Kuala Lumpur: Travel on a Budget Day 2

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Early in the morning, my cousin and I prepared for a trip to Batu Caves – one of the most suggested areas to be visited close to KL. Bob, our host, offered to take us there since traffic in KL on Sunday’s is smooth. 

After bathing and a quick snack, we set off to Batu Caves. Interestingly, since it’s a place for worship, tourists and devotees are allowed free entrance. The only thing visitors have to pay for is the parking fee (if they go by car) which costs around RM 10. 

We first had breakfast at a Hindu restaurant where my host suggested we try the roti. I’m actually not quite sure what I ate, I just knew I liked it! Hahaha!

As an extension of Malaysian hospitality, Bob offered to pay for our breakfast. We were embarrassed about it but he insisted that he pay for our meals. 

After that, we took some photos from the entrance up to the top of the caves. 

   
                   https://instagram.com/p/3VIn8uoFc4/

There’s around 300 steps on the stairs up to the cave but it’s okay since it’s a fun walk. 

Also, watch out for the monkeys. 

They’re mostly harmless but it’s better to make sure your valuables are safe with you.  

We also bought some key chains for only RM 12. We then took several photos before heading off to Kepong to have lunch at a Chinese diner. Once again, Bob offered to pay for our meal although we offered to pay too. We’re honestly very fortunate Bob is so generous and hospitable. We wouldn’t be able to visit all these wonderful places if not for him.

After that, we went straight to the KLC Art Gallery. The entrance to the museum is RM 5 and since we’re a couple of cheapskates, we settled for photos near the entrance.

   

We then went around and abused our phone cameras by taking several street photographs.

  https://instagram.com/p/3Vmd_BoFYi/

After that, Bob left us to browse around Chinatown. I bought a pair of new shoes for only RM 79.

 
We then met a lovely Filipina who offered to take us around KLCC. We took the LRT from Pasar Seni to KLCC for only RM 1.25.

   
  

 Upon arrival, we took several photos of the Petronas Towers. 

  
We bought dinner from the KLCC supermarket. Mine totaled only RM 5 for the Nasi lemak and RM 2.5 for the vanilla coke. While having dinner, she suggested we go to Genting which is only 3 hours away from KL Sentral.

By 7pm, we met up with another backpacker – Azim – who offered to tour us around Bukit Bintang. It’s just a few minutes walk from KLCC and we didn’t want to spend so much money so we went right ahead and walked past several malls to get to Jalan Alor, Bukit Bintang.

We tested for a while and charged up our phones before we headed off to explore the streets.       

Azim treated us to teh terak then we went around to explore. We didn’t spend much since we didn’t have money but we did have dinner in a Chinese shop. Beers and alcohol are expensive (ranging RM 15-20) so we skipped that and went right ahead to eating.

   
     
We only had to spend RM 8 for the Nasi Lemak and for the diet coke.

We also bought some souvenir shirts and managed a bargain: 5 shirts for only RM 61!

By 1AM, we decided to call it a night. We took a taxi to Sri Hartamas and ended up paying RM 11.25 each. 
All in all, I think it was fairly cheap. We got too tired, fortunately Bob left us with keys to his apartment and we got in okay.
Now, off to sleep for another great adventure.

Kuala Lumpur: Travel on a Budget Day 1

*All photos are mine. Please don’t copy or use without my permission

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Traveling isn’t always glamour and fun. Most of the time, people are worried about the finances of travel and for good reason. Traveling isn’t cheap. From looking for the cheapest rates in airfare to worrying about where to stay, several financial considerations have to be kept in mind before one packs those bags in order to head off for a trip of your dreams.

