TAXES! It could not suck more. Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system. I am fond of multitasking, and while I am writing this on the side, I am also preparing my documents to file for my annual income tax return. If you have been employed by at least two different employers in a year, you are not eligible for substitute filing of annual income tax return/Form 1700 (your employer will usually file this for you if you were employed by them for the whole year). Since the company I was working for got acquired some time last year, I have two different employers on file for 2016. I am now required by law to submit my documents directly to BIR. You can submit online (as per someone I talked to last year from RDO 47 while I was filing for 2015) by downloading the offline eBIRForms package from their website. Filing for your annual income tax return isn’t the stressful part, though, it’s seeing the grand total of how much of your hard-earned money went into the government’s pocket. And to think that my money is partially funding the construction of too many decorative traffic islands that only worsen the traffic here in Cavite. Ugh.
The amount of money that was withheld for taxes could have easily gone to my travel funds. It’s been three months today since I last booked a flight. I have other goals in life that also need funding, and I am trying to minimize my travel spending to help make those come true. Imagine all I could do with that cash! I wish there’s an easy way to get out of this country, like boarding a bus and crossing the border, just so I could say I’ve gone away for a while. That was exactly what we did though, the day before Christmas. We got on a bus to Malaysia for the day.
We’ve never been to Legoland Malaysia, and we thought it would be nice to take a day trip to visit it. Dad bought us tickets to the amusement park as well as the shuttle bus from a tour agency located within the Singapore Flyer. The tickets he got were for the 9 AM bus, but there are buses that leave earlier. I suggest that you opt to get the earliest bus out, especially when traveling during the busy season or on weekends. We got to the pickup area by 8 AM and had our kaya toast (I’m not that fond of coconut but kaya is the bomb) for breakfast.
The bus left on time and the supposedly short drive to the border took hours. Traffic was slow, and the lines in the immigration were long. It was Christmas weekend so a lot of people are either vacationing or going home to their families. Traveling during the holidays could be exhausting because a lot of people had the same brilliant idea that you did. If you’re also crossing the border via a tour bus, you will also have to wait for every passenger to board the bus before you move along. I’m out of words to describe this endeavor. So. Many. Lines.
We arrived at Legoland Malaysia at around 1:30 in the afternoon. Can you imagine how arduous our journey was? We were all hungry by that time, only to realize that none of us exchanged our currencies from SGD (Singaporean Dollar) to MYR (Malaysian Ringgit). We were hopeful that the KFC located outside of the park would accept credit cards, but they didn’t and we wasted about 30 minutes of our limited time in Malaysia waiting to find out.
Unlike in Singapore where the printed out ticket (or ticket saved on your mobile phone) is sufficient enough to gain entry, we had to queue up in one counter to exchange our print outs to tickets. Only one counter was available for this, which predictably created a lot of bottleneck especially since most of the tourists from tour buses (like us), had already bought our tickets online.
When we got inside, our first order of business is to find somewhere to eat. Luckily, as with all theme parks, there was a cafe near the entrance that serves sandwiches and accepts credit cards. I had a salmon sandwich with chips, and as with most amusement parks, the food is average. Nothing remarkable, really.
Once you get inside, one of the first attractions that you will see is the miniature attractions made of Legos, Miniland. It is probably my favorite feature of the park as it is fascinating to think about how everything was created. Some of the attractions also have moving parts!
This one was supposedly the Lego version of Pangasinan. I can’t remember which part but I distinctly recall mentioning how I’ve been there but cannot imagine this scenario. Maybe a lot of things has changed since they made this, and when I visited.
It did not come as a surprise that queues for every ride had a waiting time. Hence, we passed on most of it since our bus leaves at 6 PM. It was also unfortunate that a lot of people (mostly parents with young kids) think that they have the right to cut the line. It was a park that was mostly filled with children, and the rides are all kid-friendly. But these shenanigans from park visitors give out a bad example for kids to grow up into entitled adults with no respect for other people. Ugh. The worst part about it was that it also started to rain really hard at around 4 PM. We were next in line (after spending more than thirty minutes in the queue and blocking annoying line jumpers) for an outdoor ride (Project-X) but the ride had to stop their operations to maintain safety standards. When we got out of the queue, everyone (including us) were running for shelter. We took this photo when the rain turned to drizzle. A few snapshots in, and the drizzle changed its mind and started getting stronger again. We had no choice but to run for the bus stop by 5:30 PM.
(While running, we remembered that we forgot to take a group photo with the giant sign outside. Big thanks to the stranger who saw us struggling in the rain and volunteered to quickly take a picture.)
We finally got back to Singapore around 8 PM, after another round of queueing and spending some time in the immigration. Exiting Malaysia was by far quicker than entering it! We were all knackered from the rain, the bus ride, and hanging out at the immigration that we all voted on eating at the hawker center near the apartment. We had veggies, a ginormous oyster cake, and salted egg covered prawns. I’m not sure why, but the salted egg trend has started to get massive. It’s on all kinds of chips and food now. Weird.
And that’s about it for our short Malaysia trip. I already have C onboard the plan to just fly to Malaysia the next time we visit, because I ain’t going through that again!
TEESH || PHILIPPINES