Archive | February, 2012

Date A Girl Who Writes (In a Journal)

28 Feb

I’m not going to write a piece similar to that one  Rosemarie Urquico wrote: “Date A Girl Who Reads“, though I would love to have my own version but I guess she already nailed it, especially in the end when she said, “Or better yet, date a girl who writes. 🙂

I write. Well I’m not saying this so men (note: single men) should date me… okay, sure they can ask me out. LOL What am I saying?! I hope people wouldn’t think of this as an advertisement of myself being single or worst a desperate act to tell the world that “Hey! I’m not married. ” Nope. This is about writing. So let’s go back to writing anyway. 😛

I write a lot. It started in my high school years, after I discovered that I could write poems that made me a finalist in an international poetry contest sponsored by an organization in the US, or slogans chosen for a government-initiated program. My interest was even fueled when I had Journalism as my elective class. My teacher who is a Journalist herself encouraged me to write more after she read my articles for her class. At first I wasn’t sure about it – I was doubting my skills and thought that maybe it is better that I just take up any computer-related course in college instead of anything related to writing.  But it was also around that period when I started to keep a journal. Not a Diary. A JOURNAL. (Yes there are differences between the two and that deserves another blog entry.) 

I would write everything in my journal – my thoughts about my classes, movies, my favorite bands, my friends, my poems, favorite Bible verses or song verses, my crushes, scribbles, horrible drawings, everything! It was as if I found another best friend apart from the human friends I have – my Journal. I would pour out my thoughts and I would feel great every time I write them down. But it was also that journal that sent me to my own ‘prison cell’ when I left it in my room one day and my parents invaded my privacy  read what I wrote about puffing a cigarette and sipping beer for  curiosity’s and experience’s sake! Man! My parents freaked out and suspected I was also doing drugs! Why are parents so exaggerated sometimes? LOL. So it resulted to me being grounded for about two months or more. Oh blame my Journal! (Oh well, maybe that story too deserves another post.)

From then on, I would never leave my journal at home. Nope! I don’t want to be grounded anymore.  😛  Also because I need it when thoughts or ideas would pop up in my head. I will have to write it down instantly so I won’t forget. So I made sure it is inside my bag wherever I go. 😀 I also learned from the song-writing workshop I attended before that when you’re a writer or a composer, you have to keep a notebook with you all the time, because you do not know when a good song/poetry/story will come up.

Journaling also helped me survive the four-year Journalism course I decided to take up in college.  My journals then would not only contain stories about crushes, or favorite lines from the book or lyrical prose, but also writings about socio-political issues. You can say, the journal content has matured in time. (*Opps, matured content meaning relevant and serious topics on life and politics  but not  the “For Adults” only okay? LOL)

And now, despite having this blog (I started blogging in 2003 under a different name. Read: About Me) I still keep a journal. Every year I would buy cute notebooks or (since 2004) collect Starbuck’s planners and use it as my journal. Also I still have pens, pencils, eraser and a pencil case that you can find inside my bag. Yes, despite the high-tech computers, ipads and iphones  or other convenient gadgets where you can compose electronic messages or post on blogs,  I still keep a journal and write using my favorite pen.

My older sister and I share the same interests in any writing material. When we see cute notebooks, we would buy them, even if that means it will be kept in the drawers, unused. It’s only because I love to look at any cute writing material. 🙂 We call ourselves “Notebook Suckers” actually.

And during my trip to KL late last year, I found this store TYPO that sells awesome journals, notebooks, pens, etc… and I instantly fell in love with that shop! Oh how I wish we have TYPO in Manila! I found a journal in their store with a design that says “This Is My Blog”  – I would have bought it if not for the obvious damage on the cover. It was the last piece.  When I got back to Manila, I checked their website and saw a perfect one that I like – A red journal with an engraved Eiffel Tower design at the front.  Luckily, one of my church friends went to KL for work-related tour so I asked her to buy it for me and here it is:

My Eiffel Tower Journal by TYPO

Eiffel Journal by TYPO

It is so lovely. But for some reasons, I don’t want to use it. LOL Or not yet. I just want to look at it and smell it. I just love the smell of the paper. Well I already have a journal from Starbucks that I use this year that’s why. And I only keep one Journal a year and write almost everything there, though you’d find a lot of small pieces of paper or post it notes with my writings, either in the book I’m reading or inside the journal itself. Like my 2011 journal below:

2011 Starbucks Journal

2011 Journal and my disgusting hand writing and the post-it notes 😀

And here’s my 2012 Starbucks Journal:

2012 Starbucks Journal

I guess I’m still conventional in some ways – like keeping a Journal. Sure I appreciate the innovation and the advance technology we have in this era but I guess there’s still nothing like writing in a paper or journal or notebook. Oh give me a cute notebook/notepad/journal or even post it notes or pens, and you’d surely hear my sincere appreciation. I just love them.

