Friday, 7 September 2018

Sights: The Nostalgic and Artsy State of Penang, Malaysia

Being known as the food capital of Malaysia, the main purpose of why we decided to visit Penang was to eat well. I had no expectations of what the city would be like, we didn't even prepare a concrete itinerary of what to do and just decided to wing it out.


Penang, Malaysia


Upon arrival and seeing Penang, I felt like being transported in the past. There were a few high story buildings, most were two stories which looks old and some even looked dilapidated. But looking old isn't always a bad thing as this was Penang's beauty and charm.








One of the major attractions in Penang are the different murals and steel rod wall decals found all through out Georgetown. Most hotels provide maps on where to find the different artworks or you can head over the tourism office to ask for one. There are new paintings and there are old ones, some are even interactive where you can take part of the story of what's painted on the wall. Personally I enjoyed viewing the old ones better as it somehow portrays the culture of Penang. You can opt to rent a bike or walk around to visit each wall decal.


























The steel rods wall decals are comic strips that also depicts the history and culture of the streets of Georgetown and Penang as well.































Penang's street art is full and vibrant, if I remember it right, there are more than 100 wall arts to see. So its really up to you if you want to visit each one or choose which among of them you would visit.


One of the Iconic Murals in Penang


While walking around the streets of Georgetown, we stumbled upon The Camera Museum and Purrfect Cat Cafe. Aside from looking at the interesting vintage cameras, we also thoroughly enjoyed looking at the old/iconic photographs. As of this writing the museum has relocated to its new address in Penang Hill.


The Camera Museum


Old Cameras


Camera and the corresponding Photo 


Who said selfies are done by millenials? As early as the 1920s selfies are already being done



The Camera Museum
Address: Level B3, Astaka Bukit Bendera, Penang Hill.
Operating Hours: 9AM to 8PM
Entrance Fee: 20 RM  (around 260php)
Facebook Page: https://web.facebook.com/PenangCameraMuseum/




I'm more of a dog person but I dont mind being around cats. There was a dining area and an enclosed area where you'll get to interact with the different breeds of cats. As I expected, cats wouldn't really warm up to you in an instant, you'll have to spend a good number of minutes or even hours before they'll go near you. But still the cats here are well behaved and they don't mind being around with strangers.


Purrfect Cat Cafe


Enclosed Area for Cat Interaction

Real Life Garfield



Purrfect Cat Cafe
Address: 53 Jalan Muntri, Georgetown, Penang
Operating hours: 10am to 8pm Daily
Entrance Fee: 13 RM (around 170php)
Facebook Page: https://web.facebook.com/purrfectpenang/


One of the places that was recommended to visit was Chew Jetty, its an interesting places to visit as this was an actual residential area where residents live live on stills above water. You can see how people live their daily lives atop stills.



Chew Jetty

Rather than cars, you can see boats parked




A short bus ride away is Penang Hill, home of the steepest mountain tram in the world and longest in Asia. The roundtrip tram ride costs 30RM  (around 390php).


Penang Hill

Penang Hill Tram



Atop the hill, you'll be able to see a nice view of Penang and take a whiff of the fresh cool breeze.







After going around Penang, we were off to Langkawi to get our feet wet. From Penang port, we rode a ferry that took more or less 3 hours to get to Langkawi.



Ferry to Langkawi


Langkawi



There are different beaches to choose from but we decided to stay in Pantai Cenang beach as it was more convenient to go to . There were a lot of resorts and restaurants around the area, too many in fact. I felt that the place was too commercialize and crowded. Nonetheless, it didn't stop us from hitting the waters and exploring the area.



Pantai Cenang Beach

I liked the place more just before the sun sets, from being crowded there were only a few people during late afternnon.





The Sunset in Pantai Cenang


After a spending a night in Langkawi, it was back to Penang again. On our last night, we again leisurely walked and pigged around. Being a food and art lover, I thoroughly enjoyed Penang, it's a place where you don't need a concrete itinerary, one can just go, relax and take in the whole nolstalgic artsy vibe of the city.


I saw one photo caption that perfectly described Penang.."It is not broken, just a little crooked"



Thursday, 9 August 2018

Spices: Van Gogh is Bipolar

I've mentioned that my basis of a good restaurant is always about the food, no matter where or how the place looks like, food is always my priority. But after being here in Van Gogh is Bipolar is hard not to put into consideration the aesthetic of the place. Plus dining here is all about a cause.

Van Gogh is Bipolar


Upon being seated, we were given welcome drinks and were handed out a map with suggested instructions on which part of the resto we should go visit. The small quaint place was filled with so much quirkiness. Being and going around inside felt like being inside a fairytale.


Welcome Drinks and Map



Palete Cleasing Area

Entering the Dark Room


Express your innermost though inside the Dark Room


One can opt to go ala carte but we decided to try out their 4-course menu that consists of appetizer, soup, entree and dessert plus a glass of drink There were 3 choices and we opted for the 'carnivirous/chill' set and the vegetarian/happy & chill set'. (1,000ph for the 4 course set menu)




Salad and Soup


Basically the dishes served were the same except for the entree and the carnivore soup which has chicken in it. I wouldn't go into details of each dish as the place was all about helping people, the dishes are created to help people with bipolar personalities. For me, the food tasted like a good home cooked meal, it tasted nutritious and healthy.  If these dishes have helped people with their mental health, I wouldn't want to change anything and keep every ingredeient and flavor as it is.



Egg Shot Appetizer

Carnivore Entree

Vegetarian Entree

Ice Candy / Popsicle Dessert



In the middle of dinner, there was a life server who asked permission to perform a piece he wrote, everybody excitedly exclaimed yes. He proceeded to say that he's going to perform nude and the piece was about his experience in taking his own life. The mood at the resto suddenly made a 180 degree turn, from being celebratory to gloomy. The performance was really good, i particularly liked the deep and meaningful play of words. After the performance, the diners were stunned and didn't know how to react. After the performer explained his story and saying that he's doing well, the mood again changed into a happier tone.

This is how I'll remember the resto, it wasn't totally about the food but the total experience.  From having a celebratory mood to gloomy to going back to being happy, the resto sort of made me feel the struggles of people having a bipolar personality.






One of the life servers proceeded to expound that the resto has turned into a haven for people who's struggling with their mental health. They provide personal and group counseling to those who are in need of help and by dining there, we also help indirectly. Kudos to Mr. Jetro Vin Rafael who created all the recipes and turned his home into a restaurant in order to help people with their mental health.





Van Gogh is Bipolar
Address: 154 H Maginhawa Street, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City
Tel No.: 0922 8243051
Operating Hours:  12pm to 3pm and 6pm to 11pm