The Rookie Blogger

November 3, 2019

Malaysia is Affordable

If you are a tourist planning on your first trip or just a casual trip but on a budget, I would highly suggest traveling to Kuala Lumpur. If you are traveling from the Philippines, only AirAsia has a direct route from Cebu to KL but there are numerous airlines offering Manila to KL route. The airfare is also affordable if you chose the budget airlines such as AirAsia and Cebu Pacific.

When I traveled to this country, I was with my classmates that's why the trip was more fun. We arrived in Kuala Lumpur on an AirAsia flight from Cebu. Like any other international airport, the floor area of the airport is quite huge and we have to transfer through a sky bridge to get to the immigration. From the airport, there are many options to travel to the city center of Kuala Lumpur like through an LRT, Grab, or bus. We took the bus because it only cost around ₱300 for the VIP type. The ordinary bus and LRT are way cheaper. The bus took us to the KL Sentral Station where almost all of the train lines converge. From there, I took the train to my hotel which was three train stations away.
I stayed at the PNB Perdana Hotel and it only costs around ₱11,000 for three nights. The price might sound pricey but my hotel room has a living room, kitchen, the bathroom has a tub, and there's a balcony. In Cebu, a room like this would cost upwards of ₱5,000 per night. The area in which the hotel is located is just one train station away from the Petronas Twin Towers. This is definitely the best hotel room for its price that I have been to.
Traveling to Malaysia also marks my third time to present to an international conference. The conference was held in Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation. This university is quite huge as well. Some buildings inside the campus were fairly new and we were told that the old campus was not that far. When we were there, I noticed that the school has students of different nationalities even though most of them are not exchange students.
The day after the conference, my classmates and I decided to rent a van to visit tourist spots around the city. We went to Genting Heights for a cable car ride, went to a strawberry farm, Batu Caves, and sightseing around the city. There are tons of places to visit in Malaysia but our time was limited and we were there mainly for the conference. Overall, I really like the city of Kuala Lumpur because it is clean and the cost of living is not that high.

Continue reading this post...

Traveling to Guangzhou Alone

I'm comfortable traveling alone as long as it's within the country and I am able to understand the people I'm visiting. But imagine traveling to a foreign city where only a few people speak and understand English. When hardcore tourists are asked to visit China, the city of Guangzhou is not really their first choice because there are a lot of options like Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu. Nevertheless, this city is almost comparable to Singapore in terms of public transportation and cleanliness, the only difference is the cost of living being not expensive.

The only tourist destination that was on my mind for this trip was the Canton Tower. Standing at 604 meters, this tower is the second tallest tower in the world. I even picked a hotel near this tower so that I can easily visit it. In fact, I can see the tower from my hotel room. When I arrived at the base of the Canton Tower, I was shocked at the number of tourists in the area which are mostly Chinese. I wasn't able to purchase tickets for the rides on top of the tower because the line was too long.
The reason why I visited Guangzhou is to present my research at Sun Yat-sen University. This is my second time presenting research at an international conference (The first was Singapore). The university campus is huge and you needed a bike to visit all the nice places inside the campus. Sadly, I wasn't able to rent a bike because they don't accept Visa or Mastercard credit cards and for some reason, the bike rental doesn't accept cash. They just accept Alipay or WeChat. The payment process is almost true to almost all of the restaurants even the ones at the airport.
I did not explore the city of Guangzhou that much aside from Canton Tower and Sun Yat-sen University because it's hard to travel alone. Another thing that made this trip a little harder is the taxi drivers unable to understand any English at all. Showing them a map on my phone does help and I can see that the taxi drivers are trying very hard to help me. I did enjoy my travel to Guangzhou even with the language barrier but I probably would enjoy it more if I had my friends with me.

Continue reading this post...

Singapore: My First International Travel

Let me start by saying Singapore, in general, is expensive. I was bragging to my friends about my hotel room that costs more than ₱3,000 per night only to arrive at a motel. That motel, however, is very clean and classy and was worth the money. For my first international travel, this country doesn't disappoint. Starting from its airport all the way to the farthest corner of the country accessible by light rail, this country is amazing.

