AMSEP MALAYSIA for Philippines 2012
By Gienah Evangelista
Last November 23-29, 2012, a group of 10 medical students from the University of the Philippines-Manila were chosen as delegates to visit Malaysia for the Asian Medical Students’ Exchange Program. Hosted by the Universitas Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), it was a week packed with various academic and cultural activities that explored the Malaysian educational system, especially that in the medical field; the health care system in both government and non-government hospitals; and the different faces of Malaysia through it’s history, art, architecture, language, people and food.
The delegates for this exchange program are as follows:
Noel Bernando, UP MSSR-IPPNW
Benedict Crisostomo, UP MSSR-IPPNW
Kimberly Anne Ednalino, UP MSSR-IPPNW
Amanda Christine Esquivel, UP MSSR-IPPNW
Gienah Evangelista, UP MSSR-IPPNW
Johna Pauline Mandac, UP MSSR-IPPNW
Joseph Alexander Paguio, UP MSSR-IPPNW
Jose Conrado Paulino, UP MSSR-IPPNW
Nicole Marella Tan, UP MSSR-IPPNW
Harroun Valdimir Wong, UP MSSR-IPPNW
Day 0: November 23, 2012
Six delegates (Bernardo, Crisostomo, Evangelista, Mandac, Paguio and Wong) arrived at around 5:40 pm at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, where they were warmly welcomed by AMSEP-UKM volunteers/ organizing committee (OC).
The first batch of Filipino delegates then rode a private bus to the Sunway Pyramids, an Egyptian-inspired mall located at Subang Jaya, to go shopping and site seeing for the first hour.
Then, dinner immediately followed at the Penyang Café, where delegates first had a taste of authentic Malaysian food, specifically influenced by the Penyang cuisine. Food served included: Char Kuey Teow, White Coffee, Cendol and Beef Rendang.
After dinner, the delegates with their partner OC went around the mall for the second time to take a quick snapshot at the entrance before the group travelled their way to Plaza Rah where the delegates will be staying for the rest of the program.
Day 1: November 24, 2012
Day 1 started with the delegates having breakfast at the University Hostel with the AMSEP-UKM volunteers. Then, the group made their way to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), where some of the AMSEP-UKM volunteers were dropped off to welcome the four arriving Filipino delegates (Ednalino, Esquivel, Paulino and Tan).
From luxury cars to everyday vehicles to motorcycles, the remaining AMSEP-UKM volunteers with the delegates got a glimpse of Malaysia’s automobile industry as they toured the National Automobile Museum.
The two parties then rejoined at the KLIA to buckle up for a 2-3 hour drive to Melaka, a southern state of Malaysia that has been known for it’s historical relevance, specifically in the country’s colonial imprints namely: British, Dutch and Portuguese.
Lunch was served at a cafeteria along the way to Melaka.
Upon arrival at Melaka, the delegates with the OCs relived part of Malaysia’s history through a cultural tour, which included the Melaka Clock Tower, the Stadthuys Museum, and the Cheng Ho Cultural Museum.
After such intellectual tidbits, it was the delegates’ gustatory and visual senses plus the OC’s bargaining skills that was put to the test as the group explored the shops and kiosks at Jonker Street.
The group then made their way to the rented apartments where the delegates were allowed to freshen up for the opening party at Bert’s Garden.
The opening party was a night filled with great food, great company and a well-prepared program consisting of the introduction of the AMSEP-UKM volunteers, welcoming speeches from Chan Yin Xin (AMSEP officer) and Tan Chim Yoong (OC Chairperson), expectation setting for the delegates, performances from the OCs and team building activities.
Day 2: November 25, 2012
The day started with the group traversing to Jonker Street to eat breakfast at the Ma Ma Taste, a Baba Nyonya (Chinese-Malay) restaurant.
After the hearty meal, the group made their way to Porta De Santiago, one of the main gates of the once-built Portuguese fortress called the A Famosa. Here, the delegates with the OCs got to get a glimpse of the remains of said entrance, the Dutch graveyard and up to location of the ruins of the A Famosa Fortress itself.
But the introduction and exploration of Malaysia’s history did not stop there for the group then made their way to the Maritime Museum. The delegates and the OCs had a closer look of Melaka’s maritime history through a tour inside of this museum which was a life-size replica of a Portuguese ship known as Flor De La Mar.
The group then had another shopping time as they visited the local market and then at Dataran Pahlawan (a shopping mall) before they had lunch at the foodcourt.
After everyone has finished their meal, the party then travelled their way to the A Famosa Water Resort. Both the delegates and the OCs had a good taste of adventure and exhilaration as the group tried one exciting slide to another.
After an afternoon of games at the water resort, the group then prepared for their return to Kuala Lumpur. But first, an Indian dinner was served to the delegates at a local Indian Restaurant.
As the group made their way back to Kuala Lumpur, the OCs presented a song-number using the names of the food that was served during dinner. The delegates arrived at Plaza Rah, Kuala Lumpur around 11:30 pm.
