my 2011 in travels

I’m looking at my passport to remember the travels I have done this year. Not many compared to previous years it seems.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (March)

My first trip in 2011 happened to be for the Jay Chou concert in Kuala Lumpur. To be honest, KL is not really one of my fave cities in the world. I only go there for work-related meetings, and yes, for Jay Chou. Why don’t I like KL? The taxis always give me a headache. I thought Philippine taxis were the scums of the earth but KL taxis top that. To be fair though, I like Malaysian food. And I have friends who live there. But the food, I can survive without and the friends, I can always keep up with on Facebook. (Story on Jay’s KL concert leg here.)

Jakarta, Indonesia (April)

The annual meeting of our board is held in different cities every year and in 2011, it was held in Jakarta. I’m not so hot on Jakarta either, no offense meant to my Indonesian friends. It’s so polluted and the jam is horrendous. Plus of course there’s the taxi problem again. There is Bluebird and Bluebird Silver but once you’re out of the confines of your hotel, it’s a battle to look for them on the dangerous streets. I nearly got ran over by a rusty bus that looked like it was falling apart. As I stared in horror at the oncoming headlights, the headline flashed before my eyes: death by tetanus. I never dared ventured out of the hotel–the luxurious Dharmawangsa– again after that. (The pictures for this trip, not that there were many, were among the casualties in the hard drive mishap; and yes, our layout guy is still alive.)

Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei (April)

This wasn’t in the plan. Brunei is not, say, South Korea that you’d be interested in seeing at least once in your life. Not even for the real gold in the dome of the Sultan Omar Saifuddin Mosque. But well, a reason cropped up–to interview Wu Chun right in his hometown–so why not? I didn’t have expectations of the place, I didn’t even get to see much of it because aside from the interview, I just planned to hang out with friends and surf the Internet. The capital BSB has many cafes with free WiFi. I’ve never spent that much time in Filipino fastfood Jollibee (halal Jollibee tastes so different though) that I ended up making friends with some of the staff. All in all, BSB is such a small kampung filled with rich people that when you see a Lamborghini (or Lambo, as GKC’s friend calls it) on the streets, you are not surprised. It can either belong to the royal family or to… Chunnie. (Story on Wu Chun here.)

Harbin, China (September)

I love China. Been there many times. But it’s so big I haven’t been everywhere. Because I go there for work, my travel is mainly confined either to Beijing or Shanghai (and once to Hangzhou). I love all these cities.They are diverse. This year, I got the chance to travel to Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province in the northeast. The city is more famous for its winter festival but since we went there in fall, there was no sight of the ice sculptures. It was still cold nevertheless. And Harbin is like no other Chinese city I have seen. Its Russian influence is so evident in the city’s architecture you’d think you’re in Russia or somewhere in Europe.

Taipei, Taiwan (November)

I suppose I was Taiwanese in my previous lifetime, the way I am so attached to the country, the culture and its people. Yes, all the Taiwanese stars especially 邱澤 why you so hot, aside. My friends worry that I always stay in Taipei whenever I’m there either for work or private visit and feel I should explore the countryside. But I haven’t explored enough of Taipei itself. I like walking along the small alleys and discovering little neighborhoods and shops. Taipei is so full of lovely quaint cafes. But the next time I visit, I plan to go from north to south, east to west. Soon.

I’ve been home to the Philippines twice this year. First, to start my multimedia journalism course at the Ateneo de Manila University. The second trip was unplanned and a traumatic lesson in Thailand’s immigration laws after I forgot to renew my visa. They didn’t haul me out of the country kicking and screaming but it was still scary. Never again.

I had to give up two trips because of that: to New Delhi with my college best friends and Hong Kong for another work-related trip. New Delhi would have made it my second time to South Asia and I really wanted to go because aside from work, I wouldn’t even go to that part of the world. Hong Kong, meanwhile, I haven’t been there in ages and I look forward to finally making that trip. Hopefully, this 2012. If the world doesn’t end.

(Please DO NOT lift content of this entry in part or in full and post them in other websites without the owner’s permission.)

Copyright © 2011. theasianpopculturist. All rights reserved.

12 thoughts on “my 2011 in travels

  1. Wah, what can I say…. The Big Durian is not to the taste of everyone. Small correction, it should be the Blue Bird taxi painted in blue and Silver Bird more-expensive-taxi, Mercedes-Benz C- and E-Class sedans painted in black. They belong to the Blue Bird Group which also includes Big Bird buses and Iron Bird trucks as well as a number of hotels and resorts.

    You should have tried Express Taxi in white and Cipaganti Taxi in red. They have GPSes onboard.


