Snapshot: Kuala Lumpur

I’m back in Malaysia to attend the Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards 2011. The event is only happening tomorrow, but I requested to fly in early so I can meet with my brother and his family who are also in KL this week.

KL must-do: chicken rice.

On the flight over, I realized this is the first time I’m traveling solo this year. I love my friends and I also love the opportunities I got to travel to places I never would have thought to visit, but traveling solo is something that I equally love.

This is also the first time that I’m in KL with lots of time to veg. I had nothing planned for this trip, except to eat some char kway teow, go to Kinokuniya and maybe head out to Ikea. I’ve done all but for Ikea, as the rain is making me want to just burrow under the covers all day.

I’m staying at Bukit Bintang – right smack in the middle of the shopping district and just a couple of steps from the foodie paradise of Jalan Alor. Tourists and locals alike come here to shop and dine. This place is so alive and there seem to be a never ending stream of people walking in the streets. Cars also fills its streets, but there’s a monorail to help you get to other parts of Kuala Lumpur easily.

Tomorrow I pack my bags once more to head to Putrajaya, where I’ll join the rest of the group for the weekend.

Gift ideas for the travelers in your life

Cue the cliché: Christmas is fast approaching, and if you’re still wondering what to give your traveler friends, here are four items you might want to consider.

Leyende Holiday Travel set

It’s organic, eco-friendly and best of all, it’s less than 100ml!

If your friend has been bitten by the travel bug, she’s probably got a pile of tickets bought during one of the seat sales. Some budget airlines charge for check-in luggage, so if they’re traveling on a shoestring budget, they would only be toting carry-ons. There’s a 100ml limitation on liquids you can bring on the plane, so this set is a great gift for the kikay traveler. The Leyende Holiday Travel set comes with either a shampoo and conditioner combo, shampoo and shower gel combo, or shower gel and massage oil combo. All sets come with a lip balm (cleverly labeled “Kiss kiss balm balm”) in a handcrafted box made of recycled materials.

Speaking of handcrafted, Leyende products are all handmade, uses organic and eco-certified ingredients and yes, Philippine made. I’ve used the shampoo, conditioner and the shower gel and I love it. It doesn’t dry out the scalp, hair and skin and smells pretty good too.

The holiday travel set retails at Php 350. Leyende is sold in select stores in Metro Manila and around the Philippines. List of their distributors and resellers available in the Leyende website.

Cuddle Up travel pillow

Cuddle Up
It’s furry!

I love my Muji Neck Cushion, but Go Travel’s Cuddle Up travel pillow is a close runner up. The clear advantage this pillow has over my cushion is that it’s inflatable — less hassle to tote around when you’re traveling. So how does this differ over other inflatable travel pillows? While the general shape is the same, there are indents in the middle, so it doesn’t puff up like the others. It’s more comfortable on your neck — provided you positioned it properly (or however is best for your body). And it has a fur cover. Feathery soft fur. Cuddle Up retails for Php 990 at The Travel Club and R.O.X.

Ounce Smart Tubes

Travelon liquid container
Squeeze it!

I have a collection of Muji P.E.T. tubes that I use for my toiletries, but my biggest frustration is that if I lose them (I’ve already lost 2), I’d have to ask friends and families from overseas to buy them for me as it’s not available in the local Muji stores. Here’s a good alternative: the Travelon Ounce Smart Tubes. Each tube can contain up to 90ml of liquid (just under the 100ml limit) and thanks to its lid design, there’s very little chance of it spilling or squirting too much. It’s also very squeezable so you can get all of those cream or gel out.

Travelon products are available locally in The Travel Club and R.O.X. stores.

Shoulder Wallet

Go Travel money belt
I’m not that paranoid

For the paranoid traveler, gift them with a hidden travel wallet. A variation of the money-belt, the shoulder wallet is a pouch that can carry your extra money and documents under your clothes. This gives assurance that your cash and passport remain in a secured place. As paranoid as I am, I never really warmed up to money belts. After five years of traveling, I’ve managed to keep my wallets and passport even without using them once. If you think this can bring peace of mind to the first time traveler and get him out the door and into the world, the Go Travel Shoulder Wallet is available in Travel Club and R.O.X.

Thanks to Leyende, Go Travel and Travelon for providing the products!

An Amazing Weekend at Misibis Bay

I had another week of doing nothing before going back to work after a month’s leave. When the invitation came, I jumped at the chance, wanting to make the most out of my leave before I plunge back into the grind. Besides, how can I say no to a weekend at Misibis Bay?

Misibis Bay 22
Lagoon pool and villas

Located in Cagraray Island in Albay, the resort is far enough from the city to make you feel you’re away from everything, but not too far to make traveling there uncomfortable. The drive to the resort from Legazpi takes about 1 hour of driving through (good) roads that wind along the mountains and a short ride on a barge to cross to the island.
Continue reading An Amazing Weekend at Misibis Bay

Travel fund raising idea: The travel registry

Another birthday has come and gone. I celebrated it by staying at home all day, since I’ve been traveling on and off since October. There wasn’t much fuss about the day itself because I felt I already celebrated it in Morocco. You see, before I left, I asked my friends and family to give their birthday (slash-Christmas) gifts early through a travel registry.

Much like the gift registries malls offer, the travel registry gave them the option to gift me with tours, accommodation, meals, train tickets — the things I would need for my trip to Morocco. The great thing about the registry is that both parties are happy: they know I’ll enjoy their gift and I’m getting something that I need.
Continue reading Travel fund raising idea: The travel registry

Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards 2011

Here I was, thinking I’m already set after that amazing Moroccan trip, but apparently the universe has other ideas. As a final smack in the face for dreading turning 30, it comes around and give me another surprise: I just received word that I am a finalist for the Best Travel Blog category of this year’s Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards.

The Awards aims to honour the crème de la crème of bloggers across the Asia-Pacific region. After 2 months of nominations, voting and campaigning, it will all culminate with the prestigious awards ceremony in Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, the bustling capital of Malaysia.

500 bloggers, including the biggest names in the blogosphere from all over Asia-Pacific, will be invited to the gala dinner at Putrajaya Marriott on 16 December 2011, where they will be dazzled by celebrity emcees and talented entertainers well-loved in the region.

The Blog Awards experience will not end there, because after the glamour and fanfare of the awards ceremony, foreign bloggers will also get the chance to get a taste of the unique, colourful culture of Malaysia with a semi-guided tour around the city of Kuala Lumpur the next day.

lolwhut. Yeah, that was my reaction too. Still, it’s really very flattering and it does wonders for my now rapidly inflating ego. You can help inflate it even more by voting for me!

I suppose I now have to tell you why you should vote for me and why I deserve to win. I really don’t know what to say when asked that question, so I’m turning the tables on you. Why do you read Just Wandering? Is it because you like to live vicariously through my posts? Do you come here for the travel tips and advice? Was I able to inspire you to travel? If it’s the last thing, knowing that is enough because what’s what I intended Just Wandering to be. But don’t let that stop you from stroking my ego. Go vote!

Voting will start soon and will end on November 27, 2011. A day before my birthday. Last chance to make this 30th year of mine extra special. Hint hint.

Emotional blackmail aside, I’m happy enough to be recognized for this award. Win or lose, I’ll still traveling with you here on Just Wandering :)

[UPDATE} Here’s the list of Pinoy blogs in the NAPBAS 2011: