1 to Infinite

 

My lovely boyfriend and I celebrated our first anniversary. Today is one of the best days in my life. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY BABY! I’m proud to say that we have made it already this far. Because staying in a long distance relationship is very hard for sure.

It seems so unreal. Knowing that I’m still together with someone who’s not with me for months, physically. 1 year. 1 year I’ve been praying for peace of heart and strength. It’s not easy, it’s still not easy. It’s not easy when the one you love has to be far away from you and it’s not easy when you see other people have all the time in the world to be physically close to their loved ones. When I think about it deeply, I realize that my relationship is composed of messaging and 30 minutes to 1 hour video call. That’s what I have. It’s more of dates over FB Messenger, chatting with him and making kissy and huggy noises over a phone call when we both say goodnight to each other. It’s not exactly the ideal relationship someone wants, but that’s what I have.

Distance isn’t meant for everyone. It’s not easy and a lot of people give up. I’ve also heard so many times that it can break a relationship more than it can make it. Not a lot of people believe that it can work and not a lot of people would be willing to take this risk. But for those who experience the latter, they know what strength is, they have a great understanding of patience and a deep value for time. It’s not just about the distance, it’s also going to be about the time difference, the need for internet connection to communicate (cause I’m pretty sure international text is going to be a killer) and our patience for and with each other.
4e16319f4126cc498d0316b73743e8d5 It doesn’t stop me from believing that this can be different. I guess at the end of everything, I don’t really see the distance, because all I see is the other person at the end of all the kilometers and miles that separate me from him and to know that I still have a clear vision of him at the end of everything, it makes me want to do whatever it takes and whatever I can to go through with this.

So I’ve been with John for one year already and we’ve experience being apart for several months. It hasn’t been easy, and I can’t stress that enough.

But, this is the choice I make to love him every day. To pick up the phone and message him good morning or good night. To remember that he’s the first one I can still call when things go bad, when things go good. To ask him how his day went. To see his face and laugh with him. That part of the relationship is actually pretty easy, keeping him in my life.

Not easy is seeing couples hold hands and knowing I can’t have that. Not today, not tomorrow, not next week, not when things go good or when things go bad. I have to wait and be patient until the next time that I can hold his hand, which is the next time that we see each other, it makes it all the more meaningful the next time. You don’t know what it’s like to go through the joy of seeing him and dreading the start of the countdown. Day 1, and the next day inches closer to the day you have to let him go again.

Most times the situation challenges you to your limits and makes you want to give up. It makes you ask so many questions like why do I have to wait for someone like this, am I ever going to be with this person, how long is it gonna take before we really end up.

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Fortunately, my luck falls on John and the kind of man that he is. If he wasn’t the one I was going through this hell-hole with, I wouldn’t have made it to 1 year of long distance. BUT (yeah, big but), I’m happy and it’s been worth it. He’s been worth it. Especially when you see that through all your weaknesses and failures, his love still preserves and he always chooses to see the best in me when I forget to see myself that way.

We’ve been realistic. We know that there’s still a lot that can happen to us, especially since we still have our lives ahead of us. A lot of things have changed through the course of our relationship. We’re not rushing into anything, to be honest. We both know that right now we love each other a lot to keep ourselves committed to one another, but we will not, in any way, sacrifice the dreams that we want for ourselves.

So we’ve actually been good at this. We’re both balancing out ourselves and the relationship and we give each other time to breathe and do our own things, live our own lives while we’re both away from each other. Most importantly, we support each other grow on our own and discover new things and abilities without the other, as well as discover new things we want and new things that could be in store for us. We never pull the other down; we both know that we plan to be together, just not now. Right now we have ourselves. Right now we have months of being independent and we want to maximize that for ourselves before entering into a really serious commitment (which is marriage duh #letsberealhere). We’re both really happy. We’re not holding each other back or denying ourselves the little bubble of happiness we get from our relationship too and that’s been the best part and that’s why it’s all been worth it.

I have to get by September, October, November, December and only God knows how many more months in 2017 till I can see him again. But I guess no matter what happens in our relationship we’d both love to see each other again and again and we both know that we’ll always love each other.

And we both trust in that.  I just hope that, that will be enough to keep us together.

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So, right now, I want to thank my boyfriend, John for never failing to make me feel like a princess every single day even though we’re thousand miles apart. You’re the most dependable, most protective, and most caring guy. In spite of my nonchalance and occasional air of ungratefulness, please know that I appreciate all this, that I appreciate all of you and that I wouldn’t have it any other way with anybody else. I’ll always stick around with you. For 1 year we shared a lot of great memories together and I will forever cherish them. Cheers to more adventure, more crazy and unforgettable moments together. I wish I could spend our day with you.

So love and enjoy the distance that you have instead of complaining about it more than you appreciate it because the more you complain, the more it causes disdain. And stress and pity-partying and just everything else that could break a perfectly good relationship. Be more appreciative and forgiving and everything will be alright!

