Tourism Malaysia

Beachside escapade

Paradise indeed: Aview of Boracay fromthe island’s highestpoint in Mt Luho.Paradise indeed: A
view of Boracay from
the island’s highest
point in Mt Luho.

With its great beaches, Boracay
in the Philippines
is hard to beat, and the Ambassador
In Paradise is the resort of choice.

BORACAY in the Philippines seems perpetually to be in one list or another of the best beaches in the world. Well, the accolades are certainly well-deserved, for its white sandy beaches are exceptional.

Boracay also has the reputation for being “party central� – everyone here seems to be partying from 6pm to noon. It’s the Ibiza of Asia, so to speak.

I was there during the tail-end
of the crazy summer holidays so there was a swarm of college- and university-going Filipinos about. You could say this vacation was something I had been looking forward to for a long time, it being my first time there.

Unfortunately, the airline I had booked for the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Clark Terminal, and then onwards to Boracay almost soured the experience. To cut a long story short, I ended up spending eight hours at the airport in Clark, one of the worst airports to be stuck in.

If I was lucky enough to get a boat to Boracay from Caticlan after my connecting flight, I might be able to check into my resort hotel, the Ambassador In Paradise, past midnight after my 10am flight from KL!

Thank goodness, the resort (recommended by the trusty managed to make pickup arrangements for me. From Kalibo airport, the resort driver got me to Caticlan within ONE hour instead of the customary two – all while being a safe driver as he braved terrible road conditions and the dark of night. Impressive!

I managed to catch the last “official� scheduled boat and arrived at the resort at 10.30pm, where I promptly crashed for the night, having been up for close to 21 hours. But before that I was floored by my Premier Ocean View room. It was huge, and had a king-sized bed and two divans.

But it was the bathroom that had me gawping – it was big enough to accomodate a beach party. Later on, I found out that the extra space was utilised in higher-grade rooms for an en-suite Jacuzzi!

Guests at Ambassador In Paradise are greeted by a palm-fringed beach view.Guests at Ambassador In Paradise are greeted by a palm-fringed beach view.

They have four other types of rooms and a presidential suite. Their two-floor family suites can cater to seven.

Next morning, I found the view from my bed to be astonishing. From the balcony windows (I was on the ground floor), I could see the five-star resort’s only restaurant. On the right was the amazing beach with the requisite swaying palm trees and the blue ocean beyond. And on my left was the resort swimming pool.

Paradise indeed!

Breakfast was the first thing on my to-do list. They keep it simple here with a choice of five – American, Continental, Filipino, plus Spanish Omelette and Dutch Omelette.

Paraw boating is one of the water activities available in Boracay.Paraw boating is one of the water activities available in Boracay.

I opted for the last, which was fried eggs with smoked ham, sliced cheese and crispy bacon bits. Nice. If you’re wondering about this option, the owner is Dutch and has two other hotel properties in Haarlem, the Netherlands.

I had the Filipino set the next day, which was basically garlic rice, beef tapa (diced), pickled papaya, pork sausages and superb crunchy anchovies. It’s like the Filipino version of nasi lemak. It was so good that I had it again the next day.

For lunch, I had their set meal, which commenced with a cream of roasted prawn saffron – flavourful but a tad heavy on the saffron. The appetiser of salmon gravlax bruschetta was very good, while the mains of oven-baked tanguigue fish in lemon garlic sauce was not too bad. And to wash it all down was the delicious dalandan (sweet orange drink).

Dinner at the resort did not disappoint either. The cream of pumpkin was divine, the pork adobo was out of this world as the chef had tweaked it to be spicy and even thrown in some eggplant; desserts were limited but tasty (including the local leche flan – creme caramel basically); and the cocktails hit the spot.

The food is good, but the service needs to be improved. Surely one doesn’t need to remind staff about cutlery, condiments and such? But it helps that despite the shortcomings, they do their jobs with a smile.

Now what’s a beach vacation without a massage?

You can opt to have it in your room or by the beachside. I had mine in the room, and it was pure bliss. A combination of shiatsu and Swedish techniques kneaded away my aches and stress.

The resort is at Station 1 of the famous White Beach, with Stations 2 and 3 to the left of the resort. Despite a bum foot and doctor’s orders to rest it and not get the wound wet, I couldn’t resist taking a walk on the beach.

Station 1 is not as crowded as Station 2 where most of the night life is concentrated. AXN was having a party that evening (open to anyone above 21), and it started at 6pm. And there was yet another party the next evening organised by some other group.

