Travel + Photos: Purrfect Cat Cafe (Penang)

Penang’s 1st and only cat cafe can be found in Jalan Muntri, a street connected to the famous Love Lane (Lorong Love), George Town.

The last stop of yesterday’s walking tour of Penang’s capital, George Town was Purrfect Cat Cafe along Jalan Muntri. I’m putting this one up first so I can link to it once I do the full walking tour post. Oh, and because the cats deserve a post of their own. Don’t you think? I’ve always loved animals, sometimes more than most people. If you watch the news on a regular basis, you’ll probably get me why I feel like this.

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Travel+ Food + Photos: Getting to Penang, Penang Hill, and some Food Worship

Hello from Penang! 🙂 It seems we haven’t been spending a lot of time at home in our condo in KL. When my husband told me that he’s got a conference to attend on this island and that he’ll pay for my fare if I wanted to tag along, I was actually having second thoughts about going.

Yes, really! Carol, with the crazy levels of wanderlust and the constant travel whims! I guess after going to Sabah then to Langkawi (we even have a scheduled weekend trip to Singapore a couple of weeks from now!) in just a span of weeks then attending events in between, I just felt like we were never home anymore (and I am honestly in love with how cosy our condo is) and I know I have a ton of posts to write (all the traveling has given me quite a backlog). I honestly felt that I wanted to just stay still for a bit – preferably on our couch, watching  Gossip Girl re-runs or baking.

But hey, I couldn’t pass on the chance of seeing Penang with my husband. I knew I would be jealous if I was left at home. And though I’m missing the ASEAN Ladies’ Circle Coffee Morning this week (one of the events I’ve been looking forward to for a while!), I’m glad I went with him. Penang is just so beautiful! From the moment we spotted the island from the air, I knew I’d have a special relationship with this place.

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Republish: Albert Andrada wins ‘Most Connected Designer’ award at Asia Fashion Week

(An article I wrote yesterday, originally published on Rappler.com.)

MOST CONNECTED DESIGNER. Filipino Fashion Designer Albert Andrada (2nd from L) is named Asia’s Most Connected Designer at the Mercedes Benz Stylo Asia Fashion Week in Kuala Lumpur. The award was presented by Mercedes Benz Malaysia CEO Roland Folger (L), Bloomberg TV Malaysia CEO Michael Chan, and Stylo founder Datuk Nancy Yeoh. All photos by Carol Ramoran

MOST CONNECTED DESIGNER. Filipino Fashion Designer Albert Andrada (2nd from L) is named Asia’s Most Connected Designer at the Mercedes Benz Stylo Asia Fashion Week in Kuala Lumpur. The award was presented by Mercedes Benz Malaysia CEO Roland Folger (L), Bloomberg TV Malaysia CEO Michael Chan, and Stylo founder Datuk Nancy Yeoh.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – It was a night of glitz and glamour with designers all over Asia coming together to showcase their latest creations, and it came as no surprise when yet another Filipino stood out among the talent pool.

Filipino fashion designer Albert Andrada took home the Most Connected Designer Award, one of the three awards given at the Mercedes Benz Stylo Asia Fashion Week held in Kuala Lumpur from October 17-22.

ASIA’S MOST INFLUENTIAL. This year's Most Influential Designer, Joe Chia (L), in a light moment with last year’s winner, Avel Bacudio

ASIA’S MOST INFLUENTIAL. This year’s Most Influential Designer, Joe Chia (L), in a light moment with last year’s winner, Avel Bacudio

Andrada’s collection was composed of soft-colored, whimsical pieces that – in true Andrada fashion – celebrated the female silhouette.

He says he drew inspiration from “under the sea,” bringing to life patterns that call to mind the gentle movements of waves, with flowy skirts taking centre stage.

Well-known shoe designer Jimmy Choo was also at the event and sat up front to watch Andrada’s show.

For about two decades, Andrada worked as a designer for the royal family of Fujeirah, one of the seven kingdoms of the United Arab Emirates before he made his way back to the Philippines.

His designs are coveted not just in Manila, but in different parts of the world. His work has also caught the eye of hotel heiress Paris Hilton, who wore a sequined ivory dress that was a part of his Chinese Empress collection, featured in Philippine Fashion Week 2013.

This isn’t the first time a Filipino has made waves in the fashion industry in Kuala Lumpur and Asia. Just last year, Filipino designer Avel Bacudio was named Asia’s Most Influential Designer at the same event. Winning the award, he said, changed his life.

FILIPINO PRIDE. Philippine Consul General and Charge d’Affaires Medardo Macaraig pose with Filipino designers who participated in the event

FILIPINO PRIDE. Philippine Consul General and Charge d’Affaires Medardo Macaraig pose with Filipino designers who participated in the event

Before the 2014 winner was named, Bacudio showed his latest collection of ready-to-wear fashion both for men and women featuring digital prints of church interiors. The crisp lines of Bacudio’s clothes paired with intricate gothic designs make for wearable yet elegant pieces that can be dressed up or down.