Voted as the best airport in the world since 2013 by Skytrax, Singapore Changi Airport is a tourist destination itself. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from and numerous gardens to stroll by. The restaurants though are a bit pricey but there are fast food options that offer affordable meals and snacks.
When I arrived in Singapore Changi Airport, I immediately purchased a three-day unlimited MRT pass. Because of this, I was able to visit almost a quarter of the MRT stations in Singapore on my second day. This was my first time to ride a rail-type transport and I was very impressed. I live in Cebu (Philippines) and we do not have any sort of rail transport that's why I was almost inside the trains for almost the entire day. My friends met me on the third day, so for a lot of these first-time experiences, I was all alone.
On my third day, I went to Nanyang Technological University to present my research. This was the main reason why I traveled to Singapore. Presenting to at least two international conferences is a requirement I need to fulfill for my studies. The university building and grounds are mesmerizing because it blends to the forested hills and the city. This university is also one of the best in the world so to be able to present my research on a conference held here is truly an honor.

Overall, despite the high cost of living, I highly recommend Singapore for a country to visit. The clean streets and public transportation are the strongest points of this country for a tourist. I haven't visited any theme parks in the country while I was there but there are lots of it like Universal Studios and Haw Par Villa. I might be coming back to Singapore for a conference or maybe as a tourist but whatever the reason, I will be very excited.

More photos on my Instagram account at thejamesarnold.

Continue reading this post...

March 8, 2017

4K HDR Android TV by Sony (BRAVIA X8000D)

There's a lot of reasons why the 43-inch Sony BRAVIA X8000D is the best 4k TV out in the market today. First, it only costs 35,000 which makes it one of the most affordable 4k TVs in the Philippines right now. Second, it's an android TV which means you can install various apps from the Android PlayStore. There's more reasons to love this smart TV and why it's perfect for family and friends.

4K HDR with Triluminos Display Technology: One of the highlights of this sony TV is it's Triluminos Display Technology which enables the display to produce a wider range of colors. This means that reds will be redder, greens will be greener, blues will be bluer but that doesn't translate to an oversaturated display. Even though the color range in this display technology is wider, the Triluminos Display still produces picture quality that's vibrant and pleasant to the eyes. This display technology is also present in their Xperia mobile devices. And of course, on top of the Triluminos Display Technology is the HDR and 4K resolution which translates to 3,840x2,160 pixels (104 pixels per inch for the 43-inch model).

Android TV Onboard: The Sony BRAVIA X8000D ships with Android TV platform. If you have been using a smartphone for the last few years, it would be easy for you to use a smart TV platform. One of the advantages of Android TVs is that apps can be installed to extend the functionality of the TV. Compatible apps like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and more can be installed. There are also games that can be installed and played in this smart TV (using a mobile device as the game controller) like Crossy Road, Grand Theft Auto, Asphalt 8, and many more.

Other Things to Consider: This Smart TV has one of the slimmest bezels which contributes to better viewing experience. The base of the TV only covers little amount of space but is still quite sturdy. The TV remote has a voice search feature aside from its basic TV remote functions.

It all boils down to price: There are a lot of 4K TVs out in the market right now but only a few are less than ₱40,000. Most of the 4k TVs at this price point are mostly Chinese manufacturers. For it's price, this Smart TV is highly recommended as it offers great display quality, large screen, 4k resolution, and Android TV platform.

By: James Arnold | Facebook | Instagram

Continue reading this post...

February 3, 2017

Bantayan Island From Above

One of the best island resorts of the Philippines, the Bantayan Island is almost four hours away from Cebu City. It boasts one of the best beaches in the country just edging out Boracay as it provides more amenities. The aerial photos (using DJI Mavic Pro) in this post are provided by zuil7 so thanks to him ʘ‿ʘ!

Bantayan Island Cebu Philippines

Using drone photography, one can certainly see a different perspective of the resort island. During our visit (January 2017), the weather was a little bit stormy but manageable. The reason why the white sandy beaches has black patches from the aerial photos is because of the washed up dried sea grasses caused by moderate to large waves.

