10 Commandments of White Beach

10 commandments boracay

This is definitely not on any official tourist map but I chanced across it while walking around Point 1 at White Beach in Boracay.

I doubt it’s the original stone tablets handed down to Moses though. Wrong language for that epoch and it’s riddled with spelling mistakes. Heh.

I love this photo though, it’s always the unexpected find that’s the most satisfying. :)

Party 21 @ Genting

party 21

21. It’s the oft-quoted number where you magically experience a whole new life as an adult. It’s a coming of age celebration of freedom and independence.

keys

I was at the exclusive Party 21 event at Genting International Convention Center – it’s an invite-only party open to WorldCard members, and it comes complete with accommodations and drinks coupons.

You only need to bring yourself up. :)

cablecar

I used the Genting bus and cable car combo. It’s actually a very convenient way to head up, just park your car at Dataran Car Park and you don’t even need to drive up. Pity that they’ve abolished the RM 1 per entry system in lieu of a RM 2 per day parking fee, but it’s still one of the best ways to go to Genting.

queue

I was actually up there just a couple of weeks ago with Fiona, using the same transportation method. I’m a Silver WorldCard holder so I can skip the formidable queue for the cable car using a priority lane. Heh.

21 party

This time, everything was sorted out so I just headed up slightly earlier and got my room key from Evon. I had enough time to freshen up before heading to dinner.

roast

Coffee Terrace has a great buffet going on at night. There’s various different cuisines to cater to every palate, from fresh sashimi to roast lamb.

You can even get your food custom cooked right before your eyes after choosing what you want.

cook

It’s perfect to line your stomach before a great night out. Heh.

dj nabila

Party 21 is hosted by DJ Nabila who was spinning the deck the entire night.

ivy genting

There were a lot of fun and games outside too – from arcade games to lucky draws.

genting party21

OMG this has gotta be the only photo where I look my age. HAHA! This was taken at the photo wall right before the entrance.

lucky draw

You can also get a chance at the lucky draw by liking the WorldCard Malaysia Facebook page.

ivy

I met Ivy there, who recognized me from my blog. She asked her friend to take a photo of us with her iPhone and I asked her friend if she could take another one with mine. Thanks for saying hello Ivy! :)

performance

Anyway, it was a lucky day for me coz I rummaged around the lucky draw box and got…

win room

…the best prize!

It’s a free night’s stay at First World Hotel. w00t! Thanks Genting!

free hotel stay

I wanted to get one of the t-shirts instead, which you could redeem for 2 GP (Genting Points) but unfortunately they were all sold out. Genting Points are credits that is stored in your WorldCard. There’s also an awesome deal where you can get 10 drink vouchers for 3 GP too.

21

The party was in full swing when I got in. There are performances by pole dancers and stage appearances, including a memorable one which got everyone doing it Gangnam Style. ;)

group

This is the bunch of us who went up that night. Jane is partially obscured in that photo…

jane

…so here’s another one with her.

peter

This is Steve, one of the friendly Genting staff I met that night in addition to Chee Wai, Evon and the rest. Thanks for all the assistance in checking in and drink vouchers!

I’ll let the videos speak for themselves, I had a blast that night!

genting party 21

You know what the best thing is? Party 21 comes with a complimentary room at First World Hotel so you don’t need to drive down after partying.

beer

That’s the awesomeness of being a WorldCard member. There’s a lot of benefits in being one, and not just for skipping queues either. ;)

I’ve been one since 2007 and I get occasional text messages with free room offers and invites to exclusive events like this. Membership and application is free and you can see the latest promotions and contests at the WorldCard Malaysia Facebook page or the Genting website.

genting toll rebate

You can also get priority parking and best of all, a toll and petrol rebate from RM 50 to RM 300 by accumulating points. 1 GP = RM 1 if you do this and it’s a little known secret that you can get cold, hard cash by exchanging points for driving up. I love mine for the perks it gives me – you can also sign up for your very own WorldCard here! :D

sleep

I had a lot of fun and after a night of partying, you don’t know how tempting a bed looks instead of the prospect of having to drive down. I slept till the next day before going back to KL, a lot better than drinking and driving.

dancing

Party on! :)

Helmet diving in Boracay

helmet diving apparatus

I went helmet diving in Boracay and it turned out to be one of the highlights of my Boracay trip! Heh. I’ve seen it being offered in other places with names like sea walking or reef walking but never got around to doing it.

boracay helmet diving

It’s quite an interesting experience – there are various touts independent tour operators offering helmet diving at White Beach. We were approached by one while having the famous shakes at Jony’s with Xinxian and managed to bargain it down to PHP 800 for two, which works out to 400 pesos per person (about RM 30).

