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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

KL’s Petronas Twin Tower : An Awesome Sight By Day and Night

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

As Malaysia bids Selamat Datang (Welcome) to me and my friends Jean, Judith and Joseph last September 28, 2009, we waited no time to visit the world renowned icon of Malaysia – the Petronas Twin Towers.

Towering 451.9 meters over the city, this gleaming structure of steel and glass is the world’s tallest freestanding twin towers. It is truly an awesome sight by day and night, so everyday (of our 3- day stay in KL) we always include a visit to this skyscraper reaching for the sky.

September 28, 2009 – Night Time

We met my friend host Itte Espiritu after her office hour to go to the Twin Towers for a trick photography at its best.

September 29, 2009 - Day

Petronas Twin Towers is the last stop (Stop 22-KLCC)of the Hop On Hop Off City Tour. There is a nice view of the Towers from the Malaysia Tourism Centre.

September 30, 2009 - Day

On our third day in KL, we woke up early to do the Sky Bridge tour. Admission to the Sky Bridge is free and the ticket counter opens between 8:30am – 5:00pm. Since everyone would like to have a “top of the world” feeling, as they survey KL from the famous sky bridge, the lines get long as early as 6 in the morning.

Before proceeding to the Sky Bridge, we were treated to a nice video giving details about the Towers.

Petronas Twin Towers has breathtaking views from the Sky Bridge.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hopping On and Off in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Kuala Lumpur or Malaysia's capital is affectionately known as KL to local and foreigners alike. It is a vibrant cosmopolitan city with numerous attractions and tourist spots. In order to explore this exciting destination and experience the magic of KL, my friends and I took the KL Hop-On Hop - Off City Tour last September 29, 2009.

As aptly suggested by my friend -host Itte Espiritu, I found KL Hop-On Hop-Off the most comprehensive way to tour and explore “the diverse, contrasting and colorful scene of KL” for only RM 38 (Php 600) aboard Malaysia’s only semi glass roof double deck bus. The tour is coupled with insightful on-board commentary about the major attractions. It has 22 stops with over 42 major sights and attractions and you can hop on and hop off the bus whenever and wherever desired. The tour gives you the freedom to view and roam the City at your own time and leisure. Too bad, KL didn’t have this tour when I first set foot in Malaysia in 2001.

True to its concept, we started off from KL Sentral which is Stop 11 and got our ticket from the agent there. In less than 30 minutes, we were on our way to an exciting adventure.

National Museum – Stop 12

The National Museum is located on the fringe of the Lake Gardens of Malaysia and a repository for Malaysia’s rich cultural heritage and history. We immediately got lost in the galleries on history, metal work, sports and natural history. Since we missed the first bus after the 30-minute interval, we went to see the musical instruments exhibition being staged at the museum.

Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens – Stop 13

We literally got lost inside this premier park sprawling over 200 acres – we just couldn’t find the two lakes. Well the tropical garden is a pleasant oasis providing a cool and soothing ambiance amidst vistas of exotic blooms, luxuriant foliage, imposing sculptures, majestic raintrees and creative theme parks.
On this same Stop is the National Monument and the Parliament Building.

National Mosque – Stop 15

Dataran Merdeka – Stop 16

Merdeka or Independence Square is one of the most visited sites in KL. At this historic location, ended the British era and gave birth to a nation. The field was the focal point of KL in the old days, serving as a police parade ground and venue for sporting activities.

Titiwangsa – Stop 20

Missing the two lakes at the Lake Garden, we were determined to see one at this stop. It was somewhat far, however, and with our tired feet and hungry stomach we decided to give it up. We took picture of the Palace of Culture instead.

Palace of Culture

KLCC – Stop 22

The Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) Park is an aesthetically pleasing landscaped area featuring indigenous trees and palms, sculptures and murals, and fountain displays. Nearby is the Petronas Twin Towers which is Malaysia’s world- renowned icon. (For a related article read my blog entry about this world’s tallest free standing tower.)

