It’s more fun in the Philippines(?) #travelingwithkubiir ep. 2

Aloha!

For this episode of #travelingwithkubiir, my friend Asma’ and I went to Philippines. Unlike many others who traveled to Palawan, Boracay, or Cebu, we chose to visit Bagac in Bataan province as well as the capital Manila.

Before I start, let me tell you this: it’s been a few weeks since we came back but we still can’t get over the top-notch hospitality of the people there! From the crowded city of Manila to the serene Bataan, almost everyone we met really gave their best to smile at us and help us.

Now, on to the journey itself. On the first day we arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport at about 3-4 p.m. After buying a Smart SIM Card to use during our stay, we went to the Grab Car booth outside the arrival hall and went to Hop Inn Hotel Ermita, where we staying that night.

After checking in and resting a bit, we hired another Grab Car and went to SM Mall of Asia, the so-called biggest mall in Southeast Asia. Guess what, the mall is really huge we barely had time to explore what’s in it. So after having some modified Indonesian food at Martabak restaurant, we went to buy some souvenirs at Kultura and got back to the hotel. I think not spending too much time in this mall was a good decision because later on our third day, we had some free time and went to another gigantic shopping mall called Greenbelt in Makati area.

p_20171118_061433_zpszirsroxo

The next morning might be the most exciting part of the trip, because we didn’t even know exactly how to go from Manila to Bataan apart from some vague information we found online. Alhamdulillah, we managed to arrive safely in Balanga terminal after a 3-hour ride with Genesis Bus. From there, we randomly rode a Jeepney that had “Bagac” written on it. We were not so sure at first, but I managed to convince my friend that we were on the right track after confirming to the driver that we were going to Las Casas Filipinas the Acuzar.

The Jeepney right was fun, to say the least. Having a good internet connection (thumbs up for smart!) really helped us to be aware of where we were, even though it didn’t really help in terms of telling us where to stop (yup, Jeepney doesn’t have formal stops so anyone can just say “para, po…!” and stop anywhere, basically). We were so grateful that the driver was kind enough to tell us where we had to get off. From this point on, we continued our journey by tricycle.

p_20171118_111831_zpsgmooxk1j

p_20171118_112602_zpsirk92umv

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar a.k.a “the Filipino houses of Acuzar” was built by an architect who wanted general public to know more about Filipino history through its old buildings. This architect, along with his interior-designer wife, managed to relocate and rebuild various houses across the Philippines into this resort area. I think this is a great way to let people–including foreigners like ourselves–to understand about and learn from what had happened in the past. Sure, the cost of staying there was quite high, but to me the guided heritage tour and the cultural performance provided to all guests were worth the price.

p_20171118_133932_zpsfd1rkrrj

p_20171118_183533_zps04thca2d

Fast forward to our last day in the Philippines, we started the day walking from Casa Bocobo hotel to Rizal Park. This park was built as a tribute to the national hero of the Philippines, Dr. Jose Rizal. Being the lazy girls that we are, we decided to ride a mini train that goes around the park. The cost of this train was pretty cheap, only 1 USD or 50 PHP per person.

p_20171120_094139_zpsco33gfgy

We continued walking to Intramuros which is an old town similar to Jakarta’s Kota Tua. Apart from Manila Cathedral, the most iconic building in this area is Fort Santiago where Dr. Jose Rizal was imprisoned by the Spanish colonial government.

p_20171120_115202_zpszlqw8ufx

p_20171120_104456_zps99pwclzl

After that we went to Quiapo area which, unfortunately, became a hot topic after several bomb attacks there. This is so unfortunate knowing that the Golden Mosque, one of the very few Islamic buildings in the Catholic-majority country, was located in that area. After praying we spoke to a Filipino lady who apparently was able to speak Malay quite fluently. We also went to Landap Cafe, located just across the mosque, for lunch.

p_20171120_141543_zpsnq3jrzuy

p_20171120_130622_zps0cdc3dhe

Apart from the hospitality I mentioned before, another thing I remember from the trip was how people always thought we were Filipino! In the hotels, on the street, pretty much everywhere we went to, people would always talk to us in Tagalog and we were like “ehm… excuse me but we’re foreigners…” hahaha.

Overall, we really enjoyed our time there and personally I had to agree that it is, indeed, more fun in the Philippines! 😀

 

Advertisements

Siem Reap Adventure #travelingwithkubiir

Apparently this long-overdue post has been sitting on my draft for 8 months… Well, better late than never, right?