All kinds of water activities were on offer (the resort can arrange them for you, too). These included banana boating, paraw boating and parasailing. What I found unique here was the way the locals use surfing boards for paddling on – with an oar in hand while standing on the board!

Besides White Beach, there are other beaches like the relatively uncrowded Puka Beach. For a scenic view of the island, you’ll want to head on up to Mt Luho, the island’s highest point.

Off the beach, one can opt for ATV rides, buggy rides and bicycling.

The best way to get around Bora (as the locals call the place) is via the many electric tricycles that run till late. Hop on and off one for 20 to 60 pesos (RM1.50 to RM4.50).

If you’re into shopping, then the place to go is DMall – it’s a one-stop centre for souvenirs, fresh produce and restaurants. There are loads of boutiques and shops to browse to your heart’s content. And while Filipino food is no great shakes, there are many other options on offer.

If there’s one thing I couldn’t understand about the resort, it was the imposition of corkage on guests. If guests wanted to bring outside food, liquor or soft drinks into the hotel, a fee was imposed. They made an exception for water and snacks.

Never in all my years of staying in hotels and resorts have I seen corkage being imposed. Perhaps they should reconsider this, as it’s not very endearing to guests.

But one thing’s for sure, I will go back to beautiful Bora.


Station 1, Sitio Pinaongon,

Barangay Balabag,

Boracay Island Malay Aklan


Tel: +63 36 288-1541


Cuisine in Melaka


Impression Melaka Launched as Part of the Overseas Expansion Plan of the “Impression” Series

BEIJING, May 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Impression Melaka was launched at the Beijing Hotel on the afternoon of May 15. Present at the press conference were the Ambassador of Malaysia to China Datuk Iskandar Sarudin, Ambassador of China to Malaysia Datuk Chai Xi, Chief Director of the “Impression” Series Ms. Wang Chaoge , and PTS Impression SDN BHD CEO Mr. Boo Kuang Loon. The event marked the official launch of Impression Melaka, the first foreign leg of the large-scale live-action show of the “Impression” Series, which is a new cultural and creative brand of China.

The signing ceremony was held in a typical Chinese way. PTS CEO Mr. Boo Kuang Loon and Chief Director Ms. Wang Chaoge stamped the scroll of Impression Melaka with a Chinese seal together, which marked the launch of the program.

The Ambassador of Malaysia to China Datuk Iskandar Sarudin observed that Melaka had a long history with China. Over 600 years ago, the Chinese navigator Zheng He visited Melaka several times during his voyages, and built a bridge between the two nations. He pointed out that Malaysia needed a unique, world-class cultural program like the Impression Series to help with the development of its local tourism, and increase the international reputation of the city. The federal, state, and municipal government will provide full support for Impression Melaka. The Ambassador of China to Malaysia Datuk Chai Xi said that the year 2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between China and Malaysia and Impression Melaka is sure to be an important part of the celebration.

Chief Director Ms. Wang Chaoge said that Impression Melaka, as her 10th “Impression” event, will make new breakthroughs while continuing the tradition of the Impression Series to introduce to the world a real Melaka. Mr. Boo Kuang Loon explained that he grew up in the ancient city of Melaka, and had always dreamed of introducing the beautiful and magnificent city to the world. After years of investigation and research, he decided that the Impression Series was the one that could help him realize his dream. That was why he invited the team of the Impression Series to Melaka. He stressed that Impression Melaka would become a beautiful pearl of Melaka, and a new mark of the city’s culture and tourism.

Malaysian investment development authority director Datuk Ng Peng Hay described the situation of Melaka, Malaysia as having the best economic record in Asia, becoming the third largest economy in Southeast Asia and playing an important role in Malaysia’s economic development. Besides, Melaka is also a historic city with a rich cultural heritage. The Impression Melaka will show Melaka’s rich unique history and cultural heritage through artistic creation, and become the new cultural tourism project of Melaka, which will play an important role for Melaka’s sustainable economic development and inheritance of history and culture.

The Impression Series launched its first live-action show, Impression Liu Sanjie, in 1998, which turned out to be one of the greatest initiatives of the performance market of the world as well as China, with artistic and technical breakthroughs, real landscape as the scene, modern artistic designs, and splendid visual effects. The Impression Series has now grown into the No. 1 live-action show brand of China after the following eight events, including Impression Lijiang and Impression West Lake.