So why is this post’s title then about Dating A Girl Who Writes (In a Journal)? Because I couldn’t think of a better title I guess. LOL. 😀  But on a side note, I think  a Girl or Woman who writes (whether in a journal or not) is someone who thinks deeply, who probably looks quiet or sometimes naive but is overflowing with intelligence and sound advices, who appreciates life and takes joy even from the simplest things around her, who is in touch with her emotions thus capable of understanding other’s emotions too, and someone who sees the beauty out of the ordinary.

So, a girl or woman who writes is someone not just worth dating but also worth marrying! 🙂

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Book: What You Need to Know When You Need Healing by Dr. Harold Sala.

27 Feb

Last week, OMF Literature invited me to the launching of Mr. Harold Sala’s newest book –  What You Need to Know When You Need Healing – an exclusive event that was held in St. Luke’s Hospital in Quezon City. Now you asked, booking-launching in a Hospital? Yes. Well the book is about Healing. And because I think it was sponsored also by the Christian doctors at St. Luke’s. I was not able to attend, though I really really wanted to, but due to unexpected training at work that ended at 6pm and the event would start at 6pm, so I wasn’t able to. Also the location is quite far from where I live,  if it was the other St. Luke’s that’s located in my city, that won’t be a problem.

Anyway, here is Mr. Sala’s newest book:

What You Need to Know When You Need Healing by Dr. Harold Sala

(c/o OMF Literature )

Dr. Sala’s newest book, What You Need to Know When You Need Healing, is a groundbreaking book, a product of painstaking and careful research by this internationally-known Bible teacher, lecturer and counselor. Interspersed with historical and biblical narratives are stories of physical and spiritual healing, which prove that trusting God yields lasting and eternal rewards. This book will lead you to better understand the compassionate nature of our Heavenly Father and how you can find healing His way.

What You Need to Know When You Need Healing is not only for those who need healing but also for their family members, friends and caregivers. Professionals ministering to and helping the sick such as pastors, ministers, and doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers will greatly benefit from this too.

Best Wishes

23 Feb

(This was supposed to be posted last Feb 11 but I forgot that I saved it in the draft.)

Cheers F! (photo c/o google images)

Best wishes to one of my best friends, F who married the woman he loves last Feb 11, 2012. I may not be there to witness their exchange of vows and to extend my best wishes to the couple, but I rejoice for their union as husband and wife. Things may not be the same anymore after that wedding (F will be spending less time with me and his other friends, and that is sad 😦 ) but I guess that’s how life goes.

May our good Lord bless F and his new bride as they start their lives together.  *hugs* Cheers F!

(P.S. I haven’t received the invitation that you sent 3 weeks ago. I hope it didn’t get lost. )

Parks, Museums and Petronas! (KL Trip Day 3) Part 2 of 2

21 Feb

(*This is part 2 of 2 of KL Day 3)

So that means we walked again. Yeah we love walking under the hot KL sun. And I love sarcasm too. 🙂 We reached the Bird Park which boasts itself for being the world’s biggest walk-in aviary. We handed the ticket that we bought from the hostel. So the hostel wasn’t trying to rip us off because it’s really cheaper if you get it from them, around 10 MYR cheaper. We got inside and were greeted by the “Angry Birds in KL “ as F calls it, though they were really nice flying creatures. So we walked, walked, and walked some more, and saw birds, birds and more birds and took pictures, pictures and more pictures. 😀 F was so happy especially when the peacocks started fanning their attractive blue and green-colored train.

Angry Birds of KL (F's photo)

Mr. Peacock

Mr. Peacock's close up picture (by F)

flamingos in KL

another bird (by F)

(by F)

After our tour inside the aviary we looked for a place to eat but didn’t find any except for one, the Hornbill Restaurant that looks expensive. So we skipped that and went to the Orchid Garden just across the street. And there was nothing in there really except for orchids. (Come on Y, that’s the reason why it’s called Orchid Garden, not Orchid and More Garden! :P) What I just want to say is, it’s boring there so we didn’t take any pictures at all. LOL. We just sat in one of the benches there and rested our sore feet.

As we went out of the garden, cab drivers offered us a ride to our next destination but we opted to just walk. We traversed Jalan Perdana to reach the KL Butterfly Park. There were no people around, except for the old tourist couple that we bumped into and who were nice enough to say hello. Cars were rarely passing the road so it was quite creepy, add to that some huge and century-old trees and bushes around. I was holding the map trying to figure out which road to take as F was checking out the street names when a blue cab stopped at us. The driver, an old Indian-Malaysian man asked:

“Where are you going?”

“Butterfly Park. Is this the right way?” asked F

“Butterfly Park, yes it is. Get in. I’ll take you there. Ride for free.”  the old man told us

F looked at me and whispered what the driver just said.

“Just get in. Come on. It’s free!” the gray-haired man insisted.

For a while there, we were unsure of what to do. Should we hop in? Why is he offering us a free ride?

“Come on, come on, get in. Hurry! Free ride.” said the old guy again.

