Jan 20, 2010

Reminiscing My First Flight Out

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I had to go over my dusty albums to figure out the exact date of my first ever flight out of the country. It was 10 years ago, Nov 14, 1999 to be exact bound for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia via Malaysian Airlines. I can still recall how excited and nervous I was when the company I was working then advised me that I will be attending a regional design planning event for the sports brand that I was handling at that time. Excited of the opportunity of traveling and meeting new faces but nervous because I'll be going there alone, on a foreign land for the very first time. I had very little idea of Malaysia then, so I did some research to familiarize myself with their customs and traditions, their way of life and the people.

KUALA LUMPUR AIRPORT

I didn't set my expectations high when I visited Malaysia. I initially thought, it would just be like my country in terms of development, same roads and infrastructure, same traffic system but I was proven wrong to my delight. Upon setting foot at the airport I was awed by the design and structure of the building, they were much more advanced. I was walking with a smile on my face, really felt I'm on another part of the world. I got through the immigration easily but was held for a few minutes by one officer at the customs area who's having some issue with one of the baggage I was carrying, it was more or less 50 pcs of original garment samples of the sports brand that will be the subject of our design planning in the next few days. I showed them all my documents, my itinerary, the hotel I'll be staying, the office where I'll be going, etc. Some 2 to 3 officers even came forward, one officer is familiar with the company I'll be working with and recognized the contact person in my itinerary, the other guy took note of the hotel I'll be staying and ask for my business card. The whole episode took more or less 5 minutes, I was released afterwards. I wasn't alarmed at all coz I was there for legit reasons and the officers looked cordial but I'm a little bothered with what just happened. Anyway, the next day at my hotel room I received a call from the custom guy who asked for my business card and was surprised at  his invitation for dinner, hmmm, it made me think for a while but declined the offer since I already have a scheduled dinner with my colleagues that night. But then I  thought later, what if I'd accepted the offer, would it made the whole experience more memorable, makes me wonder??

GASTRONOMIC ADVENTURE

One aspect of traveling that I really look forward to is getting my hands and my taste buds on the country's cuisine. I'm not picky when it comes to food but please no dogs and anything crawling! Aside from the international breakfast buffet that goes with my hotel stay which was really ample and overflowing, I always look forward to our dinner. Our lunch was forgettable although fun as we get to gather on the meeting table with the delivered food from some fast food joints and chit chat personal matters before going back to work. On our first night, our group dined at a fancy resto, the name I can no longer recall and had my first taste of Malaysian cuisine, I really liked it! Having a penchant for anything spicy, Malaysian dish became a favorite. The following night we were treated to Thai cuisine by one of the bosses of Hagemeyer who owns the Thai resto, it was delightfully delicious and my first try at eating a pumpkin pie, yummy and unforgettable!!! On our third night, it was Indian cuisine on the invitation of the guy connected with Royal Sporting House who is an Indian national. I can still remember the guy because he was really nice, charming and playful and even insisted that I joined him in his car when we went bar hopping, but he's totally harmless and a gentleman.  It was really fun and unforgettable having tasted 3 different cuisines for the first time in Malaysia, all three delicious, spicy and memorable.

KLCC and PETRONAS TOWER


On my last day, I've managed to check out the city with the help of the two ladies I've befriended in the office. They offered to tour me around the city and did some shopping at KLCC Mall, a six level mall connected to the Petronas Tower, the twin tower  which during that time was still the tallest building in the world. It's size and design is truly impressive. I can only look at it with amazement! Shopping is another activity you would definitely enjoy doing in KL. Their apparel and shoes styles were more current and up to date. But I had to limit my purchases to avoid excess baggage. For the Malaysian handicrafts and delicacies, they brought me to this vibrant and colorful Central Market and had fun going over the items and buying some for "pasalubong".

PEOPLE and CULTURE

A mixture of Malays, Chinese and Indians comprises the people of Malaysia. It was very evident when you go to the malls, walk on the streets, dine on a resto and in the office. It was interesting to note that in my five days of planning and working in that office, I noticed that most number of Indians were delegated to clerical jobs, while most Malays are in the supervisory level and  most Chinese were in  managerial level. I'm not sure if that's also the case in other organizations. Religions vary as well, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians among them. I also can't forget that in Malaysia tipping is considered rude, which is admirable and speaks volume about their character.

