Adventure

Places that will get your adrenaline pumping

(Mis)Adventure September 2012: Legoland Malaysia

Finally my first post for 2012. More than halfway through the year. I’ve always wanted to post a lot of my (mis)adventures for this year but laziness among other things got ahead of me. But this recent trip we went to shouldn’t be left unblogged. *Drumroll* The newly-opened Legoland Malaysia! Located in Nusujaya, Johor, Malaysia, it opened last September 15. Roughly 30 minutes from Singapore via bus, Legoaland Malaysia, is the First Lego-themed themepark in Asia. First built in  its hometown in Billund, Denmark, Legoland has several other parks in Europe (Germany and UK) and two in US (Florida and California).

Our adventure started last week, when my friend, Bullet, from the Philippines came to Singapore for a vacation to celebrate his birthday. Luckily, I was on leave that Tuesday so instead of showing him around Singapore, we decided to go to Legoland. From Singapore, there are two ways to reach Legoland. One is from Johor Bahru Sentral, located at the northern part of Singapore and the other one which is closer to my place, CIQ (Customs, Immigration & Quarantine Complex) 2nd Link on the west side. Bullet stayed at my place on Monday night, just a station away from Jurong East where we will be taking the bus to CIQ 2nd link. Bus departures from CIQ to Legoland are limited (6 trips per day) so I advise you to plan your timing.

From Singapore to CIQ 2nd Link:

– Jurong East Bus Interchange: CW3 & CW4

– Boon Lay: CW6

Bus departure CIQ 2nd Link to Legoland: 08:30, 10:30, 12:30, 15:00, 17:00, 19:30

LEGOLAND Malaysia (Return): 10:05, 12:05, 14:35, 16:35, 19:05, 21:35

We were supposed to take the 1030 am bus from CIQ, but the CW3 bus from Jurong East to CIQ arrived late. We cleared immigration around 1045 and missed the 1030 bus. Worried that we will be wasting time waiting for the 1230 pm bus, I asked around for an alternate route. We were advised to take the bus to Gelang Patah, then from there, wait for the JPO2 bus stopping by Legoland.

We arrived at around 1130. Just outside Legoland, we ate our lunch at the Medini Mall. Most shops are still under construction. Another ongoing project is the Legoland hotel, estimated to be completed by 2014. Despite the sweltering heat of the midday sun on that cloudless day, we got our tickets (MYR 140 for a day pass, mine is an annual pass valued at MYR 270) and entered the massive compound of Legoland. The park is initially divided into 7 distinctly-themed areas.

Legoland Malaysia Map from http://www.legoland.com.my

The park is mostly decorated with countless different Lego designs ranging from small rats to the gigantic Egyptian mummy and bust of Albert Einstein! Most of the rides were really suited for the kids, but these won’t stop the young-at-heart to experience the thrill of the attractions. My personal favorites were the Project X (Lego Technic zone), The Dragon (Lego Kingdom Zone), and The Dino Island (Land of Adventure).

Lego Castle

Albert Einstein and the Lego Academy

What really caught my attention is the Miniland area. The centerpiece attraction of Legoland Malaysia where several Asian landmarks are presented at scale built ENTIRELY using LEGO bricks. Complete with animatronic people, trains, buses, and ships, the experience is simply unexplainable. I was surprised more when they also featured Philippines in one of their displays. One can really be amazed at the complexity and the closest resemblance (including color) at all the structures.

Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Taj Mahal, India

Wat Arun, Thailand

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Forbidden City and Great Wall of China

Bolinao, Philippines

Singapore

Overall, the experience was one-of-a-kind. I would definitely go back there soon with my wife, other friends or family. It’s a recommended place for families to bond.

Advertisements
Categories: Adventure, Relaxation | Leave a comment

Extreme Sports (and traffic) – Tagaytay/Taal Edition

It feels great when you and your significant other’s birthdays are only days apart. You can just celebrate both birthdays with just one blowout. Ours usually land during the Holy Week. For the past three years, Macel and I have been celebrating them out of town. Two years before, I was invited by her family at Eagle Point in Anilao, Batangas and last year, a long road trip to Ilocos. This year, since her parents were on a 2-week pilgrimage to the Holy Land, I invited Macel to come with us for a short vacation. Somewhere near. Tagaytay.

