Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fashionista Escapades: Manila, Philippines

Manila reminds me of Spain, with a splash of Mexico in between. You can see Spanish and Mexican influences from Clark (where we landed) up 'til you arrive in Manila. I really didn't know what to expect in Manila, as it is not strongly influenced by the Malay culture (like Indonesia and Brunei) and it is not so influenced by the Chinese culture (as per Singapore).

And this is a photo-blog of our trip to Manila, so enjoy the photos peeps!

We arrived at Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Makati City (which is about two hours drive away from Manila).

Met our driver, Ronald, just outside the airport.

Dinner with our driver, Ronald. Since there were about 10 of us, we had to rent a van to fit us all. It was difficult to find halal outlets in Manila so we had to just make do with the eateries that we found on Zabihah.com.

Jeepney in motion

Frankly I must admit that the transportation method in Philippine is in a league of its own. Firstly they have the Jeepney, which is a combination between a Jeep and a van (it can fit more than ten people!). Well, innovative people these Pinoys are (Pinoy stands for Philippinos by the way) they actually converts a Jeep into a Jeepney. How do they manage to do that? I seriously don't know. But whatever it is, it's a transportation system that seems to work for them. And I do love the fact that they decorate their Jeepneys in many creative ways thus resulting in a colorful and attractive but bizarre look (if I may say so).

A trishaw in motion ~

Besides Jeepneys, they also have trishaws (that can fit about five passengers, mind you) which also proves how creative this Pinoys are, they seem to convert motorbikes into trishaws and not only that, there's a multitude of seats to choose from (hence the ability to carry five passengers).

I love the design of the churches there. The churches seems to have similar designs and if you notice they seem to have European influences as well. I saw this church when we were cruising Pasig river. The churches that we have in Kuching are slightly different in design.

This is where we bought our tickets for our river cruise. Well, it's not actually a river cruise per se, it's like a river taxi that takes on passengers along the river.

Waiting for our ferry. As you can see, Pasig river is not the cleanest river.

Us in the ferry. 

Kids playing in the river.

As we were cruising down Pasig river, it is very, very apparent that Pinoys love bright splashes of color. These are among the houses that were along the river. If you notice, the Jeepneys are also decorated with bright colors. Which kinda reminds me of Mexican culture, they love their bright colors with their boleros and bright skirts.

Kids swimming in the water of Pasig river.

Me on board the ferry. 

Celebrated my birthday at Secret Recipe, Manila.

Ronald's birthday is a few days before mine so we celebrated his too! 

Dad wanted to go to the Coconut Palace but unfortunately for us, it was closed to visitors. 

Us at the base of Taal Volcano, a small volcano, but an active one *yikes*.

Had the opportunity to visit a theme park in Manila, the Enchanted Kingdom.

Manila is a huge place. It consists of nine different cities (just to prove how huge it is). However as with any cities, there are places where the affluent frequents and there are places where the not-so-affluent resides in. Among those (for the affluent) is Makati City which is a great place to shop at. It has many gigantic shopping places that for shopaholics out there would certainly be a great way to spend the holidays.

Til my next vacation (which is soon, I hope), cheerio!!

xoxo Fashionista in Action xoxo

P/s: If you're traveling to Manila via Clark, bear in mind that Clark is about two hours drive away to Manila. You may opt to use a driver (like us) or taxi or a bus to Manila.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I spent four amazing days in Manila, Philippines. My dad planned a trip for us to Cebu Island but instead changed the plans and decided to bring us to Manila instead. I've never been to the Philippines and definitely I was excited.

So I went off and bought myself a Berlitz conversational Tagalog (the official Pinoy language) pocket book in order to help me show off to the locals. To tell you the truth, my Tagalog is absolutely horrible. So much so that it would be more appropriate to say that I am butchering the language *yikes*.

So, just in case you feel like leavin' for a trip to the Philippine Islands, let me share with you some phrases:

Mabuhay - Welcome

Kumusta kayo - How are you?

