Guest Post: A Pinoy’s Perspective of Kuala Lumpur

This guest blog post is written by Mr. Jep Barroga about his Kuala Lumpur traveling experience. He’s a freelance writer at day; at night, you can find him listening to 80’s and 90’s music.

One of the perks of being a freelance writer is that I don’t have to beat the rush hour traffic to be at a desk by 9AM and to clock out by 5PM. I wear the “free” in freelance writer with pride.

Speaking of freedom, I was able to land a client in Kuala Lumpur who wanted me to write for their website’s blog section. It’s all fun and good, and I thought it was a great opportunity when my client invited me over for a meet-up. I was eager to learn more about what I’ll be writing about, and I thought I can also catch up with an old college friend who lives in the city.

So I called up my college buddy and told him about my plans. He was more than happy to accommodate me. And so I booked a flight to Kuala Lumpur (the cheapest one I could find), and waited for the day of trip doing some research on KL and my assignment.

The day finally came and I couldn’t have been more excited. The flight was quick and what greeted me was the sight of a world-class airport that was the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. My friend couldn’t pick me up as he was at work but that was fine as my first stop was to pay a courtesy visit to my client.

I boarded a bus to the city center and found my client’s office with the help of the map on my smartphone and some asking around. The locals are VERY friendly. I thought it would be hard to communicate in English there but turns out it wasn’t that difficult at all.

After the meeting with my client, the next thing on my to-do list was to find good food. THAT I had no problem with at all in KL. It was close to 6PM and my client’s office was a little close to where my friend worked so I opted to find his office and wait for him so we could get some chow and go to his place together.

That was the start of my four-week stay in Kuala Lumpur. My buddy said that it’s possible to spend a weekend in KL under RM500, and so, I also took that as a challenge to see if it’s true—me being always on the lookout for budget travel opportunities. In the course of my stay, I was able to explore the city and to learn more about my new assignment.

As someone who grew up in Manila, it’s easy to feel at home right in KL. The locals are as friendly as in Manila and I’ve made new friends here. I could also only say superlatives about the people I’ve met and worked with, as they are some of the most professional people I’ve ever met.

But there are differences between Manila and Kuala Lumpur, which manifest in the infrastructure of the two capitals. KL has the Petronas Towers while I struggle to name a famous building in Makati. Okay, RCBC Tower and LG Tower come to mind, but how many people outside the Philippines would recognise those buildings?

The transportation system in KL is also something that Manila can learn from. I had no problem going around KL by hopping on different trains and buses. I’m beginning to think that Manila has the worst traffic problems in the world.

What Manila and Kuala Lumpur have in common though is the abundance of food choices. As I write this in a restaurant where the smoke from the barbeque grill wafts to my table, I can’t help but reminisce about the satay place near my friend’s pad and think about the times we walked to the neighbourhood restaurant for some roti. I will always cherish my time in KL and the people I’ve met there.

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