Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Project Visayas - Day 1 (Manila)

My fren and I planned for this trip half a year before it started. We managed to get cheap air tickets which cost us around RM750 (for 2 international flights, 3 domestic flights and 1 ferry ride - so I considered it cheap enough as it might take years to get to the Philipines on raft, kiddin). I was very excited back then as this is my 1st real out-of-Malaysia travel trip. 

Christmas trees at the airport
Our Cebu Pacific flight to Manila was scheduled at 1.20 am. It was a sound and safe night flight I fell asleep despite the discomforts from sitting in a low-cost carrier seats (yeah yeah... i didnt expect it to be a business class suite with personal LCD screen and free spa treatment on board with handsome flight attendant serving each of the passenger with delicacies from all around the world... i'm just grateful enough to get the chance to go and see the outside world). We arrived in NAIA Airport, Manila around 5am (its like 7am in Malaysia). We took a shuttle bus from the airport to EDSA LRT (20 peso). From EDSA station, we took the LRT to Central station (15 peso if I'm not mistaken) which is the nearest station to get to our very 1st destination, the 'Intramuros'.

One of the jeepneys
Tricycle that can be chartered in Manila
FYI, the exchange rate at that time is around RM7.5 for 100 peso. Even after conversion the price of goods and services are almost the same (esp. in the cities area). In a bit rural area, you might find the food are very cheap compared to the ones in the cities. The main public transportation is the bus, jeepney and tricycle (trike). Jeepney is like a small bus and it has its own specific route unlike the trike that serves like a trishaw that u can charter to go any nearby places that you like.

One incident I cant forget is when we walked to the LRT ticket counter, there was a roadblock by the police officer. They checked everybody's bag for security reason and all these filipinos obediently queue ((I can see that they are already used to this) to be checked (if not, they cant get through). Since we were still with our backpack, it also needed to be checked which hold the others long in the queue for for quite some times. Can u imagined that our backpacks had created a bit of ruckus early in the morning? 
Part of the Intramuros wall
And then another incident happened, I got separated from my fren as he cant manage to get into the crammed train (where a lot of ppl are pushing to get inside). I got pushed inside and then the door closed. I quickly gave my friend a sign to meet up at the station where we're supposed to stop. At the same time, I was also quite worried because my passport was with my fren. The train ride was not a favorable ones but it clearly gave a glimpse of how busy and populated Manila is. Once arrived to Central station, we walked to the Intramuros which is just 5-10 minutes distance.

One of the entrance to Intramuros
  Intramuros is the oldest district in the present day city of Manila, the capital of the Republic of the Philippines. Nicknamed the "Walled City", Intramuros is the historic fortified city of Manila, the seat ot the government during the Spanish Colonial Period. Its name in Latin, intramuros, literally means "within the walls".Districts beyond the walls of Manila were referred to as extramuros, literally "outside the walls."

St. Agustin Church
from the back
St. Agustin Church
From the Central LRT station, we walked into the Intramuros high-spiritedly. Since we are not checked in yet, we had to carry around our heavy backpack (mine was like 13kgs weight). To save cost, we walked within the walled city to the interesting tourist spots such as St. Agustin Church (the oldest building in Manila), Manila Cathedral, Fort Santiago and many more. 

Inside Intramuros, there are also small residential areas, educational center, churches, governmental building, fast food outlets (such as Starbucks, Jollibee - like McD etc). Next, we walked our way to the Rizal Shrine, Rizal Park and Lapu-lapu Monument. Its more like a historical visit on the 1st day - just to know the origin of the Philippines. Then around 12pm, we checked in into Friendly Guest House somewhere in Ermita, Manila. We got an A/C twin-sharing without bathroom there (PHP 900/night = around RM70) when we're expecting to get a cheaper one that we had googled before (rate at PHP 675/night). The 675 Peso room was not available because it was the only room that comes with that rate and was currently occupied. But then, this Friendly Guest House provided us with a very 'friendly' public pantry for us to serve our own food as it is hard to find halal eateries or food outlet somewhere near the tourism spots in Manila. We learned to eat bread, fruits and not to forget Maggi mee for our trip this time. Ngeee....