A LOT OF FIRST

There were a lot of firsts in this trip that made it truly memorable, that after 10 years, I can still recall significant events that happened, well except for names which I'm totally bad at. I returned there in 2006 on a side trip while vacationing in Singapore and hopefully this year again on another part of Malaysia in Kota Kinabalu. I believe, there will always be a reason to revisit Malaysia.


Written by

Occassional blogger, photography enthusiast, apparel designer, engineer and a big believer of God. In my spare time I love to create DIY projects or chase the bliss of solitude, sipping a cup of nicely brewed coffee, munching some yummy cookies while reading a good book in a new place with an awesome view.

38 comments:

  1. just got back from malaysia also...but not through the same airport. he! he!

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  2. unforgettable talaga ang first trip abroad.i love this post kasi i reminds me of my first time abroad sa hong kong.

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  3. Ha-ha-ha...holy smokes! Can you believe that "customs" guy...'am pretty sure he was trying to "hit on you" (can't blame him though)! It's this kind of guys that enable stereotypes and make us men look bad! Sorry, I just couldn't resist the opportunity to tease:-D

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    1. Patrick? well, guys are pretty much like that, right? once they saw a chance they'll grab it, maybe he thought I'm naive, hahaha :)

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    2. Yeah, you got me! Well, "some guys" are like that...not all (he-he). The way he used his position of authority to try to ingratiate himself, I think, is uncool. In the interest of good natured banter, it always cracks me up to watch an over confident guy make a fool of himself. I'd bet my bottom dollar that he hasn't come across a smart girl like you before (ha-ha);)

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    3. Hahaha, there! now you're pulling my leg ... hehe

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    4. No I'm not!!! I am serious as a heart attack about the "some guys, not all" part and the "smart girl" part. Anybody who went to Mapua Tech. must be smart,right?

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    5. haha ... its ok Patrick, I take it as compliment ;)

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    6. Yeah, you do that! I had better cut it out...don't want to get anyone in trouble(hehe). By the way, do they still have that mango tree by the chapel at the northeast corner of Mapua campus? Catch you later;)

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    7. Ow, does that mean you're a product of Mapua too? Haven't been inside the campus for ages, I'm sure a lot has changed. Hmmm, someone needs to tell more about himself. :)

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    8. Hahaha...shucks, I spilled the beans! You caught me with my hand in the cookie jar. I took Civil Eng but I had to move abroad (mom's health issues) in my senior year. We used to hang out and shoot the breeze (in between classes) at the chapel steps or under the mango tree. Our professor in structural steel use to tell us that the post office at Lawton (which you show in one of your posts)was designed by the late Don Tomas Mapua. I still remember O.B. Jr. with his glasses, full on beard, and hippie sandals:) With that background from Mapua, I had no problem blending in here and getting a job. So there, I gave you the whole shebang, hehe;)

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    9. Oh there :) You still have vivid memories, I can no longer remember details like that. Anyway are we from the same batch? IEs and CEs used the same building right? Was that south bldg? Hehe, I cant remember.

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    10. I do treasure memories from college... they are some of the few links I have to my roots. I would guess that my batch was probably a few years ahead of yours. You remember it right, the south building was shared by IEs and CEs...so much so that it was not uncommon to find someone from CE "seeing" someone from IE and vice versa. Until now I still wonder...of the few couples that I knew then, how many of them ended up getting married! Sorry, I got side-tracked there! Haha;)

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    11. I guess, we all do. College life is too interesting to forget :) I think I have some classmates then who were going out with some CEs. I'm also not sure if they ended up together :) I dont usually hangout at the south buiding, during breaks I'm usually at my ECE friends org table just outside the canteen area.

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    12. Yeah, you're right...college life leaves an imprint on our consciousness. Sure, studying was tough, but the breaks in between were fun...except when "buzzing" from the occasional inebriation sessions, hehe! So, you were hanging out with the ECEs...the smart ones (just teasing)!:-D Wasn't that the floor above the west building basement? Wow, Shie... such a small world - who would have thought that I'd be chatting with a fellow Cardinal.:)

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    13. Exactly :) Who would have thought that an anonymous commenter who called my attention would turn out to be a schoolmate, haha :) and I'm curious what lead you to this blog, were you googling something? just asking hehe...

      I'm not sure bout the ECEs being the smart ones, hehe ... most of my friends from high school choose ECE, I cant remember my reason for picking IE, lol. Hmm, yeah I think so, that's the one in the west building.

