Boracay Phoenix Fire Dancers

boracay phoenix fire dancers

This group of fire dancers were performing along the vibrant night life section of White Beach in Boracay – around Station 2.

boracay white beach fire dancers

They’re called the Boracay Phoenix Fire Dancers and I was quite impressed by one of them – she has really good skills.

boracay fire dancers

There were multiple performances – both indoors and outdoors simultaneously, and the latter having no constraints with ceilings and such, could perform aerial tricks.

One of them did an amazing catch after throwing the meteor hammer up in the air – she didn’t catch it the first time, but managed to snag it on the second try. It was the monsoon season so the wind speed was rather fierce, I was amazed she even managed to catch it at all!

fire dancers lighting cigarette

The Boracay Phoenix Fire Dancers also lit a lot of cigarettes by spinning the fire dancing apparatus close to the cancer sticks.

…and they also managed to scare a lot of people shitless by spinning the meteor hammers around their faces. smirk

I have seen an equally good fire dancing performance in Penang (of all places) and really wanted to pick it up but the closest I ever got was fire breathing. Heh.

fire dancers boracay

It’s the long weekend everyone! What are your plans? :D

Eating balut in the Philippines

balut egg

Balut is perhaps the Philippines most notorious street food. It’s an duck egg that’s intentionally unpasteurized to create a fertilized embryo inside it. You can get a near fully formed chick if you’re lucky – complete with beak, feathers and other features you’ll normally associate with a duck.

Well, a duck to be anyway, since it’s been boiled, it’s never going to hatch. ;)

balut duck egg embryo

Balut is also known for it’s eww factor with an almost ridiculous aversion bordering on stereotypical squeamishness.

I think there was a Fear Factor episode where the final contestants backed out from eating it. I honestly don’t get what all the fuss is all about – it’s just an egg…with a duck as a bonus. Heh.

cooking balut

I managed to get one that has a relatively intact and grown chick inside, complete with a beak and feathers. I reckon that’s the best kind – crunchy and well, feathery. smirk

balut duck embryo

The balut is kept in local cardboard insulated wood buckets and wrapped in layers of cloth to keep them warm – it’s quite nasty if you eat it cold coz part of the goodness of balut is the broth that comes out of the egg.

balut salt

The street venders sell it with a twist of salt in a conical newspaper wrapping – I got 2 balut eggs for 50 pesos (about RM 4). You’re supposed to eat it by cracking open the top of the balut egg, adding salt and slurping out the delicious juices before eating it.

I ate the first one without salt to get a more unadulterated experience and the second one with salt on the advice of the vendor. I preferred eating it without salt, the soup tastes almost exactly like chicken broth, and the half formed duck added a bit of texture and crunchiness to it.

balut

You can see the juices from the balut dripping down my hand in this photo. I’ve eaten balut before, it should have no offensive odors despite a lot of reports claiming otherwise – this is confirmed by a Pinoy friend of mine, who first introduced me to it by bringing it all the way from Manila to Sibu, causing a three day delay before I ate it. Heh.

Here’s a video of me eating it in a hurry (it was a high traffic area) and the associated local bystanders watching with interest and asking if I liked it.

There are a lot of myths associated with balut with claims such as improving male vitality and potency. That will put Pfizer and GSK out of business if it were true. ;) Similar claims have been made on dog meat, snake blood and bull’s penis. I am inclined to disregard all those and just eat it for the experience and taste.

eating balut

How does balut taste like? Well it just tastes like a regular boiled egg, except balut has a rich duck broth and a crunchy texture where the half formed chick resides. Xinxian agreed and added that it felt like she was eating egg shells.

I highly recommend that you try balut if you’re ever in the Philippines – it’s delicious in its own way and it’s one of those things that you have to try when you’re there. :)

Boracay and the flip flop disaster

boracay white beach sandcastle

After a long day diving and ATV riding at Boracay, we walked to White Beach to catch the sunset and I somehow managed to get my trusty flip flops stuck in the sand and the right pair finally gave out.

white beach sand

I could still use it by stuffing the bit that got loose back in – this pair has actually been relegated to my balcony back home, but it’s at best a temporary fix. It would come apart again at the slightest provocation, such as walking on the beach, or even sneezing for that matter.

