Tuesday, July 30, 2013

mission to Makati

So today, i woke up slightly late, the aircond in the room was a bit too cold, struggling around trying to cover myself with all the other bed's towel. Woke up and re-pay the sleep outside the room with the warm of the sun. Then breakfast. Still sleepy and today's start even slower, so lazy. Gather up energy slowly, still thinking to go Makati. How to get there.  After completing form 7 and email it, i started to google maps how to get there, 1st by car, then public transport, still any destinations out of this place is a lot of effort. You have to gather plenty of energy, suck it all up. Doodles the information and the direction on the sketchbook. Gather more energy. Shower and putting on clothes. I just noticed the clothes i'm bringing will definitely outed myself more as not local. So it took quite a while to find clothes that can blend in. Everywhere, people here seems just wearing tops and pants/jeans. Simplest combo.
On the way out met Chris and her colleague and ask for their direction to Makati. Their instructions and direction are more easier and simple. Off i go.

One thing none of these Tricycles would want to take me or anyone to the "Kamuning MRT station". I guess because of the big main road. The Trikes only works in the inside of the lorong or back alleys. But one of the tricycle uncle pointed me to a direction, just walk straight, then take a bus to Kamuning Station. I did, i walked then theres another group of Tricycles station. I asked and they replied everything in tagalog. I guess i can blend in well here. But i just use body language to say, it's alright maybe next time. Continued walking, cross the road following the other pedestrians, the road was like organized chaos. But cars stopping for people at least. I ask another young kid direction to Kamuning, good thing he understood and replied in English. "There take this bus", i say thanks and simultaneously running towards the bus, "Kamuning MRT?" i ask expecting for confirmation from the bus conductor, "Yes" he said and i hop on and scan very fast for empty seats, found, about 4th or 5th seat from the front. I notice the passengers crammed 3 people in to 2 conjoined seats. 

I ask again for confirmation from conductor,when reach the destination let me know. He twitch his head. Less than 3 minutes, he said "Kamuning", Ok, i think i can walk back later where i came from.

Hop off the bus and walk, scanning very fast whats falls in my visual field, i saw a train or MRT moving right front at 11 oclock. Yes, good sign but wheres the station?....keep on walking to the right along the curb and infront  not far about 1 km there's the station in bright blue....there's a lot of people selling stuff on the street, poor people selling candies, stuff that look like coming from Thailand. This scene is exactly like a mixture of Haadyai or Vietnam. People selling stuff on the streets to get by. 

There's no sighboard or anything at all. Climbing the staircase and saw the word Kamuning on the other side, ask the guard and they told me to climb another set of staircase and cross over from the top. The setting, the environment also feels like some bus station in Johor Baru...don't know why.
Bought the tix for 14pesos, pass through the mini checkpoint, bag-scanning and wait for the train. Train came, hope on and the whole ride, the scenery is a reflection of this country. There's one station that name "Guadalupe". It stuck in my mind. In malay it means "I forgot".Guadalupe. After reaching Ayala station which is already in Makati, i walk around, it was a huge bloody mall. Like Pavillion but extended version but maybe less glitters. Since my meeting with Kate was cancelled, i told Joe that i'm here. He came and we find a place, bought some sweet juices and talk about our experience here. Exchanging informations. And i learn something about being cautious taking Jeepney. Now i'm having second thoughts taking jeepney, how people usually foreigners got robbed in Jeepney. I can't imagine. Now i've to re-fashion myself to look like hobo a bit. After that Joe told me i better go now before the rush hour started, because its really bad. Followed his adviced unquestionably and walk fast back to where i came from, bought tix, hop on the train and back where i came from. This time i walk back all the way following back where the bus came from. Saw Jollie Bee the famous fast food here. Cross the road and walk straight up.....saw Matagag street and felt relief. But got lost afterwards. It happened very fast. I tought i knew where i was going or coming from. But i keep walking until i saw the Trikes, and hop on. Trikes rules. Reach back at the hostel and crash at the lobby again....and have a chit chat with the caretaker of the place and learn more tagalog.

Surprisingly here are some of the words that are similar or sounds almost the same with the same meaning to Bahasa Malaysia.
Mahal,murah,Akow/Aku,Tulong/Tolong,Ingatka-Take care,Ulam,Gulai,Kanan,Salamat,Hanging/Angin, 

Ok now i'm feel so Pagut pok, i better sleep. pix tomorrow...

Monday, July 29, 2013

La Manila

Actually i felt heavy-hearted to leave the family in KL / Melaka behind. Felt so much love from the farewell party the night before and a heartfelt gratitude to Shamin for temaning me until the KLIA. Big hugs!