Day 3: November 26, 2012
It was an academic morning for the delegates as they spent the morning at the university hospital, the Hospital Universitas Kebangsaan Malaysia. But before anything else, a courtesy call was paid to Prof. Dr. Nabishah Mohammad, the Deputy Dean of Faculty UKM for Undergraduates and Alumni.
With the group dressed in white coats, a hospital tour commenced which included visits to laboratories of Pathology and Diagnostics, Histopathology, Hematology, Cytology and Microbiology.
An orientation and tour of the laboratories related to the Malaysian Cohort, an ongoing tie up project of the hospital with the government, was held at the UKM Medical Molecular Biology Institute (UMBI) and was facilitated by Dr. Tazlina Nordin and Mr. Mohd Arman bin Kamaruddin .
And of course, a hospital tour would not be complete with out a sneak peak of the wards, which included that of Ophthalmology, Urology, ENT, Neurology and Neurosurgery.
After more than half a day of medical-related tours, the group then travelled to the Cocoa Boutique to get a sweet taste of Malaysia’s quality chocolates.
The group was then brought to Kuala Lumpur’s known shopping mall, the Pavillon and also to the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center’s (KLCC) shopping mall itself, Suria.
Dinner was then served at Suria’ foodcourt and then the group took pleasure in taking photos of the KLCC twin towers at the KLCC park.
Day 4: November 27, 2012
It was yet another academic-filled day as the delegates joined the second year’s lecture on Chronic Obstructive Respiratory Disease at the Faculti Kebangsaan.
Following the lecture was a quick visit to the Kamal Bookstore, a known source of relatively cheap medical books. Then delegates the separated into groups of one or two to join the second year’s Problem Based Learning session on Lung Carcinoma.
But the academic feel of Faculti Kebangsaan’s educational system did not stop there as the delegates then visited the Department of Anatomy Museum and the Dissection Hall.
After such, the group travelled their way to the National Textile Museum where the delegates were introduced to the history and trend of Malaysian textile and where each of them were given the opportunity to try doing batik.
The activity was then followed by the visit to the KL City Tour Museum where the delegates got to see the whole of Kuala Lumpur in miniature. The KL City Tour was then ended at the Arch Store where handcrafted wooden souvenirs can be bought.
And to end the day with a blast, the group excitedly made their way more than 80 floors up the Petronas Twin Tower to reach the Skybridge and viewing deck.
Day 5:November 28, 2012
A visit to the Prince Court Medical Center started Day 5 of the delegates. The visit commenced with a brief introduction of the hospital and was then followed by a hospital tour.
Next was a visit to the Rumah Titian Kasih, a shelter home for Muslim orphans, single mothers, disabled, senior citiizens and homeless family.
After also being welcomed by the founder herself, Puan Sharifah Adlan, the delegates with the kids of the shelter walked to the lake park until they reached the playground where the delegates with the OCs shared food with the children.
The delegates then buckled up for a 1- 1½ hour drive to Putrajaya. The Putrajaya tour consists of visits to: the Wetland Park,
The Seri Wawasan Bridge,
The Putrajaya Tasik Cruise, which sailed the Putrajaya Lake and showcased different landmarks,
The office and mosque of the Prime Minister,
And the Millennium Monument Putrajaya, a national monument with etchings of the historical years of Malaysia.
Day 6: November 29, 2012
Day 6 started with a visit to Masjid Negara (National Mosque) in Kuala Lumpur. Then, the delegates with the OCs made a stop at the Central Market and Petaling Street for shopping of more affordable-priced souvenirs and for a quick Chinese lunch.
After such, the whole afternoon was then filled with adventure and excitement as the group played Challenge 3 of the SkyTrex Adventure.
And to cap the night off, the group then travelled their way to the heartwarming closing party. The program consist of an exchange of experiences and messages from the UKM students and the delegates, great food, awarding of certificates, gift giving, performances from the UKM students and the cultural presentation of the delegates which included games that featured different Filipino food, a video presentation about the Philippines and a chorale presentation of Kumukutikutitap.
Day 7: November 30, 2012
The last day of the delegates in Malaysia started with appreciation of carefully crafted pewter wares at the Royal Selangor shop.
At around 11:00 am, it was time for four delegates (Ednalino, Esquivel, Paulino and Tan) to go to the KLIA for their flight back to the Philippines. The four delegates were waved goodbye by some of the organizing committee members who accompanied them to the airport.
The rest then made their way to Levain, a boulangerie-patisserie for a French lunch.
After waiting for the OCs that went to the airport, the group made their way to the LCCT for the remaining six delegates’ turn to fly back to the Philippines. But before that, the delegates had a last shot of shopping spree which ended with them surprising the OCs by wearing the AMSEP Malaysia t-shirt that was given to them.
Indeed it was a week of exchanges not only academically and culturally but more so, it was a week of adventure where experiences and friendships were cultivated, which truly made it as a trip of a lifetime.
Note: Some photos were from AMSEP-UKM Multimedia Committee.