It’s our third day in our new humble abode since we moved in last Friday, 1st July and Tina, Gabby and I are so thankful for having our own space finally! It’s almost indescribable living with just your family; with no other people who have less concern, consideration and sensitivity. The feeling is tantamount to independence, liberation, freedom. Simply surreal! 🙂
The priceless seaview from our 10th floor unit (11th actually since they have ground floor prior to first). Gabby and I will add more pin wheels to gauge the wind and sea breeze with vivid colors.

You don’t have any idea how I appreciate and value my readers’ comments. When I posted that We’re Itching To Move In to our chosen appartment to rent here in Butterwoth, Penang, I got helpful words from my blog buddies and one of them came from Marga aka Midge, the passionate blogger behind Sybaritic Diversions, whom Tina, Gabby and I met in one of her informative and fun sessions of Chocolate Appreciation 101 in Heavenly Chocolates, she generously shared the essentials to bring before one occupies a new home.

In the same words our late grandparents told us, fellow blogger, Marga reminded me to bring : "Salt to keep evil at bay, rice so that the kitchen/pantry never runs out for food, matches to protect the family from harm, and coins for prosperity."

Superstitious or not, I heeded to Marga’s words for I knew there’s no harm  if those little items will be the first to be hauled.

I was truly overwhelmed with suggestions and pieces of advice to make our personal space as homey as possible. Online friends who mostly I haven’t met are always unselfish to share their ideas. Even on tweeter, fellow blogger-educator and an architect at that replied to my request when I asked her expert advice for free!  Thank you, Architect Reena of Reena’s Thoughts . I really appreciate it.

Here’s a peek to our home in Butterworth…

Dad & son attempt to urban gardening : After I bought some potted plants in the island, I put them in our doorstep and Gabby arranged those pebbles around them. It was our very first father & son bonding in our new home.

Limited space requires you to be creative in maximizing everything. Without being boring but minimalist, our unit is still a work in progress.

the couch where we'll spend lazy hours; it's strategically located facing the porch that offers the view of the bay

 Huggables : we bought some uncoordinated pillows to put life and colors in our living room.

The curtains were bought on sale. From RM 114 (PhP 1596) each, we only paid RM 28 (PhP 392) each.

Gabby’s choice :  Because we love our almost 7-year-old kid, we gave him a chance to put on some decors that he likes. At the console table, there are framed photos, indoor potted plants and our boy’s little things.

While shadow puppets of Rama and Sita made from cow hide and artline inks that we bought from Kota Bharu, Kelantan which we haven’t framed yet stand side by side with our wedding photo, on the other corner of the living room lies another Gabby’s favorite : Plants vz Zombies!

Tina’s favorite area of the unit…

We’re fortunate that in Penang, discounts can get as low as 70-80% off.  Tina bought these electric kettle for only RM 29 (PhP 406) from RM 99 (PhP 1386) and the mini oven for another affordable price.

Old but still at its best : Sharp fridge that came with the unit decorated with our ref magnets
Our fully furnished 3-bedroom-2 toilet & bath-appartment (or condo in Manila; flat in other parts of the globe) owned by a Christian Chinese came with a TV set, 3-piece sofa, 3 airconditioning units, ceiling fans for each rooms, queen size beds and a single bed, a dining table, a simple but charming kitchen, a refrigerator; our landlord was so nice to provide us a brand new washing machine. So when Tina is busy cooking, I do the laundry, hehe…
With A Mind of Its Own : We love this brand new washing machine provided by our landlord; it calculates first the exact volume of water per load of laundry before it starts spinning. Excuse our amazement; walang ganito sa probinsya namin, hehehe!

The very first meals were memorable! 🙂 Despite we truly miss having pandesal in the morning, breakfast with Spam Lite, rice and coffee tasted great as we ate as one family.

The lunch with paksiw na bisugo was superb! Do you eat bisugo? 🙂

Paksiw na Bisugo : best eaten with fish sauce + siling labuyo. Try it! hehehe...

While I only went to the public market which is a bus-ride away and mini groceries downstairs to purchase some more stuffs, I have to give credits and much love to my wife because she exerted extra efforts to prepare our first dinner.

garlic buttered shrimps, beautifully deveined by Tina : one of our favorites!

