I’m Dr. Angelo Nino M. Santos or Doc Gelo to my students and blog readers. I am a Filipino licensed General Physician, Medical Educator and the Blogger behind Beyond Toxicity. I’ve been teaching my profession since 2004 and have been blogging since 2007 from the Philippines and when I got a chance to work as a Lecturer in a Medical University-College in Penang back in 2010, I continued my passion in blogging in Malaysia.
I am married to my wife, Cristina and have a son named, Gabby. The three of us are currently based in Butterworth, Penang, Malaysia. I remember I only wanted to work abroad and had no idea of Malaysia prior to 2010 except for having the picture of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers etched on my mind. Back then, I never heard anything about Penang and just grabbed the opportunity that came my way.Thankfully, my second home, Malaysia and my very own country, the Philippines have so many things in common. Not many people know that Filipinos’ race is Malay, so apparently, the culture, lifestyle, tradition, and even some food and some words in our languages (Tagalog and Bahasa Melayu) have similarities making my adjustment of living abroad less taxing. I also consider being with my family while working abroad as one of my greatest blessings! It doesn’t happen to all Overseas Filipino Workers.
My family and I have been occupying a 3-bedroom-2-toilet-unit in the 11th floor of an apartment in Butterworth, Penang (mainland) with a priceless view of the bay fronting George Town. Our home’s tiny balcony offers a breathtaking sunset views every 7:30PM (yes, sun down in this part of Asia happens in that hour!). Renting a unit in this part of Penang is a bit cheaper compared to Malaysia’s capital and in Manila, Philippines. And in general, I can dare say that cost of living in Penang is a lot less expensive compared to my own country.
Of course, like most people who are living and working abroad, we didn’t only leave our country of origin temporarily but more so the comforts that go with it. We don’t have anyone to rely on particularly in doing household chores for us but ourselves. I guess that’s petty to some, but a challenge for my family and I to do everything in our house with rolled sleeves after a whole day at work, or in the case of our son, after his day in school.
I always mention in my blog posts about Penang that being exposed to Malaysia’s diversities in food, cultures, religions and traditions have been the most rewarding of all our experiences in my family’s expat life. My family and I appreciate our proximity and accessibility to George Town, Penang Island’s capital (Pulau Pinang); it’s inscribed as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Admiring its historic and colorful shop houses, fascinating museums, incredibly interesting clan houses, variety of places of worship, the entire architecture and interiors of everything in George Town has been definitely enriching! No wonder Penang is one of the favorite states in Malaysia where expats choose to live and spend their retiring years.
If you’re interested in following my family’s adventures in Penang, do frequent my blog, Beyond Toxicity, fortunately awarded as Best Expat Blog Winner by Ministry of Tourism Malaysia in 2 consecutive years-2012 and 2013.