sea walking

Helmet diving is called such because there’s a really long hose connecting the helmet to the oxygen tanks on top.

helmet diving boat

The journey started with a short speedboat trip to a floating sea platform on the Bulabog Beach side of the island.

helmet diving platform

The floating sea platform is where the entire operation is done. It’s anchored to a prime spot in the ocean and there’s an area at the sea bed where you can roam around.

helmet driving instructor

We were briefed by the guide on how the basics of reef walking and I have to admit, I didn’t listen to half of what he said. Posed photo. smirk

helmet diving

I was walking around instead and it’s quite interesting to see the locally made reef walking helmets. These are not the Sea Trek/Seawalker helmet diving systems but jury rigged ones made to resemble them. The helmets have clear glass plates so you can see out and you can breathe normally while you’re underwater.

sea walking platform

The experience is totally unlike scuba diving. You descend down the ladder while the helmet is fitted over you by someone on the platform. The ladder goes down 10 – 15 feet to the bottom of the sea and you get to walk around and look at the corals and feed the fishes.

reef walking

Helmet diving allows you to actually reach inside the helmet so you can equalize the pressure in your ears if you need to. I can do it without pinching my nose but I made the mistake of wiping the glass inside the screen, which made it fog up – you can see half of my face is obscured in the underwater photos. :)

There’s also a scuba diver that takes shots and videos for you. I didn’t realize the guy was taking a video so I posed for a photo instead and wondered what was taking him so long. Haha!

helmet diving photo

You have pieces of bread to feed the fish and you get to spend 15 minutes at the sea bed watching and touching the fishes. I quite enjoyed it – the only thing that bothered me was that the homemade helmets tend to drift away if you’re not holding on to it.

helmet diving boracay

I would have thought the water pressure is enough to keep it in place but the current will shift it around. The guide told us to keep one hand on it. You can take your hands off for a while if you’re standing perfectly still but once you move, you’ll have to hang on to your helmet. Heh.

Despite that minor design issue, helmet diving is quite fun! I didn’t think it would be after scuba diving but I was quite surprised to find myself enjoying the time reef walking on the sea bed and exploring the marine life. It’s a totally different experience.

reef walking boracay

I wish we had more time underwater instead of just 15 minutes and before long we had to climb up the ladder back to the platform. The CD with the photos and videos were ready by the time we were up there. Helmet diving might be commercialized and scuba divers might scoff at the restricted movement (the hose limits where you can go) but it’s still a lot of fun.

reef walking photo

I had a blast and I’ll recommend it if you come across it – helmet diving is a totally different experience altogether and I’m really glad I tried it! :D

How I won SGD 1 in Singapore

singapore pools

Heh! I did this during my first trip to Singapore to see my mom, there’s a supermarket near my sister’s place that has an outlet for legalized state betting *right inside*, of particular interest being football and motorsports.

This is different from the common lotteries that most countries have, with much lower odds compared to online betting sites as a form of taxation.

singapore football betting

It was the start of BPL and I bought SGD 10 for West Ham to win at 2.10 odds. I won this one, getting me SGD 11 nett (after deducting the original SGD 10 – the total winnings was SGD 21).

It’s basically winning a pack of smokes, just did it for fun.

sports betting singapore

I went for a random K-League match after collecting my winnings the next day while grocery shopping, also with a SGD 10 bet for a return of SGD 28.50.

There are various permutations possible – total goals, HT/FT, etc with corresponding odds (highest I’ve seen is 300 – which will net you SGD 3,000 with SGD 10). The minimum bet is SGD 5.

I lost this one, and stopped playing – the queue was wayyyyy too long and I just wanted to see how Singapore Pools works.

singapore dollars

…and that is how I won SGD 1 in Singapore. :)

Just Go!

boracay

I must admit, I tend to go on holidays on a whim, flying on the seat of my pants most of the time. Heck, I don’t even book hotels most of the time (one memorable trip to Guilin comes to mind) and just walk-in when I land. Heh.

It’s partly for the fun of it (can you say adventure?) but mostly it’s coz I get sudden last minute urges to just jump on a plane and go somewhere.

…and I do mean last minute.

locals

It’s just so easy with AirAsia bookings, just click, click, click followed by an hour of chucking stuff into my backpack and rummaging around for my passport and off I go.

I have even been known to forget about visa requirements and having to rush last minute to get it sorted out less than 12 hours before I fly. #champion

However, during one of my Europe backpacking trips, I did the same thing, and ended up without a place to stay coz all the backpacker places were booked out and I couldn’t afford to stay in a hotel. I ended up sleeping at the airport for the first day.