We thought okay, why not. But deep inside, I was a little scared but since I am with F who has a power of 10,000 bears as he claimed, LOL, I felt okay somehow. As soon as we were in, the driver told us, how dangerous it is to be for tourist in that part of KL.

In his Indian accent, he warned us, “You shouldn’t be walking there. There are people on motorcycles driving this area and snatching people’s bags and valuables, especially tourists.”

Wow! That was scary I thought. And that reminded me of my own traumatic experience of bag snatching way back in 2006.

“Tourists do not believe us. They think we bluff them or just offering rides to rip them off. They do not believe. It’s true. Some were even kidnapped or raped.” He continued.

F and I looked at each other and were just shocked of what we’ve just heard.  Of course there are bad guys everywhere but we didn’t know that one of the victims could have been us if the bad guys were in the area that time we were there. And my imagination was  just as fast as the bullet that I thought about, what if the criminals snatched our things or worst kidnapped us, kill us and sell our internal organs in the black market? Then I would miss my sister’s wedding. And instead of celebrating, they’ll be grieving. And F too will leave his GF and family heart broken. Yay! What are we going to do? What is F going to do? Will he fight them, kick their asses and use his 10,000-bears power? 😀 But I was more worried about him that I was worried for myself, because he looks too ‘foreigner’, looking very European/Middle Eastern so he is quite a target for that. And my Asian features can actually save me because I can pass off as a local. But then again, he got 10,000-bears power, so he’ll be safe. 😀

“Thank you so much for the ride.” I said to the cab driver

“You’re welcome. I am going to Butterfly Park too. It’s my second home.” He said.

And just as he said that, we were already in the butterfly sanctuary.  We thanked the old man once again for his help and kindness.

We went to the ticket booth and were disappointed that the ticket cost too much just for some butterfly watching so we just crossed it out from our list. We stayed in their café for a moment to rest, while I had a bottle of water because I swear I was already dying of dehydration!  I think it was already between 2 or 3 o’clock in the afternoon and we haven’t had lunch yet. We figured we’ll just go back to Masjid Jamek for our super late lunch.  And as F wasn’t a high maintenance kind, had a gulp from the bottled water I was drinking from. I kind of find it quite amusing because usually people (men or women, no exemptions) are so sensitive, overly hygienic or just plain high maintenance, but not him. We are just very comfortable with each other and like I said, no awkward moments. It didn’t feel like it was our first time to meet and spend time together. It’s like we didn’t met over the internet.

We stayed at the café for half an hour more because I was really exhausted from the long walks under the sunny weather. F entertained me by reading Turkish words from his service passport (something like a diplomat passport- that’s why he doesn’t need visa in almost all countries in the world). He then taught me how to properly pronounce the odd letters of the Turkish alphabet which was quite a challenge. It’s like tongue twister!

After a while we left the butterfly park and walked again. Like earlier, F was checking out the street signs while I look at our already torn KL map. He told me to stay on the safer side of the road and be watchful of the motorcycles and the cars passing by as he walked ahead of me to make sure we were taking the right road. A few guys in the motorcycle passed us by and I swear, they all looked at me! I was a little scared but of course I appeared calm. I would tell F, “He was looking at me. That’s creepy!” every time a motorist would pass by.

Minutes later, we were in a road that looks familiar but not quite. Again, no tourists or locals walking around but this time there were a lot of cars and busses in the area. It’s a national road. But we were quite unsure of where we were so we stopped as F took out his GPS to locate where exactly in the world we were at that very moment. And yes we are on the right road. We ended up in Merdeka Square- our first tourist stop on our first city tour. Oh that’s why it was familiar. We passed through the old St. Mary’s Church that we visited the previous day when F remembered something.

“We should have attended the wedding instead so we had free lunch.” F said laughing.

“What wedding?” I inquired.

“Remember they were preparing the church yesterday for a wedding?” He said.

“Oh yeah! But what, are we going to gate crash a wedding?” I asked.

“Yes. And if they ask us if we are from the Bride’s side, we’ll say no, we are friends of the Groom.”  F said while laughing at his silly idea.

Now I’m seeing his dark side. No more Mr. Good boy eh?  LOL. 😛

We reached McDonalds (our second official fast food in KL) in Masjid Jamek. We were both starving. I had the quarter pounder while he had a Big Mac. He complained that he doesn’t feel full whenever he eats fast food, even if it’s Big Mac. Like the usual, before I take a bite, I’ve inspected the burger first, dissecting it. F stopped and observed what I was doing and asked,

“What are you doing to your food?”

“Removing the excessive onions and the pickles. I hate pickles.”

“You do not eat pickles?”

“Nope. You like it?”

“Yes I eat pickles. Okay, put it here in my burger.”

And after that, he became the official pickles-eater during our KL tour. LOL. I would give it to him because I really don’t like its taste.