Makati Shopping area
In the evening around 3pm, we went to Makati to have a look at the bunch of supermalls (Green Belt, Glorietta, SM Mall) over there (which is recommended by a few frens as they claimed that's the best spot to 'cuci mata'). It happened to be quite a nightmarish experience with the very crowded LRT/MRT trip (and its just an understatement - its super duper crowded actually you dun have to walk to get into the train as ppl at the back will voluntarily push you so that they can get inside the train - scary huh?). A lot of ppl is crowding the mall area as well. 1 thing needs to be really considered when having a walk in  Makati malls is to avoid bringing along a lot of bags (dun even bother to bring any if u can) as u will need to open each time u walk pass EVERY mall security-guarded entrance. Tedious, but to us tourists, we tried to give our very best perception esp. when dealing with the police officers. But we do enjoyed our walk in Makati as its one of the places you can skip the very dusty air of Manila.

After a lot of walking done in the 1st day, we decided to call it off and go back to the hostel and rest as we have a very early flight to Boracay the next day.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Broga Revisited - Malaysia Day Trip

 "Inilah barisan kitaaa....yang ikhlas mendaki... ". Haha so much of a patriotic entry soundtrack. Whatever. The Broga plan which supposed to sound like:

 "We will wake up at 4.30am and prepare our fried mee hoon and sandwiches, depart from home around 5.15am and expected to reach by 5.45am. To reach the 1st peak around 6.30am and still can enjoy the post-sunrise beauty while it is still a tad dark. Then we will enjoy our breakfast on the 1st peak while scanning for eye-candy that might possibly passing by."

Turned out to be like:

We woke up at 6am (so looong sunrise *waving with white handkerchief*). Rushed ourselves to bath n dress accordingly. We didnt even have time to prepare our so-called sandwiches, let alone to cook fried mee hoon. *LOL. Departed from home at around 6.20pm, arrived at 6.50pm, its already bright we dun even need the headlamp anymore. As we started to climb up, there were few who already going down from Broga but that did not demotivate the four of us who happily chat all the way up.

The climb up doesnt take long, around 30 minutes as we dun have to queue since by this time, most of the visitor already reached the 1st peak. We had a few pit stops just to take picture and took a fresh breathe. Approaching the 1st peak (where the climb can be quite mentally challenged for a few with acrophobia, one of us insisted not to continue as the slope seems too steep for him to handle. After several attempts to persuade him to continue to the top resulted in failure, the rest of us decided to leave him there and continue to the top. There were a lot of people going up and down at the slope, via 4 routes for both going up and down. The routes are not dedicated exclusively for either way so it can be very crowded at peak time that sometimes we need to move aside to give way to the others who come from the opposite way. If the day before was raining, the slope can be quite slippery and hikers need to be extra careful.

I continued hiking to the highest peak of Broga leaving the other two behind. There were a lot of people having fun and enjoying their moment on Broga that day. Upon reacing the highest peak, I had to wait for about 15 minutes before i can climb on the 'only' way up to the top as there was a group of school children accompanied by their teachers are occupying the way. I didnt spend much time on top. I asked one girl to take my picture with the 'Welcome to Bukit Broga 400m' signboard and straight away went down to catch back with my frens as I left our breakfast with them. 

I did took a few photograph and after reunited with the other two, we did a few jump shots plus a few controversial shots as well. The plan to have breakfast on Broga have to be cancelled as my acrophobic frens earlier texted us that he's goin back to the car. So we quickly go down not wanting him to have a long wait for us downhill. Unluckily for one of my friends, he fell and sprained his ankle (while scanning on a few random guys walking by! serves u right hahaha... ). But with that, we had to move down very slowly to accomodate him. After 30 minutes, we arrived at the car just to be greeted by a small wild flower wraith hand-made by my acrophobic friend. 

It was a quick trip but all of us are very satisfied as we did improve our time going up and we surely took a lot of nice pics too. Surely we'll come again and again to the Fascinating Broga :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Being responsive is to readily reacting or replying to people or events or stimuli. To be responsive is good when it is practiced and implemented in TIMELY and CORRECT manner. If it is incorrectly addressed, it might produce bad consequences based on the 'lousiness' of the feedback given. If it does addressed correctly but not timely, it might be just a waste of effort that change nothing  in the end.