It was freezing cold and the automatic doors kept on opening and closing so I couldn’t get any proper rest.

resort

I have seen the AirAsiaGo site before but I’ve never actually truly explored that option. However, the savings from a combined flight + hotel deal could be rather significant.

…and you’ll still retain your freedom to do whatever you want.

Best of all, the hotels can be grouped by price so you can choose based on your budget. There are over 100,000+ accommodation types available, from the most basic to the obscenely luxurious. There are also 5,000+ tours and activities on offer.

You can also opt for a tour package if that’s your thing but essentially you can just use it as a hotel added on to your flight, all conveniently located in one site so you don’t have to waste precious hours searching around.

kitesurfing

AirAsiaGo is having their OMG 72 Hours Sale! which features promo fares and discounted hotels to Bangkok, Langkawi, Perth, Osaka and Beijing. The booking period is from the 25-27th September and you can start flying from 1st October to 30th November!

I figure I’ll give it a shot. I group my travels into two separate experiences – solo backpacking and holidays and for the latter I wouldn’t want any hassles. The flight + hotel combo looks mighty tempting with its heavy discounts.

azure waters

It’s perfect for last minute travel addicts like me, I love deals like this coz I don’t have to wait long to travel. Grab your passport and let your wanderlust take over! Stay tuned to the AirAsiaGo Facebook page – they’re going to reveal their promo soon! :)

P/S – Just got the news!
Kuala Lumpur – Bangkok: 3D/2N Hotel Stay + Return Flights + All Taxes from RM 589/person.
Kuala Lumpur – Osaka: 5D/4N Hotel Stay + Return Flights + All Taxes from RM 980/person.
Those are the last minute travel deals. :D

11 photos from the Fraser’s Hill trip

frasers trip

The obligatory shot at the iconic Fraser’s Hill clock tower. I got a very unwilling dude who was just chilling there to take it for me. Heh.

silverpark

We stayed at Fraser’s Silverpark Resort – had a booking for a studio but got upgraded to a two bedroom suite.

frasers hill balcony

It has a balcony and…

frasers hill morning

…a great view of nature! :)

frasers hill silverpark

The resort is poorly maintained with temperamental hot water but it was relatively clean.

bug

Plenty of interesting insects you’ll be hard pressed to find in the city too.

frasers fog

Fraser’s Hill is colder than I remembered it to be – it was rather chilly and foggy when we were there. I loved the weather!

jura 16

A bottle of Jura 16 y/o single malt and you’re set for the night. There’s nothing much to do here except chill at night. That’s part of the appeal. :)

hah

Hah! smirk

fiona me

Here’s a shot of me and Fiona!

frasers hill smokehouse

Wanted to have English tea at Ye Olde Smokehouse before we drove down but unfortunately they don’t serve scones until 3 pm. Nevertheless, it was a great trip up! :)

Imbi Meat Ball Noodles at Kota Kemuning

meatball noodles

This place was highly recommended by Fiona so before we went to Fraser’s Hill, we made a pit stop here for lunch. It’s not exactly on the way but it’s near her house and we had to search a bit to actually find the place coz she hasn’t been here for a while.

imbi road meat ball noodles

Imbi Road Meatball Noodles Restaurant seems to originate from said name, or I would be puzzled as to why it’s on the signboard. A bit ironic we went all the way to Kota Kemuning to eat it. Heh.

meat ball noodle crowd

However, business was very brisk and it’s a full house when we went there. You can have the pork noodles dry or as a soup dish, with any type of noodles you want – from yellow noodles (which I opted for) to loh shi fan (which was Fiona’s choice).

imbi noodles restaurant

I would recommend the latter since it seems to absorb the flavors better. I didn’t really like my bowl of noodles…until I reached the bottom. It seems that I have not mixed the minced pork properly, which made most of it settle down at the bottom.

meat ball noodles mix

That’s the stuff that imparts flavor to the entire dish.

loh shi fan

…and I think it’s pork, we both discussed it and came to the consensus that it was. Heh. I’m kidding, it’s pork, the soup even has BBQ pork liver sausage in addition to the pork balls.

meatballs

I liked it towards the end, and the homemade pork meat balls are pretty good. It’s nicely uneven in size, the non-uniformity a selling point as it practically shouts HOMEMADE instead of industrial mass produced ones.

homemade pork balls

It’s pretty good noodles but not the best I’ve had…

fiona feeding me

…and you certainly can’t complain about the service. ;)

7 photos of stuff I did in Singapore

1. Hung out with my mom

food singapore

She’s doing another course of chemotherapy and we’re here for her. My dad flew in too and we’ll usually walk to Hola and eat there. Cheap and decent food. The caterers (old skool Tiffin carriers) come weekday nights.