We stayed in McDonalds for an hour to rest our sore and blistered feet on the chairs, not minding the locals looking at us, (perhaps thinking that we were ill-mannered people. LOL) as we talked about our lives back in our own countries. And though we’ve been friends since early 2007 and we’ve already shared a lot of stories about each other, we’ve had a sort of a Q & A portion. But he was on the hot seat and I was the interviewer. 🙂 He told how he was as a kid, sports he used to play and even about a ‘common friend’ who sort of expressed her feelings for him. Hmm… intriguing. LOL I knew about it but I opted to keep my mouth shut.

So after reminiscing our childhood days and sharing funny stories, we got up our seats and headed to the subway station to go to KLCC. When we got off, we found ourselves inside this huge shopping mall – Suria KLCC, and clueless about where the exit is. So we just followed the crowd and we ended up in middle area and saw from the glass roof something familiar.

“That’s one of the towers!” F declared. “We’re below the towers, let’s find an exit” he continued.

Then as we went up, it started to drizzle. That time, I already accepted the fact that rain is going to be a part of our short KL trip that’s why I brought the umbrella with me. We walked a few more and saw the majestic Petronas Towers, standing so tall. It was already late in the afternoon, in fact, already around 6pm but no sunset yet, so we still saw the Towers at ‘daytime’.  And though it was drizzling, we walked towards where the fountain and the stairs are to have a better sight of the Towers. Yeah, the hell the rain, we’re in Petronas! 🙂 This time, passersby might have thought we’re two idiotic tourists taking pictures of the twin towers in the rain. 😀 But then after a while, we were joined by a few more idiots, taking photographs too in the rain. Kidding.

Petronas at daytime and the dark clouds

So what first came to my mind when I saw the Tallest Twin Towers in the world? “Entrapment!” Yes, that movie of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery. Haha…

Tourist are actually allowed to get inside the towers and go up until the 41st floor and walk on the SkyBridge that moves in and out of the two towers because of the strong winds. But in order to get up there, you must show up early in the day and get your ticket to be part of the limited visitors in a day. Unfortunately when we were there, the Towers are closed for tourist for some renovations and won’t open until Dec 15. So we just settled for the pictures outside. And of course, F who has visited some of the famous landmarks around the globe had to do his signature pose- his crazy “jump shot” in front of the towers. I took more than a few pictures of him in different angles and pose. And the ex-model surely knows how to pose in front of the camera. (Yeah he used to model before. Shhh… it’s sort of a secret.:D )  One of my roles during the trip was F’s photographer. Since he travelled alone in Bangkok and SG and only met some friends living in a city for dinner or so, he didn’t have much pictures of himself, and that explains my role this time in KL.

After some more photos, and F helping out fellow tourists by taking their pictures (because apparently, some people have high end SLRs but do not know how to use them, Oh well, they must have really nice photos if F took it for them.), we headed back to Suria KLCC mall to wait until the towers are lit up at night.

Inside Suria, I found one of the local shops I was looking for- Vincci! Hurray! And man, it was jam-packed! Lots of ladies invaded this shoe and bag store. It was insane! I’m not too crazy about shopping but the “Sale” and “up to 50% off” signs hanging around Vincci were attractive. LOL. I told F that I will look for nice pair of shoes. So touring with a lady, F had no choice but to get inside the shop too. Poor guy! LOL. He was literally following me as I moved around the store to check out the cute pairs . It was kind of weird. But then it was nice also because I had someone to ask opinion whether the shoes look nice or not. LOL. Then I noticed there were a few men sitting in the couch, perhaps waiting for the ladies they were with too. I told F,

“You see those men, you may want to sit beside them as you wait for me. :)”

And he obliged.

Decades later, LOL 🙂 I called him and asked, “Are they pretty?” as slid my feet into the red stilettoes. He nodded and said yes. Well I just hope that he didn’t just say yes to shut me up. LOL. Then he followed me again so I said, “You may sit down.”

“Well you called me.”

“You may go back and sit again.”

He just rolled his yes and joined the gentlemen again. 🙂 After a few more minutes, I picked two pairs of two different shoes and asked the sales clerk for my shoe size as I sat beside F.

“You’re getting two?” F inquired.

“Yes” I answered.

“Really? One is not enough? Oh you women!”

“You’re getting married soon and you should get used to this. This is your practice.  Haha” I told him.

“Oh she’s not into shopping really.” he countered.

“That’s what you think!” 😛

My red shoes. 🙂

Empty Vincci store in KLCC. Well the store hasn't opened yet (picture c/o vincci)

Then I explained to him that one pair is for me and the other for my sister. So, after the long queue at the cashier, we went out of Suria to have a look of the Petronas at night. Beautiful sight. Adjacent to the towers is the Public Bank Berhad building that also glows with its golden lights.

Petronas Twin Towers at night.

Water reflection of the twin towers.

It was still raining a little though. We went back to that spot we were at, so we can take snaps of the breathtaking towers at night. Ever see the photographers who wouldn’t care what position they have; how they look like or whether it was dusty, wet, rainy or hot just to take beautiful photos? That’s how we looked like. I tossed the umbrella somewhere and just took more pictures. Then tourist started to gather again in the same spot we were, so we decided to leave.

