Saturday, December 8, 2012

Download now: Travel 3Sixty December 2012

My story on Wuhan, China is in the December 2012 issue of Travel 3Sixty. Download or read our last issue for the year (as well as the previous issues) online and browse through our guides. Keep your own copy and you won't run out of travel ideas. Everything is free. Don't forget to share!

[UPDATE] Check out my companion article Food Trip: Wuhan on Travel 3Sixty.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Berjaya Hills

An entire month passed by without a post. Time to work on this backlog.

Bukittinggi? I thought that was somewhere in Indonesia. I would never have imagined that there would be a French-themed resort in the mountains outside of Kuala Lumpur. Just an hour's drive from the city is Berjaya Hills, home of the pretty but somewhat tacky Colmar Tropicale.

The place draws its fair share of daytrippers, but you can spend the night in peace here. There's not much to do but take pictures, buy souvenirs and play games.

Face to face with a black swan

Further up, it's much cooler at the Botanical Garden and the Japanese Village. A nice afternoon outside the city.

The drive is very pleasant, too. Smooth roads with a view of the limestone mountains.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Find it on a map

I'm a cartophile. Share the love.

A map of London by Abi Daker

Sara Drake's awesome work, one of the 40 world maps featured at

Cycling in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by Nik Neves, seen at They Draw and Travel

Friday, October 26, 2012

Classic Pinoy breakup songs, the English collection

These Filipino songs in English from the 90s and the early 2000s are classics. These are sad melodramatic tunes--nothing bitter, nothing to rock out to. I put together this playlist for my friend months back, when he couldn't get himself to listen to it. Since he's better now, I'm posting this in the hope that he will refer to it when he needs a good cry.

Ella Mae Saison "If the Feeling is Gone"
Ella Mae Saison "Now That You're Gone"
Ella Mae Saison "Til My Heartaches End"
Freestyle "Before I Let You Go"
Freestyle "Missing You"
Nina "Someday"
Side A "Set You Free"
Side A "Tell Me"

Love that last one. Don't want to end on a sad note, so here's a bonus uplifting track: South Border "Rainbow"

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kinetic Rain (2012)

ART+COM's brilliant work, on view at Changi Airport's Terminal 1

I haven't been as mesmerized by a work of art in a long time. If you're passing by Singapore, it's worth taking the SkyTrain to Terminal 1 to watch this in action.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Labrador Nature & Coastal Walk

Singapore never fails to surprise me. I've done five trips there since 2010 and I still see something new each time.

Labrador Nature & Coastal Walks connects Labrador Nature Reserve and the high-end enclave Keppel Bay. It makes for a wonderful walking and jogging path, as you can see on this morning shoot on my mobile phone.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

For your consideration: Myanmar

So the first half of the month came and went without as much as a word from me. It's been a packed two weeks, and when it did become more relaxed, the internet connection was down. And just before I can catch up, I'm setting off again for another country.

Girls who travel love stripes! On the Irrawaddy River

 Bagan, Myanmar

Let's make this easy. Here's my latest article on the Travel 3Sixty website: Next to Nirvana. Go ahead and click. You might just like it. Thanks in advance for sharing!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

"It's a Sunday night, a night never to be trusted for emotions..."

Regardless of what you think of John Mayer, his music has a way of speaking directly to this generation. This song has been on my mind for a week now after I saw it on a friend's wall. It's not new, but the song and especially the intro sound as if this has actually happened to everyone.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Talentime (2009)

Tried to not be affected by the late Yasmin Ahmad's last film. Failed.

Another trailer here. They don't look like they're from the same film, no?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tapau Secret Show

There's something wonderful about exclusive last-minute gigs. They're stressful because you have to quickly decide whether or not to go, but not knowing what to expect is also good--you're bound to be surprised.

Just hours before the show, word about TAPAUtv's Secret Show spread. All you had to do was show up...assuming you can drive over to Puchong, which is outside of Kuala Lumpur. (To Chatime Galleria's credit, it's a lovely place, very cozy and intimate.)

The show started with the lovely harmonies of The Impatient Sisters plus a cellist. Their voices blend  so well.

Narmi was, in a word, cute. Such a radio-friendly voice. My only problem is that the whole acoustic setting reminds me of the scene in Manila ten years ago, though admittedly Narmi is more polished.

Oh Chentaku played some covers and originals and got the audience to sing along. I can't help but compare the vocalist to Journey's Arnel Pineda.

Last but not the least, an unannounced performer: Yuna, whose international album was produced by Pharrell Williams. One word: ukelele.

The turnout and reception of the secret show were both fantastic. Congratulations to Ikan Paos Kolektif, the group behind Tapau. Hope there will be more secret shows soon.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery

Think of putting the Metropolitan Museum of Manila and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in a new glass-and-steel building. That's what Bank Negara Muzium dan Galeri Seni is, for me at least. There are six galleries, of which two were open during our visit: Art Gallery and Numismatics Gallery. There may be no gold collection to gawk at, but it's well worth a visit.The building is an artwork in itself.


BNM feels like it's in the middle of nowhere even if it's very close to Dataran Merdeka. There are good views of the forested hills from the Art Gallery.

The current exhibition at the Art Gallery, Then and Now: 50th Anniversary of the Bank Negara Malaysia Collection, is on view until September 19. There is no catalogue, but the bookmark at reception has colored symbols showing the chronology of the artworks.

But the most interesting pieces for me were not the paintings but the collection of money from the Japanese occupation. I don't recall seeing World War II-era money before, so bills from one centavo to 1,000 pesos fascinated me despite the horrors of that time. 

The Numismatics Gallery also has a display of money from all over the world (woefully missing the Philippine Peso) and a display of coins, which has the most number of projectors I've seen used for a single museum display (at least 20).

There is also a reasonably priced cafe at the ground floor with a wide selection of food and drinks. The museum shop is nowhere as good as the Islamic Art Museum, though. 

It's next to impossible to commute here but drop by on a weekend for a pleasantly peaceful hour or two in the heart of the city.

Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery, Sasana Kijang
2 Jln Dato Onn, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Open daily 10am-6pm
Admission is free