Udang (the Bahasa Melayu term for shrimps or prawns) is cheaper in Penang than in Metro Manila. The cost here ranges from RM 16 – 25 per kilo (PhP 224 -350) thus enabling us to enjoy it every now and then.

We only invited one of our senior colleagues who also lives in the same building. For almost a year now, she stands as my/our genuine friend, comforter and a nanay-nanayan. She came with her sister and together, we shared our very first dinner. We could have invited another senior-fellow who have inspired me so much about family life, life in general and whatnot but I thought he’s busy enjoying the weekend with his own family. (read : We’d rather keep one or two friends only here in Penang rather than have an entire community who backstabs us; our world will peacefully revolve without them!).

Best Home Cooked Dishes : Kare-kare with Bagoong, Camaron Rebosado and Garlic Buttered Shrimps

At anytime of the day, our porch offers a relaxing view; now we know how it feels like to dwell in those hotels and serviced appartments along side Roxas Blvd back home; the only difference is, it’s a lot affordable here in Penang for the purchasing power of Ringgit is higher than Philippine Pesos.

The coming days will be brighter. As we begin to enjoy our new home, my parents from Manila and UAE will be coming over to share the love and fun with us.  Gabby will continue schooling here in August and the rest, I know will be epic. 

A new chapter of our expat lives unfolds.



45 thoughts on “WELCOME TO OUR OWN SPACE!

  1. wow ang saya saya naman nito. parang bahay bahayan lang. happy for you doc and family. at salamat wala ng mga you know what. 🙂

    1. thank you, ingrid!

      as i’ve read in twitter : “You cannot stay in the house of pain forever, for your own good, you must choose a better place to live.” ~RT @TheGodLight

  2. congratulations doc! i amf truly happy for you. ramdam na ramdam ko ang kaligayahan mo. 🙂

    good luck!

    1. thank you, convictstock.
      the appartment has 2 types of units -either town view or sea view.
      we’re blessed to find such needed comfort.

  3. WOw! Maganda ang place niyo Doc! Kung pwede maki-kain gagawin ko. I like the bisugo.

    I love the idea of hanging the dish drainer, hindi kasi ganyan sa Australia, mas gusto ko ‘yang sa inyo Doc.

    1. doc rj, sakaling iwan mo sandali ang australia at mapunta ka sa penang, welcome ka makisalo sa pagkain namin. 🙂

      gusto din namin iyong hanging dish drainer at range hood. best, the owner of the unit is super nice guy! ang bait.


    1. chyng, it took us 5 and a half hour bus ride to get to kelantan to witness how those shadow puppets are made (and moon kites too) thus it’s unforgivable not to buy a souvenir.

  4. hi doc gelo! this is my first time to drop a line.:) i’m an avid reader of your blog since the time we found out that our move to Penang is definite. it was one of the sites that got me hooked when i started searching and discovering more things about Penang, especially places to eat!
    you have a nice place with a really magnificent view, for a very good price. 🙂
    btw, do they have bagoong here in Penang? nakakamiss ang kare-kare with bagoong! 🙂 – Reena F.

    1. hi Reena F. welcome to my humble site!
      are you already in penang?
      yes, may bagoong dito. you can find them in bottles in groceries lalo na sa gurney plaza’s cold storage, tesco at jusco supermarket. mayroon din sa mga pasar or public markets.

      but you have to cook it; tina deliciously sauteed it.

      1. yes po doc gelo, my husband and I are already in Pulau Pinang. we stay in the Bayan Lepas area (near the airport).
        happy to know may bagoong dito.:) will check Jusco QB agad.
        really appreciate all your post doc.

  5. Happy to see you finally have your own space – I’m envious of you view! Can’t agree more on privacy – I’ve been through that as an OFW and sharing space with others can be a real headache!

    1. i cannot agree more, dennis! sakit sa ulo (at sa loob) makisama!
      God is great; He provides to all of us.
      He made us went through all those hassles to appreciate His blessing more!

  6. I had a McDo breakfast in Hawaii with spam, fried eggs and rice. I don’t understand why they don’t serve a similar breakfast in the mainland. Btw, the view from your apartment is superb.