We were supposed to go up the Menara Tower (KL Tower) to see the entire city from above, but because of the rain, we decided to just go back to our hostel. Like always, we walked again. We saw this local cafe that also sells fruit/milk shakes and smoothies. They have interesting names for their drinks. They used city names for the different fruit combinations. I checked out Manila but it’s not too appealing because I think it has carrots in it. It’s just weird. So I had Singapore instead which from what I remember was a mix of strawberry, banana and something else (not carrot). 🙂

We were teasing each other as we walk and were talking non-stop about so many things. Then we stumbled upon this store that sells fruits and F bought some banana. We also dropped by 7-11 to grab our healthy dinner again – Asian noodles again, chocolate, biscuits. We are not a diet and though traveling on budget, we still have more than enough to fill our stomachs, but perhaps due exhaustion; we just don’t have the appetite for full meals.

As soon as we reached the hostel, I took a shower because I couldn’t stand the sweat and dirt combined caused by the long walks that day. Later on, we had our dinner in my bedroom even though eating there isn’t allowed. LOL. Then F saw my Bible that I left in the bed so he scanned and read a few verses. As he was reading it aloud, I recited the verse he was reading and he finds it amusing.  After a few more exchange of stories, we called it a day.

(*KL Day 4 will be next)

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Parks, Museums and Petronas! (KL Trip Day 3) Part 1 of 2

19 Feb

(This is the 3rd installment of my trip to KL. I divided it into 2 posts because it’s pretty long as usual. 🙂 This is Part 1 of 2)

Saturday – November 19

I was up as early as 7 and started getting ready for our day tour. I went downstairs to join F for breakfast but only the guys from Indonesia were at the breakfast table.  I asked Pat, one of the hostel staff if he saw F. He said not yet but I can go and check him at the male dorm. Of course I didn’t want to invade the boys’ privacy so I asked one of the Indonesian guys who were also staying at the male dorm to open the door for me.  And there he was, still in the dreamland, far away from reality. 😀

They told me I can get inside the room so I could wake him up. I told them, it’s okay,  I’ll let him sleep for more and that I’ll just wait for him to get up. So I had my morning coffee as the Indonesian guys left for their day’s itinerary. (Oh btw, one of the Indonesian guys fell from the bunk bed on their first night at the hostel because he was sleep-walking. And it resulted to a bad sprain on his foot, ruining his KL visit. He just stayed in the hostel most of the time while his friends were out exploring the city. Poor guy.)

So after what seems to be forever :D, kidding, maybe half an hour, F walked out of the door.

“Hey! Good morning Mr.” I said.

The sleepyhead replied, “Good morning.” and walked towards the washroom.

He later joined me for breakfast, took the map and discussed the day’s plan. Like our first day, he was in-charge of what to do and see around. I liked it that way. 🙂 A little later, a couple came and joined us. The guy is from Australia while his girlfriend is from Brazil.  Nice. So we are four people from four different continents – Australia, South America, Asia and Europe. Well F is actually from Eurasia (Europe and Asia). They’ve been around KL and were leaving for Malacca that day, so they voluntarily gave a few tips on what to see around. The girl asked us if we have been to some shops because she went to one and bought a really nice handbag and she thought she’d share it to me.

I answered, “We haven’t.”

F objected, “Oh come on, we’ve been to some shops! I took you to the Pavilion yesterday. You already forgot?”

“Oh yeah, Pavilion. But you know it’s just the same big mall we have back home. What I’m looking for are some local shops to buy something Malaysian.”

The Brazilian agreed to me, “Yes. Pavilion is the same huge shopping mall you can find in most cities around the world, so you better go to the local shops instead.”

Both men just didn’t argue with us. Well, we women know better. 😛 Then we talked a little about football. I told them how I love Kaka and how I want to visit Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. 😀 Then after some more football talks and stories about our countries, we got up to prepare for our itinerary. The Aussie guy told me one last travel tip. He said we should go to the KL Tower (Menara Tower) to have a panoramic view of the city. There is a revolving restaurant up there but it is very expensive. So he suggested maybe if we like, we can just have a drink there and have dinner in some place nice and cheaper. Well he assumed that we ‘drink’. We thanked both of them for the advices and helpful suggestions.

Oh I forgot to mention that the day I arrived F mentioned to me that the hostel employ Filipino staff, along with one Thai guy (Pat), a Malaysian bloke and an Aussie woman. I met the Filipino staff, Neldie the morning of Friday (Day 2) when F introduced her to me. Then later that day, we found out that there is another Filipino staff named Myla.

Now, why did I mention them? Well it was because of the intriguing questions thrown to me and F by Myla while we were getting ready to leave.

I was standing at the reception while waiting for F and having a small talk in our local language to Myla about her work at the hostel and her life back home in Bicol, Philippines. Then she inquired:

“ Is F staying in the male dorm?”

