Posted in Malaysia

Legoland Malaysia: A Breath of Fresh Air

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Legoland Malaysia is the first of it’s kind in Asia. For most of us who’ve grown accustomed to theme park heavyweights like Disneyland or Universal Studios, this is a breath of fresh air. Though most of its rides are designed for kids, we enjoyed every bit of it nonetheless. I must admit I have a weak stomach for roller coasters and other adrenaline-pumping extravaganza so it all worked for me (he-he)!

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Suprisingly, the waiting time for each ride was only more or less 15 minutes (compared to 1-2 hours in Disney Sea) so we were able to try most of the attractions! Expect the weather to be very hot and humid on this part of the globe so arm yourselves with sun protections like brollies, wet towels, sunblock and lots and lots of water.

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We tried some of their indoor attractions like the laser-blasting dark ride and 4D movie during the peak of the heat and did the outdoor stuff especially Miniland when the weather got more comfortable and pleasant so we were able to enjoy it at  more leisurely
pace.

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We allocated 2 hours of our time to Miniland alone because we know that there’s just so much to see there and we didn’t want to miss anything and boy are we right! The attention to details, the craftsmanship, the pure passion in building these replicas of famous landmarks around Asia is totally amazing! 2 hours just went by very swiftly.

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All in all, Legoland Malaysia did not disappoint. We did some research before going so we had an idea of the age-group it caters and didn’t expect the rides to be at par with Universal Studios or even Disneyland so we didn’t get that feeling of being let down.

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Legoland Malaysia has a charm of its own and it will be a shame not to give it a go!

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Posted in Malaysia

Malacca: A Gastronomic Adventure-land

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Christ Church, Malacca

If you have a flair for anything vintage, historical and gastronomic like yours truly, then you will definitely fall in love with Malacca. It was our second time here and we are still smitten by it’s old-world charm, laid-back feel and rich history. This quaint UNESCO World Heritage Site on the west coast of peninsular Malaysia just about 4 hours bus ride from Singapore will transport you back in time with its surreal fusion of Dutch/Portuguese/Malay/Chinese legacies evident on its well-preserved architectures, ruins from the colonial era and of course its mouth-watering Baba Nyonya/Peranakan cuisine.

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Dutch Square, Malacca

Everything in Malacca is just colorful, vivid, picturesque and most importantly it can be explored on foot (proximity is always a huge plus for us)! A visit on Dutch Square and you will be greeted by a sudden burst of colors – from the terracotta-red Christ Church and Stadthuys, trishaws filled with fake foliage and not a bit shy on flamboyance (complete with blaring pop or Malay music), side vendors selling all sorts of colorful souvenirs and tidbits, locals clad in their vibrant kebayas — it is truly a sight to behold!

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Vintage soda bottles @ Jonker Walk

Just a few minute’s walk from Dutch Square and you can easily reach Jonker Walk famed for serious antique-hunters hoping to score some really precious find. If antique-hunting is not really your thing like us, fret not since this street caters for vintage hunters, foodies, wanderers and low-key shoppers (like us).

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Dim Sum vendors @ Jonker Walk

On week nights, the whole street is close to traffic and transforms into a gastronomic adventure-land of some sort. Different hawker stalls and makeshift tents selling all kinds of delicacies, street foods, sundries, local fares, trinkets and cheap whatnot sprout the entire stretch like mushrooms.

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Fanta-flavored popsicles!

Here we had some shaved-ice cendol, fried ice cream, Fanta-flavored popsicles, dried squid, quail eggs on a stick and another helping of fried ice cream (it’s that good)! We also chanced upon a really cool art cafe where I had the best satay by far.

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This is indeed a happy place for us – I mean, different enticing smells wafting through the air while walking and taking snapshots of vintage items and kitschy pieces neatly sprawled alongside the alleys, nostalgic vibe of ancestral houses converted to artsy cafes and shops, cheap and yummy food you can munch to your heart’s content, a dose of retail therapy without hurting your wallet that much – this place is a candy store for grown-ups!

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deep-fried ice cream

Malacca with its rustic charms and unique offerings makes it no doubt a much-loved destination for travelers and those who fancy a quick break from the hustle and bustle of the metro. And who knows, you might even get lucky and find a truly precious artifact in one of Jonker Street’s antique shops! In fact, you didn’t have to since the whole Malacca experience is a gem in itself, that I assure you!

Posted in Thailand

Bucket Lists Checked in Phuket

Things we did in Thailand which crossed several items on our bucket list:

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Elephant ride

1.) Ride an elephant which my husband enjoyed so much that he wants us to adopt a baby elephant (he-he!).

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Parasailing like a pro @ Coral Island

2.) Go parasailing! Can you believe that? I can’t believe it either.

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Thai massage

3.) Get an authentic Thai massage while watching old topless women walk back and forth at Patong Beach.

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Pole dancing

4.) Dance on a stripper’s pole at Bangla Road (sort of, he-he!)

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Snorkeling @ Maya Bay

5.) Go snorkeling at the world-famous Maya Bay at Phi Phi Islands in Krabi, Thailand

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Sunset at Patong Beach

6.) Bathe in the hypnotic sunset of Patong Beach with my husband

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Island-hopping

7.) Go island hopping from Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi Don, Ko Phi Phi Le, Monkey Island to Coral Island

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8.) Swim on the clear blue waters of Phuket (but of course)!