Ok so, ive pass that flight thingy, 3 hours of beautiful scenery, birds's eye view of Malaysian soil got carved out most of it, long winding brown colored rivers flowing to the sea (most probably Borneo), the beautiful dark green blue sea, the soft candy cotton white clouds, literally the plane right inside the clouds for a bit but good thing no turbulance, the Philippines dark-greenery lushes land, the Ninoy Auino Int' Airport. After went through immigration, came out at the arrival hall, by default 2nd floor. Couldn't find any Cafes, tried to go up on 3rd floor ended up at Departure hall, saw a Singaporean friend's ready to take off back to Singapore, took a photo of him & send to him as a proof "I saw you leaving Manila! while me coming in." Replied later that night "Why didn't you shout at me?" It was a thick glass. I don't want to be detained and strip search on my 1st day.... there's a local canteen but no cafe or wifi. Tried Groundfloor but its twilight zone, went back to Arrival hall 2nd floor,...the wifi at the airport SUCK big time. Not functional at all. Wanted to reply Joe's message but problem solved when register with the local telco Globe 1k Pesos. Called Joe, after that took the wrong cab and got ripped off 2,350 Pesos + tips which became 2650 = rm197. Get to the hostel, choose room, shower, internet, tell everyone i'm safe, shutdown.

1st day (29/7/2013). Wake up slowly, birds chirping, motorcycles passing by (insert GNR's welcome to the Jungle). The area here look a bit like kampung, a lot of trees around, looking outside the window wondering "is it safe out there?" Chris the caretaker of the Isis hostel made a simple western breakfast. Heard Joe's going to Ateneo's Manila University to meet API fellowship representative/office people. I agreed to go as well, I ask Chris how to get there and brave myself and took 3 different transportations to reach destination. 1st Trike (Tricycle - 25Pesos) like the German motorcycle with the passengers sit is like a pod. Very rough ride (good for blood circulations) till "Philcoa". Take Jeepney (8pesos) to U.P(University of the Philippines), stop somewhere in U.P. using instinct (totally forgot to ask Chris where to stop, there's no sign anywhere, the Jeep just stop and go so for people who just came here, its a bit difficult, have to ask the passenger next to you. Take another Jeepney(8pesos) to Katipunan or Loyola Heights, also get off the Jeep by instincts after seen a shopping signboards with the sign Loyola.

Ask around for the Ateneo university, spot on, just across the road,cross the road, called Joe, Joe's haven't enough money because bank close so he cancelled his trip here. Called Ms.Issa (Api representative) she talk to the guard, guards let me in, met Ms.Issa, show the Api's office, bring to Ms.Syl from ICP that's my host. Ms.Shyl surprised because she only email me this morning to set appointment when to meet and here i am. Look into my contract,grant,etc. Have to fill out form 7 because of changes in the flight ticket to Japan. And have to comeback again on Thursday. (Can't bear the thoughts of travelling here again, must have too much effort and energy to get here U_U')

Phone running out of juice and i forgot to buy the universal converter at the airport for the charger, great. Frantically searching for hardware store from one end of Katipunan to the other, feet aching like shit, felt like crying, stop in couple of marts and buy junkfood for later, ended up in another mart and felt like cry of joy and hope when the supermarket employees said hardware is upstairs (Literally there are no hardware stores from one end of Katipunan to the other, even some supermart sells only food, food, and food, and there's plenty of fast food around here,PLENTY). Ended up bought 1 universal converter and another the long multiple Malaysian sockets with Philippines err prong.... 

On the way back from Katipunan, get to sit infront of passenger sit of Jeepney, wohoo~! Instinctively get down at U.P. again but different side from the 1st trip, and ask an auntie, she said can take another Jeepney going to Philcoa. Jeep arrived and sit right behind the driver. Heard some kids getting down there too, so when they did, followed them but felt lost, totally not like the place i get down from the Tricycle earlier. A lot of walking about, up and down, up and down, turning around and instinctively cross the road and bloody found the spot where the Trikes drop me before. The Tricycle station look like a bunch of drone planes ready to take off from mother ship, after passengers get on, they move out 1 by 1 efficiently. Show the driver/rider the map back. Get to the hostel, crash at the lobby for quite awhile. Whole body felt like wrecked to bits, bra and panties soaked. Talk to Chris about going out for dinner. Rain a bit (find out similar word in Tagalog-Bahasa= Payung), we went out and i had my 1st Philippino meals. Chris said it's little fast food. She call KFC near the corner big fast food. But this small fast food (a la cart/nasi campur), is quite close to Malay food but less curry,gravy, herbs & chillis. Took a fried fish and also a local salad consists of lady fingers, egglant and Kangkung. Perfect~!

Tired as hellz. Tomorrow's trying to get to Greenbelt in Makati to meet Kate. Which is a bit far from here. So have to ask Chris again for basic direction. As for now, "Mangandang Gabi"

drawn thousand feet above the ground

 I really want to go down there, the water actually glowing from underneath the island

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

counting days

Here i am, thinking what to pack and what to leave behind. The luggage bag is still empty with other stuff like toiletries, medication & clothing around it.

I still remember the day i got the news about being accepted into Api fellowship, i was real busy and was freelancing at this advertising agency, Because of workload in the office i didn't feel that excited compared to my friends who i find more happier for me. Now i left all that behind and going to embark onto another journey. I guess i should feel lucky, when i told people, they were all hoping to get the same opportunity. Actually somewhere deep down inside, i am secretly happy, i guess its like another different phrase in life. Travel, meet people, different place, different culture, i'm going to be like sponge and soak everything in sight.

The luggage is still empty, sooner or later i have to attend to it.