“Yes with the Indonesian boys.” I answered

“What about you? Which room are you occupying?” She asked.

“I got the private room upstairs. Room H.” I said.

“Why don’t you guy stay in one room?” She intriguingly asked.

“Noooooo!!! We can’t.” I laughed as I answered.

“Why not? Couples here stay in one room most of the time.”

Laughing out loud, I answered, “No. We’re not even a couple. We’re just good friends traveling together.”

She didn’t believe me at first. She thought that I was just being too conservative. Too Filipina. Actually for me, I do not mind sharing a room with male friends, well as long as it’s not just the two of us. If we’re in a group, there is no problem. That’s what my friends and I do most of the time when we travel.

Well, it took a while before I convinced Myla that nothing is going on between me and F. LOL. Or so I thought. Because after some more chats about the Philippines, she asked me again,

“Is there really nothing between you and F? Not even a little spark? He’s good looking.”

I laughed hysterically and uttered a long “Noooooooooo… nothing!”

And just as I said that, F came and was intrigued with what we were talking about. He asked why I was laughing too much. I turned to him and said,

“Well, she’s asking if we really are JUST friends.”

F burst into laughter also. Then I told Myla that F actually have a GF and is about to get engaged in a week, when he gets back to Turkey. Then I let F do the talking about his blossoming love life and how we became friends. LOL.

Myla probably thought that with F’s good looks, it’s impossible for women not to have hots for him. Well not me. Though, I must admit that I find him good looking, especially now that he has grown beard and mustache, making him look like a bad ass! LOL. He looks better with it I think, as good-boy looks doesn’t appeal too much to me. But there’s just no spark. Nada! Like I always tell Idy when he used to tease me to F before,

“N.I. = Not Interested.”

(Idy gave it a different meaning though; he said maybe N.I. means “Nice Idea.” LOL.)

Anyway, so looks like Myla was already convinced that what F and I have is plain platonic relationship. Nothing more, nothing less. 🙂

Actually, that was just one of the many occurrences that we had to explain our non-romantic relationship and how a Turkish man and a Filipino woman ended up as good friends.

So this day, we decided to visit as many places as we can around the Botanical Gardens – Parks and Museums. The hostel sells tickets to Bird Park and Menara or the KL Tower. They said we can save if we buy from them instead of getting it onsite. Of course, we didn’t know if that was true or it was just their marketing ploy so we’d buy from them. We bought the tickets anyway.

We hopped to the Monorail in Bukit Bintang station and got off at KL Central. I noticed that there were tenement buildings near the Central Station that kind of resemble the ones we had back home.

We were told that the Parks and Museums are just walking distance from KL Central so we snubbed the taxis around. F took out his virtual map, trying to figure out where we are heading. A police officer in KL Central told us that we should pass through the Hilton Hotel’s parking area to get to the National Museum which is in the opposite side. So we walked and walked and walked and ended up in what seemed to be the wrong side of the world. LOL. There were no tourists, not even a local walking around the place. Only fast cars and trucks in the highway can be seen. Then a few more walks and we saw two men near the hotel’s parking entrance. They told us to walk to where the giant tree is and there we’ll go down the stairs to get to our destination.

It was so hot and humid in KL that morning. The weather was like the summer in Manila but it was better than the rainy weather we had the day before.  So we went to National Museum first. There were a lot of school kids on educational tour that packed the museum’s lobby. We went inside to see what’s in there but we were told that we have to buy a ticket first. After deciding that there maybe nothing there that might interest us since we also went to the mini museum in KL City Gallery on our Day 2, we went out and headed to our next destination.

F wants to see the National Mosque, so under the scorching hot KL sun, we walked again. We passed by the Planetarium, the Police National Museum, Islamic Center and ended up in the Islamic Arts Museum. We went inside the arts museum and looked for the washrooms to freshen up because the summer-like weather was a torture! We stayed for a while inside the air conditioned arts center. There were some Muslim kids inside, probably having a tour. Then we checked out the white inverted dome that just looks fascinating and beautiful with the gold ornaments around it.

Inverted Dome inside the Islamic Arts Museum (Not my picture. c/o google images)

Then we headed to the National Mosque which was just standing next to the museum. It was almost noon time and the mosque will be closed for their prayers in 30 minutes. F wants to pray there before it closes for tourists. I told him I will just wait for him outside, even though it was so hot but he insisted that I get in. He even took this huge purple piece of clothing with a hoodie and handed it to me.

“What am I going to do with this?” I asked.

“Wear them so you can get in.” He said.

But I swear, with what seemed like 30+ degrees outside, that is the last thing I want to wear. It was so hot and I will wear that huge purple robe? Oh no. I had to put that thing on top of what I was already wearing – short-sleeve top and jeans. And I don’t know about F, but he’s wearing long sleeve top with an inner shirt and trousers and I thought it’s too hot for the KL weather. When I asked him why he didn’t bring t-shirts instead, he said,

“Well I asked you if shirts are okay in Asia at this time, you said yes. So I bought these.”