We also managed to capture an aerial video of the island using the DJI Mavic Pro. We don't have that much aerial videos because the drone we were using has only less than 30 minutes of flight time but nevertheless, the videos we captured are beyond breathtaking. Also, because of the cloudy weather, we weren't able to capture an aerial footage of the sunrise or sunset of the island.

Overall, Bantayan Island is a nice resort island which has lots of resorts to choose from but with a common beach ground. In terms of the sand quality, nothing can beat the powdery white beaches of Boracay but this is by far the closest.

Continue reading this post...

March 29, 2013

The Island of Coron

As our plane approaches the island of Coron, I was amazed by the shallow coral reefs that stretch for miles. As listed in Forbes Magazine as one of the best scuba diving sites, Coron does not only offer corals and marine animals to divers and snorkelers but also sunken Japanese ships from the World War II. Because the water is so clear, even snorkelers can view the shipwrecks from the surface.

Above the surface, the island of Coron also offers one of the best rock formations made from granite. The sharp edges of cliffs also make Coron an alluring tourist destination. Rock formations can be seen in almost every part of the island and even nearby destinations such as El Nido and the island of Palawan offers similar views.
We started our day with a tour around the town. We visited first a souvenir shop that has lots of affordable stuff. We decided to leave the shop because it’s not our thing to buy souvenirs in our first day of travel. Next destination we went to is the town plaza which is still a nice place to go to even though most of it is still under construction. We also went to the town hall which we think is not that great looking compared to what we have seen so far. And then we climbed Mount Tapyas. Mount Tapyas is the backdrop of the town of Coron which has a giant cross at its peak. With over 750 steps, we were exhausted when we reached the summit even though we used the stairs. After Mount Tapyas, we went to a cashew store which made me almost broke because I spent way too much. The caramel coated cashew nut is one of the best nuts that I have ever tasted. Our last destination for our first day in Coron was the Maquinit hot spring. I have never seen a hot spring in my entire life and I was simply astounded by the pools of hot water that exhausts steam that enters to my nostrils. Our first day was simply unforgettable.

Mt. Tapyas

Coron Baywalk

Souvenir Shop (Left) and Maquinit Hot Spring (Right)
Sunscreen was no use in our second day in the island because we are booked for a whole day island hopping activity. We visited first an island that has great corals around it. We went for a dive in this area for almost 30 minutes. Then we went to Coron Island Cove which is by far the best view in the island and probably the best view that I have seen in my life so far. We climbed 350 steps to get a wonderful view of the Coron Island Cove. We took a couple of pictures and then went to the other side which is the Kayangan Lake. Kayangan Lake is labeled as one of the cleanest lake in Asia and when we went there, I can see why it got this title. The lake is a freshwater lake and is so clear that we can see the bottom of it even though it is very deep. We ate lunch at a secluded bungalow which surprised us because we saw other tourists having their lunch in a crowded beach. After lunch, we went to see a sunken ship but I was not able to see it clearly because there were a lot of divers in the area. Our island hopping activity ended in Twin Lagoon. We swam for more than 100 meters (one way) which made this last destination more fun and unforgettable. We weren’t able to take photos because we have to swim and enter a cave just to reach the lagoon.

Coron Island Cove and Kayangan Lake

Secluded beach bungalow for lunch.

Entrance view of Twin Lagoon.
Even though we only stayed in a budget hotel, I am still amazed by the wonders of this island. This is one of those experiences wherein I cannot explain more to my friends what I have seen and just tell them to visit the island for themselves.

Continue reading this post...
© 2018 TheRookieBlogger LLC. All Rights Reserved. | About Me

About The Rookie Blogger

This is a personal blog of James Arnold. This blog contains posts about travel, technology, dining, and many more. James is also a freelance photographer that caters events such as weddings, debuts, birthdays, and even personal photoshoots. You can contact him through +63 916 659 7001 if you have any questions or plans to advertise on this blog.