February 13, 2017


Petaling Jaya during the middle of the working day, but the streets are without traffic.

Spending a few days in this country, I felt like I could live in this country. Cost of living is quite cheap, weather is very much like here in the Philippines. Almost everywhere you meet a fellow Filipino, or natives who happen to know and speak Tagalog. At one time, during our dinner with Audrice's boss, he gave us some information about living in Malaysia as an overseas worker.

According to him, the first six months are quite hard, because you are subjected to pay 23% tax. I believe it's a requirement for overseas workers and expats and is mandated by the Malaysian government. Once you've reached your 7th month, you can file for a tax return and tax deduction will be reduced to just 9%. And he also confirmed that yes, cost of living is cheap.

Anyway, during day two of our stay, brother and I walked around some parts of PJ, where we visited Digital Mall. If you are gadget-crazy and happens to be in Malaysia, you should visit this place. We spent a good 30 to 45 minutes walking around the mall, checking out some electronics, from smartpones to computers and accessories, to high end DSLRs and action cameras. It reminded me of my favorite Makati Square, only Digital Mall is solely dedicated for gadgets. 

The streets of Section 14, where Digital Mall and Jaya Shopping Centre is located.

Walking at the nearby 7-11 we were amazed to see Vanilla-flavored Coke being sold. We immediately bought two cans since it was the first time we'll be drinking one. Afternoons in Petaling Jaya, especially in Sections 13 and 14 are quiet even though there are lots of establishments in there. We chugged our Coke and headed back to the apartment. While walking, we noticed crows in the trees. The presence of the crows in the area plus the silent vibe makes the entire section creepy, like the ones in horror movies, but still there's this fascination and urge to explore the area more. And I have read that crows are quite considered in PJ as pests but still.

The photo is not that clear, but if you look closely, a bunch of crows were having a good time atop that tree,

The third day of our trip consisted of train rides, more Uber rides and of course visiting walking the streets of Kuala Lumpur and visiting religious sites. Audrice was able to snag a vacation so she could tour us around. First stop is train going to KL Central. We bought ourselves Rapid Card that we'll be using for the next couple of days. After a quick breakfast in KLC, we bought tokens to ride KTM onto our first stop- Batu Caves. It took several stops before we are able to reach the area. And though there were lots of tourists and pilgrims that day, the place is still magnificent.

The greatest challenge for me would be climbing up the 272-step stairs to the the cave entrance. For me who has heart and cardio issues, it was a victory when I made it to the top. Seeing the cave and all the pilgrims praying inside the temple, plus the view from the top made me appreciate the task I did, even though it took a lot of stops and sweat.

In the end, I managed to beat my old enemy.

After spending almost an hour in Batu Caves, we decided to take an Uber to our next destination- in Berjaya Hills to a place where it was modeled after a village in France. The place is called Colmar Tropicale. Uber rides in Manila are usually just within the city, but our ride to Colmar took almost an hour. The road to this place is much like the road to Baguio City, mountainous and winding. Really amazed that Uber drivers in Malaysia can drive this far from the main city proper.

I found out later on that Colmar Tropicale is actually a hotel but is modeled indeed from the famous French Village in France. It was beautiful and lovely, from the entrance up until you enter the main gate. Restaurants and souvenir shops occupy the ground floors while the second level comprised of hotel rooms. We had lunch at one of the restaurants and at one point we were serenaded by a group of awesome singers who happened to be our Kababayans.

Main entrance. This is a must-see place if ever you're in Malaysia.

Since the location is quite remote and the bus schedule going back to KL departs at 4PM, we had to book another Uber ride from the same car we rode earlier. He was generous and friendly to drive us back to Petaling Street and even snapped a picture with him!

Our walk to Petaling Jaya led us to Kasturi Walk, and then to Central Market, two popular places to buy pasalubongs. We bought the usual keychain as treat for our friends and co-workers. I also bought Malaysian Batik which I gave to my boss as a gift. And after a day of climbing and walking and shopping, our last stop is of course, getting a nice chicken from Texas Chicken (there's a branch near Central Market lol) and then a delicious teh tarik from a local dining shop in Kasturi Walk, Restoran Yosoof Dan Zakhir. If ever you are lost in this area in KL, be sure to visit this restaurant, their meals are delicious and cheap.

Third and final installment of this post will be in a few days!