I’ll see you soon baby. I love you and miss you always!!

This is how you lose her

This is how you lose her. 

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You lose her when you forget to remember the little things that mean the world to her: the sincerity in a stranger’s voice during a trip to the grocery, the delight of finding something lost or forgotten like a sticker from when she was five, the selflessness of a child giving a part of his meal to another, the scent of new books in the store, the surprise short but honest notes she tucks in her journal and others you could only see if you look closely.

You must remember when she forgets.

You lose her when you don’t notice that she notices everything about you: your use of the proper punctuation that tells her continuation rather than finality, your silence when you’re about to ask a question but you think anything you’re about to say to her would be silly, your mindless humming when it is too quiet, your handwriting when you sign your name in blank sheets of paper, your muted laughter when you are trying to be polite, and more and more of what you are, which you don’t even know about yourself, because she pays attention.

She remembers when you forget.

You lose her for every second you make her feel less and less of the  beauty that she is. When you make her feel that she is replaceable. She wants to feel cherished. When you make her feel that you are fleeting. She wants you to stay. When you make her feel inadequate. She wants to know that she is enough and she does not need to change for you, nor for anyone else because she is she and she is beautiful, kind and good.

You must learn her.

You must know the reason why she is silent. You must trace her weakest spots. You must write to her. You must remind her that you are there. You must know how long it takes for her to give up. You must be there to hold her when she is about to.

You must love her because many have tried and failed. And she wants to know that she is worthy to be loved, that she is worthy to be kept.

And, this is how you keep her.

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DISCLAIMER: Excerpt from Junot Diaz, This is How You Lose Her.

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I collect moments, not things.

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Life is about spending time tinkering your favorite old toy, reading a good book and crying about it, listening to your playlist, successful / failed surprises, whole-heartedly appreciating anybody who’s brave enough to show you simple act of kindness, sitting on a passenger seat singing songs on the radio out loud with someone you love, passionate kisses, long tight embraces and a whole lot little moments.

I figured you have to immerse yourself with anything that will make your heart happy, no matter how simple it is. Life’s a lot more meaningful by letting yourself go and feel what’s there.

Long Distance Love

Many people believe that long distance relationships are never going to work out. Nobody says it is going to be easy – that extra distance that makes many things unachievable. Things could get complicated, and you could get sad and lonely at times. I’m not going to lie to you; long distance relationships are probably the toughest kind of relationships, the ones that actually require you to give in every single thing you’ve got, the ones that can turn you into the one of the most frustrated people on the planet, and the ones that can actually make you start questioning and begin to understand why you ever agreed to put yourself through this. The endless struggle of not seeing each other, making late night phone calls and keeping the fire alive is all too real. But, there’s no denying that as challenging as it is or was, living apart from one another only brought you and your significant other closer together.

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I, like many other happy people on this earth, have found myself in a long distance relationship and while it might be difficult, it’s working out just fine for my boyfriend and I.  For the first six months of my current relationship, I had been living between eleven to fourteen hours away from my boyfriend. We had known of each other for several months until last September, both of us decided to level up our friendship and continues on a more serious relationship; however, I never experienced a serious long distance relationship beforehand.

It completely changed when my boyfriend made serious career changes and decided to work on a cruise ship line which means he’ll be thousand miles away from me travelling from one country to another. Because I don’t want to be a hindrance for his dream and I want him to be happy. I supported him in whatever dream/s he has. I also understand that if we both have our time apart to achieve some of our goals, then we can have a future where we achieve the rest together

Just like any other long distance relationship plays out, we struggled, grew and learned to love in our particular way. It was difficult but we were committed to make things work out. It’s very challenging and being in this kind of relationship has changed me a lot. You both need to adjust with each other time and schedule. It’s hard but I know it will be worth it. Being in a long distance relationship is never easy. You need to deal with the distance, time difference, the loneliness, and even jealousy of the people who get to see your significant other. Long distance relationship may be tough but it has its own surprises too.

My boyfriend and I are in such relationship and so far, we’re getting the hang of it. But sometimes, no, every single day I just can’t help to miss him. It’s hard being away from the one you love. Only people who spend their days missing another person like we do truly understand how hard it is to see someone so important to you on a screen and only on a screen. And even more annoying, every time your data is crappy or your wifi cuts out, your connection is lost or you’re left reconnecting for minutes on end. It’s absolutely infuriating.

When time difference is such real bitch, whether it’s an hour or 12, being on another time zone is a constant struggle. When you’re waking up, he’s half-finished with his day. He’s headed to bed long before you’re even thinking about clocking out for the night. I know it isn’t the end of the world and it can be managed with a little compromise between you two.