Malaysia Tourism Centre – Stop 1

MTC is a one-stop centre that offers a host of facilities for tourists like internet service (for free for 30-minutes to give way to other tourist and printing services!), which is perfect for us because we were able to print our ticket for Sunway Lagoon for the next day itinerary. Aside from its historical significance for being used as a war office of the British Army and headquarters of the Japanese Army during World War II, this KL’s landmark has an auditorium that serves as venue for cultural performances. We were so lucky to watch the different dances of Malaysia. It was a superb treat for us and a relaxing time for our tired feet!

KL Tower – Stop 2

This communication tower is the world’s fourth tallest. Here you can view the world’s only forest reserve right in the middle of a bustling city for only RM 20. We decided not to actually go to the observation deck (for the sake of time and it was already dark and all our cameras are either full or empty battery! Sad..).But we stopped sulking since we can have a magnificent view of the sprawling city beneath atop the Petronas Sky Bridge the following day.

Bintang Walk – Stop 6

This seems to be our favorite as we literally lost each other in this stop! A chic and stylist area in the heart of the city, Bintang Walk offers excellent shopping and great entertainment. Shopping complexes offer leading international brands and top Malaysian labels. Jean, Joseph and Judith went to buy a digital camera for Judith while I was determined to get my nieces and nephews some dresses for pasalubong. Thinking that I took awhile on the maze of the shopping centre, I went ahead to the KL Stop and didn’t find them there. I do not know how to contact them since my phone is not on roaming. I took the courage to ask a favor from the KL Stop crew and found a great friend in her.

Because we were late for our appointment at KL Sentral, we decided to skip the other stops like Chinatown, Central Market and National Palace and have a separate visit to the same. The other stops we decided not to check out(no pictures, just passed by) but part of the Hop On Hop Off destinations are Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex, The Heritage Centre, Orchid and Hibiscus Garden, Petaling Street, and KL Bird Park.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Welcome To Singapore: Welcome to Cleanliness!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Welcome to Singapore. This is what I thought when we landed in Singapore the night of September 27, 2009 and passed through the display of cleanliness, calm, and orderliness as we travel to the border to go to KL, Malaysia. As part of my birthday trip, my friends and I planned on traveling directly to KL from Singapore and spend three days in KL while the last three days will be spent in Singapore.You really cannot separate Singapore and Cleanliness!

This is my second visit to Singapore, one was in 2001. In both visits I can’t help but get amazed with the fast paced, urban, clean and orderly living in this island country. There are signs, rules, and instructions everywhere. I got a shirt that has all the “bawal” written on it to remind me that one secret to a progressive, litter-free, clean and unpolluted environment is discipline and the will of its citizens to obey the rules – whether it is inconvenient sometimes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Visit to Eighth Wonder of the World: Banaue Rice Terraces

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Glad I found a good reason (as if I need one!haha) to visit again the place hailed as the Eighth Wonder of the World - the Banaue Rice Terraces.

I am into couch surfing and my first guest Nabil Mekouar (a Morrocan) from France included Banaue Rice Terraces in his itinerary for his two-week Philippine visit from September 12- 25, 2009. Since I haven't gone to Banaue for a long time now, the last was in 2001, I decided I would go with him there. My mission mate Darin who has just arrived in the Philippines a week earlier (for an internship with the WHO) at the last minute decided to go with us. Wow! The trip couldn't be better! To me, it is an "ultimate adventure of three friends from three different continents - Africa, America and Asia".

We opted to take the Manila-Banaue-Bontoc-Sagada-Baguio-Manila route, since Nabil really likes to see Sagada and Baguio aside from Banaue. The entire trip will be for three days from September 15-18,2009 as we will go down to the Bicol Region early morning of the 19th.

From Manila, we took the Florida Bus that left at 10:45pm. There was an accident on the road so instead of the nine (9) hour bus ride, it became 14 hours. Pressed for time we hired a van for 3 thousand inclusive of the sightseeing tour of Banaue and Bontoc all the way to Sagada.

The Banaue Rice Terraces are 2000-year old terraces that are part of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras.The 4 other similar terraces are the Batad rice terraces, Mayoyao rice terraces, Hapao rice terraces and Kiangan rice terraces in the provinces of Kalinga, Apayao, Benguet, Mountain Province and Ifugao, and are considered UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Banaue Viewpoint Terraces

This is a perfect spot on top of a plateau for taking pictures of the rice terraces. We were told and we confirmed that the site is the same picture that is on the P1000 bill.

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