“I thought you were pertaining to t-shirts.”

Obviously we had a miscommunication there and that just shows one of the many differences in our culture – how things are called, even gestures and facial expressions that will be part of my Day 4 story. 😀

Anyway, there were other tourists visiting the mosque and like me, they had to wear the purple robe. But at least it looked good on them because the robe or whatever they call it seemed to be custom-made for tall people like them. And I am very tall, super tall. (5 ft.) LOL So you can visualize that I can actually sweep or clean the floor as I walk. The lady at the entrance told us to leave our shoes and flip flops. Then before she let us in, she assisted me in properly tying the robe and then grabbed the, I don’t know what they call it, a scarf or something, well the thing that Muslim women use to cover their heads, then put it on my head. So another piece of clothing was added. So there I was, wearing an ultra huge robe covering my entire body, yes my toes can’t be seen, and not even the tip of my fingers, and the scarf that only showed my round-shaped face. F looked at me trying to suppress his laughter.

“Stop giving me that silly smile. You made me do this. Don’t laugh at me!” I warned him. LOL

We went up the stairs while I was dragging the long and huge robe I was wearing. I was imagining how I looked like. I probably looked like a monk or something wearing the robe minus the scarf. I saw my reflection in one of the glass doors of the mosque. I now know the reason why F was giving me that silly grin. I looked funny because of the super huge robe.  So we walked towards the mosque’ main entrance as I kept on rolling up the sleeves and lifting the robe because I can’t walk properly and  because I swear it was really really hot! I asked F if I can actually do that – roll up the sleeves or lift the robe. He said not really because I’m not supposed to show my arms, but he didn’t really mind.

Then I warned him again, “You will not take a picture of me wearing this.”

He smiled and said, “No. I will. Later I will take your picture.”

“Nooooooo!!!!!” I objected.

“Yes I will.” He said teasing me.

“No!” I firmly said.

I explained to him why I won’t let him take any photo of me wearing the scarf or the robe. It will freak my parents out. F knew that I am a practicing Christian, a Born Again Christian that is, and that I belong to a Pastor’s family. So I don’t want any evidence because if they get to know, I will have a lot of explaining to do. And I do not like that. We already had some unpleasant “talk” a week before I left for KL, because they were kind of worried that I was meeting a male friend that I met only in the internet, in a foreign country! Though somehow I knew that if ever they would find out, I will be able to explain to them that I did it because I was with F and I was just respecting their belief and practice inside their place of worship and that I am not compromising my faith. F understood where I was coming from so he promised he won’t take any evidence. Thank you.

At the entrance, there were Muslim women volunteers talking to the tourists, telling them something about the National Mosque and their religion. Two of them approached us as they said their Salaam greeting. One of the women went up to me to fix the headscarf I was wearing. She said it’s okay to expose the chin. LOL. That’s probably the one of the reasons why F was laughing at me! 🙂

They told us that only Muslim are allowed inside their worship hall and that taking pictures is prohibited but F was a law-abiding tourist so he went inside and took pictures. LOL. I stayed outside as F checked out the mosque. One of the women asked if I am from the Philippines. Wow. I wasn’t mistaken as a local for the first time. I said I am. She seemed to be updated of the international politics, so she asked me about what recently happened to the former president Arroyo because she was in the news. She was arrested whilst I was in KL. And of course, I willingly fed her with my knowledge and opinions of Philippine politics, something my father and I usually talk about at home alongside sports and movies. While we were busy talking about political leaders, F went back outside to ask where he can wash his feet, arms and face, so he can pray. So he left his camera and other stuff with me as I sat on one of the chairs. The woman did not leave me and like the other volunteers started to tell me about the Malaysia’s national mosque and Islam. I think she said something about importing tiles from Morrocco or some similar country for the construction of the mosque. She explained the meaning of the Arabic writings on the stained-glass windows just right below the umbrella-styled ceiling. She handed me a leaflet that contains FAQs about their religion. And although I am completely from a different faith, I listened to her.

Inside Malaysia's National Mosque. (picture c/o Wiki)

The umbrella-styled ceiling of the mosque (F took this photo)

It didn’t take F too long to pray, so after we explored the other parts of the mosque, we returned the robe and scarf, then left. I told him I am already starving since I only had coffee for breakfast. But there was no restaurant around so we thought to go to the Bird Park, thinking there might be some fast food there to fill our empty stomachs.

(*to be continued)

Free Concert (A Rocket to the Moon)

17 Feb

This evening,  after I finished work I dropped by the Glorrietta mall to do some bank transactions. Then I heard there was a band playing and girls screaming. Must be “some band” I thought. After I was done with the ATM, I walked through this huge crowd swarming the activity area of the mall and heard the band play their music closely. They’re good. I particularly like the drumbeats and guitar sounds. I squeezed myself in the crowd trying to see who they are. But men in front me of are really tall, and I was wearing flats too, so I can’t see them at all.