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There are times you’ll worry for no reason about stupid things. That’s the thing about distance; it can make you a bit paranoid. I don’t even know where to start on this one. I’m sure other women out there understand what I’m trying to say. Let’s just say that when you’re thousand miles away, TRUST and UNDERSTANDING is a big deal. Without those two things, your relationship will fail. I promise you that. Now, I know you might be getting a bit worked up. But you don’t have to mistrust him while thinking of horrible scenarios in your head. For me anyway, I know that any awful thing that crawls into my mind isn’t true. It also helps when you know what they’re doing and who they’re with. It leaves less blanks for your mind to fill in. It requires a lot of understanding. Understanding that his day change and our schedules are different. And that’s okay. All you have to do is understand that things get busy, and that you talk when you can. However, if you believe in your heart that the person your with loves you as much as you love them, you’ve got nothing to worry about. If you trust one another, you’ll come away from your time apart a stronger couple.

I learned to adjust with my boyfriend’s schedule. I’m getting the hang of talking to him more or less one hour everyday or I say whenever his schedule is not that hectic. Even though sometimes I feel bad I wasn’t able to talk to him or see him, I can’t complain about it. The most I can do is to wait for him to be online and sit from across a screen just to look at each other faces and talk to each other as much time as we possibly can. Just being in different time zones makes scheduling much harder than it needs to be. You have to sacrifice sleep and learn how to make time and prioritize your significant other.

Yes, the waiting can be painful. It sure as hell it isn’t a Hollywood romance. Sometimes you feel like giving up, but you chose to keep going. You need to remind yourself that the results at the end will be sweet as heaven. I see every second, every minutes of our conversation as a blessing. No matter how short the time we have talking to each other. I love him and I hope this waiting, this long distance relationship will be worth it. The little things he does for me are the big things. Getting an “I love you”, “I miss you” and such a simple “Good morning” and “Good night” text in the middle of the day or when you wake up feels like getting flowers from him. It’s pleasant to know that you’re the first and last thing on your boyfriends’ mind. You appreciate the littlest things so much that the bigger things feel even better.

But at the end of the day, when all is said and done, when all your heart and soul has been put into this one part of your life, you will know and be proud of the fact that your relationship has come out a lot stronger and has become more resilient than an average relationship could ever be. With God in the center of our relationship, I know everything will be fine in the end. I’m just excited to see my love, to kiss and to hug him tight.

Are you in the beginning, the middle or end of a long distance relationship? Be strong and take heart!! Here’s to us and a love that survives even the longest bouts of separation. If you’re in a committed relationship and serious about your significant other, the time spent apart will seem short in the long run. It takes time to grow together but you’ll find that distance, no matter how painful, truly makes the heart grow fonder.

Pinto Art Museum of Antipolo, City

Rizaleños are no strangers to the local and international art scene. Home to their stunning masterpieces is the museum, kept in a secret garden hidden behind the hills and mountains of Antipolo City.

Finding Pinto Art Museum might pose a challenge at first as the institution was built astray from main roads and highways, but in a quiet hillside subdivision instead. Thanks for the one who invented Waze we easily find the place.

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Though I don’t have a talent for arts, I can say, I do have a huge interest and appreciation for it. I’ve eagerly wanted to visit an art museum located in Antipolo City after hearing raving reviews about the place from the blog community and friends. The museum is named as Pinto Art Museum (PAM). However, due to my piled up personal commitments, plans of going there has always been put aside and on-hold. But yesterday, as the sun settled high on the blue skies, me and my bestfriend decided to visit this famous art museum.

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Pinto Art Museum is just a 30-minute drive from where I live, yet it feels worlds away. It is a space in Antipolo City that houses present day arts worked by different local artists. If you’re wondering where does its name comes from, well, Pinto means door in Filipino, and the museum aims to be a gateway for modern and contemporary art. This beautiful contemporary art space sits on a 1.3 hectare property also known as Silangan Gardens located inside a private subdivision in Antipolo, Rizal. Several art galleries can be found in the open-air Mediterranean-inspired villas, shrouded by well-manicured gardens and landscaped greens.

A set of statues made alternatively of stone and nature friendly gardens. In the middle of the green lawn was an antique four poster bed laid out with crisp white sheets. Everywhere I looked there seemed to be doorways and paths waiting to reveal more hidden treasures.

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As I set my feet on the entrance of Pinto Art Museum and looked at it from the outside, I would never have thought that the other side of their small door is a 1.3 hectare property which cages over 300 art pieces, installations and sculptures. The simplicity of their entrance is far way beyond of what’s inside.

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After the warm welcome, we are directed to the registration area and paid 180 pesos each for the entrance fee for regular ticket, 100 pesos for for children and students with proper school IDs, FREE for children below 3 years old and 150 for senior citizens and PWD with valid IDs. Then the lady in the registration gave us 2 pieces of papers which is a map. So our exploration to Pinto Art Museum began.