I figured it was time to get new flip flops.

biggest pair of shoes in the world

The first shop I went to had one I really liked but unfortunately they were not for sale. It’s a display only item and anyhow, it was soooo large that I could practically *sleep* on it.

giant joke flip flops

I managed to get a pair for 400 pesos (about RM 30) at the next outlet but after I got back to the resort, I realized a little too late that it was slightly too big for me. :(

smirk

Posted: 9:50 am Boracay time (GMT +8)

I broke my tooth!

broken teeth

I’ve been having trouble with one of my molars for a while now – it really hurts to chew but the pain suddenly went away one day so I thought it was fine.

…until just now that is. :x

intramuros

I was eating dinner at a local fast food restaurant in Intramuros, Manila where we had spent the day when I suddenly felt something crack inside my mouth. (!)

My initial thought was that it’s probably a stray bone, and I didn’t feel any pain so I ponderously chewed while attempting to spit the foreign object out. It looked harmless enough at first sight, until I ran my tongue along my left lower jaw and felt a hole with sharp jagged edges.

I have chipped my tooth! :(

I thought I’ll just get it fixed and since there wasn’t any pain, I figured I’ll just use the right side of my teeth to do the usual job of grinding food into manageable mush to swallow.

Unfortunately, about half an hour later, I felt a tingling sensation – the nerve endings in my gums are exposed!

That’s not too bad either, but later as we caught a cab back to the hotel I started to feel the onset of a headache of epic proportions. I used to suffer from migraines but it doesn’t have the characteristic warning signs of an impending one – it’s sensitivity to light for me.

I didn’t think much of it until I got a better look at my teeth. I was complaining about a headache of mysterious origin and suddenly it occurred to us that it could be due to the broken tooth. I don’t know if it’s infected or the massive migraine that I’m currently having is due to the exposed raw nerve endings on my gum but I’ve never had one this bad before.

chipped tooth

I really hope it’s not related but it’s starting to be quite apparent that it is due to the timeline and lack of migraine warning signs.

I just feel like puking, crawling into bed and curling up in a fetal position.

Posted: 11:54 pm Manila time (GMT +8)

Lingerie, alleys and balls with Fiona the flight attendant

fiona

That just sounds downright dodgy eh? Heh. This photo was taken at around 3 am in the morning. There’s a rather funny story about how we got here from drinks at Orchard Road in Singapore.

…rewind to about 8 hours earlier

peranakan place

I met up with Fiona for dinner – it turns out that she lives quite near my sister’s apartment in Simei. Thus, we met at Eastpoint Mall. She got there about the same time I did and called me saying she doesn’t know if she’s at the right entrance – it’s at the place where there’s a lot of lingerie.

lingerie

I pretty much knew where that was since I came to the mall the day before with my parents to the supermarket downstairs. :)

Anyway, Fiona is a flight attendant and I’ve known her since her words of encouragement when I was being all emo and shit after the last relationship I was in. I haven’t actually met her though so I only have a vague idea of how she looked like from my Facebook account.

alley bar singapore

We took a cab to Orchard Road and told the taxi we didn’t have any destination in mind, so he dropped us off somewhere near…er, I can’t actually remember. I know we walked for a bit and checked out the drinking holes around the Peranakan Place area before settling on Alley Bar.

pulled pork burger

It has the most awesome pork burger ever! It’s called the BBQ Pulled Pork Burger and it’s a juicy and tender mess of 5 hours of smoked pork shoulder smothered in barbecue sauce, topped with a whole jalapeno chili pepper.

