Friday, November 18, 2016

#NeverAgain #MarcosNotAHero

I am angry.

from Facebook
There is nothing more insulting to any Filipino than having a former dictator buried in the Heroes Cemetery. Somehow, after all the fight throughout the years, we have not learned anything. Here we are, witnessing the worst as we know it. Burying a wax and forgetting the atrocious crimes committed during the 14-year dictatorship. And you know what, they did it so sneakily so no one would oppose. Why so excited to bury this filth? 

So disgusting.

It is disgusting how much we try to educate and get an education, there seems to be no change. We fall for lies, false promises, and worthless claims. We fell for a talker -- someone who promises the best of the worlds without a concrete plan. You know, all talk, all bullshit.

I am sad.

From Manila Times

For the country that has been through so much, it should be enough. One dictatorship is enough. I am saddened by the lack of remorse and for the unwavering support for this appalling family and their new puppet president.


It seems like we never learn anything. We do the same things like a bad habit -- and then we ask for a better life, for a change. Those who continue to turn blind against the cruelty are equally at fault. You are no better. Those who call for people to move on, shame on you. For those people who voted for this president, you have just given power to someone who owes more to a dictator than to the people he should be serving.

I am afraid.


Reading the patterns and signs, it is frightening to even think we are heading towards the same fate. A dictatorship, we have tried so hard to fight, is coming back slowly. What do they gain from this heinous acts?


It's a bleak future seeing the country is now in the hands of incompetent (and excuse my language) ignorant government. The effect of our ill-choices and miseducation is evident -- and it's not too long till we fall again and strive to fight back. What have we done?
I am but a small voice, miles away from the place where I grew up -- where I learned my values and principles.

Ang bayan kong Pilipinas,
Lupain ng ginto't bulaklak,
Pag-ibig nasa kanyáng palad,
Nag-alay ng ganda't dilág.
At sa kanyáng yumi at ganda,
Dayuhan ay nahalina;
Bayan ko, binihag ka,
Nasadlak sa dusa.

Ibon mang may layang lumipad,
Kulungin mo at umiiyak,
Bayan pa kayáng sakdál dilág,
Ang 'dì magnasang makaalpás?
Pilipinas kong minumutyâ,
Pugad ng luhà ko't dalita;
Aking adhika,
Makita kang sakdál laya!

Philippines, my only country, I am so sorry to disappoint and be far away from you. I am sorry for the things happening to you. I am so sorry for not doing anything when we could have done something. I am so sorry, it breaks me. 


Tonight, I pray for the safety of people who continue to fight. Thank you for being brave for us, for the country.

#NeverAgain #MarcosNotAHero

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Ipoh 2016: Photo Diary

The last time I posted about Ipoh was about my short visit to Kellie's Castle. By the way, it's not actually in Ipoh, but most people end up going there anyway because it's on the way. 

Now, this post is about the Ipoh, finally. My friends and I ended up going up there because we've always wanted to go on a road trip, but always end up not going to for several reasons. This time, I made the invite in advance and planned our itinerary. I divided the task among the four of us, I was in charge of where we are staying and going, Subhash was in charge of driving, Ness for the food, and Chuk for drinks. So off we went...

It was actually our second time in Ipoh. The first one was last year, I think. It was a Sunday and it was a spur-of-a-moment trip. We did not go around that much and it was spent mostly eating and driving around. This time, we spent overnight, so we have enough time for the journey and to do stuff in Ipoh.

Usually, we would go on an out-of-town escapade if Subhash has a test car and we have enough money. This recent trip was extra special because it was Nessreen's birthday!

So after going to Kellie's Castle, we went to our hotel, Mornington. Nothing fancy. It was spacious and the bed was nice; the WiFi was not working that time, despite the several times I have asked the staff to fix it. No breakfast, but who would want to eat hotel food in a place known for its white coffee (and tons of places to eat!)?

We decided to explore the Ipoh around early evening—when there was no more sun, plus the rained just stopped so it would be nice to walk around.

