familiar with this....

Yes, this was featured in Got to Believe

We finally arrived at our destination - the Aliwal Urban Art Festival happening at the Aliwal Arts Centre at Kampong Glam. The building itself had food and drink stall in front, a few tables and chairs and people handing out brochures.


There was also this blaring hip-hop sound that we followed until we reached some sort of an empty 'club' with just DJs playing in the booth. There was a huge mirror we had to take our photo.





Aliwal Urban Art Festival is an event where Singapore's urban artists, bands, dancers and DJs gather to celebrate creative freedom and communal bonding. Everything happens simultaneously, with activities occurring across a love music room, DJ room, car park and gallery (SOURCE).

So we got some beer, wandered around and saw some interesting stuff..






There was also this breakdancing thing as well as people skating..




Although this kind is not my thing (because I believe I am too serious and boring for this), I still enjoyed the fest. I love the graffiti, the music, the crowd and everything else in here. I guess sometimes I just need to let loose and deviate from my usual activities.

It was fun. Looking forward to see more events like this in Singapore. 

Carla is nice, too. She hugged me as we bid goodbye. And posted a comment on my Instagram post when we got home. Very pretty and down to earth lady, I must say. Hope to bump into her again. 




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