However, at times, being responsive is just not enough. When this happens, to be initiative comes in handy. To be initiative is to act or strategize in advance in expecting something or to improve a situation. It also can be said as an effort shown by one party in approaching another in any kind of relationship (towards each other - as in approaching someone for a relationship or against each other - as in to be the 1st to strike in a fight/war).

In a relationship that involves two parties, both responsiveness and initiative are needed in communication but to be applied interchangeably depending on the situation. If one party just sit idle and only being responsive when triggered, that doesnt really sounds like a good relationship, it is more like a human-computer interaction where the computer do things only when triggered by human using it. Both parties need to be initiative and at the same time responsive to each other to create a very effective and harmony communication medium.

And here i am talking about these responsive and initiative craps... What am I thinking? Well, sorry peeps, u guys surely see me 'meroyan' a lot these days. LOL.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet My New Riki

Last Thursday my frens (Fakry and Jalil) and I went to a downtown bazaar located in front the Mines (they feel bored cuz their TV broke down so they're goin out - its highly unlikely to see them going out for leisure at night.. :P). Mines downtown, is just another downtown but with quite a few eye-candies (*wink wink*) , an Outdoor Gear Shop (like!) and surprisingly a few booth selling pets.

I never adopted any pet before and I dun really have any intention to do so even though I do love animals like cats and dogs (cuz i find them cute). As we were passing by a pet booth, there is 1 container that attracted my attention. It was fulled of sea shell so I had a peek and it turns out to be hermit crab! (i dunno hermit can be made pet, i thought they are just ignored by the seashore or worse case, be collected to be eaten.. hahaha). I saw the 'kakak' managing the booth is holding 1 hermit on her palm and rubbing its leg. Wow, that's real cool! At first, I was afraid to hold it on my hand as its still a crab and it does has pincher. The lady said it wont pinch and encourage me to hold it, and so i did! When I hold the shell to lift it up onto my hand, the hermit hide inside the shell, but once I put it on my palm, it did come out and its not shy at all, mebe a bit cautious. (well of course, imagine urself on a giant's hand, i guess u will be running away or at least hide urself too rite?).

Then we went back and i cant keep my mind out of the cuteness of a hermit crab (honestly i wud prefer a dog in term of cuteness - which is prohibited - but this hermit crab is inviting enough for me to even consider myself to adopt a pet). So on Saturday nite, Jalil and I went back to the downtown. This time, I got myself one hermit crab (i cant believe i already have the name before i even bought it! *faint*). This time, I only bought him a small mobile pet container without anything else.

On Sunday, Jalil and I went to Jalan Pasar to buy the pebbles and driftwood for its crabitat (crabbers call the place they put the hermit 'crabitat'). I bought a 2-feet sized aquarium as the container. So I officially got myself a pet now. I hope that i can take care of him very well and have been doing a lot of research towards that. I need to get water container for him (1 fresh water and 1 salted water), a few more drift wood (as hermits love to climb on them), sand or coral sand (for them to bury themselves in).

Oh btw, my hermit's name is Riki. So far I only give him green apple, but from what i've read, hermit can eat various stuff such as banana, papaya, peanut butter, bread, sponge cake (wahh really this thing can eat cake?) , chicken breast ('steamed' one, not fried one). There's even pet shops that sell pellet specially made for hermit crab. So I cant wait to go and shop new stuffs for Riki and try to feed Riki with other kind of food. :D Here is Riki's pic.

From what I've read as well, hermit is a social creature and lives in a large group, so since Riki's currently living alone, I plan to buy another one to be his friend (actually I dont really know whether Riki is a male or otherwise :P). What shud I name the future friend of Riki eh? Hehehe.

Btw, to keep a hermit crab. You will need the following items.

1. 2ft glass tank (can also use plastic tank) with covered tank lid
2. Beach sand / crushed coral sand
3. 1 feeding dish (can use sea shells)
4. 2 small bowl (1 for freshwater & 1 for saltwater) - can use sea shells as well
5. Red Sea brand sea salt.
6. Some sea shells of various sizes
(preferably same size or slightly larger than what the hermit crab is currently using)
7. Driftwood (for hermit crab to climb or hide)
8. Aquarium lighting
9. Aquarium fan with on/off switch. (optional)
10. Thermometer, humidity reader (optional)