My mom eats separately; she still can’t stand a lot of food, not even the smell of it. That’s her hiding in the room coz she’s so nauseous from the chemo.

2. Went to church

bedok methodist church

Took a cab to Bedok Methodist Church. Service is familiar but the praise and worship had an unusual twist – women dressed in traditional Chinese garb were dancing and twirling long silk ribbons. How I wish I managed to take a photo…

Got an EZ-Link card so I could use the MRT, bus and pay for food and groceries at places which accepts it.

3. The Gospel of Pool

church pool

Poster stuck beside the pool table at church. Words fail me. Sometimes a cue is just a cue. smirk

Mom got temporarily better and asked me to get her a Mocha soy ice blended drink. I bought it and she had a sip and promptly got sick again.

4. Salted egg yolk mooncakes

mini mooncakes

Dad got this from Sibu. It’s really quite good, there’s an entire salted egg yolk inside that’s almost the size of the puff pastry.

I ate all of them. Heh.

5. Grocery shopping

singapore grocery shopping

Got soy milk for my niece. She’s allergic to nuts, gluten, and most other things. This is the brand that we know doesn’t have any additives or traces of abovementioned. Also got reacquainted with the same brand of cigarettes I smoked last time I was here.

Middle of the night scare from my niece’s talking chair.

6. Timbre @ The Substation

timbre pizza buffulo wings

Lovely watering hole at 45, Armenian Street with live bands playing every day of the week. You can text song requests in for them to perform. Fiona recommended the Timbre Buffalo Wings – love the hot sauce and nuts topping but a tad overcooked for me. They do good pizzas too – got a half and half with Goodfellas and 53A. They’re both names of bands playing there.

Here’s a cover of Oasis’ Stand by Me.

7. Left my keys with Fiona

timbre substation singapore

Had a couple of drinks and hung out at Timbre. I put my sister’s condo keys and tag card in her bag earlier that night (tend to chuck my stuff in her tote due to lack of pocket space, thanks Fiona) and forgot to get it back from her. I only realized after I got back and couldn’t go in. Went back to her place to get it.

It’s a good thing we live near each other. Heh.

Posted: 4:08 pm Singapore time

The Icon Is Back!

disguise

Greetings! How do you like my disguise? Heh. It’s a pair of oversized sunnies, a huge bright red bulb of a nose and a fake mustache.

the beetle

I was at the Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2012 during the weekend – it’s a two day free event that’s open to the public and all the slots were snapped up really quickly. The Icon Is Back is the theme of this year’s show and it features the new Beetle prominently.

disassembled beetle

There’s even a fully disassembled classic Beetle in the foyer!

photo kiosk

I was at the Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011 and I have to say, this year’s show surpasses the previous one by leaps and bounds. There are a lot of interactive displays and fun stuff to do that I spent nearly 4 hours there to play around and experience everything.

facebook connect

There are kiosks that use Facebook Connect which you can interact with…

qr registration

…and you get issued a QR code wristband when you register.

beetle booth

I was there early and went for the strategically placed photo booth outside to snap a photo.

photo booth

There are no lack of things to do while waiting for the show to start.

icon is back

The Icon Is Back kicked off with a cinematic experience that is simply mind blowing. There was a countdown and the huge darkened hall exploded with a symphony of images and sound.

It started out by featuring a couple of classic Beetle commercials from back in the day…

testimonial

…and has personalities like Patrick Teoh, Melinda Ooi, JJ (from Hitz FM) and others reminiscing about owning and driving the original Beetle.

The screen is over 180 degrees and you have to crane your neck to see everything that’s going on. I really liked that – it provides a good kind of sensory overload. :)

light dance

The show continued on with a launch gimmick that has choreographed dancers with light and shadows before The Beetle was driven on stage.

It’s one of the hallmarks of Volkswagen events – everything is a wonder to behold and just when you thought that it was over, another feature starts that tops the previous one.

The auditorium was packed with people and the first area where The Icon Is Back cinematic experience is held was the best part for me. It was just amazing, the way they pulled off the entire thing.

new beetle

Next up is the area where you can see all the Volkswagen cars in addition to the much anticipated new Beetle. Now, this isn’t a standard static display but a highly interactive one.

like booth

There are stations located throughout that allow you to scan the QR code on your wristband to Like it and as an added bonus…

map

There’s a passport that’s handed to you when you enter – it’s a map of the entire showroom and not only does it provide you with clear signs on where is where, the “passport” also has places for stamps which you can only get once you’ve visited the area!