But anyway, this time I’d like to talk about my journey to Siem Reap, Cambodia. I went with my partner-in-crime Asma’. Despite having known each other for almost 10 years, we had never gone traveling together before, so we were supert excited to depart on our adventure (and Asma’s first time abroad as well!)

We started the journey by taking AirAsia to Kuala Lumpur, then continued with another AirAsia flight from KL to Siem Reap. We found this route much cheaper than using AirAsia Indonesia that flies from Jakarta to Siem Reap with one layover in Don Mueang (Bangkok).

We stayed in KL for a night, visited the iconic Twin Towers and explored the night bazaar near Masjid India. Oh, by the way, we stayed at Hotel 1951, and we have to say this place was bomb! I mean, for the budget that we had, we couldn’t have asked for more than a strategic location and  a compact-but-cozy room. There’s also an Indian restaurant nearby, which was perfect for naan lovers like us.

p_20170122_193157_zpsyo0zeflb

The next morning we went back to KLIA2 and flew to Siem Reap. After a little fight with the tuk-tuk driver who forced us to ride his tuk-tuk for Angkor tour the next day, we took a long nap at Sok San Street Boutique Hotel. It took around 30 minutes and USD 6 from the airport to the hotel by tuk-tuk.

p_20170123_143406_zpstly57otk

Later that night, we walked to the night market and did some shopping. Actually there were a few lanes which are all called “night market”, all of them claiming to be the “original”. One fun fact, almost everyone selling goods there called female visitors “Lady”. When we were roaming around, they would say something like “please have a look, Lady…”

p_20170123_191929_zps7d3s26nl

The next day, we woke up at about 2 a.m. and went on an Angkor tour at 4. Our tuktuk driver, Wanra, was very nice (and a bit shy).

Our first destination after buying Angkor World Heritage tickets (USD 20 each) was the legendary Angkor Wat. We waited for sunrise with many other visitors there. My phone’s camera obviously doesn’t do it any justice, but here’s a pic of the sunrise:

p_20170124_060543_zpsijthlqxr

p_20170124_062808_zpsg3nsnouv

There’s a funny story from when we were about to leave the Angkor Wat complex. We went there taking some takeaway breakfast from the hotel, which had eggs and bananas in it. We didn’t manage to eat them all so we just took them with us to eat later, but then a monkey came and snatched the meal from my arm! It may not sound funny here but trust me, you would’ve laughed if you saw how shocked I was.

p_20170124_075759_zpsisit6ozz

I honestly don’t remember where else we went to that day (I left my journal at home LOL) apart from Bayon temple and Ta Phrom, where Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider took place, but for sure we took the small tour instead of the full-day one. We arrived back at the hotel at about 2 p.m.

p_20170124_130859_zpssxvnt6sp

After taking a long nap, we went out for dinner. This time we tried “beef climbing mountain” (yeah that’s really what it’s called) from Muslim Family Kitchen. Everyone there was so nice! The food was nice too, of course.

p_20170124_194830_zpsjbje12ve

p_20170124_191511_zpsnpln07fb

The next day, before catching our flight back to KL, we took a short walk to Siem Reap Mosque. Apparently, there’s quite a number of Siem Reap citizens who studied Islam in Malaysia, hence the mosque and halal restaurants around it were built. We figured only men went to pray at that mosque because the second level, which is for women, was very quiet. We were happy to find quite a large mosque there regardless.

p_20170125_120603_zpscjfyh4gw

For lunch, we revisited Muslim Family Kitchen and ordered beef amok, another staple food from Siem Reap.

p_20170125_124548_zpsgenov2yu

p_20170125_125515_zpsnba1toif

On our back to the hotel, we met little boys in their school uniform smiling to us and said “Assalamualaikum”. After two days of arguing with a tuktuk driver and getting our food snatched by a monkey, this one experience made us so touched.

Overall, our trip to Siem Reap (via KL) was a success, alhamdulillah. Can’t wait for our next adventure!

Explore Indonesia #2: Makassar

So another wedding invitation came and I couldn’t resist the desire to book my flight and go. This time I went to Makassar, one of the biggest cities of Indonesia located in the southern part of Sulawesi–the island I’ve never visited before.

d46f3e1c-4aae-4320-853e-2912b530fff6_zps0oqnczgs
Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport

I arrived so much earlier that day, just to hear that my flight got delayed for 2 hours. Hmm, quite a long time isn’t it. But anyway I had a safe flight, alhamdulillah. My friend picked me up from the airport and took me around the city right away.