The “Impression” team chose Melaka as the first stop of its overseas expansion because it’s one of the few historic cities in Southeast Asia, and one of earliest ports of the world that bridges the western and the eastern part of the world. It embraces immigrants from both the West and the East, and generates a unique culture demonstrating characteristics of different countries, including languages, religions, and customs. Still preserving the ancient look, the city was included in the UNESCO “World Heritage List.”

Impression Melaka, as the 10th event of the Impression Series, will open in Melaka at the end of 2014.

All Malaysia Info

Lee Sinjie’s humanitarian trip to Mozambique

World Vision ambassador Angelica Lee Sinjie shares her experiences during a humanitarian trip to Mozambique in Africa.

One of the top five poorest countries in the world, Mozambique is poverty-stricken

ON the day I left Hong Kong, I was very sick. Kevin Chiu, CEO of World Vision Hong Kong, was worried about me and gave me some medication for my cold, during the flight. The medication must have made me drowsy and after a while, I dozed off.

I have visited many poverty-stricken countries as part of World Vision’s programme. The numerous trips have proven to be enlightening and enriching. The abject poverty I see around me has made me more determined to do my bit to help the needy.

On this trip, I brought my nephew, Han Han, along with me. I have watched Han Han grow up and treat him like my own son. I am reminded of how my grandmother used to take me along on her visits to underprivileged families in the villages, when I was a kid. I felt it was time for Han Han, 13, to experience the same.

When I first mentioned the trip to Han Han, it didn’t take him long to decide to come along. It was going to be an eight-day visit to Africa. The 20-hour flight, bumpy ride to remote villages, and scorching sun did not deter Han Han.

Upon landing at the South African airport, we took the connecting flight to Maputo, capital of Mozambique. Once there, we visited the local headquarters of World Vision before we took a three-hour car ride and arrived at a small, remote town in the evening. We checked into a hotel for the night.

After dinner, I popped in a couple more pills for my cold, and went to bed early to prepare myself for the following day’s visit to six-year-old Celeste. I told Han Han we would be leaving at 4am the next day, and he promptly went to bed.

The next morning, I felt better after a good night’s rest. We were well on our way to visit Celeste before dawn broke.

Celeste (left) and Lee Sinjie sharing a joyful moment together

Celeste’s parents had succumbed to illness, leaving her under the care of her 70-year-old grandmother. The small hut they lived in was made of mud and hay. Celeste’s father built it before he died.

I walked towards the house, and knocked on the wooden door. The door opened slowly.

It was dark inside as they had no electricity. Celeste was sleeping on a straw mat spread out on the red-clay floor. She rubbed her eyes as she sat up. Her grandmother was all smiles when she saw us.

Celeste stared at me with her big innocent eyes. She must have wondered whether she was still dreaming. I was drawn to her instantly.

Celeste led the way as we walked down a sandy road to a well constructed by World Vision. It is more than half an hour each way, and Celeste makes three trips to the well daily to fetch water for domestic use.

Celeste used all the strength in her tiny body to draw up water from the well. I joined her and filled a big bucket with water from the well. The locals who were queueing for their turn, had a good laugh when they saw me filling up the bucket in an awkward manner.

Under the fierce sun, Celeste carried the heavy bucket of water on her head as she walked barefooted on the hot sand.

What strong legs and arms she had, I thought to myself as I trailed behind her.

Lee Sinjie (left) trails after Celeste as the little girl leads the way

My heart ached when I thought of her plight. She had lost both parents before she was even old enough to talk. Her aging grandmother can barely afford to buy her a set of school uniform. The girl eats cassava with bitter leaves harvested by her grandmother, and helps gather mangoes and cashew nuts from the ground. When there is a drought, every meal is uncertain and many a time, she goes to bed hungry.

Celeste stopped and turned around to check on me. I was trying to balance the heavy bucket on my head. Sweat was streaming down my back. She waited until I caught up with her. We walked on in silence, united by a bond that transcends words.

After a delightful lunch, we drove to the graveyard where Celeste’s parents were laid to rest. We offered a prayer and some flowers. With the help of a translator, I chatted with Celeste’s grandmother. While we were chatting, Celeste sat down at my foot, quietly following our conversation as she played with my fingers. I stroked her cheek and looked into her eyes which mirrored the innocence of the young.

Her grandmother shared her fears with me. She expressed her concern for Celeste. Who would look after the child when she is gone?

I decided to help raise Celeste by sponsoring her. She is my 21st sponsored child. After spending several hours with her, my heart began to ache when it was time for me to leave.