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Me and my bestfriend were so excited as we tour the place. Take note, we were still near the entrance yet we can’t stop to fall in love with the place. Aside from the massive collection of paintings and sculptures, Pinto Art Museum is also a huge garden with lots of art pieces placed perfectly around it. I was blown away with the ambiance and the architectural structure of PAM. Every detail of this place were well thought — the white museum wings, the antique doors and windows, the chapel, its pond, even the rooftops… I mean all of them!

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Walking around Pinto Art Museum is a visual a treat. With aged doorways, windows, and quirky art pieces, every turn of the corner reveals something interesting. No wonder the place is popular with pre-nuptial sessions and pictorials, everything here is so picturesque.

Although I have seen Pinto Art Museum on different blog niches, seeing it in personal still makes me go WOW. It is a haven for photography. Every corner of this place is shutter click worthy. There are countless photographic opportunities waiting at every angle to satisfy any shutterbug’s cravings. Even if you’re just armed with a cellphone camera, you’d be hard-pressed to take a bad photo in this place. It’s that photogenic.

As we walked behind a quaint chapel, we came across a garden dedicated to the love of Jose Rizal and Leonor Rivera. There was a spoken word piece being played which told the love story and failed engagement between our national hero and his erstwhile fiancee. In keeping with the theme, the small garden also contained a garden with a desk containing letters labelled “The Undelivered Project” next to stationary and pens. A handwritten guide instructed people to empty their thoughts and write anonymous letters to the ones whom they had loved and lost. I was curious to read all the letters of heartbreak and unrequited love that lay unopened in the drawers.

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Paintings are located into different wings. Each wing is interesting and has an entertaining room.

Gallery 1 seems to be devoted to more traditional art pieces with paintings depicting idyllic scenes from daily life in the Philippines. Gallery 2 had more experimental mixed media pieces with some installations. Gallery 3 had some really interesting wire sculptures. Galleries 4 and 5 seemed to contain modern and abstract art pieces that I won’t pretend to understand. I’m not really an art critic, but I think most people can appreciate the interesting art pieces here.

One thing I really appreciate about Pinto Art Museum is that it manages to make the artwork and all the structures cohesive with the environment. Unlike formal museums which preserve art pieces in controlled air-conditioned rooms, all the buildings here are open-air structures, which keeps everything natural.

It was refreshing to see art pieces not only hanging in the walls, but integrated in the seating areas and gardens as art installations. I also appreciate the fact that photography for personal use is allowed here unlike some other museums.

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Located in the lower gardens is The Museum of Indigenous Art, showcases the richness of the Filipino culture. It contains functional and ritual objects, textiles, jewelry and other beautiful indigenous artwork.

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WHERE TO EAT:

There are two areas to eat inside Pinto Art Museum. Pinto Cafe in the garden area and Cafe Tan-aw by Peppermill, a roof deck area near the entrance. The restaurant serves a wide range of dishes including soup, salad, appetizers, Japanese cuisine, pizza, pasta, sandwiches, main courses and desserts. The food is good, but a bit pricey.

We stayed at Pinto Art Museum for more than 3 hours and I didn’t feel bored during our stay.  Pinto Art Museum is a definite must-see tourist spot that’s not that far from the metro. If you have balikbayan friends or relatives visiting who only have limited time to tour around Manila, I’d rank this as one of the top places you can take them to. Allot around 3-5 hours to visit all the galleries and take photographs around the place. It actually makes me proud to see all the works in this place were made by my fellow Kababayan. I salute every artist who put and shared their talents and build this site! I can say that museum hopping is fun in Antipolo, Rizal! Hopefully more site like this will be established in the Philippines.

TIPS AND INFOS:

  • Pinto Art Museum is located inside Grand Heights, a private subdivision in Antipolo, Rizal. We find it easier to get here from Ortigas Avenue Extension to avoid the traffic congestion of Sumulong Highway and Antipolo town proper.
  • Pinto Art Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Pinto Art Museum is CLOSED on MONDAYS.
  • According to their Facebook page, they are open during holidays (as long as it’s not a Monday.)
  • There’s an entrance fee of P20 for road users for non-residents of Grand Heights. You can park your vehicles on the street right across the museum.
  • Guided Tour Schedule: 09:00 am – 11:00 am; 12:00 nn – 02:00 pm; 02:00 pm – 04:00 pm; 04:30 pm – 06:00 pm
  • No food or pets are allowed. Smoking is strictly prohibited inside the museum.

Don’t the paintings, sculptures, and other artwork make you want to go there this instant? You’ll definitely get lost in the art and your surroundings. It’s the perfect place to relax, unwind, and step away from what you’re used to in the city.

For more infos about museum tour and pre-nups packages you can visit their Facebook page.

Selamat Datang KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA 2015 (Part 3)

For Part 2 of our KL adventure, click HERE.

