The day before was packed with a visit to Petronas Skybridge, Aquaria, Istana Negara, Tugu Negara, and Sunway lagoon. It’s a good thing that this day we were allowed an option to sleep over a little and regain some needed zest for this day. While it’s pretty packed as well considering the main event this afternoon it’s a lot relaxed. Our day started with the chocolate factory at Beryl’s Chocolate Kingdom, Malaysia’s best chocolate brand.
My sweet-tooth has been craving for chocolates since we came in Malaysia so I was so excited for our visit here. The Beryl’s Chocolate Kingdom is just off Jalan Imbi. It’s not a large factory but more like a mansion. At the entrance, one of the staff would introduce us to Beryl and show how they are made. Then we go into the actual shop were sales staff would give us bits to sample different flavors of the chocolates.
Their Tiramisu is the flavor they were known for and it is indeed delicious. But we also tried extraordinary flavors of durian, berries and chili. It’s hard not to leave the store without buying anything. I got myself a pack of the Tiramusu and also the Mint Choco. For the group we had a pack of dark chocolate which we savored throughout the trip.
We made a couple of hour stop at Sungai Wang Plaza to do some mall shopping. I remember buying one of my lenses here before and it was really cheap. I got to see an Olympus E-P1 sale here on a very good price which I almost bought but remembered I have a tight budget. Just bought an additional shirt there then we had a great lunch at Nam Heong Restaurant, known for their Haianese Chicken Rice. We went back to the hotel after, giving us enough time to freshen up and prepare for the the MegaFam Program at Mines Resort City.
The afternoon’s programme requires us to wear “Formal Attire” so we had dress up for it. The venue of the official Mega Familiarization Program in conjunction with the 52nd Merdeka Celebration is at Mines Wellness Hotel at Jalan Dulang, MINES Resort City, Selangor about 20 minutes drive from Kuala Lumpur. At the Mines we first made a side trip to one of Malaysia’s Luxurious and Extra ordinary hotel, The Palace of the Golden Horses. We only got to visit the common room but it was indeed very elegant. Past the dining hall opening to a room where a large bronze sculpture of horses and a gold plated horse on top can be found. The windows also offers to a wondrous view of a lake.
Just nearby, as part of the Mines Resort City, is the Mines Wellness Hotel. We were lead to Prameswara Room and saw and met some of the guest invited by Malaysia from all over the globe. There were about 194 participants for the MegaFam Program here coming from 24 countries worldwide. A mix of travel agents and media people to experience what Malaysia can offer. But what’s funny is that despite the attire requirements some folks were wearing dresses but with large packs on their back, or a slacks and polo but with slippers on. We also got to meet other Filipino participants like the crew from Sports Unlimited and some Mindanao Bloggers/Agents.
The program started on time, we got an introduction on the state of tourism in Malaysia in general and also a focus on Sports Tourism. After which a portion from Malaysian Airlines. The thing that caught my Attention here is about their new promo, the ASEAN Pass. The ASEAN Pass is basically a set of 4 tickets segmented on any Malaysian Airlines destination within the ASEAN countries for only US$229 on economy class and US$729 on business class. It’s actually very cheap when you think about it. The economy tickets is great for backpacking around South East Asia but flying with a bit of class. Of course the only thing to consider here is that the price doesn’t include travel tax coming out of each countries. Still if you add in those, it would still be very cheap for 4 segments of air travel across countries.
The after program dinner turned out to be a Merdeka Eve celebration. From the music provided by the Live Ghazal Music accompanied our dinner. It was amusing they sang the Filipino Song, “Dahil Sayo“. Dinner was a Muhibbah Set Menu starting with Sup Ayam then under the lid are Ikan Tenggiri Masak Lemak Cili Padi, Roasted Crispy Chicken, Daging Masak Hitam, Kari kambing, Lob Hon Chai and Tofu Sweet and Sour, ending dessert with Pengat Nangka. All tasted good with the dessert tasting like our very own ginatan.
The music started to get upbeat and the crowd-pleaser Chairman of Tourism Datuk Dr Victor Wee gave a few song performance with the band. There were also some video presentation on the Merdeka. Though we couldn’t understand most of the language, the scene clearly pictured how the deceleration of independence took place 52 years ago. Aside from that, there were parts recreating the Merdeka Scene that evening that seem to segue to another performance. The room has this really festive vibe as people started waving their flags to the beat of the music. Before the celebration ended, the participants were given their Certificates of Participation for the Mega Familiarization tour.
Since we can’t join the celebration within the Parliament on Merdeka Day, we decided to visit the Merdeka Square where part of the celebration would also be held. It was late already and some of the lights were already off. Traffic has been barred at the area for tomorrow’s celebration. There were considerably a lot of people there that night as well. Abdul Samad Building still looks dramatic that evening. It was a festive evening and we head back to our hotel happy and full. And there are more reasons to celebrate aside from Merdeka since the next day we head off to Melaka.
For Inquiries on the ASEAN Pass, you may call the Philippine Branches of Malaysian Airlines at:
Malaysia Airlines Manila
23rd Floor LKG Tower,
6801 Ayala Avenue
Malaysia Airlines Cebu
Bigfoot Center, 2/F-Annex,
F. Ramos Street,
Cogon Central (Ramos),
Cebu City 6000
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.