    1. bertN,

      we’re hooked to Spam pero Lite para less sodium (health conscious kunyari, hehe).
      thanks for the compliment; we also like the view! so relaxing…

  7. congrats and welcome to your new home. hmmm hindi ko alam kailangan ng matches pag bagong lipat. your house is so beautiful and colorful. like tina, the kitchen is the best place for me well part is the bedroom hehehe. bakit may name yung ketsup ? kay gabby yun 🙂

    more blessings for you and your familiy 🙂

    1. iana, thank you! God bless your family too. sana mameet ko kayo pag uwi namin sa last week ng december dyan. 🙂

      ps : you’re so keen observer! the ketchup has label (actually most of our items which aren’t consumed yet because we lived and shared a space with 4 others previously. WE CANNOT BE THANKFUL ENOUGH to THE LORD for PROVIDING US A SPACE OF OUR OWN.

  8. love your view! it’s great that you finally moved in your own apartment with your family. wise decision to keep just a few close friends, it’ll make life less complicated.:p

  9. Congratulations on your new beginning! Cant help but to notice those yummy swahe shrimps…coincidentally, udang is the same word for shrimps in Ilokano (I think) and ulang is the word crayfish (a type of shrimp?) in Kapampangan.

    Food for the thought…

    1. hi ivan! i always smile when you leave words on my posts. maraming salamat!

      there are a lot of similar words between bahasa melayu and our local dialects.
      balai here is also their term for house. kanan is also right here (but left is kiri) and a lot more.

      i personally love shrimps, prawns or whatever you call it! sinigang, garlic buttered, whichever way it’s cooked, basta hipon masarap! hehehe.. *thank God, we don’t have allergies*

    1. not only the view but the entire new experience is absolutely heavenly, ms. nance!
      we are so grateful.

      thank you for dropping by. how are your plants and blooms in new york? spring na ba dyan or patapos na?
      yes, masarap po magluto si tina, but wait till i post something about my cooking when i find time to prepare. 🙂

  10. awwww! happy! home sweet home! =) natuwa ako sa bigas, match, coins and asin, ganyan din lageng bilin nina mama pagnalipat kame ng bagong apt. hehe like ko din yung robot toys! =)
    congrats doc! life is beautiful indeed! =)

    1. gael, nagbubunyi ang blog ko sa pagbisita mo dito! 🙂

      the robot toys are really eye-candy! kahit ako tuwang tuwa dyan! may malaking version pero the small ones are cuter of course.

      enjoy your next trip, gael! thanks!

  11. Congratulations!!! I love the toys that Gabby displayed. Pahingi ng isa. Hehe. So happy to know that you’re all enjoying your new home. Iba talaga kapag sama-sama. Nothing beats quality family time…at SPAM lite! 😀

  12. Wow, Doc! It’s been a while since I’ve been to your blog, and I’m happy to see things getting better and better for you. Your son got quite big last time I saw him on your pics. Congrats po! 😀

  13. congratulations doc, nothing beats one’s own space. wala kang pakikisamahan 🙂

    ang galing. tama lang ang space for now. at may million dollar view ka pa. i think since you’re so close to water it would also be cooler in that place with all the sea breeze.

    i am holding a contest for my 5th blog anniversary. come and join at http://calrat.blogspot.com

  14. Pinsan! Congrats sa bagong bahay! I hope that it will be filled with loads of love and happiness and lots and lots of food!

    Also, gusto ko yung toys ni Gabby! :p At gusto ko rin nung paksiw na bisugo with patis and labuyo!

  15. nice nice doc. at home na rin talaga kayo diyan. kakatuwa nga at nagdesisyon na rin kayo diyan tumira kasi hirap talaga na hindi kasama ang pamilya.

    kakatuwa pati plants vs zombies meron sa bahay.

    salamat sa pagpili sa panasonic washing machine. free ad.

  16. congrats Doc sa new home, ang cute at ang ganda! Yun paksiw na bisugo natawa ako kasi yan ang ulam namin kagabi hehehe…at I also collect ref magnets, I have sushi magnets too like yours and also the Japanese lady na yun hahaha….favorite ng anak ko rin yun spam…hayyy kakagutom talaga itong blog mo doc, “kakainggit” lol

  17. Glad to see you and the family have moved in, Doc! And you actually brought in the salt, coins, matches, and rice! Here’s to happy and prosperous times!

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