This has become one of the icon of Kuala Lumpur, The Petronas Twin Tower so, yes, if you visit Kuala Lumpur, this is a must visit place. Petronas used to be the world’s tallest skyscraper for the duration of 1998 and 2004. Since then, there have been a number of buildings that have surpassed it on the list. This did not prevent us from visiting this from seeing these towers with our own eyes and we even planned to see it on different times of the day.

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One can actually go inside the twin towers. It houses a famous shopping mall called the KLCC Suria where you can find some mid-range to luxury brands of clothings and accessories and also some famous restaurants in the city.  We could go to the skybridge or the Observation Deck, which is on level 86. But the ticket to go up is also a bit pricey for tourist, around RM80. If you don’t mind spending that much money, I would recommend you do that, especially to view the sunset in Kuala Lumpur.

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If you do not want to go up, we can always go down as well, to go to the shopping mall, which offers various shops and restaurants, with price range of middle and above.

We found out that the park in front of the towers is closed so we had to scout for a good location wherein we could take good angles. It was pretty hard as the trees were getting in the way. I also felt bad as I couldn’t take those shots of the towers reflecting on the water.

I have never expected that I would be amazed to see such a structure that was man-made, I guess I really have to see it to believe it. The pictures cannot compare to the actual experience of seeing it in front of you. No matter what time of the day you look at it, it will still stand tall and mighty and one of the icons of how Malaysia has developed through the years.

We also passed by at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC). Since, we’re too early the building is still close so we don’t have an opportunity to look inside. It is the main convention centre in Putrajaya. The first thing one notice is its unique shaped rooftop. It is designed in the shape of a silver Malay royal belt buckle, and looks majestic from afar. It is located strategically on top of a hill, and faces the lakes at Putrajaya. This area is also a photographer’s heaven with its stunning vistas. It is a popular venue for conferences, meetings and exhibitions for local and international events.

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Seeing mosques were a special part of this trip. I really had no idea that non-Muslims can go inside them unless you had a permit or want to convert to the religion. I was curious on how mosques look like inside and was even more curious about the religion and beliefs. I grew up as a Catholic and studied at a Catholic school until high school so I only had ideas about the Muslim religion during our History class. I knew of mosques that were open to tourists while researching for our trip to Malaysia so I definitely had to include on going to at least one on our itinerary. We planned to visit this one famous mosque in Putrajaya so we specifically went there for a day trip.

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Masjid Putra, or Putra Mosque, is the main mosque of Putrajaya located west of Putra Square. It is most distinguished for its outstanding pink color and its minaret that stands 116-meters that is said to be the tallest in Southeast Asia.

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Since we are  in the Putra Square we tried their new launch Comos EV Ecoride. This is open to all and be sure that you have a driver’s license with you because the locals check it before they let you have a roundtrip ride around the square. It costs us RM50 for a 15minute ride around the Putra Square.

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Since all of us are kid at heart, we visit the i-City in Shah Alam or also called the City of Digital Lights near Kuala Lumpur. i-City is a stunning 72-acre theme park in Shah Alam that’s well-frequented for its nightly colorful display of LED-lit attractions as well as exciting rides and unique museums.

There’s also a colorful Ferris wheel, two-tiered carousels and funfair-like booths set up where you can win stuffed toys, while plenty of food stalls and cafes offer an extensive range of local and international delicacies. As the sun sets in I-City, its sprawling ‘forest’ of artificial maple and pine trees as well as quirky, plastic figures such as peacocks, flamingos, and giraffes are illuminated with millions of LED lights.

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Although the entrance is free, but every ride also need to queue and buy ticket. All rides also need to pay. No money no talk. We spent more than three hours there, from late afternoon till night. Luckily, we got there before the sunset, the time when most people would only come to enjoy the City of Digital Lights in the dark. So, we got parking easily, and it’s conveniently near to those attractions. And luckily, there is no rain today.

It’s now night-time and all the LED light decorations are on..It’s time to check them out. Simply beautiful. I wonder how much they spent in electricity bill for the City of Digital Lights every month. But the effect is really good. When we left when it is almost 10pm, there were still many cars and people coming in.

With a vast array of exciting museums and thrilling rides in a colorful carnival-esque atmosphere, i-City Theme Park is perfect for families who want to enjoy an unforgettable experience of fun and adventure in Kuala Lumpur.

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So, that is all about some of Kuala Lumpur Landmark in which I have visited. Hope you guys enjoy it! If there are other interesting places which you guys have visited or which you think it’s worth to visit, please feel free to share with us by leaving a comment below.. :)

Cheers!

 

Selamat Datang KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA 2015 (Part 2)

For Part 1 of our KL adventure, click HERE.