Despite all the success, the Filipino designer’s feet stay firmly planted on the ground. Bacudio thanked his friends, family, and the crowd that supported his designs, ending by saying “And lastly, I am very proud to be a Filipino.”

Bacudio also dropped by the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur for a courtesy call to Consul General and Charge d’Affaires Medardo Macaraig. During the meeting, the designer expressed his interest to promote Filipino talents further while helping his fellow Filipinos abroad in whichever way he can.

WINNERS. The awardees pose with designer Jimmy Choo, the organizers of the event, and the models wearing their creations

WINNERS. The awardees pose with designer Jimmy Choo, the organizers of the event, and the models wearing their creations

This year’s Most Influential Designer Award went to Malaysia’s Joe Chia who also won the Asian Industry’s Choice Award last year while Taiwan’s Chung Ting Liu was named Most Promising Designer.

This year’s Mercedes Benz Stylo Asia Fashion Week was held within the inaugural Malaysian Fashion Week. The endeavor is backed by the Malaysian government and is seen as a significant partnership in promoting Malaysian and other Asian designers to an international audience.

Other Filipino designers who were also featured during the event include Jeffrey Rogador, Rosenthal Tee, Roland Alzate, and Noel Crisostomo.  Rappler.com

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Travel: Langkawi Island Pt. 2 (Oriental Village + Cable Car)

Here’s a quick post while I wait for my homemade cheesecake to chill. 😉 Still from our anniversary weekend, I wanted to share with you a couple of photos from the Oriental Village and the Cable Car ride to the highest point in the island.

Short side story first: When I first told one of the people I knew back in college that my husband was going to be posted in Malaysia, her first reaction was “Aww. But there’s nothing to see there!” While I told her that my husband’s gonna be going out of the country for work and not just sightseeing (and Malaysia, a neighbour country, is a great assignment where my husband will be trained extensively by the amount and importance of work here and his extremely smart bosses), I could also have told her of all the islands we could visit here but I didn’t waste my time anymore because I knew was talking to a girl who wore heels for a sight seeing/shopping trip in Hong Kong and Taiwan so she was clearly an inexperienced traveller and not that well-read. 😉

So. One of the islands to visit in Malaysia is of course, Langkawi. To all my Filipino friends, it’s like their version of Coron+Boracay. Beaches, rivers, and a long list of attractions.

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Beauty + Review: MAC Cosmetics’ Nouvelle Vogue Lipstick

My latest squeeze. MAC’s Nouvelle Vogue lipstick from The Matte Lip collection. ❤

I AM IN LOVE! And no, this isn’t the anniversary high talking (though admittedly, it’s still there). This is the lipstick-crazy, MAC fanatic me taking over my whole persona. I know, I know. I’m known among my friends as the girl having way too many bold red lipsticks.

However, contrary to popular belief, I also wear different shades and own a lot of them actually. From pale nudes to electric pinks down to shocking purples. Okay, I think I have way too many lipsticks already but it’s my only vice. So let me have this one, okay? And I declare – on this day, 17th of October 2014 – that my favourite pink lipstick ever is MAC Cosmetics’ Nouvelle Vogue! As soon as I saw it on display, I knew – we were meant for each other.

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Travel: Langkawi Island Pt. 1 (Getting to the Island + Sunset Dinner Cruise)

I’m still on an anniversary high despite the worst possible kind of flu I had to live with the past couple of days. I was at my worst last Tuesday but the good news is I’ve been feeling a lot better since yesterday due to my husband’s care. Still coughing and sneezing though.

So. Langkawi island. One of the top tourist spots here in Malaysia. My husband kept our anniversary weekend getaway a secret for weeks until the night we had to leave.

We had dinner at home, exchanged gifts, and left for the Puduraya Bus Station at 10:30pm. Our bus left at almost midnight (It was originally scheduled to leave at 11). My husband booked our tickets in advance through Easybook.

The journey via the Sri Maju bus was rather pleasant. It’s an executive coach that costs RM 90 (Php1235, EUR21.73, USD27.55) for two people to the Kuala Perlis Jetty. The seats were roomy and my legs did not feel tired at all because of the leg and foot rests the seats were equipped with. However, if you plan to take the same bus, do remember to bring a jacket as it can be very cold.

We arrived in Kuala Perlis a little past 7 in the morning and boarded a ferry to Langkawi at 8:15. The ferry ride took about hour and 15 minutes and we arrived in the Langkawi Jetty. It was pretty crowded despite October being part of their low-season.

The side entrance to Jetty is lined up with private cars and cabs that can be hired to take you to your hotel.