That isn’t to say traveling on a (very tight) budget is impossible. I’m a student and I don’t have the luxury of having money to stay at nice hotels. Add to that the fact that I’m a Filipino and the Philippines is one the worst in global economic standing (as well as being among the weakest in passport strength) in the whole world. All I have is the dream to visit as many beautiful places as possible (even if I am basically broke and will most likely be broke on my way to doing them.)
In this post, I will be documenting the first day of our trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with my cousin Lemuel. This is actually both our first times to Kuala Lumpur so we’re both excited. The tickets we purchased to Kuala Lumpur were bought off a promo by AirAsia last February. I had a budget of Php 25,000 in my debit card but started spending last Thursday. Here’s how the Php 25,000 was spent from last Thursday (May 28, 2015) to May 30, 2015:

May 28, 2015

  • ManiPedi – Php 140
  • Bottled water – Php 35
  • Tables Silvana (Tablea Cafe) – Php 70
  • Strawberry Milk Chocolate – Php 120
  • Taxi – Php 80
  • Toiletries and meds – Php 1450.25

TOTAL: PHP 1895
May 29, 2015

  • Jeep – Php 8
  • Taxi – Php 80 
  • Dinner – Php 358
  • Cherry Charger – Php 200
  • Gift for Malaysian CS Host – PHP 1700
  • Purse – Php 395
  • Backpack – Php 1165.5
  • Bon Chon – Php 175

TOTAL: PHP 4081.5
May 30, 2015:

  • Gas – Php 500
  • Travel Tax – Php 1620
  • Terminal fee – Php 750
  • Dollar Purchase ($21) – Php 1000
  • Dollar Purchase ($31) – Php 1500
  • Ringgit Purchase (RM 100) – Php 1600

  

The terminal fee is irrelevant (in my humble opinion). It’s not like much improvement has been made to MCIA and the airport sorely fails in comparison to other international airports (I’m sorry but the comparison will almost always be made). So it’s sad that we have to pay so much.
 
Don’t get me started on the Travel Tax – a tax imposed only on Filipinos traveling abroad. A tax imposed with no neessary direction in Government (except as a possible venue for corruption). See? So not cynical at all.
   

TOTAL (as of 3:55pm GMT+8): PHP 6970

CASH ON HAND: RM 100; $52

Debit account: PHP 14,477.63

We arrived at Kuala Lumpur by 7:30pm GMT+8. 

 

photo by Sheree Tampus

There’s no time zone difference between KL and the Philippines so it’s easier to check how friends are doing. In order to actually do that, I bought a Malaysian sim from CelCom costing RM 41. Ididn’t realize SIM cards would be that expensive here but apparently it has a 1GB free for 30 days and most Malaysians use the Internet instead of the SMS (which cost 25 cents per message). It was either that or no sim at all (which is hard cause I have to consistently keep folks back home updated). 

 

photo by Lemuel Tudio
  
photo by Sheree Tampus
 After purchasing the SIM, we went straight ahead to the bus stop to get to KL Sentral. Folks could take the train or the bus but the bus is cheaper (it only cost RM 10 while the train cost RM 34). Naturally, we took the cheaper alternative.

 

of course, we can’t not take a photo at the airport!

 
Obligatory airport selfie
  

After an hour’s drive, we arrived at KL Sentral where our Couchsurfing host has waited for us with his car. With a warm smile and a gift from the Philippines (a mug of San Miguel Beer and a Kalabaw statuette – sorry I forgot to take a photo), he invited us to his place at Sri Hartamas. 

After we unpacked and relaxed a bit, he showed us around the area and treated us to a very delicious Malaysian meal.

 

I finally got around to tasting the popular Nasi Lemak! Thanks to our very kind and generous host!
Another couchsurfer has suggested I try this because ‘it’s to die for’
The Nasi Lemak costs only RM 8. 

 

The Nasi Lemak is absolutely sedalpah! Teri makasih for letting us taste this spicy Malaysian dish! 😋 Apologies for bastardizing your language haha I tried.
 
That’s very sulit considering it is absolutely so so good and so so heavenly! If our host didn’t insist on paying for our dinner, I wouldn’t hesitate to pay for it (and eat it again and again!) because it is absolutely worth it.
  