 

Posted in Korea

Seoul Searching…

This trip is all about our search for the best kimchi there is in Korea – all the majestic views, jaw-dropping landscapes, postcard-worthy scenery, interesting people and most importantly, K-Pop, are just icing on the cake (quite an extraordinary icing if I may say)! You see, kimchi is the national dish on this part of the world. For some who have been living a monkish existence and haven’t heard of kimchi, kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean dish made of vegetables with a variety of seasonings.

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Nami Island, the location for the popular Korean dram – Winter Sonata

Everywhere we go in Korea, kimchi’s pungent smell greets us like the hearty “Annyeong Haseo” – from breakfast to lunch to dinner. Yes, you heard it right – breakfast. And not just kimchi as an unassuming side-dish for breakfast – they have kimchi soup, kimchi fried rice, and my favorite of them all – kimchi seaweed.

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Everland – South Korea’s most popular amusement park

We are not complaining you know. The energy we got from the highly nutritious kimchi sustained our draining 7am t 9pm tour everyday. We thought our already well-trained from miles of walking in Singapore but no, I deserve a bronze medal in walkathon for the amount of walking we endured in our Korean tour.

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Blue mountains and Korean architecture @ Seoraksan Park

So we walked and walked and walked. From the autumn-leaves filled tree lane at Nam-I Island, to life-sized teddy bears at Teddy Bear Farm, to the charming blue mountains and white sands of Seoraksan Park, to the quaint and foggy town of Alpensia, to the fairy-tale like pavements of Everland, to the bustling alleys of Myeongdong and historial palaces of Gyeongbok.

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Life-sized teddy bears @ Teddy Bear Farm
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Bustling alleys of Myeongdong
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Alpensia Ski Resort

And when we get tired and hungry, we eat and eat and eat – what else but kimchi! So you see, this trip is really a search for the best kimchi in Korea. And if you may want to ask where you can find the best kimchi in Korea..well, uhmm, I cannot exactly disclose the secret place to you. And what? Deprive you the joy of endless walking and searching? Where’s the fun in that? So in master Yoda’s words “On you own, you must seek.”

Posted in New Zealand

5 Things You Need To Do Before Moving to New Zealand

So you have heard of the Top 5 Reasons Why Filipinos Migrate to New Zealand. You are intrigued by the idea of settling down to a country with awesome views and kind-hearted people. You clamour for that much-needed work-life balance. You visualize yourself being in the great outdoors, camping on its vast parks and natural wonders, skiing in the middle of the winter, hiking on its different terrains or swimming in its crystalline waters on weekends.

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Goat Island, just a few hours drive from Auckland

You are inspired by the opportunities and promise of a better life that this country has to offer. And now you ask, what are the next steps you need to consider before moving to New Zealand? Below are some of the things you need to arm yourselves with before plunging into the deep regions of migration:

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Skytower as seen from the Auckland waterfront

1.) Research. Research. And more research. Never underestimate the power of information when moving to a different place. There are tons of things you need to know before diving to a completely different territory and you need to gather as much knowledge of the country as you can possibly muster. The internet is a great source of information but you need to carefully select those trust-worthy sites as scammers are spreading like wildfire in this time and age. New Zealand immigration site immigration.govt.nz will let you chose which visa you wish to apply for and it will provide you with the necessary steps on your application. Since NZ’s residency is based on point system, you can try their online calculator to ensure that your points reach at least 160 as this will make you automatically selected for further assessment. NZ immigration has allotted points for skills, qualifications, age, family ties in NZ, job offer, ability to settle in NZ, etc.

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Hunua Falls

2.) Be financially prepared. Whichever visa you wish to have, there are lots of fees you need to pay in order to be successful in your application and the costs are no laughing matter. Lodging your application, IELTS, assessment of your qualifications all require a huge sum of money and so is having a complete medical check-up especially for the skilled migrant category. Know the cost of living in New Zealand and the amount you need to bring with you while searching for work. Take note that it will take you a couple of months or more before finding a suitable job, so you need to take into account everyday expenses such as food, transportation, accommodation, internet connection, phone bills, etc. that you have to pay while you’re still in the midst of job-hunting.

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Cable cars @ Rotovegas, Rotorua

3.) Get all your documents ready. Have your passport, diploma, transcript of records, certificate of employment, birth certificates, NBI/police clearances, etc. handy. Before lodging your application for EOI (Expression Of Interest), make sure to have all your necessary documents with you so as not to cram with the given grace period of submitting your documents. Once your EOI expires, you need to lodge your application and pay for the necessary fees again.

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Picnic behind cherry blossoms @ Cornwall Park

4.) Create a network of friends and acquaintances in NZ. Maybe you have friends or some distant relatives in NZ? Get in touch with them and connect thru social media.  They can give you tips on what to expect on your first few days, weeks, or months in NZ. They might refer you to some accommodations or even job openings. They can be your set of friends when you have settled down in NZ. There are also lots of Filipino Communities in NZ providing support to new migrants. Be sure to interact with them beforehand.

5.) Be patient. Migrating to a new place is a long and tedious process. You need to be patient while waiting for the results and just hope for the best. Stay positive but be ready with whatever the outcome will be. After all, nothing in this world is 100% guaranteed.

Disclaimer: I am not a licensed immigration consultant. All contents of this article and site are based purely on personal accounts