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Husband Appreciation Post: On Our First Anniversary

Oh you knew this was coming, didn’t you? How can I keep a blog and not even dedicate a single post to my wonderful husband on our anniversary?

A year and a day ago. 😉

Happy anniversary to my a-dork-able husband! Thank you for making everyday a surprise – there’s just no boring day with you. I guess it’s cos we’re so different? It’s like learning something new about a person everyday. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s something that will make you go ‘awww’, and sometimes it’s something that will drive you bonkers (You have to see first hand how O.C. Alvin is – I think this is worthy of a separate post). But at the end of the day, we’re just crazy about each other.

One year into the marriage and we both learned a lot. I can honestly say that we’re both getting really good at all of this. Both of us learned how to adjust, when to give way and when to push for what you want (nicely, of course), and to communicate properly. Yeah, communication. You can’t just expect your partner to read your mind and go with everything that you want. No two people’s minds are exactly the same after all. Looking back, whenever we had a rough patch, it was never because we were mean on purpose or we were acting out of hate. The root of all our past fights is actually misunderstanding. Everything can be solved by a good talk as long as you don’t let your temper in to the picture. A difference in opinion can be subject for healthy debate (our favourite topics include Israel-Palestine, religion, and sometimes politics) and you shouldn’t let your feelings (no matter how strongly you feel about your side) get in the way.

When I met Alvin, he was reserved (an understatement). In the words of author (and fellow diplomat’s wife) Cherry Denman, “he has the stiffest upper-lip spread wide across his body”. Mrs Denman used that phrase to describe her husband Charlie in her book Diplomatic Incidents. Is that a diplomat thing? Maybe. But I’ve met some whose lips are not the least bit stiff – I shouldn’t be talking about that… for now. Haha!

Anyhoo, while Alvin was quite reserved, I was the exact opposite. I used to party a lot in college (which stopped when I became a journalist) and my favourite phrase was “open bar” (the drinking is still there to this day but a bit… tamed?). I believe Alvin and I were brought together to introduce new things to each other. I brought fun into his life and he brought peace and order into my chaotic existence.

Alvin now smiles more often (his resting bitch face/poker face is almost gone) and even makes funny faces. I laugh out loud at his crazy antics when we’re alone and his jokes. Yes, colleagues of Alvin. He makes extra funny ones and when he makes a funny comment, you’re guaranteed to get a fall-off-your-chair kind of laugh. I guess someone just needed to get it out of him? He’s also more showy about his feelings, something he didn’t do before we got together. It makes my heart swell to see how proud he is of what we have.

When your husband who hardly posts on Facebook does this, it’s just too adorable. I was getting messages all day about how cute Alvin is.

These days my drinking is kept to a safe level and my life is a whole lot quieter. Well, sort of. We’re still busy with embassy activities and my path to being a domesticated diva (something I never thought I’d end up to be) but at the end of the day, when it’s just the two of us on our couch with him massaging my feet and giving me kisses while we watch The Amazing Race, we’re content and happy.

Before, I wasn’t thinking of getting married. I thought the quiet life was boring. But it turns out, all it takes is to have the right person with you and everyday is an adventure. Thank you for being you, Alvin. A husband who takes leaps and risks (both big and small) just to put a smile on my face. Thank you for taking care of me when I’m sick – like now. I’m down with a very bad flu while writing this and my husband’s been buying me meds and food during his lunch break (I usually cook for him at home or we meet for mini lunch dates) and he’s now out doing the groceries right after a long day at work to get me some yogurt and orange juice. To think that we didn’t get enough sleep after arriving from our weekend trip at 4am this morning. And yes, he still went to work at 8am. He’s just so good in making me feel like a princess without smothering me.

Smothering is a nightmare for women like me who never saw themselves as a damsel in distress. I am perfectly capable of killing my own dragons, but I wouldn’t mind having someone to do it with. 😉

Taken over the weekend during our sunset dinner cruise in Langkawi. ❤

My husband is also extremely smart. Give him any country and he’ll tell you it’s capital and a bit about its history and culture. He practically has an encyclopaedia stored in his brain. He did admit that he used to read it for fun as a child. However, my husband is never proud. He is humble and he doesn’t put other people down. He is helpful, thinks about the welfare of other people, and he is very secure with himself and I love that about him. In fact, it makes me respect him even more.

I’m lucky to be in a marriage where both our opinions are of equal value (even though we come from a patriarchal society). From the colour of our throw pillows to his career.

I’ll keep this short as you people might go blahhh over the cheese. But I guess this is just my way of making the world jealous of how lucky and loved I am. 😉 But seriously – sometimes, I look at this guy just to wonder what kind of good I did to end up with him. ❤

Here’s to more crazy adventures and butterfly-filled tummies with you, baby.

Carol