After that, we went right back to our host’s place and looked forward to enjoying the beauty of Kuala Lumpur tomorrow!

  
P.S. As of 9pm GMT+8, my cash on hand are $42 & RM 78.70. Not bad for a first day. I hope to save more for the whole week so I’ll still have enough left over for shopping by the end of the trip.

Berry-Banana Smoothie

Source: Weight Loss Diet Plan App

Makes: 2 servings, 1 cup each
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

    1 ripe banana, sliced
    1/2 cup raspberries
    1/4 cup blueberries
    1 1/2 teaspoons honey
    1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
    1/2 cup ice

Preparation

    Place ingredients in the order listed in a blender. Pulse twice to chop the fruit, stir well, then blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Per serving: 126 calories; 0 g fat ( 0 g sat , 0 g mono ); 0 mg cholesterol; 33 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 5 g fiber; 4 mg sodium; 338 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (25% daily value).

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 2 fruit

xoxo
Sheree

Revealing truths

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It amazes me how one impulsive action could lead to the opening of so many doors, most of them to the revelation of the truth.

By some stroke of blind impulsiveness and a touch of flaming rage, I gathered my courage to visit the Directress of the Master’s department in UP Cebu to complain and explain my side of the story.
I ignored the bubbling fear of ostracization and victim blaming and gathered all my composure to properly explain what happened. The Directress explained that the Dean of the department has long held doubts regarding the professional ethics of the said professor. Hearsays have been reported but no actual complaint. As it turns out, I was the first to complain and the first to provide explicit proof. 
She also explained that the said professor has taken a week-long leave from work and that the university provides a budget of Php 25,000 for every paper presentation at a conference. The paper, as it turns out, was named after the said professor when he requested for funding and he made sure to secure that funding by submitting the abstract to MELTA. Rumors have abound that he has done this to students before as he asks them to gather data, he organizes the paper, asks them to present it then he gets the credit and the funding. 
The Directress thanked me for my complaint because now they have grounds to question him for his actions. She assured me that me and my partner need not fear because the program will protect us and we have helped preserve the integrity of the program by actually complaining and submitting the evidence of his unethical behavior. 
All I could do is breathe a sigh of relief at finally being able to say what I needed to say to the person in authority who could best act on it.
I have to admit, I felt as liberated and as bold as a fierce lioness when I made my complaint. It’s like a giant thorn has been plucked from my back and now I can sit back and enjoy the feeling of standing up for what I believed is right. 
I can go right ahead and rest now. 
Fuck you and your corrupt ways, Sir A. 
I’m gonna rest like a bear now.

What I pack for a short trip in and/out of the country

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I have successfully managed to pack everything I need in these three bags: (1) for clothes , shoes and gear; (2) for tickets and coins; and (3) for the beauty essentials and random stuff cause I’m vain like that.
 

I’ll be going on a trip to Kuala Lumpur this weekend and, naturally, packing up for the trip has to be planned. Unlike most people, though, I don’t really bring a lot of stuff whenever I’m traveling. I can live with just two bags: a shoulder bag for most of my everyday essentials (makeup, wallet, camera, etc) and a small backpack for clothes. 

Since we travel fairly often in the Philippines, my siblings and I are used to carrying small bags for all of our things. I actually recall my brother commenting on how we only brought a total of three small bags for our recent 5-day stint in Biliran while my professor brought a several large bags and a suitcase for their 2-day stay. He even made a reference on the That Thing Called Tadhana line about excess baggages:

(You packed your entire life? You’ll really have excess baggage.)

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about excess baggage if you know the essentials of what to pack. I wouldn’t say this works for everyone but this list certainly works for me and I find that I’d want for nothing if I have these essentials. 

