CAVES AND BEARS

Hindu God, Murugan at the entrance of Batu Caves

SATURDAY MORNING : JANUARY 21, 2012

Our Day 2 of our Kuala Lumpur trip was devoted to explore caves and experience the sight of bears but definitely NOT in one location.  We left our budget hotel in Chinatown at few minutes after 8 in the morning and headed to KL Sentral via taxi cab. At the KTM Komuter train station, we paid one-way-fare of RM 1 (PhP 14) each for adults (Mamy, Tina and me) and 50 sen or RM0.50 (PhP 7) for kids (Gabby); cheap for an almost 40 minute ride en route to Batu Caves.

The KTM Komuter train apparently looks old but still functional nonetheless, and resembles like our local MRT / LRT back home. After 4 to 5 stations, we finally arrived in Batu Caves.

Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur is probably the largest Hindu temple outside of India. It is expected to be packed every Thaipusam, the counterpart of Holy Week amongst us, Catholics. Thaipusam this year is scheduled on the 7th of February, a public holiday in Malaysia; thus expected to have thousands of people particularly from the Tamil community to flock to Batu Caves to venerate.

It is wise to visit this Hindu temple early in the morning; we’re happy to reached it few minutes past 9AM. The sun then was not that scorching hot yet.

Indian shrines like Buddhists’ that are frequently vivid in colors and covered with gold are always a visual feast!

Must have that detail shot…

Our noses led us to these leis for offerings…

Leis made up mainly of Jasmin or Sampaguita (Jasminum sambac) to us Filipinos are also common offerings to the Hindu Gods.

Mamy Tessie who loves and adores flowers so much was delighted to see those leis.  I love my mom’s energy during travels; she never ceases to pose for photo-ops as if she doesn’t feel arthralgia (read: pain in the joints! 😀 -she might kill me for this!

My mom was overjoyed and gamely posed even with those pigeons! She so liked it! I know even without telling us, she's imagining she's in Italy or somewhere in Europe, haha! 😀

Must have that souvenir shot…

doing the tourists' thing!

That was our last photo before we ALL conquered the 272 steps of Batu Caves. Yes, even Gabby who was quite hesitant to climb and afraid of heights (who doesn’t?) successfully made it to the top and back down the grounds! He had no choice but to come with us (with no coercion or force, mind you! haha!), otherwise, he’ll be left alone and wait for us (which Tina and I would not do of course).

The facade before the flight of stairs has this fascinating icons…

Then we met our challenge.

The 272 steps!

Here we go.

The steps fell short for my feet. 😦

I wish they constructed the stairs with consideration to those with big foot.

On way up, we saw more interesting sights…

Their faith is inspiring!

…And finally we reached the caves!

Like other tourist spots, vendors of various souvenir items are found present even in a temple like Batu Caves. At least these stalls are far from what’s considered as Holy grounds for the Hindus where they walk barefooted.

I'm no seasoned traveler and not fond of trekking (yet) either; I believe it's my first encounter with stalactites.

If you will look closely at the next photo, you’ll notice another flight of stairs on the left side that takes visitors and faithfuls to the a shrine at the center of the Batu Caves. I died seeing another challenge! I almost yelled “No way! Not again!” while catching my breath.

*panting! gasping!*

Needless to say, we went down few minutes after. Among the four of us, it was Gabby who was so relieved when we got off the caves. He never liked the experience of climbing Batu Caves, neither did I.  It was damn too tiring for all of us! I salute and bow to those who go up with religious loads like this…

or this…

I always find myself clueless each time my son asks questions about other religions. Like, how will you deal when your own kid inquires about this Hindu creature?

Often, I tell Gabby, each religion has their own belief. Safe answer, huh?!  I know he’ll understand it more when he grows older. For now, we’re just grateful that he’s exposed to a lot of diversities around him.

Young Devotion

Reaching the grounds again, we saw lots of fresh coconuts being sold at RM4.00 each (PhP 56) too perfect as refreshments after a tiring climb. However, none of us did sample those coconuts, haha! 😀 Guess what we did immediately after going down the caves? We had BUFFET of Indian breakfast (to be posted on a separate entry at the end of this series)!