I booked for an overnight stay for the 5 of us (including my sister and 2 nieces) at Tagaytay Cool Breeze Hotel. Early Maundy Thursday, me and my niece left our house in Fairview to fetch my sister and my other niece at their house in Pasig. I left my car there, changed vehicles then headed off to Alabang to fetch Macel before going to Tagaytay.

When we arrived in Tagaytay, traffic was horrible. Vehicles were barely moving. It was the first time to experience standstill in Tagaytay among the countless times I’ve been there. We checked-in after lunch and decided to rest for a while before heading back to the tumultuous conditions of Aguinaldo highway.

It was past 330 pm when we left the hotel and headed off to People’s Park/Picnic grove. But traffic turned from worse to worst as multitudes of people seem to flock to Tagaytay as their nearest vacation spot. It took us almost an hour to reach our destination. I texted our contact for the boat ride to the island of Taal but he was still with another group. We had to settle with another guide who turned out to be the mom of our original guide. We took our van for another 25-minute drive down through the seemingly endless twists and turns, zigzagging roads towards the shore. Luckily though, there weren’t any traffic along the way. We still had to travel around 30 minutes by boat to the island. By the time we got there, it was almost dark.

MV stands for Motorized Vanca or if you want it... Mamang Vancero

Taal Volcano

If the adventure of going through the traffic, driving down the steep slopes like Baguio, then riding a boat with no lifejacket provisions weren’t enough, we still had to go (extreme) horseback riding going to the mountain summit so we can see the crater. It’s been a long time since I’ve last rode a horse but not riding in the dark along a rocky dirt path on the mountain with cliffs on both sides. But there’s no turning back now. Our safety and most especially our lives now depend on our guide and the horse that carried us. We rode in the darkness only to be illuminated by the stars shining above and some occasional brightness from the cigarette lighters of our guides. On the way up, we could barely see the outline of the trees that lined the mountainside. Below, cavernous depths that you can only pray that you only suffer broken bones should you fall. It was a huge sigh of relief when we arrived at the summit but only to be frustrated because we could not see the crater. Even the brightest of flashes from the SLRs and digicams failed to catch a glimpse of what we were supposed to be doing up there… appreciating the crater of Taal Volcano.

MISSION: FAILED.

Looking at the brightside, we experienced stargazing in the clarity of the cloudless night sky.

Hiyaaa! Tigidig-tigidig!

Dirt Trail and cliffs galore

This is what we were after! (c/o johnmelvinrobles.com)

It was a tiring yet memorable experience as we were laughing our hearts out recalling our own moments. I’d definitely go back there for sure. Next time, it’ll be during the day.

Categories: Adventure, Relaxation | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

(Mis)Adventure of the Day: 03-04-10

Fellow Rusher Rina aka Elen.P and her officemate Aileen went to Singapore for a 2-day training. Whenever I’m free, I’d take them around the city, eat variety of dishes, try the daring stuff, and of course, take a lot of pictures. Our pictures during their 5-day stay here can be seen here. But there was this particularly funny (if you’re green-minded) name when we went to Sentosa. I forgot to post this on the day I took this pic.

Kore wa senpuuki desu. (This is an electric fan!)

Categories: Adventure | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

(Mis)Adventure of the Day: 02-19-10

I was in Bugis with my housemate enjoying our foodtrip of fishball, fried kway teow and water chestnut juice when we stumbled upon this sign on a store:

Mmmmm… Buhok pa lang, amoy panggisa na. Sarap sa sinangag!

