Monthly Archives: August 2011

Ramen, Ramen, Ramen!

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June to September is the rainy season in the Philippines. Because it’s the rainy season and the weather gets really cold, I get usual cravings for Ramen like a pregnant woman craves for nearly anything! Ramen comforts me and makes me really happy especially in a gloomy season filled with rain. I’ve managed to rank the best ramen I’ve tasted within Metro Manila, and most of which can be found in Makati!

1. UKKOKEI RAMEN RON

Located in Pasay Road in Makati, this Ramen restaurant looks simple and humble, but it’s hard to ignore especially that the soupy broth of their ramen lures you to go inside their restaurant and have a sampling of the greatest ramen experience of your life.

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Bugis Street and Bugis Junction

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We were able to go back in one piece to Singapore after experiencing the nightmare crossing the Malaysia to Singapore border.  Thankfully, we got back in Singapore around 11 pm, but that did not stop us from having our last round of experiencing Singaporean culture– around 11 pm, we strolled around and found ourselves happily lost in the street hawkers of Singapore. Yum yum!  For a good 1 Singaporean dollar, you can get yourself a hot midnight snack which is a perfect match to great company!

Singaporean Hawker Midnight snack and one of the best Siopao I've ever tasted!

Around 1 am, just around the right time we go back to our hotel to finally hit the sacks to prepare for the last day in Singapore.

And what better way to spend the last day in Singapore than by spending it over shopping— it still reflects a part of their culture right? (And I do sound like a girl who justifies shopping as a form of celebrating culture). Ding ding ding! If you’re shopping for electronics, Singapore is the place to be! Big, big, big discounts await you!

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Super Typhoon versus the Long Weekend

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The Philippines is a tropical country, therefore, it experiences two kinds of seasons for the whole year– wet season and dry season. For this reason, most travel plans are usually set in the dry months, January to May and the wet months of June-September are usually a period of hibernation for travel. But for me, I still consider August a good month for travel, even if it is occasionally visited by several typhoons. Being used to tropical disturbances like typhoons, I thought that it was alright to plan a trip as I was capitalizing on the long weekend coming up.

I managed to book two airline tickets to different destinations for the month of August. The weekend of 20-22 August was intended for a trip to Dumaguete and Siquijor, while the long weekend of 27-30 August was planned for a trip to the Cagayan Valley. And both of the trips did not push through. I was not able to push through with Dumaguete due to conflict with work schedule– which I very well understood and openly accepted. However, I had a very heart accepting the fact  that I won’t be able to go to Cagayan Valley anymore for the long weekend because of the recently announced arrival of the super typhoon.

As I am writing this, the Philippines is currently being perturbed by a great tropical disturbance, Super Typhoon Mina (International Name: Nanmadol), and I cannot help but express my intense sadness (more like depression) about my botched trip to the Cagayan Valley. More so for the people who will be affected by the forthcoming typhoon. There’s an intense emphasis on the keyword SUPER TYPHOON. Hence, all trips towards the Northern Luzon are discouraged and all residents in the said area are cautioned to move to safer ground.

Clearly, we cannot fly to Cagayan Valley, because it's under Category 5

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Nightmare on Crossing Borders (Malaysia to Singapore Border)

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Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, intend to complain nor rant nor bash about the Singaporean immigration nor its people, I just want to express how degraded we felt when we crossed the Malaysia to Singapore border last March 2011. For the record, I loved Singapore but I just felt really insulted by the strong discrimination we experienced while crossing their border.

You don't what I've been through just to get these stamps from Malaysia to Singapore!!!

After a long day of walking around Kuala Lumpur, we had to call it a day and head back to Singapore from Malaysia via Aeroline deluxe coach. We were having a very pleasant and comfortable ride aboard Aeroline… until we reached the border of Malaysia going to Singapore as the butler woke us up and informed us to alight the bus and enter the border. And that’s when everything changed.

I  consider myself a proud Filipina regardless of whatever stereotypes other nations deem Filipinos. As Eleonor Roosevelt would say, “No one could make you feel inferior without your consent”. And I have chosen to still stand tall regardless of whatever demeaning experience that I came across in the border. But sometimes, regardless of how you present yourself or prove yourself  in another country, you will always be subject to the laws of their land– it’s their country, their rules, their laws, and they would still call the shots.

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Kuala Lumpur City Tour

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Although we were fighting the urge to heed the call of our respective beds to snooze some more, we stood up in anticipation to face another day  (well, just until the afternoon left to savor Kuala Lumpur before heading to Singapore!) of adventure in another country! After having a light breakfast in our backpacker’s hostel, Back Home, we immediately started our Kuala Lumpur Walking Tour and Adventure.

Taman Tasik Titiwangsa Lake and Gardens

We started off with the first spot in our itinerary: Taman Tasik Titiwangsa Lake and Gardens. We could not shake off our amazement with the Petronas Twin Towers the night before, that we just had to see it again! But we had to do it in the morning this time, and not in KLCC anymore. We decided to go to Taman Tasik Titiwangsa Lake and Gardens to see how the Petronas Twin Towers are beautifully reflected in the tranquil lake.

But before getting there, we were victimized by the Indian cab driver who took advantage of us by overcharging us at 4 ringgit per head. (Around 230 pesos for a distance of just around 2 kilometers). DEFINE ABUSE OF TOURISTS! My tip to future KL travelers: do not ride cabs driven by the Indians, ride cabs driven by the Malaysians themselves because they charge only by the meter (or better yet, walk or enjoy their train system).

But wait, there’s more.

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Move, Eat, Learn!

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Let us not forget the simple joys of everyday living. These simple things help us learn natural virtues and make us grow as beautiful persons and living witnesses of the world!

MOVE:

EAT:

LEARN:

Move, Eat, and Learn reminds us about the simple joys that makes us human. MOVE defies monotony as we constantly pursue change. EAT celebrates the world’s different cultures on how same ingredients are cooked differently and enjoyed differently relative to the culture of its people. LEARN gives better meaning to our everyday experiences as we get defined by new experiences, new situations, new circumstances, and new friends. All these are essentially experienced in our beautiful classroom, the world, we define our existence as humans. 🙂

Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur

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Kuala Lumpur surprised us. We did not know we would enjoy KL after our so-so theme park trip in Genting Highlands. But Kuala Lumpur was different. It managed to surprise us and it amazed us with the beauty of its own culture. And yes, Kuala Lumpur gave us a big treat with its entire cultural splendor.

Coming from Genting Highlands, we immediately checked-in to our backpacker’s hostel, Back Home,  located in Jalan Tun HS Lee, near Masjid Jamek station. I am thinking to come to the generalization that staying in backpackers hostels are far more convenient and comfortable as compared to hotels. Well, I am basing that on my experience in Singapore and Malaysia. Besides that, you get to meet new friends from different countries and exchange different stories about food, culture, and anything under the sun. But the best thing about staying about Back Home was that it was unbelievably comfortable and very decent despite the budget rate that it asks its backpackers to pay. Define money well spent!

Back Home Backpackers Hostel

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