Then just before lunch time, we hopped in at KTM Komuter train again heading back to KL Sentral.

From KL Sentral, we took a cab and for the first time, we met a taxi driver in KL who offered a metered trip. Usually, we pay RM10-20 (PhP 140-280) for a 5-less than 10 minute cab ride. Thankfully with an honest driver, it only took RM5 (PhP 70) to get to this shopping paradise…

The 147 United Buddy Bears on exhibit at Pavilion Mall in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON : January 21, 2012

Pavilion Mall wasn’t included in the itinerary that my mom prepared  for this KL trip but I insisted we have to pay a visit. Not to burn cash on shopping (we had less budget than you think!) or anything but just to experience the “Rodeo Drive” and “Shibuya or Ginza” of Malaysia.

Upon getting off the cab, I heard wows, sighs and amazement from Tina, Gabby and Mamy. All of us were in awe at the sight of the upscale shopping district in Kuala Lumpur.

Adding to our heightened excitement was an astonishingly beautiful, one-of-a-kind, ongoing exhibit of United Buddy Bears just in front of the Bukit Bintang entrance of Pavilion Mall. We felt so lucky and happy to see them all! 😀

We were only expecting to see dragon and lions because of the Chinese New Year celebration but we got more than that! Pavilion Mall in Bukit Bintang is currently the venue of the first exhibition in Southeast Asia of the 147 United Buddy Bears. They are so adorable!

After a quick glance at Wiki, I found this –

“United Buddy Bears – Worldtour

On 6 November 2002, the bears were moved to new locations, including their respective countries embassies in Berlin, or back to country that they were based on. Some of the bears were auctioned off to raise money for UNICEF.

After the circle of “United Buddy Bears” had been such an overwhelming success in 2002, a new circle was created in 2003. The idea was to send the circle on a global tour.

On their global tour, the “United Buddy Bears” promote peace, love, tolerance and international understanding. The circle changes every time it reaches a new city. This is not only due to the local conditions, but also to their constantly changing order, as the bears are always set up in alphabetic order, following the local language of the host country. This always leads to new and sometimes politically very interesting proximities”  (sourced via Wiki)

So these bears promote peace, love, tolerance and international understanding. We all need that, don’t we? 😀

happiness!
Kidding around the Philippines Bear featuring the Philippine Eagle by Artist, Pierre F. Patricio, sponsored by the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Berlin.
Bear Love!

We can’t get enough of these bears!

Don't you wish to bring home at least one bear? hahaha! 😀

Our fatigue from exploring Batu Caves was gone in a heart beat; thanks to these incredibly FUNtastic United Buddy Bears!

These colorful larger than life buddy bears have gone to countries like Germany, Austria, Hong Kong, Turkey, Japan, Korea, Australia, Egypt, Israel, Poland, Argentina, Uruguay, Kazakshtan, Bulgaria and as mentioned, first in Southeast Asia : Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia! 😀

Now, when will these bears visit 168 Mall in Divisoria, Manila? LOL! 😀

On right photo is the bear from Malaysia! 😀

The quote on the bear states, “Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.” –Albert Einstein

Walk Like An Egyptian!

Tina, my mom and I were all happy to see Gabby enjoying these bears!

sexy back

Fun to look at with messages that cut through you…

Stay tuned for more posts about our fun moments at KL. 😀

*This blog series includes : Petronas Twin Towers Skybridge Visit

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25 thoughts on “CAVES AND BEARS

  1. I could imagine how tiring the ascent to the cave must be considering the heat. But wow, your mom made that climb?

    The bears are enjoyable. I wish they come visit SFo someday too.

  2. we weren’t able to go to batu caves when we went there. sakto pa naman doon sa “holiday” nila…with the piercings and all. but i would have loved to have that experience! ok lang naman doc ang 272 steps…dahan dahan lang. i love the pic of your mom with the pigeons. tama ka, its very “european.”

    buti pa ang United Buddy Bears…nakakapag world tour! haha!