I think that is a brilliant idea! You get a gift if you get all the stamps from the hostess, I spent a lot of time inside until the batch I was with was nearly gone and the showroom empty. Heh.

think blue

The Think Blue initiative area is one of the highlights with interactive displays which shows how we can reduce our carbon footprint.

little bugsters

There’s also a place for kids to play with…

vw cafe

…and a cafe of sorts where you can have a drink of water and some candy after walking around – all complimentary, of course.

stage performance

The stage has constant shows merging people and cars in a unique performance.

…and of course the star of the Volkswagen Das Auto 2012 Show – The Beetle! :)

black beetle

There are two variants for The Beetle – the 1.2L TSI and the 2.0L TSI.

It’s the centerpiece of the show and everyone flocked to check out the interior and features. The 1.2L Beetle features a 105PS turbocharged 4-cylinder engine while the 2.0L version has a power output almost twice that, topping out at 200PS with a 7-speed direct shift gearbox (DSG) while the former is equipped with a 6-speed DSG.

das auto show

There are a lot of different colors too, I suspect the Tornado Red and Saturn Yellow would be popular but I personally like the Deep Black with Pearl Effect. There’s also a Pearl White version if you like that color.

ipad games

I would allocate a lot of time to this place – there are a lot of fun things to do, like the various iPad games which you can play. Note that it’s connected to the screen and what you do is reflected so even while you wait your turn, you’ll be entertained with people playing badly. Heh.

There are photo booths scattered throughout the space, the Beetle Photo Booth being the most popular one. I met Tung Ai while queuing up, he introduced himself as a reader of my blog and we chatted for a bit.

tung ai

This is the photo we were queuing up for – look at how interactive the screen was, that’s the two of them posing behind the screen. Thanks for saying hello! :)

pov

This is what the photo looks like from POV – you can see where you are in relation to the background that you choose so I saw a lot of creative poses.

beetle photo booth

This is mine. Heh. I wanted to wave out but settled on putting my arm on the window and pointing ahead instead.

photo download

There’s also a QR code at the back of the instantly printed photo where you can download a high resolution digital copy of! You can also Share it on Facebook and Twitter! Nifty.

screenshot

I managed to get all the stamps for my passport and got free gifts at the end, and also a tattoo. Temporary of course.

volkswagen passport

Here’s one of us posing with it, hello Penny!

penny hb

It was a lot of fun, I didn’t realize how much time I spent inside until I realized that people were slowly filtering out. I can’t wait for the next Volkswagen Das Auto Show! I really fb like the social media interactive integration of the show this year. By the way things are going, it looks like it’s only going to get better! :)

The famous Rojak SS15 in Subang Jaya

rojak mamak ss15

I don’t usually like rojak, or pasembur as it’s referred to in the North. I don’t actively go seeking it but I’ll eat it if it’s good. This one is. It’s located at SS15 in Subang Jaya and it’s pretty well known. Heck, I’ve probably eaten it and forgotten. Heh.

ss15 rojak

Anyway, the queue for Rojak SS15 Subang Jaya is quite long. I was there in the afternoon and there were people queuing under the hot sun for a taste of this – it’s a perpetual line that never seems to end!

rojak ss15 subang jaya

It’s actually a roadside stall and you only have four (4) options according to the menu:

  • Kosong (Plain) – RM 3
  • Telur (with egg) – RM 4
  • Sotong (with squid) – RM 4
  • Sotong & Telur (with squid and egg) – RM 4.50

pasembur ss15

I went for the one with all the bells and whistles (or with all the trimmings in food parley) – I like egg and squid and I don’t relish the thought of eating it plain. Rojak can best be described as a type of salad, with a peanut based sauce for the “dressing”.

rojak ss15

This place is actually Fiona’s old stomping grounds – she was craving for the rojak and we headed there to eat this. She had the plain one and it actually tastes pretty good by itself.

hb fiona rojak

However, I preferred mine with the additional squid and egg – well worth the RM 1 extra if you consider you get an entire egg and generous amounts of squid. I can’t vouch for the freshness of the squid but it’s the entire package that makes it good.

ss15 rojak egg sotong

Rojak SS15 Subang Jaya has really good rojak sauce – it’s sweet and nutty. It’s also warm which adds to the overall appeal of this rojak. I liked it but I doubt I’ll be returning specifically to eat this. I’ll have it if I’m in the area though, it’s really good rojak and it’s served warm!

rojak ss15 queue

You can even eat it right beside the stall under the shade of the trees…and watch the never-ending queue in relative comfort. ;)

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