Fiona had a bite and she concurred. Actually eating it is a messy affair – it’s like a sloppy joe except it’s not made with minced meat but rather loose meat. It’s the best pork burger I’ve had to date! I’ll need to save up for cosmetic surgery if I continue eating food like this. How much does liposuction or abdominoplasty cost nowadays anyway?

sloppy joe

We were seated outside at a place simply called Outdoors – Peranakan Place has three distinct areas built around a real Peranakan settlement. Outdoors is the al fresco zone which is a “Designated Smoking Area” (damn Singaporean laws) and there’s also Acid Bar and Alley Bar, which is the main place.

There’s a live band playing – the music is piped to Outdoors for those who’re not inside, loved this cover of Radiohead’s Creep.

I had two pints of Erdinger Beer – there are two, one dark and one white. The “dark” one is Pikantus and the “light” Weissbier. We were eating, drinking and talking and it was around 11:30 pm when the subject somehow changed to pool and Fiona found a place that’s open until 3 am.

dodgy singapore

We walked down the opposite direction at first before the GPS on her phone told us we’re heading the wrong way so we turned back. The pool place is at Concorde Hotel – somehow that place looks really seedy, it’s full of KTV hostess bars and dodgy characters loitering about who look like they would totally mug you if this was Malaysia instead of Singapore. HAHAHA

It turns out that Fiona is quite good at pool. I wouldn’t say that she kicked my ass but it was a really close thing. Tomatoe tomato.

fiona pool

Speaking of asses, Fiona is left handed, which I didn’t notice until we were playing. I was standing behind her trying to see how she plays. I thought she would think that I was checking out her butt. It turns out that she didn’t, she’s probably used to people ogling at her as cabin crew. :p

See what I did there? smirk

It’s a masterful (wah damn syoik sendiri) way of neither confirming nor denying the statement, just like how Israel’s nuclear ambiguity works, except bombs and butts are two very different things.

Anyway, they don’t sell beer inside, and we were alternately playing pool and 9 ball before I suggested we head to the 7-Eleven outside to get some. It wasn’t a 7-11, it’s a similar concept called Cheers (how apt) and I told her to just scull the 500 ml can before we head inside. It’s a strong beer at 9% and you don’t exactly drink it for the taste.

fiona apprehensive

Look at Fiona’s apprehensive face! ;)

I think we spent more than the 5 minutes we told the pool hall clerk we’ll be away outside, downing that beer and smoking in the rather unusual backdrop of closed shops, dark segments and KTV bars.

broken dreams

We went and played until it was nearly three before heading out for more beer. This time we brought it inside using Fiona’s bag, and using the same to discreetly conceal the two cans by putting it behind and out of sight. That was the first picture. Smart.

The place was supposed to close at 3 am but we were still playing so the clerk started cleaning up. I don’t think he cared about the alcohol anyway, we were the only customers in there at the time. Thanks for the beers Fiona! :)

scull

It was 4:30 am when we finally shared a cab home. I could only spare one night coz I’m here for my mom so I only went out once. I had a lot of fun, one of the more memorable night outs in a long time despite only getting two hours of sleep two nights in a row to wake up for church. Say hi to Fiona if you see her while flying!

Simei Singapore Style

eastpoint green

Helllooooo! I’m in Singapore for the long weekend for a bit of a family reunion. My dad is flying in too – we’re basically here for my mom. I’m crashing at my sister’s apartment – Eastpoint Green in Simei (at least I think that’s what this place is called, it’s in Changi).

simei singapore

I’m about to fall asleep so I’ll just do the good ol’ cut and paste from my earlier post in FB:

Holy shit my mom’s chemo treatments costs SGD 12,000 per cycle of 3 weeks!

She just competed a full course of 3 cycles for 36k.

…and I thought *my* medication is expensive.

She’s looking good though – just a bit bloated from all the liquid that’s transfused together with the chemo via IV drip every two days.

Tumor marker went down to an all time low so she’s going for another course to capitalize on it. Starting a new course of chemo.

mom

Hi mom! :)

P/S – I took out the dash in the smiley face emoticon that my Android phone keeps putting in, I personally prefer the compact smiley so it’s not technically a verbatim cut and paste. Haha.

P/P/S – Thanks for all the kind words and support everyone!