The first place we visited was Fort Rotterdam. This place used to be a fort built by Dutch colonies. These days, though, creative people of Makassar often utilize its open spaces to hold meetings and practices. One of the teams we bumped into was some kind of a traditional drama club. Oh, by the way, there’s no entrance fee for this place.

325b610b-0b36-4d4d-bf26-f92f4a887e4f_zpsishuwtao
The gate to Fort Rotterdam
8c4dfcdc-0bd4-4e3f-b951-3b6f172a0b5c_zpslk73lgwt
What’s inside

Next, we headed to Losari Beach. After praying at Masjid Amirul Mukminin a.k.a. the floating mosque, we took a little stroll along the beach and took photos in front of the infamous “Makassar” sign. Apparently, there are also “Bugis” and “Toraja” signs to represent each tribe that lives in South Sulawesi.

92c1e9c5-4e52-4430-86c5-e72bd36351cd_zpsqjz3ewug
The floating mosque

The next day was the day we attended our senior’s wedding ceremony. Despite arriving quite late, we were lucky that we could taste some food LOL. After that we headed to yet another beach: Akkarena Beach. While Losari beach was developed with modern facilities, this one felt more like a “traditional” beach. Well I don’t even understand what I’m saying, but, yeah.

2d1b24d6-4005-4de4-9896-70d058428736_zpsgyvj3yxc
Akkarena Beach

After having Cotto Makassar for late-lunch, we went straight to a beach cafe called Ballairate, where we watched sunset while, of course, taking lots of pictures.

edaaa4ce-e761-4a1d-92ac-a692bcf5c670_zpswcdaflgs
“Follow me to…” kinda pose

a7079d96-495d-46b0-afcf-677073733114_zpsbqenmiyi

People said that it’s always hot in Makassar, but perhaps due to the rainy season, I didn’t sweat that much. The highlight of the trip to me, though, was the freshness of the air in  Makassar. Oh, and of course, I was also delighted by the delicious food we had, which always came in big portion. *still I could finish everything*

Looking forward to another wedding invitation! 😀

Bonus: the food we had during the trip

5022fdee-4dfa-4373-9f8c-338cee811fc2_zpsgffbrn58
Pallubasa

 

4866c5ed-6d0a-4aab-8a83-7709a312bfc9_zpss3tkpjhf
Konro Bakar
8ebe87e3-9c5d-4a5d-9932-f210bbe4ebff_zpsiuloq9ul
Cotto Makassar
caef31f3-e50f-4432-b963-5260b572a719_zpsapu4kngs
Pisang Epe’

Explore Indonesia #1: Malang

First of all let me wish you all a happy new year! Yeah I know it’s super late but still…

aa0f98bc-0f62-41b3-af33-0768d4353898_zps8prdnfdg

So two of my goals for 2016 are to visit as many new places as possible and to attend my friends’ wedding ceremonies. Thus when Nasha‘s random message popped up on my phone’s screen I knew this trip to both attend our seniors’ weddings and refresh ourselves from our routines would be a good start.

We went to Malang by executive train called Gajayana. The train itself was quite comfortable, its toilet was quite clean, and the food we bought for dinner was OK. However, the supposedly 16-hour journey was extended 1-2 hours so we were way more tired than we expected.

dac95c11-301d-4062-9c19-c6eb59d74ab3_zpsfcz8glgm
Inside Gajayana

Nevertheless, the first wedding ceremony we planned to attend was waiting, so after putting our bags in Raras’ place (and having some yummy breakfast, of course -credits to Raras’ mom!) we went straight to Pelangi Jingga swimming pool. On the way back home we stopped by Bakso Bakar Pak Man, where we tried its famous grilled meatballs. Malang’s cool breeze was a nice addition to the food.

e6bf7b54-7150-4bf5-8b7c-2a26e3c9041a_zpsxotsavbu
Venue for the first wedding ceremony
2aed729c-310b-40a7-9511-df15c21f512e_zpsyiu0pyi1
Forgot to take pictures of the food, sorry

The next day we went to another ceremony. While the previous one adopted garden party concept, this one was held in a hall. After stuffing our stomach with food (well that’s one purpose of attending wedding ceremonies right? LOL), we continued our journey up to Batu City where Museum Angkut a.k.a the newly opened transportation museum is.