Unfortunately, most of the shops were closed. I don't know, it was quite weird as it was a weekend. Aren't they supposed to be open for tourists? Anyway, we ended up going to the Kinta Riverfront and spent the evening maneuvering a bicycle—yep, four of us.

Anyway, here are some photos:

Next day, we woke up early and ate breakfast, before we headed to Gunung Lang.

I felt like Gunung Lang was another tourist trap, because seriously, there is nothing to do there, plus we had to pay—although it was only RM3 for the boat ride, I guess; aside maybe from the deer and ostriches in cages.

After lunch, we decided to head back to Kuala Lumpur. But not leaving Ipoh with a few more shots.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Evil Within: The Wailing

I've never watched a movie in a cinema alone before. But ever since I got my new job, I've been lucky enough to attend a few press previews. This is a review I did of the latest movie I saw. Short, because I don't think I know how to do movie reviews (I swear I am getting there!) and I tend to over share so I tried my best not to spoil anything. 
The supernatural thriller touches on the long-standing tradition of shamanism, as well as how evil takes various forms to deceit. You won't even realise its existence until you get into deep. 

The Wailing (Goksung), is the latest horror-thriller movie to tackle the supernatural. Think about shamans, rituals, and of course the evil among us.  
Directed and written by Hong-jin Na, the story takes place in the village called Goksung. Manic possessions and vicious murders began to happen when a mysterious stranger (Jun Kunimura) arrives in the quiet, rural area. His presence, as well as the recent events, have caused panic, suspicion, and fear among the villagers.

Professional and personal interests collide when police officer Jong-Goo (Do Won Kwak) takes the matter into his hands when his daughter, falls under the same fate. To cast off the spell, he asks help from a shaman (Jung-min Hwang), but not without a conflict with a mysterious woman (Woo-hee Chun) who appears when you least expect her. 

The movie starts off slowly, immersing the audience in the eerie environment. Gloominess looms over as the film's mood, save some humour injected once in a while, courtesy of Jong-Goo. Still, the suspense, gore, and violence will make you uncomfortable. Plus, the length of the film—lasting for almost two hours—are quite excruciating, especially if you want to end the suffering of a father who only wants the best for his family. 
All in all, the movie is a good pre-Halloween film; catch it if you can. I cannot assure you it will not give you goosebumps and terrifying vision of the creepy red peepers when you close your eyes. 


Starring Jun Kunimura, Jung-min Hwang, Woo-hee Chun, Do Won Kwak, The Wailing opens in  cinemas nationwide on 13 October. 

Originally posted here
Photos from 20th Century Fox Malaysia

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Ipoh 2016: Is Kellie's Castle Worth a Visit?

I have been meaning to write something here, also that was something I said (I think) when I made a comeback a few posts ago. So, I am here I am trying to do another comeback posts, because who doesn't want to hear (or read) from someone who has disappeared?

Ok, so here I am, enjoying what is left of our long weekend, the second of this month! I spent the three days doing absolutely nothing, except for emptying the bags of laundry that have been waiting for me. 

Even on the weekends, I try to stay busy, even if I should be dilly-dallying at home. However, I refuse to do anything work-related, because I don't want to be consumed by it. Well OK, I casually insert scheduling of Facebook posts and checking our website traffic sometimes. Also, last month, I have been working on weekends, too--attending events, giving a talk (yup, I did!) among other things. So this month, I vowed to keep my weekends for my personal agenda. 

I also try to travel, even if it means I take my friends with me--and I am glad they are happy to come along with.


Two weeks ago, we spent our weekend in Ipoh, Perak.

Some of the shop houses in one of the streets in Ipoh old town.

Ipoh was recently named as one of the top 10 destinations to visit in Asia by the Lonely Planet. The quaint city two hours north of Kuala Lumpur (KL) is a quick escape from the city if you want to soak in some culture, food, and sceneries. 

Our first stop was Kellie's Castle. Located 30 minutes away from Ipoh, it was our first stop as it was on the way from KL. 

Built by Scottish planter William Kellie Smith for his wife (or his son, whichever story you prefer to believe), the unfinished mansion has a hydraulic lift (supposed to be the first in Malaysia), tennis court, and secret passageway in almost every room. Also, the castle is supposed to be connected to a Hindu temple through a secret passageway. We did not attempt to look for it. 