    1. thaipussam iyong “holiday” na na-mentioned mo, grace.
      this year, it falls on the 7th of feb.
      i originally planned to go to batu caves on that day next month, but after thinking twice, i opted to avoid thousands of pilgrims and visitors to the spot on that occasion. mabuti na lang, my mom suggested batu caves last weekend.

      thanks for loving the pic of my mom with the pigeons. i love it too. ganyan talaga sya, kaligayahan na nya mag pakodak sa magagandang lugar at bagay na nararating nya. and european? i agree with you, naka tour ka na sa europa e! 😀

  3. .. i lost my portable hard drive with pictures of my visit to malaysia including the ones of batu caves, sayang. ganda ng mga kuha mo doc. di ko na inakyat yan, buti pa si tita naakyat nya ano?!

    .. pag dinala yang mga bears na yan sa divisoria, di kaya mavandalise yan! pero okay din sa luneta! 🙂

    1. nawala hard drive mo with files and photos? awwww! dapat siguro talaga may back up lagi.
      sayang! puntahan na lang ulit someday.

      i was also amazed at mamy. imagine, sobra pang eager pa sya talagang umakyat; ako first step pa lang, hingal na. haha! 😀

      i was just teasing of course, when i wrote the suggestion for UBB to be in divisoria. haha!
      there will be a thousand of possibilities for those bears when they reach divi! pwedeng manakaw worse, ma-kidnap o ma-hostage! LOL! *biro lang* 😛

  4. I’d be happy walking up those steps wearing proper footwear but to go up there barefoot is quite punishing to the soles! Buti nakayanan nyo lahat, especially your mom with her arthralgia. The pic with the Hindu god reminds me of Chyng with her red carry on bag right at that site LOL!

    1. yup, chyng went to batu caves when she had her southeast asian tour last year.

      walking barefooted up to the caves with offerings and other religious loads is how hindus practice their faith. you know better for you’ve been to india already, dennis! 😀

      game na game nanay ko, pero puro salonpas pagkatapos! LOL!

    1. good query; sorry i forgot to point out in the post.
      the first lane is for the faithfuls who carry religious heavy loads called kavadi.
      the middle lane is for the public and the other pilgrims.
      the third on the right is for exit.

  5. ang cool naman in mother! I like her picture with the pigeons in the background. Parang Venice! 🙂

    I also love your souvenir shot with the Buddha behind! Ang happy happy ng dating!

  6. 272 steps? wow! nakikita ko pa lang sya napapagod na ako 😦

    and i love your mom’s cheongsam and the one she wore during her bday at G Cafe last year , i admire her style in general 🙂

  7. Thanks a lot for readers wonderful comments about me. Really I love travel, photos and flowers are my weakness. Great appreciation to my eldest son, wife Tina and my grandson Gabby for all the efforts of having my vacation with them so memorable and enjoyable.

  8. Great shots! Nde aq napagod sa pag akyat. napagod aq sa paisa isa na pag move ng paa q sa sobrang liit ng tapakan ng hagdanan.. haha. ang cute naman ng mga bears! sana bumalik sila ng malaysia ulet!!!

    1. hey, thanks, riz and welcome to my humble blog!
      thanks for those nice words.

      when did you go to batu caves?
      we’re just lucky enough to experience it early morning di pa gaanong mainit.
      and yes, those bears on exhibit before were really eyecandy

  9. I think you are getting more familiar here in KL. One advise to you, if the taxi driver insist not to use the meter, you may insist them back to use it or else tell them that you will make a report to SPAD ( Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat) English translation : Civil Land Transportation Authority. If they kinda of make a price deal before you aboard, just walkaway and never look back again at them. Frankly, shame to say, taxi in KL is one of the worst in the world. I really hope tourism ministry or other government agencies tend to cope this kind of issue.

    1. hi rosli! i really appreciate all your insights and comments on my post about your country! keep ’em coming!
      i so value readers’ comments. i’ll surely keep your advice in mind when we go back to kuala lumpur soon!

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