After paying IDR 90,000 for Museum Angkut and D’Topeng Museum (I’ll get back to this one later) tickets, we went in and took as many photos as possible LOL. Well I don’t know why but sadly most Indonesians–including myself, sometimes–regard museums more as a place to collect selfies rather than to learn about certain topics. But anyway at least there’s no such thing as “museum allergy” anymore these days, meaning that finally young people have this will to go visit museums.

6210cfa8-67f5-493a-af10-1db7348fd106_zpsdaufgzjf
Some of Museum Angkut’s old-car collections

Museum Angkut itself was quite interesting, with collections vary from old cars to becak (Indonesian traditional trishaw). Its size was way bigger than we thought. Interestingly, in the American(?) area, they had this DWP-ish outdoor party with a guy wearing Scooby Doo as the DJ (weird, I know). Before the party, there was this mini carnival where fake superheroes rode Museum Angkut’s car collection along the main corridor.

c79701f8-e9ef-440d-bbe7-cbacd895d01a_zps3co7peb8
This is part of the museum, too
ee155d20-2a03-4658-8c60-3f705fabfa2b_zpslrlkzgb1
“Money can take you to the outer space” *what a quote*
98d83ca1-984e-45a0-9ad9-f43f441fa4c9_zps7aw3mb6u
The weird party

As for D’Topeng, it was more like a gallery with collections of masks from different places in Indonesia (fyi, “topeng” means “mask” in English). In one corner of the gallery we saw a band of senior musicians playing keroncong songs.

b0f515cf-2ed1-4ade-8c0d-23be87596ab9_zpsvq3btg4b
The keroncong band!

For Dinner we went to an Egyptian restaurant nearby Alun-Alun Batu. The food was not spectacular but still good, considering its price was almost half of the same menu’s price in Jakarta (okay this is sad).

The next day, after getting some traditional snacks as souvenirs, we headed back to Jakarta through Abdul Rahman Saleh Airport. The airport was a small, clean one with a line of restaurants outside (excuse me for talking about food again and again). Oh, by the way, I would recommend crispy tempe and fruit crackers for souvenirs.

6806eda4-e631-41bf-94c0-afeac3886a95_zpsoj8dnbvi
The airport

Well, despite the very short visit, I can say that my second trip to Malang was indeed a good start for my 2016, alhamdulillah. Now, time to prepare for another trip!

 

Festival Lampion Suzhou, BSD City

Even the gate looks pretty!

Festival Lampion Suzhou diadakan dalam rangka memperingati tahun baru imlek tahun ini. Sebenarnya saya sudah beberapa kali melewati lokasi festival di samping Giant BSD City, tapi baru sempat ke sana beberapa hari yang lalu.

Berhubung festival seperti ini jarang diadakan di BSD (yang lokasinya sangat dekat dengan rumah saya), saya sangat penasaran untuk mampir. Dan ternyata, walaupun harus membayar tiket masuk 25 ribu rupiah (plus parkir mobil 10 ribu rupiah), saya nggak menyesal datang ke sana. Selain dapat berbagai kupon diskon untuk makan dan belanja di stand peserta festival, saya dapat minyak angin gratis juga dari sponsor! Lumayan, modal balik ke negara 4 musim yang sering bikin masuk angin hahaha.

Kayak ada yang kurang…?

Makan dan belanja? Yap, selain lampion berbentuk berbagai hewan (seusai shio dalam kepercayaan Tionghoa) dan bangunan yang enak dilihat (dan difoto), ada juga stand-stand penjual berbagai jenis makanan dan pakaian. Setelah berkeliling mencari makanan yang menarik, saya akhirnya memilih makan lontong medan. Hmm… Sedap…

Salah satu stand makanan: lontong medan

Fyi, festival ini masih berlangsung sampai 15 Maret, lho! Jadi, bagi yang berdomisili di BSD dan sekitarnya, jangan ragu untuk mampir!

Lampion unyu (1)
Lampion unyu (2)
Lampion unyu (3)
Lampion unyu (4)

The 90s Festival, Bandung

Sebagai young adult (iye, bukan remaja lagi kan) yang lahir di awal tahun 90an, saya sangat bersyukur bisa menikmati musik yang bermutu dari band-band Indonesia non-alay (hahaha). Dan alhamdulillah, bertepatan dengan kepulangan saya ke Indonesia kali ini, diadakan event besar yang mengundang band-band akhir 90an ini: The 90s Festival.