One Easy Saturday Night

1. Gas (RM 50.63)

petrol

I just did this to verify that my new debit card is working. I just got it a couple of minutes ago so I went to the petrol station and used it to verify that it’s been activated. I do this with my credit card too – for a completely different reason – to check if I’ve exceeded the limit. smirk

2. Dinner (RM 46.85)

dinner

Xinxian went the opposite of the “Look East” policy and we searched for a place that serves the cuisine that she wanted – ended up eating at Pancake House where there were savory pancakes in addition to sweet ones. I had the Classic Country Pancake.

pancakes

She had the Best Taco Special set.

halo halo

We both ordered Halo Halo coz it says that it originates from the Philippines and since we’re heading there I thought it’ll be fun to eat this here and compare it with the authentic (at least geographically) one when we head there in about a week or so.

dinner bill

Not a bad place for a quick dinner.

3. Shopping (RM 199)

clothes

It has come to my attention that my style of dressing leaves a lot to be desired – the vibe I got was that I look horrigible in what my current wardrobe repertoire offers so when Xinxian broke the news to me we went searching for attire that would not be so offensive to her eyes.

taste

I admit that my fashion sense may be slightly different – I love this pair of sneakers for example, while Xinxian just thought it was loud and garish.

shopping

I don’t buy a lot of clothes, preferring to spend the money on experiences like travel, but since there was a sale going on, and I had a self-appointed fashion consultant, I got a long sleeved checkered shirt. It was originally RM 199 but with the 50% discount, it went down to RM 99.50 which is about just slightly less than one night in the cheapest backpacker’s hostel I could find in London.

4. Movie (RM 22)

movie

We watched a Cantonese film called The Silent War which I didn’t expect much out of but it surprised me by having a well thought out plot (albeit cliched and predictable) and great production values compared to the Chinese New Year movies I tend to watch.

movies

There’s no slapstick humor and the character development is great, I’ll rate it a 7/10 – extra points for it being one of the rare Hong Kong films that’s actually good instead of something slapped together, filmed at the speed of light, and brought to you with minimal post production but a hefty dose of crude humor to compensate for the complete lack of a cohesive storyline, character development and depth.

At least you don’t see the audio boom in this movie – a endemic problem with low budget CNY movies. Heh.

I paid for everything using my debit card and managed to keep track of everything spent that night and I’m spending what I just put in earlier that evening.

easy debit card

The debit card in question is the new RHB Easy-Smart Debit Card. It’s available at all RHB Easy outlets, I went to the one in Kelana Jaya LRT. That’s the beauty of this – the outlets are all at high traffic areas and open 7 days a week!

easy by rhb

Best of all, you can get everything done in 10 minutes by just walking in!

All you need is:

Your MyKad
10 minutes of your time
RM 20 for opening an account

I timed the entire process and it actually took only slightly more than 8 minutes. I was taking photos the entire time and I have the exact time – 8:36 minutes – from the first shot that I took to the final one. Heh.

mykad

I hate filling out forms. I think I’ve mentioned that a lot of times before. You don’t have to worry about that here as everything is done automatically – it’s either pulled from your MyKad and you just tell the teller the rest of the information.

I was serviced by one Mr. Nasri Nasir who was very helpful throughout – kudos for the efficiency!

nasri

Basically, the beauty of the new RHB Easy-Smart Debit Card lies not only in:

  • 10 minute walk-in banking with just your MyKad
  • On-the-spot approval
  • No forms to fill

…but also the unique cash kickbacks that RHB offers with the use of the debit card. I’ll insert a chart to illustrate it better.

easy chart

Thus, you actually open two accounts when you get the new RHB Easy-Smart Debit Card. You get double cash savings automatically, whenever you use your debit card. It all goes into your Easy-Smart Account 2 (think of it as a savings account) while your Easy-Smart Account 1 is your primary account.

money

The beauty of this system is that you automatically save (which is an awesome way of forcing people who have problems saving to actually save) each time you use your debit card from your contribution and the bank’s even higher contribution, all of which goes into your Easy-Smart Account 2.