Mabuti naman, salamat - Fine, thank you

... Ang pangalan ko - ... is my name

Salamat po - Thank you

Magandang umaga - Good mornin'

Magandang hapon - Good afternoon

Magandang gabi - Good evening

Ang Sarap - That was delicious

What do you think? Not bad right? And if you are a Sarawakian (like me) some of their words are actually similar to ours, for example:

Manok - Chicken

Lima - Five

Lalaki - Male

Bini bini - Female

Ah, well... Those are the words that comes to mind, for now. Anyways, I will publish another post on my wonderful four-day holiday to Manila (and include all the photos, so that should you not feel like reading, you can ogle instead *aha*).

'Til my next post (which most probably be tomorrow night *sheepish grin*), cheerio peeps!

xoxo Fashionista in Action xoxo

Monday, November 15, 2010

A trip to Bank Negara Malaysia et al

So I did mention that I went for a study trip with the students, right? Ahh, well.. That I did. Our trip lasted for 4 days, or approximately 3 days and 3 nights. It was me and 36 students, a frightful combination, but in the end, as Shakespeare would say, Alls Well, Ends Well, and it did.

This is what we flew on. Apparently banks can fly =)

Peeking out of the cabin window =)

It ain't colorful as MAS's but it gets me where I wanna go

We left on Wednesday afternoon, there was no activity on that day, just dinner. Arrived at Cemara and Akasia at around 10.30 pm. Checked in, with a lil' bit of hiccups here and there (hint: rude people were in abundance that night, so, it seems that we didn't get any warm welcomes from anyone I suppose) and finally snoozed off to an early mornin'.

Sleepy faces, awaiting their breakfast to jolt them up

Even though they're sleepy, but they'll pose anyway *aha*

The next day started as early as 6.30 am, left our beds to look for the warm comfort of mamak food, had roti canai and teh tarik and sped off to the streets of KL to Bank Negara (BNM). Arrived at 9 (we were super early, and knowing that Malaysians are famous for being late, we were way off the charts) and finally we headed in for a talk on Foreign Exchange.

Our speaker at BNM

One for the memories. Thanks BNM!

As my itineraries are never dull, we left BNM for lunch then headed off to KL Birdpark. To me, I was quite surprised that KL Birdpark was fun, initially thought that it'd be boring, but surprise, surprise, I enjoyed myself there. And looking at the expressions on my student's face, I think they kinda enjoyed it too.

I love this shot. Do you think the bird knows that it's being photographed?

Bird attack!!!

Left KL Birdpark, headed back to Cemara and Akasia to freshen up before leaving for i-City. I've always wanted to visit i-City and finally I did. Nae worries, will write another review on the place, but let me leave you with some photos of the place. A pretty, pretty sight it is =).

Finally, a peacock showing off its magnificent tail

Finally arrived back to Cemara and Akasia by almost 11 pm and back to beds for all of us (or at least, for me it is). The next mornin' also started as early as 6.30 am, went for breakfast of Nasi Lemak and teh tarik (usual Malaysian fanfare) and then we're off to INCEIF.

The students at INCEIF's library

He is one very funny speaker

Us. We make one very BIG crowd

Left INCEIF at noon and sped off to Genting for a relaxing outing with the students.

One for the memories

Arrived at Genting, immediately went into the theme park and played all the games like there's no tomorrow. But unfortunately, our bus can't leave Genting at night so we have to make do with leaving at 5pm. And then we're off to KLCC to do some shopping (it's the last night of the trip).

KLCC peaking amidst skyscrapers


Saturday is a free day for me, went off to join a photography talk by Pixxawork in Putrajaya and left my students to wander off with the driver.

One of the pros in photography, Mr. Napie

And these are what I took after the photography session. What do you think?

After the talk, went to One Utama for a catch up session with my girlfriends, and then finally off to the airport.


Methinks the programme was a little to jam packed, but then again, methinks me had fun *smile*. Hope I can organize another trip next semester, but this time, with lesser number of students.


xoxo Fashionista in Action xoxo

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fashionista's Escapades: KL Bird Park

I recently went for a study trip with my students. It was in this trip that we decided to stop by KL Bird Park for a visit. Inspired by AirAsia's Travel 3Sixty in-flight magazine, I saw the pretty photos and decided, why not? So, we came, bought the entrance tickets (which is priced at RM20 each, and fortunately for me, I asked for a discount and got it for RM15 each! I think we got the discount because there were so many of us).