Categories: Adventure | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Welcome the Year of the Metal (and lonely) Tiger (that’s me)

Greeting everybody a festive Gong Xi Fa Cai / Kung Hei Fat Choi and a romantic Valentine’s day! Though it’s a little sad for me because my beautiful fianceé is not with me to celebrate not just the day of hearts but our 4th anniversary! (how cheesy can you get). It could have been a 3-in-1 celebration. So not to dwell so much on sadness and missing her so much, I planned on going around the city on New Year’s eve, feel the mood of the festivities, and of course being the pyromaniac that I am, FIREWORKS! I texted some of my friends and housemates to meet up after work so we can hang out somewhere… the perfect spot? Chinatown, of course! I bought a bag of goodies for $5, a good deal at that for a heaping bag of various sweets mostly present only during the Chinese New Year celebration.

Chinatown
Eu Tong Sen St. in Chinatown closed to traffic

Chinatown
Prepping the fireworks
Chinatown
Getting ready for the festivities
Chinatown
Colorful display

I then went to Burger King at Central Mall to meet my housemate. I met a Filipino family who just came from Clarke Quay to see the fireworks. They said that there will be a 5-minute fireworks display at the floating platform in Marina Bay. Of course who would want to miss that?  I only wish that I have a decent DSLR camera for more beautiful shots. Soon! *wink*wink*

Fireworks
I was 2 minutes late when the fireworks display began

Fireworks

When the people rejoicing subsided, I called Macel up and greeted her a happy new year, happy Valentines day, and happy 4th anniversary. I miss her so much and I can’t wait to be with her soon. Haaaay…

Managed to capture the final minutes of the fireworks using my ever reliable Nokia 6120c.

Categories: Adventure | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Singapore Life and the first ever International EB.

I am now on my 3rd week living here in Singapore and so far I am getting the hang of  it. Even though I haven’t started working yet, I’m enjoying here. Strictly following my budget, I seldom eat out or splurge on something unnecessary. I’ll do that when I start earning my paycheck here. I buy produce at the nearest market, go grocery shopping, prepare my own food (though sometimes, me and my housemates share), do my own laundry, and iron my clothes… just like back in college when I first had my first experience of total independence. To kill boredom, I go out and jog in the morning trying out different routes, go to church, meet friends, or go to the countless malls here and just do some window shopping (not to mention ogling). But most of the time, I just stay at home and watch TV or use my ever reliable laptop and enjoy the wifi at our flat.

I do miss my family, my beautiful fiancée, and my friends back home. At least I get to talk or chat with them via YM almost every day. The last thing on my mind is to feel homesick so that they don’t have to worry about me. And just last weekend, I met a lot of new people here thanks to the common passion of listening to the tandem during our weekday mornings, Chico and Delamar. They went to an official business trip here in Singapore to promote Sentosa back in the Philippines. When I first learned of the plan that the two will be going here back in December, I really really need to gather as many rushers I can based in Singapore to have a one-of-a-kind EB… the first International Rushers’ EB. How sossy can you get?

Utilizing the wonders of Twitter, as early as two weeks before, I was able to get in touch with at least 10 people and my Singapore number has been busy ever since. I thought that it would be an easy task just to gather people then meet with C&D. But it was so difficult because I still had to coordinate with the schedule of C&D. On Saturday, I was sure that they would arrive around lunch time, but I was still clueless on their itinerary. I just decided to inform the rushers to meet after lunch at Vivo City. The first people I met were Melay and Joy. We had coffee while waiting what to do. I finally got a text from Delle and told me that they really had a tight schedule that day and we can only meet them at the hotel after 8 pm. Feeling sorry for Melay, Joy, and Gio for being there so early and making them wait, I informed them that Chico and Delle will only be available after 8 pm.I texted the others of the situation and agreed to meet up again later around 7 pm. The others decided to head off to Sentosa directly. Our group who met again at Vivo arrived at Rasa Hotel a little past 9, did some meet and greet with C&D and the rest of the group, then took a short stroll until we finally settled at bar named Cafe del Mar. We ordered drinks, chatted and bonded instantly. Of course, a lot of picture taking took place. We parted ways around midnight.