To add icing to the cake, you can get up to 10% interest per annum on your Easy-Smart Account 2!

balance

Thus, that night, I have saved a total of RM 0.50 (charges made after midnight won’t be tabulated until the next day), and that’s not counting the 10% p.a. interest.

It’s an easy way to budget too, since you’re on a debit card you’re using money you already have instead of purchasing on credit. Granted, credit cards have its own place in the entire system especially for travel but a debit card is a good and almost essential addition to your banking arsenal.

savings account

Using the new RHB Easy-Smart Debit Card allows me to carry less cash and use the card instead, which is mighty convenient. You’re going to spend that money anyway, so I figured using the debit card instead of cash would be more useful in the long run due to the awesome and unique savings method that funnels all purchases made into a special “savings” account called Easy-Smart Account 2.

gas

RM 0.99 might not sound like a lot but you know how it goes – sikit sikit lama lama jadi bukit. I’ve already saved that from one night out alone while if I’ve used a credit card, cash, or a different debit card, I would not have managed to save anything at all. It’s a great alternative to cash for me and it’s an easy way to save each time you spend! :)

I’m doing this on my phone

bangsar ticket

Got this ticket while I was picking up my replacement credit card – Swipe keeps wanting to change replacement with transcendent which is ironic. Heh.

Anyway, that spot is technically not a parking space but people park along a row anyway.

Unfortunately, being this close to Raya, the police are extra vigilant. Just hope they don’t have increased rates like during CNY.

I don’t even know if this will post due to my setup but let’s try and see. :-)

A morning stroll at Kota Tua Jakarta

old batavia

Kota Tua is loosely translated as “Old Town” and it’s the old part of Jakarta. It’s also known as Old Batavia and you can still see the scars of the 1998 riots here – burned buildings are still around and refurbishment hasn’t touched most of it yet.

kota tua

We were staying at a hotel just nearby and one morning, Jazz woke me up to experience the place. The streets were closed on that day, due to a function that’s happening on the square.

kota tua no vehicles

It was the event itself that caused the closure of the streets – it’s called Hari Bebas Kenderaan Bermotor Kawasan Kota Tua 2012 which translates to “(Motorized) Vehicle Free Day (in) Kota Tua Area 2012”. Heh.

kali besar

Kota Tua is bordered by a canal called Kali Besar which is famous for its overpowering stench. I could smell it, but it wasn’t anywhere as bad as I was told.

buskers

The beauty of Kota Tua Jakarta lies in its vibrant community of stalls and buskers – there were people playing various musical instruments and I even saw an improvised percussion system made of glass bottles nestled on a wood frame!

pos indonesia

This is one of the refurbished buildings – their post office. It’s part of their efforts at making this historical town into a UNESCO heritage site.

kota tua stalls

It is primarily a tourist attraction with it’s souvenir stalls – there’s also a theater called Museum Wayang there that plays traditional Indonesian Wayang Kulit (a shadow play with puppets).

museum wayang

Several vendors also offers rides on pimped up (or rather dolled up) bicycles for two, complete with flowery hats.

old jakarta bicycles

However, it’s definitely worth a visit – you can catch a local puppet show or grab a snack from a roadside stall. I had Otak Otak Ikan which is completely different from the soggy fish paste we get here.

otak otak indonesia

The Indonesian version of otak otak is crispy and eaten with a chilli paste. It’s cheap street food, I think I paid less than RM 1 for this.

indonesian otak otak

Kota Tua Jakarta has something for everyone. It’s called Old Jakarta for a reason – a lot of history and heritage can be found in this area. I’ll allocate at least half a day for a proper visit, and a full day if you want to pop into all the museums and catch a wayang kulit show.

kota tua indonesia

…or you can just sit at one of the cafes and watch the vibrant scenes – families at play, people collecting discarded cans for recycling money, old men chatting animatedly while standing around in loose circles.

A trip to a Caribbean island getaway with a supermodel just for you!

me shin

Wait, before that, let me just prep you just in case you win. *pretends to be an expert

You want to be a suave guy right? The one that gets all the girls, instantly attracts women, and has a badge for Player Please on foursquare?