For the continuation of our Kuala Lumpur experience, we passed by the Sultan Abdul Samad building which is a strip of Islamic-inspired structures. Sultan Abdul Samad Building is now home to the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture of Malaysia and sits beside the old KL Railway Station. Too bad, since it is a government office, I could not get a grant to take a look on the inside. It remains one of the city’s most important tourist attractions and a historical landmark in the city. Its very outstanding with its design with Moghul Islamic architecture in mind. Also, it’s very distinct for the clock tower that is also popular to the locals as the “Big Ben” of Kuala Lumpur.

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Just to let you guys know, there is a free guided tour along Dataran Merdeka, to visits all other historical landmark, but it is only available on certain time.

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Next to it is Kuala Lumpur City Gallery. This is by far my most favorite place among others located near Dataran Merdeka. Classic, artistic, orderly mannered.  Since we were already touring around to have a glimpse of Malaysia’s history, why not go here to see more of modern KL inside.
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Kuala Lumpur City Gallery is another unique kind of tourist attraction in Kuala Lumpur. It is a visitor information, where we could ask a guide about some road, or other tourist attraction place to visit.  It is located at around Daratan Merdeka, and there are a lot of other tourist attraction near to this place. This building is preserved from a historical building (I really like the classiness feeling around here :)). And there are a lot of historical landmark around this area, so once we visit this place, we could just spend the whole day to visit a lot of other places nearby.

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Next stop, the Tugu Negara or The National Monument is one of the attractions in Kuala Lumpur. It is located at a walking distance from the famous Lake Gardens Kuala Lumpur. The National Monument is a sculpture which was built in remembrance of the brave soldiers who died fighting for the independence of our country. This historic sculpture has also marked its place in the book of records for being the tallest freestanding group of bronze sculptures.

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The Monument of 7 Soldiers is the tallest freestanding bronze sculpture grouping. The 7 figures of the soldiers have its own qualities: leadership, courage, strength, sacrifice, unity, suffering and vigilance.

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What is so nice about the National Monument is it is surrounded with fountains and ornamental pewter lilies. This is the Asean Sculpture Garden just beside the monument.

We finally stepped foot to Merdeka Square which is Dataran Merdeka or translated in English as Independence Square. The entire place used to serve as the government administration center during the British settlement. This is where the Union Jack flag was lowered down and the Malaysian flag was raised for the first time to commemorate the end of British colonization over the country. The Merdeka Square has since then been the venue for commemorating the country’s independence.

I was so surprised to find this historic gem that was also probably nearby the busiest parts of the city. Amidst the modern skyscrapers, bustling shopping malls, and even the busy intersection roads surrounding Merdeka, I was certainly impressed with how this heritage area has been preserved.

The area is not that packed with tourists, in fact, I feel it’s not that famous of a tourist spot and I wish it would stay the same so as to preserve its very unique and relaxed atmosphere. During night, I reckon it’s also a good place to chill and talk with friends with these magnificent structures in view. Absolutely one of my recommended places in Kuala Lumpur.

For Part 3 of our KL adventure, click HERE.

Selamat Datang KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA 2015 (Part 1)

How long has it been since I last updated my blog? I’ll only briefly apologize for the lateness of this post, which I meant to have written up within a couple of days of it happening. But I’m An ordinary employed girl reveling in a break from course work and schedules, so I got lazy and am just now getting to writing it up.

I feel as though I’ve been neglecting this little blog ‘o’ mine lately. Sadly, I have had every intention of updating before now. It’s been a long month so far, what with the general hustle and bustle that this season brings.  But anyway; excuses, excuses, right?

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I was off on a whirlwind trip to South East Asia a few months back (most of which, feels like a blur now). While getting into the swing of travelling, admittedly my updating has not been as frequent as planned. But let’s start with rounding up the 4 days and 3 nights of my trip, which were spent in and around Kuala Lumpur.

Together with my best friends Jen and Viv we boarded a Manila-Kuala Lumpur flight via Cebu Pacific. The flight lasted over 3 hours and went fairly smoothly. We arrived at KLIA2 2:30PM and immediately took a cab to Youniq Hotel, our home for the duration of the trip. Tip: You may want to exchange for enough Malaysian Ringgit (for the bus and cab fare) at the airport. However, money changers along Chinatown or Bukit Bintang offer the best rates.

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Touchdown Kuala Lumpur!!

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Youniq hotel definitely lives up to its name: unique. Its quirky designs left a deep impression on us. This is perhaps also attributed to its contrasting neighborhood which we would elaborate later. The hotel is also busked in neon lights!

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The hotel provides facilities like hot & cold water cooler in the common lounge and, iron with iron board, washing machine and sink in a common space beside the balcony. Cool use of QR code on room key to access the room. We were struggling how to get into the room. We looked for a card slot and we tapped the card. We thought the QR code was to direct us to the hotel website or something. So, yea. Tap on the QR code. Haha.