Essentials:

  • Passport
  • Departure ticket
  • Return ticket
  • Valid ID’s
  • Wallet
  • Coin purse
  • Body purse (that one you can hide under your shirt) – optional


Toiletries
:

  • Shampoo sachets (they’re much cheaper)
  • Conditioner sachets (1 for each day)
  • Facial wash
  • Toner
  • Sunflower oil
  • Moisturizer
  • Sunblock
  • Small bottle of Body lotion – preferred but optional 
  • Toothbrush
  • Small tube of toothpaste
  • Dental floss – optional
  • Tampons/sanitary pads
  • Small pouch for toiletries
  • Comb
  • Deodorant 
  • Toilet paper – optional 

Makeup

  • BB/CC Cream
  • Eyebrow pencil & brush
  • Eyeliner
  • Mascara
  • Lip balm
  • Lipstick
  • Oil blot paper – optional
  • Facial wet wipes
  • Small pouch/makeup kit

Clothes:

  • 3 pairs of bras (strapless, 2 strapped)
  • 3-4 pairs of panties (they’re easy to wash and dry so no worries)
  • 4 light t-shirts
  • Long sleeved shirt (optional because of the…)
  • Jacket
  • A pair of jeans
  • A pair of shorts
  • 2 swim suits (bikini + monokini)
  • Fancy dress/sexy top + skirt (for nights out)
  • 3 pairs of pyjamas (I prefer night dresses since they’re easier to pack)
  • 1 or 2 casual dresses (for when I’m lazy)
  • A pair of sunglasses

Comfort buddies

  • Malong (I lived in Mindanao & this is one of the most important things to bring when traveling. It’s a scarf and a blanket!!)
  • Scarf (those who read/listened/watched The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy know & understand that towels are VERY important. A scarf happens to be a lighter version of the towel.)
  • Pepper spray

I don’t really worry about having no pillows. I could do just fine without one and if need be I use my bags as pillows.

Gear (for bloggers and those who simply like taking photos)

  • iPhone + charger + earphone
  • GoPro + charger + monopod
  • Another phone for the local sim (optional)
  • Power bank + charger 
  • Laptop + charger + external hard drive (optional)
  • Extension wire (optional but very handy!)

Shoes

  • 1 pair of flip flops
  • 1 pair of high heels
  • 1 pair of rubber shoes
  • 1 pair of sandals
  • Ankle socks

Miscellaneous 

  • Plastic bag
  • Key & lock
  • Ziploc bags
  • Torch light
  • Duct tape

Small Medical Kit

  • Band aids
  • Antibacterial cream
  • Eye drops
  • Mosquito repellent lotion
  • Vitamin C
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Green tea
  • Hyper acidity medicine (I found this very helpful in Thailand)
  • Charcoal pills (for indigestion)
  • Mere amid acid and paracetamol
  • Betadine
  • Pouch for medicines

I actually bring lesser stuff when I’m traveling in or around the Philippines. I bring fewer clothes & underwear (since I could simply wash and dry them) and I don’t really bring a medical kit unless I go to a place with no drug stores nearby. I also avoid bringing jeans when traveling in the Philippines because I’m more comfortable with a pair shorts and they’re easier to pack than a pair of jeans. If I stay in a place for a week or less, then I only bring one shoe (one that I’m wearing on the day of the travel) and a pair of flip flops. I also choose the scarf over the malong since it’s more versatile (I can’t exactly wear the malong as a fashion statement). Of course, makeup is optional but wouldn’t it be better to go around traveling feeling confident that you look as good as you feel?

Since I will also be traveling to KL, I need to make sure I have everything that I need so it’s important to make some adjustments to add some more than what I’m used to bringing. All in all, I’m confident that those listed here will be more than enough for any travel here in the Philippines or abroad in foreign soil. 

Of course, people have different preferences. It’s all a matter of proper prioritizing and feeling comfortable. Maybe you could use this list as a guide but feel free to tweak it up to one that makes you feel most comfortable because, after all, it’s your journey. 😀