Okay, maybe not that last one. ;)

From my years of experience and…er, social experiments (cough), I have heard that girls are attracted to three things.

  1. Power
  2. Money
  3. Fame

Call it evolution or whatever you will, it’s true to a certain extent but it would be sexist not to explain further. There’s also two other attributes which attracts females.

  • Good looks
  • Sense of humor

Of course, there are exceptions to everything, but if you have just one of the 5 attributes above, you’re basically sorted. The most important thing is actually confidence.

life greek

It’s tied to the “classic three attributes” and it’s the reason why people in that category always gets the girls. Confidence and a zest for life turns women on, the power, money, fame is just what gives those men confidence.

I know I’m grossly oversimplifying it but confidence along with a healthy respect for women while being charming and romantic hasn’t quite failed me yet. You can also hack the system if you’re (un)lucky enough to be born with the dark triad of personality traits. It’s surprisingly effective for what Wikipedia diplomatically calls an “accelerated mating strategy”. Of course, there are a lot of other factors I don’t know, take this as you will. ;)

Back to the contest!

Excuse my very real excitement. This is the best contest prize I’ve ever seen, bar none! There is only one grand prize so it’s extremely exclusive. How would you like to go at a secret island retreat with a supermodel by your side just for you?

shin

This could be you!

Okay, I’m not the winner, she’s a friend of mine and we’re not on a island but imagine:

  1. The guy being you
  2. A hot supermodel by your side
  3. Partying at a secret Caribbean island getaway with the sun, sea and surf all day long and partying all night long with said supermodel

The island is not some shabby island near Malaysia but one that’s internationally recognized as one of the best beach vacation spots! The supermodel will be accompanying you and only you. It’s the ultimate dream! :D

fay hokulani

Travel. An exclusive Caribbean island with white sandy beaches with hot celebs and single women from all over the world. A supermodel by your side during the entire trip.

Guess who the supermodel is?

Fay Hokulani

You’ll be the envy of everyone!

Okay, here’s how the contest works. It’s done in conjunction with the new deodorant from AXE and here’s how you go about it.

axe anarchy

1. AXE Malaysia Facebook contest

There is only *one* grand prize and here is where you win it! It’s the 4D/3N trip to the Caribbean with Fay Hokulani! By the way, you get to bring 1 guy friend along too!

It’s so simple! Just submit your most creative beachwear photo and comment away to woo the lovely Fay by 31st August!

Wet & Wild Facebook Contest.

fb

This is where you can win the exclusive trip to Anarchy Island with Fay Hokulani as your travel companion so submit your entries and get more details at the AXE Malaysia Facebook page now!

You’ll have bragging rights for all eternity! Heck, your grandchildren will *still* be talking about this way after you’re six feet under.

2. Exclusive contest for bloggers

Nuffnang will be organizing another contest exclusively for bloggers. The aim is to choose two of the most suave and charming bloggers to represent Malaysia at Anarchy Island!

You just need to write a blog post about your best efforts to attract members of the opposite sex. Playa playa, come out with your best pickup lines and tell us how good you are at the game.

axe roadshow

Showcase how you approach people, attract attention and ultimately get the girl or guy of your dreams!

Create a video to better flaunt your flirting skills to go together with your blog post for more points. The two best blog posts will each win a trip to Anarchy Island!

There will also be 10 consolation prizes of 1 year’s worth of AXE products worth RM 200 each.

Get more information about how to participate and win on the Nuffnang contest page!

axe anarchy line

AXE Anarchy is the new deodorant for both sexes – AXE Anarchy for Him smells fresh and fruity with sweet woods for an irresistible and addictive finish while AXE Anarchy for Her has soft florals and a light finish that screams delicate and fun. You can win an entire set of deodorant just by predicting the final 24 contestants! :)

faye

I’m joining the contest to Anarchy Island – it’ll be awesome to win a trip there with Fay Hokulani eh?

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