Rooms are also spacious and provide decent amenities (cable TV, wi-fi, etc.), not to mention the clean bathroom. The hotel offers buffet breakfast (rice, bread, viands, pasta, etc.) which is a really good value, especially since you need much energy touring during the day.  Our rooms were also reasonably priced, I might add (booked via agoda.com).

For our first day, we booked a tour which also offers every foreigner visitors in the hotel. You can see Kuala Lumpur’s top sights in a rush on an overnight stay, but you’ll need at least two days to do them justice, and three or four days to really get a sense of the city. In a week, you can get a good look at most of what Kuala Lumpur has to offer, do some shopping and enjoy an excursion to Selangor as well – the Batu Caves is not to be missed.

Kuala Lumpur is adept at reconciling the old with the new. How the city excels at striking this balance is clearly observed in how the colonial facade and structure of the Sultan Abdul Samad building blends intimately with the tall, freestanding wonder of The Petronas Twin Towers.  One thing you’ll discover in Kuala Lumpur is the many priceless moments you get to sit back and reflect. Amidst the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan city, lies a calming yet serious appreciation of culture and the crafts.

Take a look. Take a walk. You will be inspired.

First in our list is the famous Batu Caves was our first destination for the day, though not exactly part of Kuala Lumpur, but we went to see it as it was very close to KL.  It’s one of Kuala Lumpur’s most famous attractions, is 45 minutes away from the city center. It is actually already in the outskirts of KL in the area called Gombak District. Let’s say this was my first taste of MALAYSIA TRULY ASIA.

It is one of Malaysia’s famous tourist attractions located at Gombak district, 8 miles north of Kuala Lumpur. The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India and is also known for its large gold statue of Lord Morugan.

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The caves is said to be 400 million years old already but was only founded to be a site for Hindu worship in 1890 by K. Thamboosamy Pillai (the same founder of Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur). The place is also the main location of Thaipusam festival in the country that occurs every January or February every year.

We were greeted by a large statue of a green monkey deity upon entering, there was also a small shrine nearby the entrance but it seems that no one goes up there except for Indians. Walking further, we also saw some Indian restaurants that caters to tourists who wanted to take a quick bite before taking the journey to the caves or some refreshments to those who have already been up to the cave and wants replenish their thirst. There were also some stalls that sell souvenirs, clothes, and other snacks.

After few minutes, we were able to see the most photographed section of the Batu Caves, the grand statue of Lord Murugan. The newly erected statue, stands 140 feet high and took 3 years in construction. I think it is not made of gold, but just with gold paint. :)

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The journey doesn’t stop just by having photos of the large statue. We ventured on taking the 272 concrete steps leading up to the Temple Cave. The stairs looks stiff and it was in a straight direction, no left or right. However, I saw a lot of senior citizen climb up and down the stairs, so how could we be discouraged! We climbed the stairs one by one until reached the top, it was not bad though, not as hard as we thought. P.S, be careful when climbing the stairs, as there were a lot of monkey around. Fortunately for us, we were not able to encounter the famous notorious monkeys in the area. The climb was manageable and good thing I brought with me a bottle of mineral water I was able to climb all those steps without getting dehydrated.

The view of course is good. I stopped occasionally along the steps and made I appreciate the view. Looking down, seeing the crowd trying to find their way up, and the buildings of the surrounding area even as far as downtown Kuala Lumpur, and looking up, marveling at the limestone formations on the mouth of the cave.

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Once you’ve reached the top, you can now see the entrance to the Main Cave. There’s a bench so in case you get breathless, you can rest there for a bit. Walk your way through to the rear cavern that has a natural opening at the top that allows light to sneak in the rest of the cave area.

There was only a small Hindu shrine in the Temple Cave, which is dedicated to Lord Murugan. The entire place felt very spiritual especially with the light effect of the cave. There were some Indians worshipping on the site but most of the people there were too busy to take pictures. The area felt very touristy to me and I hope the travelers there appreciate the essence of why Batu Caves was established for, and not just by being there for a tourist attraction. The Temple Cave also offers great views of rock formations.

As it is regarded as a sacred Hindu Temple, there is no such thing as entrance fees, A.K.A it’s free, how cool is that! Except there are some museum around the cave area (outside the cave), which are not free.

The monkeys of the Batu Caves: The real attractions of the Batu Caves are the baboons living in these mountains. These monkeys are real thieves do steal anything to get food or drinks that lead over the visitors. Other people are dedicated to feeding the monkeys, but also can be a relatively dangerous activity if the monkeys want to take food from your hands. Normally, if you do not bring food and do not mind the monkeys do nothing. Still, careful with your personal items like sunglasses, among others.

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After half an hour, we finally decided to go down and explore more. We finally saw the last of the three caves which was the Dark Cave. The tour will also require you to pay a fee but I heard that you’d be able to see nice limestone formations and some of the cave animals such as an arachnid called the Trapdoor Spider that is already an endangered species.