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    14. You've been staying up late young lady (2:09 am)! Truth be told, I was waiting for my sister to pick me up (didn't feel like driving)-the whole family was taking my father out to dinner and I had some time to kill, so I thought I'd try to see what's new in Laoag City. Then,I came upon your blog on Ilocos, and I noticed the catchy "shie went to town" logo. And then I noticed "shykulasa" and I thought this girl must have a great sense of humor! When I was younger my older cousin used to say to his sister "hoy, kulasa, umay kan, maladaw tayon" (hehe):) I didn't find anything to "pick on" on this post.

      So a couple of days later, I moved on to your Isdaan post-that's when I noticed the small opening on the "swear words";) Right after I sent my first anonymous comment I thought, wow I can't take it back! I thought "shoots, what the heck did I just do...I am going to get this babe pissed off". So, I swore that if you even bothered to respond I was going to be in 'damage control" mode and be as diplomatic as I could. I just could not resist the urge to comment on the "customs guy", I thought this was funny (hehe);) Thanks for being so nice and such a good sport.


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    15. Eh, I'm quite used to sleeping at 3am. I'm more productive during the wee hours :) Well, now I have an idea and that confirms my suspicion that you were really looking for something to pick on, hahaha, just kidding! I thought of not publishing your comment but I realized it's best if I reply to it. So there Patrick you got my attention ;)

      Funny, you've mentioned about kulasa, that's how my father used to call me when I was younger. Do you still speak the dialect?

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    16. Yes, you're right, I know how the wee hours can get the productive juices flowing!;) So, the second part of my story is this - my women friends tell me that sometimes I can be so dense and goofy...that something could be staring me in the face and I would not even notice it. Well, this situation was one of those times - not until the third cycle of comments and responses did it occur to me to check out your complete profile and when I saw "attended Mapua Institute of Technology", I thought, "for crying out loud this girl must be sharp...I'd better be on my best behavior", haha, so on the next response, I dropped the hint on the mango tree by the chapel inside the campus;) I can't blame you for thinking not to publish it (I probably sounded like a jerk)...I can't thank you enough for the attention and time:)

      Yeah, growing up, I heard that word quite often. Yes, I think my Iloko is pretty decent...my Tagalog (Pilipino) is passable! Do you? Did you understand the Iloko phrase that I wrote in my previous response?

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    17. There, now I know :) I enjoyed the exchanges and happy to do it with a fellow Mapuan ...

      I can speak the usual words I hear from my parents and I can understand when someone talk to me in Ilocano but I usually reply in Tagalog coz I sound funny and trying hard :)

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    18. Ditto! Pleasure is all mine:)

      Don't feel bad about sounding funny when speaking the dialect. I have a younger brother (he was young when we came here)and he tries hard because he thinks it's cool that he has this advantage over his non Filipino friends, haha:) So, what's new in the metro area? Is everything back to normal after the heavy rain and flooding?

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    19. Yeah I should do that even if my tongue is twisting :)

      Well, pretty much the same after the successful million people march at Luneta the other day, another storm is threatening to flood the metropolis again, all because of these corrupt politicians who pocketed tax payer's money. I hope Pnoy will do the right thing. Well :))

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    20. Yeah, I see no harm in doing that...it can only get better :)

      Jeeez! one storm after another, huh! I read about some former SC guy being heckled during that march (or is that the same event)! My older brother told me that the guy who organized the march in Ilocos is his classmate and friend in high school. Over here if corruption occurred at that level and magnitude, heads are going to roll, doesn't matter if you are some hot s**t (forgive the language)! Of course, it is not my place to make comments about what is going on there because I don't have first hand knowledge of the political workings of the governing system. Yeah, let's hope that reform will eventually come and things will go in the right direction.

      Well, I guess we'll keep in touch! Take care :)

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    21. The most wanted lady of the hour just surrendered to Malacanang. It felt scripted though,I think its going to be another "moro-moro" investigation. I believe most politicians here are guilty of corruption, there'll be too many heads to roll. It's the system that has to change. That SC guy is just a victim political prosecution, felt sorry for him.