    • copy, bro! thanks for the clarification on the types of taxis.
      The Big Durian, like the durian itself, is an acquired taste I suppose. but hey, there are reasons why I love it too, like the food and that new mall that you guys took us too, and friends like you!


  2. Happy New year!!! A blessed 2012 to you & your family! 🙂

    Lol! You must really have been Taiwanese in your previous lifetime. It’s so obvious that you love Taipei so much. I’ve been to Taipei only once and it’s work related, so I didn’t get to explore the city as much as I would love to. And like you, I have to say, KL is not one of my favorite cities as well. I know what you mean about taxis giving you a headache. Well, right now I haven’t done much traveling unless it’s a family vacation. Hmm, I suddenly missed my single life, traveling & experiencing the different culture. hahaha! But it was always fun to go to Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore for shopping. Love Hong Kong & Singapore’s airport. Right now, my consideration for a particular destination is my son, he has to enjoy the trip as well. So recently, my trips were more to Hong Kong because of Disneyland and Singapore because of Universal. Lol! But I did enjoy my trip to cities like Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul and Sydney. It’s always nice to learn about the culture, although at times it’s hard because of the language barrier. Awww, how exciting to have a job such as yours. Thanks for sharing!

    So your taking up multimedia journalism at Ateneo. I graduated from the exclusive girls school beside Ateneo, hahaha!!! Oh how I miss the college life. Lol! And l have a lot of friends from ADMU. Someday, I hope to pursue my masters degree. 🙂


    • I’m surprised you knew the school I go to is Ateneo. wait, are you Filipino? I’m confused because I knew you’re from Singapore. I know that school you went to! Miriam!

      I understand how things change once you get married and have children… but it must be exciting too to have a son!


    • ignore my earlier reply about Ateneo lols I forgot I mentioned it, I was thinking about my latest blog (my new year plans and resolutions) where I deliberately left out the school I’m attending.

      oh dear, I need sleep. and memory pills.


      • hahaha!!! You’re so funny! You forgot that you mentioned Ateneo here. Lol! 🙂

        Yes, I’m Filipino. And yes, I went to Miriam College, from grade school to college! Are you Filipino too? I’m not so sure but when I read your blog and twitter updates, I have an inkling you are or maybe you’re just staying in the Philippines and learned the language. hahaha! It’s really hard to tell from your name. 🙂

        I’ve read your blog regarding your new year plans and resolutions and I must say, when I was single, the resolution to save more & shop less is the hardest thing to do. I’ve always felt that since I work hard, I should reward myself through shopping! hahaha! But I guess, having a child turned around my spending habits completely. And investing for an excellent education for a child doesn’t come cheap in the Philippines. Having a son is definitely exciting but a lot of work since I’m a hands-on mom and I don’t believe in having a nanny, especially in the formative years of my son. And my husband works abroad, which makes parenting a little more harder.

        I hope 2012 will be a brighter & better year for you! And hopefully, you’ll be able to…. “live well, laugh often, love more”. God bless…


      • yes I am Filipino. hello compatriot! hahahaha

        I guess when you’re single, you feel there is no real responsibility so it’s a free-for-all when it comes to shopping. and yeah, I so can relate with retail therapy as a reward for working so hard. but then I look at all the stuff I have accumulated over the years in my flat and it becomes a problem on how to move them once I decide to return to the Philippines or move elsewhere. what if I marry someone from Taiwan? HAHAHAHAHA!

        I’m telling ya, you should start a blog as a hands-on mom. it can also trace the growth of your son and later when he’s old enough to read, he’s gonna read that. I just hope he won’t say — mom! I can’t believe you wrote about my smelly poop! hahaha! but seriously, you should think about it. instead of just reading other people’s blogs, you should share your experiences too!

        here’s hoping that 2012 will be productive and memorable for you and your family!


  3. hahaha!!! I guess there’s a reason why Mike He & Roy Qiu are still single…. you’re probably destined to marry someone from Taiwan, who knows, anything’s possible!!! :)))

    I’ll consider your suggestion on starting a blog, maybe during the summer break when it’s a little less busy for me. Thanks!


  4. Oh you are by far the most interesting thing I read this year… ^_^

    I’m sorry I’m new to you’re blog and to ‘blogs’ altogether but what country are you traveling from?

    I’m surprise you travel so much, being a journalist, shows how much I know about the profession.


    • thanks for reading and going out of your way to comment! 🙂
      I am based in Bangkok so I travel from here.
      Well, journalists don’t live in a suitcase (much as I want that kind of life though it can be tiring too) but there are indeed chances to travel for coverage. I’m lucky because I work for an Asian news media organization so there are opportunities like that 🙂


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