I felt tired, but the efforts were all for the love of The Morning Rush. The best thing was I gained a lot of new friends. To the TMR legends Cecil and Shay; to my future sister-in-law, Cathy, and her boyfriend Drew, and friend Tine; to the new faces: Emmylou, Chuck, Melay, Joy, Fay, Kent, Ezel, Iven, Ryan, Gio, Ron, Bebe/Daylene, Rochelle, Sonny, and to those who met us on the 2nd day: Marlon, Jun and wife Richelle, Nates, Junith and the Sentosa winners Joenil andRashell, nice meeting you. Thanks to all of you for making the Singapore EB a huge success. Whew! I hope I didn’t miss anybody! Till the next EB!

First night at Cafe Del Mar in Sentosa. If my memory serves me correctly... SITTING FROM L-R: Kent, Emmylou, Joy, Melay, Delle, Chico, Shay, Iven, Tine, Cathy, Drew. STANDING L-R: Fay, Chuck, Ryan, Rochelle, Sonny, Gio, Ron, Cecil, Me, Ezel, and Daylene

At Coffee Bean in Changi Airport. From L-R: Chuck, Jun, Marlon, Joenil , Chico, Delle, Emmylou, Rashell, Richelle, and Sonny

Categories: Adventure | Tags: | 5 Comments

One week after Ondoy

Some things can change in an instant. Others take longer if not forever. For instance, a week after Ondoy relentlessly dumped rainfall in the metro and nearby provinces, there are still many towns and villages still submerged in murky, germ-infested floodwaters. However, rescue and relief efforts are unwavering. In our own little way, extending a form of aid will help somebody survive.

Pedicab kayo dyan!

Busy intersection

No choice but to wade

Daming tao!

Boatman

Submerged

Passengers

Image0165000

Image0177000

Image0221000

Mercedes cor. Sandoval

Pinagbuhatan

And now, we are facing yet another challenge, as super typhoon Pepeng (Int’l Codename: Parma) ravages Northern Luzon. Despite all these, another thing remains the same,  Filipinos are resilient. No matter how challenging life’s trials await us, we don’t just wave the white flag yet, we face them. Surprisingly, not just alone… Others may be there willing to extend some helping hand.

“No matter how thick the clouds are, behind them, the sky is always clear.

Categories: Adventure | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Ondoy aftermath

What was supposed to be an enjoyable monthly get-together EB with the rushers turned out to be a harrowing experience for me, my niece and thousands of others affected during the weekend. Who would’ve thought that the unexpected downpour bought about by typhoon Ondoy would turn out to be a horrific disaster that affected so many people in the city and nearby provinces?

It was Friday night when rains started pouring bought by Typhoon Ondoy. I was on my way home from my girlfriend’s house when the rain was stronger than usual and traffic was heavy even after midnight. It took me more than 2 hours to get from Las Piñas to Pasig.

The next day was no better.  My niece, Coleen, has an afternoon class at DLSU so I suggested that she go with me first to RX before I accompany her to Taft then go to my girlfriend’s house. On our way to Ortigas, floodwaters were already at least ankle-deep along C5 near the Tiendesitas/SM Hypermart area. While at RX, rains turned for the worst. I got a call from my girlfriend who was at church at that time telling me not to go to their house anymore because of flood. Coleen also got a text from her classmate that their afternoon class was cancelled. We can no longer wait for the rains to subside so we left the station around noon. Since there were only a few of us who had vehicles, we offered to accommodate everybody we can and headed off to SM Megamall to have lunch. On our way, we were surprised that floodwater entered the mall and some parts of the basement were flooded. Even the parking areas on the 2nd and 3rd floors were flooded because the waters from the downspouts can’t hold the volume of water pouring. We also got a glimpse of EDSA as a virtual parking lot because vehicles on both directions were not moving. Fortunately for commuters, the MRT was still operational.

After the delectable lunch and dessert (Thanks again KC and Jobert for the 7 different gelato flavors we’ve sampled in Amici), we parted ways since we still needed to do some grocery shopping before heading home. During that time, I got a text from my sister, telling me to call our dad, because our other car overheated and got stuck somewhere along Taft. My other niece, Chili, still went to school because their class in the morning was not suspended.