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It was an awesome experience to be able to go to whole Batu Caves It surely gave a different light on how I see Hinduism as a religion and has opened to more understanding on the Hindu’s beliefs and culture. It’s also one of a kind what with the elaborate designs of the place and the thought of having a religious site inside a cave! It’s one of those places not to be missed when you’re around Kuala Lumpur.

We were up quite early for our first day in Kuala Lumpur. I was feeling excited to tour around the city even though the temperature here was probably even hotter than Manila. Our host offered to tour us around which we did not hesitate to accept.

Our next destination was Central Market, translated in Malaysian as Pasar Seni. I was told that formerly, the place was just your ordinary wet market but was transformed later on to this building that not just sell food, but also focuses on arts and crafts-related products imported from different countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, China and India. Now, the place is packed with tourists for its popularity as one of Kuala Lumpur’s unique destinations.

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We were able to sneak inside and haggle with some vendors but we did not but anything though. One can buy souvenirs, Malaysian/Chinese/Indian food, local fruits, clothings such as sarongs and other traditional wears, and a whole lot more.

Just across the road near Central Market is Petaling Street which is probably considered as the heart of Chinatown. Our goal was not to do some shopping (yet!), but just to do some sightseeing, people watching and probably to have some bite of good cheap Chinese food in the hawkers stalls. Jalan Petaling is one of the city’s bargain hunter paradise. It’s also similar to our own Manila Chinatown though the vendor stalls are more organized and the area is way more cleaner in KL.

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We walked around and noticed that the items being sold there were imitation goods (clothings, accessories, DVD and CDs) and souvenirs stalls were dime a dozen as well. Of course, haggling is the way of life here. One trick that I always practice is that I negotiate for almost 30-80% off the price, if they don’t budge, I’ll just threaten them to walk away and look at other stores. ;)

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We went off to take a quick bite on one of the food stalls at Chinatown to figure out where we would be heading out next.

Next stop, the Instana Negara is known as National Palace in Kuala Lumpur. Considered as the favorite tourist spot where they welcome you with arch guards. This is sort of their Malacanang counterpart, where the Malaysian monarchs live. Nothing much to see here except the gates and the horse-riding security personnel guarding the premises. This impressive palace of white and gold is certainly worth seeing. This very pretty building is a rather underrated but very interesting sight in Kuala Lumpur.

We opted to pass by Brickfields as we were already in KL Sentral. Brickfields is also commonly known as KL’s Little India due to the high percentage of Indian residents of the town.. The place is filled with colorful monuments and landmarks which are very depicting of the Hindu culture. I can just imagine how colorful this area can be during Indian festivals.

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Then we dropped by the KL Sentral to get food since we were getting a little hungry. There are also various fast foods, convenience stores, shopping boutiques and money changers around and this proved to be very convenient especially for first-time tourists.

More of my moments in Malaysia on upcoming posts…

For Part 2 of our KL adventure, click HERE.

Digital Sands of Time

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Is the worth of something measured when you are able to record or document it? Is the worth of your day measured when you are able to tweet every single moment of it? When you are able to blog about it? How do we reckon the value of something nowadays?

I used to be anxious when I wasn’t able to document something and be able to share it. So I then stopped. I stopped. I was curious of this phenomenon that goes by unnoticed but took its toll. I realized, are we ever living in the present? We spend so much time documenting moments with our gadgets that we forget the most important lens of all, our eyes, and the most important memory card? The ones in our heads, not the 1 terabyte hard drive (although it comes in handy with school/work). We tend to live in the pictures that we are only reminded of the feeling once we see it, but do we ever completely feel the actual moment once we close our eyes and replay it in our heads?

I shifted my perspective. We don’t always have to blog about something or be anxious when we feel like we are missing something online. Slowly, I deviated away from Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. I deviated from the noise and find someplace that is more tangible. I wrote in my journal, and I am writing it here too.

Sorry if I am not able to write often, or probably missing more posts and entries in the future. Sorry I am not sorry at all. I am busy trying to participate in the moment. Knowing I am alive, and I am here. I am present. I am living. I am here.

Poetry #8 – Someplace, I’d rather be [With Someone]

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At this very moment I am supposed to be

thinking about something else,

but may I just ask,

Why is it that we are never really where we are?

Why do we always have a “somewhere else I’d rather be”?

I’ve never realized it until now,

but there’s something about far places that intrigued me.

Something about longing to be there.

I know that this could only mean one thing:

I am in search of solace.

Where do you find it?

Is it in the person you love?

In touching the soft wings of a dead butterfly?

In coffee? Cold floors?

In room full of roses and tulips?

Is it strange to find solace in a set of skeleton keys or blank notebooks and journals?

Sometime I wonder,

in my search for solace,

who will come with me,

when they all have

somewhere else they’d rather be?