Reminiscing Ipoh and Butterworth (2011)

Thursday!

This time last year, I was having one of the best weekends in my life back in Penang, Malaysia. My mom knew an old college friend who’s working there (What a small world) and we decided to meet each other. I stayed with my Tita Jacin for one weekend along with my friend, Ara. It was the best weekend during my exchange because I was was surrounded by older people — and they are all Filipinos! I got to eat Filipino food, talk freely in Filipino, and just have fun with new titos and titas. I felt secure and worry-free because I was having fun along with people who will take care of me –even if it was just for a short time. I made lots of great memories with these people whom I never met. I got to know them a little bit more and appreciate all their stories–especially the tough times living as an OFW. I admire them because even if they have their families far away from them, they are still able to look at life in a positive way and are able to create a second family in Malaysia. I hope to someday meet and visit them again there.

Our adventure started off by riding the ferry. Okay, this might seem trivial but it was my first time to ride a 30-minute ferry since my Tita’s place was on the other side of the island of Penang, in Butterworth.

Tita Jacin lives in a condominium with lots of kids so we took the opportunity to make new kid friends (sounds strange but it isn’t!!) at the playground area. Lots of Chinese families were there dancing and eating altogether, it’s so sweet and it’s nice to know that they value their families like Filipinos do. I also noticed that families tend to live in condominiums in Asia, except probably in the Philippines. I remember seeing dozens of lined condominiums from Seoul to HK to Singapore. I wonder why we don’t tend to do that here since it’s much cheaper, right? I guess the idea of having one’s own house adheres to our being hospitable.

The following day, we went to a water park in Ipoh. One of our titas (Tita May) married a Chinese Malaysian (Tito Chris) and he invited us over there with discounted tickets! Haha! Before that we went to a Chinese carinderia to prepare our Filipino food: adobo, palitaw, and sinigang. We also had sushi haha (so pinoy)! Gosh, it was so delicious! I terribly missed Filipino food when I was there but I gotta say, I terribly miss Malaysian food NOW. It’s the best, I swear!! We were psyched because there were lots of places to see as the whole resort is so huge–there’s a Gorilla Island, an amusement park, and the water park. Sadly, we didn’t have the chance to visit the other areas as we only had time to go at the water park.

It’s pretty interesting to see Malaysians at the water park. Malay women wear special bathing suits which cover their entire body, including their hair. At first, I thought…well, that can be kind of uncomfortable but then they were all having such a good time and I guess they won’t get sunburnt skin…EVER (a huge plus!!) Haha. My friend and I didn’t really wanted to go swim but just to look around since it was dead hot that day but then it suddenly rained so we just immediately went out from the covers and danced around in the rain. By then, we decided to try all the slides and other activities.

We were pretty psyched to try this ride called, “The Boomerang” where you slip onto a salbabida (what’s the English term for this? bobo ko) and the handler just pushes you down an inclined plane so steep it was almost perpendicular with respect to the ground. I swear, my heart stopped all the time. I LOVED IT. I think this is one of the most  awesome rides I’ve taken in my life –beats any roller coaster any time. I couldn’t even scream haha. The best part was Kuyang Handler who was so bad-ass he never asks when you’re ready to fall down. Right after you sit, he just pushes you to your doom without any emotion. Bet na bet ang thrill. Haha.

We had a scary moment when we came back from The Boomerang and realized that our stuff (including our phones)were gone and our titas and titos transferred to a new tambbayan near the poolside. We got so scared, we thought they left us and grabbed our stuff. I know, I know it’s a shameful thought but you see I was in a foreign country with no one that I completely know so it was natural to think this way. Ara and I strutted back and forth from area to area for about an hour. We even went to the parking lot and saw Tito Chris’ car. I really wanted to cry but then that wouldn’t help at all. Buti nalang we saw Tita Jacin near the customer service area (whatever) section and she was so worried! It turned out they went to our first tambbayan near the wave pool. After that, I was so relieved that we went to this giant ball area and climbed and fell and bounced and climbed and fell and bounced to our heart’s desire.

It was around 7 pm (it was still bright!) when we left. Before going home, we went to this famous Chinese restaurant hidden in the “barrios”/”barangays” of Ipoh. There were a lot of turns and narrow roads until we arrived at this quaint “bukid” full of Chinese people. Authentic Chinese food. Yummy! Yummy din iyong prices. We ordered fish worth 80 ringgit which is around 1,500 php. We drank real tea without any water haha. I love Mantao! So cute and so yummy!! Afterwards, we talked to some of the Chinese families there (especially the kids) and they were so nice and friendly. The ambience was just so nice and sort of dreamy –it’s the kind where you just don’t want it to end–it makes you feel so warm and all sepia/instagram-y.

Before going home, we decided to visit one Buddhist temple, the temple of the Nine Emperor Gods. It was my first temple to have visited in Malaysia and it was the prettiest. The history of the place is that the temple was recently renovated after a fire took place a few years ago. The architecture is just amazing. Every little wall and column have intricate details in them telling the story of the nine emperor gods. We watched Tito Chris show his respect to his ancestors and he even showed us some of the rituals they often do while in the temple. Ara and I just took pictures of everything. We went to one section of the temple which was sacred and took a picture inside (we didn’t know during the time). We only realized it back home whilst browsing through the temple’s brochure and we got scared. We said our apologies to the Gods through the picture we took  and of course, by prayer. It’s all about respect, as Tito Chris said.

It was a great weekend. I was too sad to leave the morning after. I was strolling around campus in a daze for like hours under the blazing heat. Oooh, one thing I forgot. Tita Jacin has aircon at her place!!! Oh, the aircon—what a prized possession!

So yeah, I finally made a longer post instead of the usual quickies (again, it sounds wrong but it isn’t!)! I’m terribly missing going out of town, especially this summer! This summer is all about my acads–my GE class and my thesis! It sort of sucks but it must be done! Hopefully, after I graduate, I get to travel more. I also realized that I haven’t blogged about other adventures from the past as well so I might do that soon (perhaps every Thursday) just so I can document it and share it!

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