We left the mall around 3 pm. Traffic was light from Julia Vargas and C5 southbound to Makati. The opposite direction was a different story. Traffic stretched out way back probably until Market! Market! We made our way to Pasig Blvd and then to Mercedes Ave. From that area to our house in Greenwoods would only take around 10 minutes. It was only then that we realized our real ordeal would start. Floodwaters started rising until about waist level. I would assess from time to time, if my trusted car can brave the relentless floodwaters. It did… for some time. When we turned right towards Sandoval avenue, we realized that the water was slowly entering the car, and the the level outside was around chest level. Looking for some last effort to save the car (and ourselves), we chanced upon a slightly elevated area at a gasoline station and parked the car at an angle, just to spare the car’s engine from excessive drowning. There were other vehicles parked there as well but the others had a better parking position.

I texted my sister that we were stuck at a gasoline station a few kilometers from the village’s gate. We were just waiting for the floodwaters to subside. An hour… 2 hours passed. Water level remained unchanged. It was already getting dark and my sister insisted that we just wade through the flood. I was concerned more with my niece because she has her monthly period and the risk of infection is high. I also have a wound on my toe and fear of leptospirosis. We were still fortunate in some way because we have some food and water to keep us satiated and hydrated (and rubbing alcohol to keep us santized at least). From time to time, we would scoop out the floodwater in the car using the trashbin I had in the car. We used that same trashbin to pee in. Yeah,  TMI but survival skills at work here! We ditched our efforts scooping out the floodwater because it would still get in anyway. At least, the water level didn’t reached the seat level and we managed to remain dry for several hours.

The next several hours became more and more difficult as total darkness pitched in. Movement was limited in the vehicle. Both of my phones were drained. My PSP battery died on me as well. The signal on Coleen’s phone suddenly died and we had no way of communicating to anybody. I had to ration the remaining drinking water we had and made sure that Coleen is relatively ok. I was praying incessantly that we may be ok as well our family and friends who might be experiencing their own challenges brought by Ondoy. We managed to sleep for a few hours only to be jolted awake by a wave of floodwater that rocked the car caused by some idiotic truck driver who drove fast by the area.

I woke up again around 3 am and noticed that the stars were lit in the sky. The sky was clear! But the water level lowered a mere few inches. From time to time, I would turn on the car’s radio to listen to the news and update us on what’s happening. Turned out that Marikina, Pasig, and some parts of Rizal, including Cainta and San Mateo were the hardest hit by the storm.

By 6 am, Coleen and I decided to “abandon ship” (umm… abandon car?) and just bravefully wade through the flood to go home. After picking up our valuables, I locked the car and began trudging the thigh-high waters. Fortunately, an oil tanker truck passed by and we waved for a ride along with several others already hitching on its steel beams. We got off near the village and walked towards the guardhouse. Thank God the flood was only a little higher than ankle-level! While walking, I was still trying to get a good signal to call my sister so she could fetch us at the guardhouse. I managed to contact my girlfriend and requested that she call my sister and inform her about our situation. After walking for another 10-15 minutes past the guardhouse, we saw a familiar vehicle turning a corner and we frantically waved our hands in the air… Finally, we’re saved!

Image0079

View from my car's passenger seat

Image0080

Hitching a ride on an oil tanker

Image0083

One among the many villages submerged in water

Image0087

Water water everywhere!

Image0091

Cainta is one of the many submerged towns in Rizal

As I post this, my car is still abandoned along Sandoval Avenue in waist-high waters. I’ll try to recover it again when the floodwater subsides. To everybody else who had their own stories to tell and to those concerned about our safety, we are grateful for your thoughts and prayers. Hope you are too.

Image0082

Categories: Adventure | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Mini Amazing Race – Day 1

I had been to Singapore the first time in 2005. But now… Three countries. Three days. This experience left me tired rather than relaxed during the first few days of our vacation. Nevertheless, we enjoyed it overall.