So, what did we find? Birds, of course! Here are the photos of our trip:

This is the entrance of the bird park. Once you've paid your tickets, you'll be given a wrist-tag and a booklet containing information on KL Bird Park and a map of the park. 

Upon entering the park, we were greeted by colorful parrots. As you can see, these parrots are definitely not timid. Here's one of my students, bravely offering his finger as bird food. 

These birds are definitely friendly and not-at-all afraid of strangers. I think they're used to being the focus of all the attention in this park =).

Another very colorful parrot.

This bird looks like our Malaysian bangau.. But then again maybe not.. Heh.. 

Me and some of the students sitting for a pose. A word of caution though, be very, very careful of where you sit/ stand or walk for that matter, bird poo is everywhere (it is a bird park) so if you're not careful, you might just be sitting/ standing or walking on one. 

Oh, this bird is just trying to show off his tail to the other birds. Or is it a sign of courtship?

I kinda forgot the name of this bird, but it kinda resembles scrooge's facial expression *haha*

A bird enjoying its afternoon snack of papaya. Eating upside down is certainly not one of the things that I expect a bird to enjoy, but hey, apparently I'm wrong *hehe*.

A duck swimming in a pond full of fish. This kinda reminds me of my childhood, growing up in Stirling where there'd be ducks and swans during summer enjoying the hot summer sun and swimming in the lake at Stirling University.

You know how as a photography enthusiast, we try our best to get the best photos (that means being really persistent and sometimes being downright annoying) so I think this peacock must have been really annoyed at me following him so he's giving me the look that says, 'Stop following me!' 

I finally got a good shot of the peacock. Hurrah!

The peacock's magnificent tail. Love the bright colors.

The graceful flamingo. These birds are definitely yoga masters.

Watcha lookin' at?

Oh, by the way, this is an emu. I initially thought that they were ostriches but judging by their size, they are slightly smaller than the ostrich.

Most birds are allowed to roam freely in the park (which the exception of predatory birds like the eagle and some others) so do expect to see those birds strutting their stuff everywhere. In actual truth, I've never seen an eagle before (up close like this, most of the eagles that I've seen are from the Discovery Channel) and this is the first time I've seen one =). Well to tell you the truth, I've never seen the flamingo, emu or most of the birds here before either.

The owl. A nocturnal animal they sleep during the day and are active during the night.

This is another type of owl. Their Malay names can sound pretty scary (i.e. the owl itself is translated into 'Burung Hantu' and some of the owls' Malay names include words like 'Jembalang' etc).

Another owl up close.

If you do come and visit the park, make sure to be aware of feeding times for the birds, it's quite a spectacle watching them eat. Since they are trained to eat at certain times, you might encounter hordes of birds quickly marching to their assigned feeding locations.

Can you guess the names of the birds?

This one I know, it's the hornbill, a bird commonly found in Borneo =).

For an RM20 fee, you can enjoy a photo with the birds. Let me tell you, these are live birds but don't be scared, they're extremely friendly =).

Post photo-shoot, I was also able to snap some photos of the birds up close *hurrah*:

Not far from the photo booth, there's a Chinese guy (who's very talented) offering his services to write your name in bird calligraphy for RM20.

I opted to request for my name written. That's the first letter, F. Looks like a bird, right? Thus, I call it, bird calligraphy *heh heh*.

He is very fast, I think it only took him about 15 minutes to finish his handiwork. 

Voila! F-A-R-E-I-N-Y. That's me, by the way =).

And we also managed to watch a bird show.

The students are so excited to watch the show that they were actually early =).

The best part of the show is that not only we got to know more about birds and their natural habitat, but there were birds flying over our heads that made the show quite a suspense.

This is one of the trainers with one of the park's eagle. Their claws can be quite sharp so that's why if you notice, the trainer is wearing thick gloves.

I got lucky and managed to capture a photo of an eagle in flight =). This is so far one of my favorite photos.

So peeps, if you have time, do drop by the KL Bird Park for an interesting experience walking with birds. I sure loved my trip, and oh, just in case you're wondering, it takes at least 3 - 4 hours for you to enjoy the park to its fullest =).

xoxo Fashionista in Action xoxo