      You too, I'll shoot you an email as soon as I'm done with my deadlines. Cheers:)

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    22. You're right...it can all seem to be a farce. Haha, I haven't heard that term "moro-moro" in a while! Over here we would use the local term "shibai" or for show only. Well, I figured that much about the SC guy, somebody had to be the "fall guy"! Sometimes, you have to keep the hyenas busy to distract them from the real prey...politics can get really nasty!!

      That's cool, no rush...first things first. Aloha! :))

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    23. It's always dirty politics over here.
      Are you from Hawaii? :)

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    24. You're correct! I live in Honolulu, on a street called Luapele Drive, about half a mile from Pearl Harbor :)

      Well, it's going to be another bumper to bumper drive to work! "Top of the morning to you when you wake up", see ya later :))

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    25. Oh, you must be enjoying nice beaches there! How's Pearl Harbor now?

      It's now weekend there, go and take the time to relax :)

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    26. You know, one tends to take these beaches for granted because they are always there, within a 10-min drive. They have VERY NICE and some not so nice views at the beaches here, I can tell you that (you know what I mean, hehe). Pearl Harbor is ok, I imagine the Visitor Center is packed, as always!

      I believe I will, when it's not too hot outside! Thanks :)

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    27. That's really near, you can easily go to the beach as you wish and do water sports :) Well, Pearl Harbor is a historical site, every visitor would love to check it out.

      I'm trying to come up with an article on the best white sand beaches in the country. I hope I can find time to work on it this week :)

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    28. Yeah, water sports...haven't done that lately :) Incidentally, my brother just asked me (his wife is working) if I could go to the beach with him with his kids (5-yr old boy & 2-yr old girl) tomorrow (holiday for us). We're going to this place called Ko Olina resort, it's the "anti Waikiki"- nice beach sans the noise and the crowd :) Yeah, we played hosts to cousins from Toronto and the US east coast last May, and we had a long wait in line to get entry tickets - but they said it was worth it. Let me know if you ever come to this side of the big pond...I'll show you around :))

      I'm pretty sure you can get it done - just hit the pause button on all the other stuffs, hehe :) I'd love to read it :))

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    29. So how was the trip? Waikiki beach can really get crowded huh but it's refreshing to have a white sand beach in a middle of a bustling city. Here you need to travel 4 hrs to get to a nice beach.

      I think visiting Hawaii would happen once a low cost airline ply that route and they'll go easy on visa restrictions, hahaha.

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    30. The trip to the beach was great!! Everybody had fun...the kids were a handful though, but I love spending time with them, haha! The place we went to is more safe for them because it is a secluded lagoon. Yes, Waikiki beach can get crowded but, you're right, it is refreshing. Besides, I don't want to sound hypocritical about the crowd - we appreciate the visitors because it is an indication that the local economy is humming along well. Wow, that's a pretty long drive to visit the beach!!

      Yes, you're correct about that. Wasn't there a plan by CebuPac to apply for routes to the US? Well, you have a great Friday :)

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    31. I'm not sure if there was, I hope CEBUPAC and Air Asia will really consider it, well maybe in the future. :)

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    32. I read in this article that the US Dept of Transportation has given them clearance to serve all points in the US. They were interested in routes to Guam, Hawaii, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. But because the US FAA has imposed a category 2 on all Phil carriers, the only way they can do it is to get into a "wet lease" agreement where the leased aircraft would have to be flown by a foreign crew on their behalf. Whether or not they would be able to keep it low cost is another matter.

      The visa restrictions issue I think, is all about trying to capture a bigger chunk of the tourist market coming from China, South Korea and Taiwan. Certain countries are given special treatment because money talks :)

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    33. Oh, is that so ... I guess CEBUPAC will figure out how to go about it, their objective is really to expand their routes. They made it possible for Dubai, the lowest rate I've checked is 10,000+ pesos RT. Eventually it's gonna happen, I can see Europe then US ;)

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    34. Yeah, I guess eventually they will. According to recent commercial aviation news, the Phil CAA addressed the concerns of the ICAO - the European Union lifted the ban on Phil air carriers. Let us hope that the US FAA will do the same when the year ends. In the meantime it appears that if they want to expand their service to the US their only option is to partner with another airline from a Category 1 country. In my opinion, the restrictions are partly influenced by the "big boys" being in cahoots with their respective governments to stifle competition and retain their chokehold on the market, as may be the case with Japan and South Korea.

      That Dubai RT rate seems like a pretty good deal!

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  4. Kung ten years ago ito, ilan taon ka na ngayon? 30+?

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