DAY 1: MANILA – SINGAPORE

Our flight from Manila to Singapore was 6 am, so we have to be at the airport at least 2 hours earlier. I had no sleep that day since I was only able to finish preparing my luggage at around 2 am I took a quick shower then fetched my 3 officemates along the way. We arrived at the airport a little past 4. The check-in counter had a long queue because Cebu Pacific’s system was down and they had to check and print the passenger manifest, seat availability, and boarding passes manually. Talk about being in a hassle so early in the morning. We had to rush to buy our breakfast and just eat them at the plane. As soon as the plane took off, sleep caught up on me and woke up minutes before we landed.

Dapat ganito kalinis at walang trapik sa Pinas!

Dapat ganito kalinis at walang trapik sa Pinas!

We arrived in Singapore around 10 am. But due to the usual security and immigration procedures, we were able to leave the arrival area around 11 where the local travel company came to pick us up. He offered to take us to places we liked (the usual sales talk) but we were just too tired.  We headed straight to Riverview Hotel where we stayed for the next several days. What was supposed to be a short rest turned out to be a 2-hour nap.  We were supposed to meet our boss around 130 for lunch. We had no local currency yet and we had no choice but to exchange some money at the hotel lobby where the rate is a lot lower. When we left the hotel, there were thunderclouds looming over the distance. Since we were still unfamiliar (operative word: still) we took a cab for Outram Park where we were supposed to meet with our boss. A sudden downpour made the journey less enjoyable. With no umbrellas in tow, we walked where there is cover and where our legs would bring us. We arrived at a hawker center (take note: hawker not hooker) where we had our first meal of the day in Singapore. For the empty stomach, it was simply delectable… and cheap too.

Chicken rice

Chicken rice

Black jelly with longan

Black jelly with longan

After the hearty feast, we were energized to do some shopping despite the rain and headed off to Chinatown.

Parang Binondo lang!

Parang Binondo lang!

Shopping is a great way to kill time (and money).  We didn’t noticed that it was almost 7 pm. After taking a quick break sampling the satay and noodle concoctions, we decided to head back to the hotel, dump the stuff we bought and then head back to Orchard road to do more shopping. But back at the hotel, my other officemates decided to rest instead to face another day. Luckily, my girlfriend’s sister together with her boyfriend were on their way to the hotel from work to pick up the pasalubong I bought for her… a box of Cinnabon! Since it was still early, we set off for Clarke Quay for some dinner and sightseeing. They taught me how to commute via bus and MRT from our hotel and gave me their extra EZLink card for easier and cheaper way of going anywhere. I’m just amazed how Singapore is idiot-friendly in using their public transportation. Together with some little walking, their transportation system is so efficient that you can go to any point just using the MRT and bus.

Minicooper!

Minicooper!

How I'd love to test drive... ala-Italian Job

How I'd love to test drive... ala-Italian Job

Clarke Quay

Clarke Quay

Since Cathy and Drew had work the next day and the last trip for the buses in the city was around midnight, they accompanied me back to the hotel. At the bus stop, it was then we realized that the bus number we rode on our way from the hotel does not go back since it was a one-way street. We rode the bus that would stop “near” the hotel. We tried out luck walking from there until it was still some 15 minute walk from that bus stop. Charging it to experience, what a better way to end a tiring day than to dip myself into a warm and sudsy water in the baththub…. Ahhhh….

(Day 2 continues…)

Categories: Adventure | 2 Comments

Panic!

12:23 am: Here I am, doing this entry as I stare at the pile of mess on my bed: clothes, cellphones, chargers, toiletries… I’m off to the airport in less than 2 hours and yet my luggage is in complete disarray. I don’t even know where to start.

My village friends just left the house for a “min-despedida” after feasting on cholesterol-loaded shawarma and 1.5L ice-cold Coke. I can feel my arteries clogging already. Just like the clogged feeling in my stomach. Travel jitters maybe. Or just the fact that I still have lots of packing to do. No more sleep for me today. Good luck to me tomorrow. I hope caffeine will keep me awake. Singapore here I come (again)!

Categories: Adventure | Tags: | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.