Gelang tanda masuk

Berhubung acara ini diadakan di Setiabudi, Bandung, saya butuh effort lebih untuk melewati 100an km tol Cipularang. Tapi berhubung ke Bandung bisa sekalian ngeceng (atau cari jodoh? oops), yaudah lah ya. Lagian jarang juga bisa lihat Base Jam, Fatur-Nadila, ME, dan Sheila on 7 ngumpul di satu acara.

Menurut rundown yang dikirim melalui e-mail beberapa hari sebelumnya, acara yang dibagi ke indoor stage dan outdoor stage ini akan dimulai di outdoor stage jam 15:10. Dilanjutkan dengan indoor stage jam 15:40. Sayangnya, saat kami datang sekitar jam 16:00, tak terlihat apa-apa di area indoor stage. Wah, padahal sudah khawatir terlambat dan kelewatan nonton Fatur-Nadila.

Fatur-Nadila, diiringi band klasik dari SMAN 3 Bandung

Akhirnya setelah ngaret setengah jam lebih, indoor stage pun dibuka. Senang banget bisa sing along lagu Kulakukan Semua Untukmu yang sempat di-remake sama RAN itu. Penampilan ME juga nggak kalah asik, meskipun usia memang tidak bisa ditutupi hehehe.

Selama acara, penonton nggak cuma bisa nonton, tapi juga nyobain berbagai jajanan yang kebanyakan bertema 90an. Ada kue cubit aneka rasa juga, lho! Ada juga booth game arcade, sebenernya pengen nyoba main tapi karena antrian yang cukup panjang niat pun diurungkan. Akhirnya saya dan teman-teman mampir ke booth NET TV untuk foto gratis lengkap dengan hasil cetakanya.

Tak terasa waktu sudah semakin malam. Suasana pun semakin panas dengan performers yang makin kece. Oh iya, selain band-band kece, Kak Ria dan boneka Susannya juga naik panggung, lho. Saya jadi ingat waktu kecil sering diputarkan kaset Susan sampai hapal dialog-dialognya. Bisa jadi kejayusan saya sekarang akibat keseringan dengerin Susan. (Alasan aja, sih.)

My old friend: Susan!

Setelah puas teriak-teriak bersama Adon, Sigit, dan Alvin (vokalis baru) dari Base Jam, saatnya jadi fan girl Sheila on 7. Soal band yang satu ini, ah, sudahlah. Tak ada kata yang sanggup mendeskripsikannya (ok lebay). Sayang seribu sayang, penampilan mereka harus dihentikan oleh Polisi setempat karena durasinya melebihi perjanjian. Yang bikin kecewa berat, panitia yang sebenarnya bertanngung jawab atas keterlambatan ini malah diam saja. Nggak ada satu perwakilan pun yang naik panggung untuk minta maaf atau menjelaskan keadaannya.

Biarpun kecewa, saya bersyukur aja sih, masih bisa bernostalgia seharian itu. Semoga ke depannya acara-acara musik bisa lebih dispilin waktu sehingga performers maupun penonton nggak jadi kecewa, deh.

Life in Seoul #13: SM Town at COEX Artium

Welcome to the last post of “Life in Seoul” series!

A yo GG!

This post is about SM Town at COEX Artium, a newly built “heaven” for KPOP fans, especially the fans of SM Entertainment’s artists. The 5-floor building is located right across Exit 5 of Samseong Station.

EXO’s MV played on the first floor

On the second floor, there is a shop selling merchandise from SM’s well-known artists such as TVXQ, Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, SHINee, f(x), and of course EXO. The price ranges from 2000 won for small stuff like pins to 70,000 won for t-shirts and bags. Since I came only one day after the soft opening, the shop was still crowded by dedicated SM fans. I was luck to be able to get in directly because when I left the shop, I saw staffs giving out queue number for new visitors.

SM fans, ready to shop
one of the products

The 3rd floor is for a saloon and a studio, but it is not yet completed. I can imagine how crowded it will be after the launching in January.

under construction

On the 4th floor, there is a pop-up cafe selling desserts and drinks which are inspired by the artists. The one I tried was Red Velvet Cupcake, which is obviously aimed for the Red Velvet fans (even though I’m not). What makes this cafe special is, while reading, visitors can enjoy books and magazines about Super Junior, EXO, and some other artists. Same tables are also occupied with music player that can play SM-produced songs.

the cupcakes! hmm
music player on the tables

As I said before, this place is still very new, so I can’t really judge if it’s really worth a visit. However, for someone who has been a fan of SM Entertainment for over 5 years, I would definitely go to this place again if I ever have a chance to go back to Seoul.