I saw the the huge tarpaulin with names and pictures of 5 groups but I don’t know who currently were playing. Being mostly into non-mainstream music, those names in the tarp are ‘unknown’ to me. I later found out that the band is called “A Rocket to the Moon.” How come I’ve never heard of them? With the throng of mostly young women singing on the top of their lungs to the band’s songs,  they must be ‘popular’ I thought? Well maybe not so because I do not know them. 😛

They’re kind of interesting so I stayed for a while to listen more and see what this band is like. I found the good spot from on the 2nd floor overlooking the performers and the fan girls downstairs. Man, those girls are crazy! Well I was like them when I was their age. LOL. Then I moved to the ground floor and there was a better spot there to enjoy the music. I was alone but I was enjoying. The screams were deafening but I liked it! I think it’s because it reminds me so much of myself back in the days. 🙂  Oh well!  I do not know any of their songs but I must admit that I enjoyed the 30-minute free rock concert this evening.  So I guess that band has a good future.

(*Found out too from Google that A Rocket to the Moon has been around since 2006. So it’s been 6 years and tonight was the first time I’ve seen and heard them. I listened to their songs via youtube, and I must say, that ‘LIVE’ sounds so much better. 🙂 )

Thank God I’m Still Alive

9 Feb

(*This is an old post that I wrote back in December 5, 2006 in my now defunct blog. I was reminded of this experience after Addie blogged about the unfortunate thing that happened to her coworker just this week. Mine, happened during my English-teaching days when I had to leave for work at 4 in the morning. It was so traumatic that I skipped work for the entire week, and that everyday after that incident, for about a year, my dad had to wake up early too to drive me to work because I can no longer take public transportation alone. Thankfully, I was able to overcome that fear as time passed by, through the grace of God.)

 I’m really thankful to God. I consider this my second life now. I could be dead yesterday. 

My bag was snatched from me yesterday by a man inside a car. It happened when I was on my way to work at about 4:40 a.m. right in front of the Catholic Church in downtown Pasig City. It happened so quickly. I just got off from the jeepney and walked only a few steps, when suddenly I felt like one of the straps of my leather backpack tangled into something. I thought in a jeepney, but little did I know, it was being pulled by a man in the car, sitting in the passenger seat. I hardly noticed the red car. The man whose face I didn’t even have a chance to see, pulled my bag while the car was in motion that dragged me a feet or two away from where I was and causing me to turn 180 degrees and fall on the ground, face first.  It was so quick. It was the few seconds in my life where I could not hear, see or feel anything… I had a blackout. Then I heard people screaming and saw my umbrella a few feet away from me. That’s when I realized what happened, that I lost my bag. People around the church, vendors and tricycle drivers came to my rescue. They helped me got up and asked which part of my body was aching. One of them even offered me a glass of water, some were telling me about my bruises because they saw some blood dripping from my forehead and left arm and others were asking questions about what the bag contains. Despite the bruises, I didn’t feel anything. I think all I was able to say to them was, “I need to call home, I need to call home”. My whole body was shaking. I felt so scared and so weak. Then two men volunteered to accompany me to the nearest police station which is just two blocks away. One of them even asked me the place where I live and offered me money to go home. And mind you, these are the poor people trying to make a living from selling something outside the church, yet they still offered me money so I can go home. I politely refused and said thank you, but I will just call my parents to pick me up. 

At the police station, there was reporter from a TV network and police men who asked me about what happened. I didn’t know how but I narrated to them the incident. Then I started to feel the pain from the bruises that I have. One police officer offered me a tissue paper to wipe off the blood. Then I called my parents. My father, who was ill that time, thought it was just a simple snatching incident, he even told me to go to my office but after explaining to him, he immediately informed my mother since he can’t drive to where I was. After that, 2 cops in a mobile car came and escorted me to the hospital. But when we got there, all they did is look at my bruises and ask questions, then issued a medical police report. They didn’t even give me a first aid; they only gave me a list of medicine to buy to ease the pain. We went back to the police station. And there was my mom.

I forgot to thank those people who helped me got up and the two men who walked me to the police station. They left while I was on the phone talking to my parents. The reporter even asked me to narrate my experience in front of the camera, but I refused. I don’t want to appear on national television with all those bruises on my face, arms, hands and knees. So he just reported the news over the radio. I also want to thank the reporter and the cops for their efforts to make me smile despite of what happened.

And of course, how will I forget to thank my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ for allowing me to live again. Yes, I am thankful for the second chance that He gave me.

May this serve as a lesson to everyone and a warning as well. Let us all pray and ask for God’s protection and guidance, not only when we are going out but all the time. Yesterday morning as I was about to leave, mom reminded me to say a prayer, but for some reasons, I didn’t. I was kind of in a ‘rebellion state” (oh it’s something between me and God) and what happened was a wake up call. I could be dead yesterday but God is good. I may have experience a bad thing but all things work together for good and I believe that He has a purpose why He allowed it to happen. 

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