I used hand gestures to tell Celeste that we had to leave. The smile on her face vanished, and she gripped my hand as we walked towards the car. Suddenly, with a loud cry, she hugged me and burst into tears. I could not hold back my tears, and cried as I hugged her.

However, I left her comforted by the assurance that Celeste was under the World Vision Child Sponsorship Programme. She would be in good hands as the World Vision staff would visit her and look into her needs.

A report of her progress and health will be sent to me every year. I can still communicate with Celeste through letters to ensure that she receives a proper education and grows up healthy.

Mozambique is among the top five poorest countries in the world. After gaining independence from Portugal, the country was impoverished by years of civil war. There are signs of prosperity in the capital city where beautiful Portuguese-style buildings stand as a reminder of the country’s colonial past.

But once you leave the city, tracts of uncultivated land stretch as far as the eye can see. Small huts dot the sparse landscape. We were told the government lacked funds to cultivate the land for agricultural purposes. As much as 20% of the population has contracted HIV/AIDS, causing many children like Celeste to be orphaned.

I visited two sisters. When the older girl was six, her father died and she had to look after her critically ill mother and her three-year-old sister. After six years, their mother passed away, leaving the two sisters to fend for themselves.

The girls are 16 and 13 now. They sleep on a straw mat in their bare hut. When it rains, the roof leaks badly. The girls survive on cassava given by kind neighbours.

Since its establishment in 1950, World Vision has been helping impoverished communities in many corners of the earth. World Vision has initiated 38 projects in Mozambique, benefiting 2,000 to 4,000 people in each community. The projects stretch over a period of 10 to 15 years.

World Vision built wells in remote villages to provide access to drinking water for destitute communities.

They built schools for the children so that they did not have to study in huts with roofs that could be lifted by strong winds. Medical centres were set up to make medical treatment accessible to the sick. Pregnant women were spared from having to trek long distances to get to a hospital. Villagers were given opportunities to generate income to support their families. Local communities were being educated about HIV/AIDS.

Han Han did not complain throughout the trip. He endured the hot weather and adapted well to the busy schedule. He even played football with the village kids and picked mangoes with them.

The local children and Han Han (right) bonded instantly

On the last day of our trip, Han Han decided to sponsor a six-year-old orphan with his own pocket money.

This trip was our first together. I am glad we were able to share this invaluable experience which nurtured our understanding of humanity.

As we walked forward, I saw pain, sorrow and helplessness, but I also saw empathy, hope and a love that transcends barriers. When I spread my arms to embrace these innocent children and felt the warmth of their love and bodies, I realised what happiness means. – Angelica Lee Sinjie

Map: Mozambique, Africa

Tourism Malaysia

1Malaysia International Shoe Festival

1Malaysia International Shoe Festival

I love shoes!

Be-ribboned tied in cute bows, stilettos, chic sandals, jazzy platforms, comfortable pumps or even a sexy pair of boots, or two… oh, you’ll be spoiled for choice at this year’s shoe festival.

Especially with the launch of the 3rd Malaysia International Shoe Festival at Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur. The event is held from 30 March till 1 April, 2012 starting at 10.30 am till 8.30 pm.

Launched by the Queen, Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah, on the 29th March,  present were  Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, Tourism Ambassador and internationally-renowned shoe maker, Prof Dato Dr Jimmy Choo as well as Malaysian Footwear Manufacturers’ Association (MFMA) President, Tony Ting.

Some of the highlights at this year’s shoe festival include:

  • Prof Dato’ Dr Jimmy Choo’s, ‘Sogno Gallery’ include the unveiling of his luxury shoe collection and couture, themed after the dragon year.
  • Malaysia footwear designer competition, where talented designers create their most innovative and stylish shoe designs.
  • A Foot and Wellness Corner, especially for those wanting to get insightful tips on foot care, and guide on shoe buying head on over here.
  • Shoe-on-wheels! A shoe car road show, where radio deejays will drive around with a huge shoe perched atop a car (look out for it, folks) on the road. Participate in game quizzes and win exciting prizes.
  • Check out the specially designed Rainforest Shoe Wonderland, where designers have transformed shoes and incorporate it into everyday life’s nuances.
  • Maybe you need and extra pair of shoe for your wedding? Then head over to the Wedding Shoe Wonderland, where shoes of every hue, size and style are displayed for a perfect wedding.

Other attractions at the event include shoe fashion show, shoe painting competition, clog-shoe making gallery, international shoe corner and much more*.

See you there!

* For further information, check out this link:

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