From afar, the ruins look majestic.

A mix of Indian, Moorish, and Scottish architecture

I found it funny that the descriptions inside the mansion say something about Kellie's castle being haunted by spirits. I guess supernatural tidbits bring more guests? Personally, I found it unnecessary. Maybe mention once, but not over and over? Vandals were found all over the place, too. Not a nice way to leave your mark on a historic site, guys. Nothing much to say, except that if you like places like this (and for Instagram's sake, I guess), you should pay a visit. Otherwise, the RM10 entrance fee is quite not worth it. Other than one room filled with pieces of furniture, the rest are empty. Also, maybe don't go around noontime; it's very hot.

Toasted and famished, we headed over to a hawker place near our hotel. 

Chuk, Nessybessy, SuBB like being photographed, obviously. 
I think I will keep the post up to here for now. The next ones will be about the Old Town (and how we attempted to ride a four-man bike--did we succeed? Find out soon!), our breakfast food, and Gunung Lang

Have you also gone to Kellie's Castle? What do you think about it?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

My Nasi Lemak Story

Recently, Time Magazine named Nasi Lemak, Malaysia's most popular dish as one of the 10 healthy international breakfasts. (My work website also did a list inspired by this list, btw) I don't know what makes this breakfast appealing and healthy. One, can you imagine eating spicy sauce in the morning? Two, isn't rice cooked in coconut milk kind of icky to think about? Also, how is something literally translated to 'fatty rice' be healthy?

Typical Nasi Lemak with coconut rice, sambal, anchovies, egg, peanuts and some veggies. (from
Living in Malaysia for almost 3 1/2 years, it's impossible to ignore Nasi Lemak. It's the country's national food. They eat it not just in the morning; Malaysians eat it anytime of the day - breakfast, lunch, possibly even dinner. One plate can go low as RM1 (P10-11) - so cheap. It comes in different varieties, but staple ingredients are rice cooked in coconut milk, some anchovy, sambal (chili sauce), and peanuts. It's usually wrapped in banana leaf and sold everywhere in Malaysia. Luckily, I was able to stay away from this food. I could not even bring myself to like it - I can't think why people love it sooo much.

But this morning, while I was at my boyfriend's house in Johor Bahru, I had no choice but to eat Nasi Lemak. Side story, his family has made me eat all sorts of foods I can't imagine I will eat. Curry? Yes. Yam with deer meat? Yes. Chicken Biryani with super spicy curry? Yes (although not everything). Any food with curry? YES. Can't imagine, seroiously - and I am proud of myself  because I overcame my pickiness and actually loved them. (Thanks, Guys!!!)

Back to the story, on the table were bungkus of Nasi Lemak. Oh damn.

bungkus means pack (from Getty Images)

As I sat there thinking 'How can I get away from this situation?' I asked my boyfriend if he can share it with me. Lol. He said, no. I was so hungry, but I have no choice but to get one and eat my own Nasi Lemak. So I stood up, took spoon and fork, and prayed internally that I won't die of the spiciness.

And you know what: It was actually good. The Nasi Lemak I had was everything I imagined Nasi Lemak would be... NOT.

The rice had a hint of coconut taste - it's not overpowering and the texture is not wet. Cooked to perfection. The sambal sauce was sweet and spicy - but I didn't put everything because I was still apprehensive. The anchovy, oh boy, I loved this before I even came to Malaysia, together with the egg, were good additions to the sauce because the saltiness tamed the sweet/spicy combination. Plus, the peanut is something really unexpected. If you spoon all of them and eat altogether, the weird, but tasty taste is like what they say - 'an explosion in the mouth.'

The food that I have tried so many times to avoid has become one of my favourite discoveries this year. Moral of the story, don't judge a food until you haven't eaten it. Ok, maybe I still will - but I will try my best to be more open about different cuisines and don't be afraid to 'tickle' my tastebuds a bit.

Verdict: I wouldn't mind eating Nasi Lemak again. Oh, next time with fried chicken, maybe.