Friday, September 19, 2014

Recently, memes have been appearing all of a sudden on my Facebook feed.

It first started with a Top 10 Books in My Life. Being a reader myself, I was more than happy to sit down and ponder on which authors and titles have really had an impact on my life.

The next thing I know, there is another meme for Top 10 Movies, followed by Top 10 Songs. I even saw one on Top 10 Bible verses. Seriously.

Another meme that I've been seeing is Top 20 Favourite Cities. In Tipz's latest blog entry, he enumerated his favourite cities. After commenting that his list was nice, I was somewhat "tagged" to do the list myself.

Because I want to use the hasthag #humblebrag, I'll just post my list here as well. Haha!

My Top 20 Cities. More than being a favourite destination, these are the cities that have left an impact on the past three decades of my life.

In no particular order:

Bangkok, Thailand: First overseas country visited with a partner.

Daegu, South Korea: First overseas country visited and made awesome friends!

San Jose, Mindoro Occidental: Where I learned lessons that I will never learn within the four walls of any university.

Jolo, Sulu: If not for all the fighting, Mindanao truly is a beautiful region.

Iloilo, Iloilo: If I have to go back, I would want to live and retire in this city/province.

El Nido, Palawan: Why I am so in love with the beach.

Tagum, Davao: Good memories of summer break when I was still in uni.

Dumaguete, Negros Oriental: Coastal city. University town. Good food. Friendly people. How can one not fall in love?

Vigan, Ilocos Sur: For anyone who wants to travel back through time.

Singapore, Singapore: Adopted home. Love at first sight.

Malacca, Malaysia: Historical town. Perfect location for a short getaway.

Bagan, Myanmar: The best sunrise experience ever.

Kathmandu, Nepal: Read my description about San Jose, Mindoro Occidental.

Brussels, Belgium: Completely caught by surprise that I will fall in love with this city.

Vatican City: I could have died the day I saw Pope Francis and I would have still been one happy Catholic guy.

Amsterdam, Netherlands: Easily became my favorite European city and not for the reasons that Amsterdam is often popular for.

Siem Reap, Cambodia: Seeing the Angkor temples made me in awe of human talent, intelligence and skill.

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam: Crazy night with two friends.

Quezon City, NCR: As much as I detest Metro Manila, Quezon City is my home.

Other cities I'm hoping to see in the near future:

New York
San Francisco
Machu Picchu
Bruges
Ghent
Paris
Madrid
Barcelona
Athens
London
Venice
Florence
Melbourne
Sydney
Auckland
Tagbilaran

Thursday, September 18, 2014

TBT: First love...



Since Thursday is Throwback Thursday, I thought I'd make a brief entry about the guy I first fell in love with.

Ladies, gentlemen and undecided, meet Jack McPhee. Hehe!

The character of Jack McPhee appeared on mainstream television at a time when I was having my own interior struggle.

Seeing this guy on TV was a source of strength and courage. Seriously.

I came to a point when I myself said, "I'm so not afraid anymore."

For that, I will always be grateful to Jack McPhee and Dawson's Creek.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Random blah about TMR...



I'm currently reading James Dashner's The Maze Runner.

Compared to Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, TMR is an extremely easy read.

Perhaps because it is meant for a younger crowd. Perhaps because the author does not use words like "censorious," "trepidation," "redolent," "supercilious," "bilious," "crackerjack," and so on. Haha! Perhaps because the story flows very well.

On a side note, I do like it when I encounter words I don't use in my ordinary conversations. The good thing about the Kindle is that I can highlight the word and bookmark it. What would be even better is for me to write down all these new words in a notebook. I ought to include it in my daily convos I suppose. Haha!

Going back to the book, I was able to cover 80% in a matter of 4 days. I can't even write how long it took me to cover a quarter of The Goldfinch. Haha!

It's a good thing that I decided to start reading TMR after The Goldfinch. The former serves as a good break before I read another Dickensian work like The Goldfinch. Haha!

One more good thing about TMR is that it is part of a trilogy with a prequel. Hence, the need need to think about what book to read next is swiftly eliminated. Haha!

How faithful was the movie to the book? Hmm, I would say that the movie has significant differences compared to the book. The basic storyline is there. The execution is highly different. I am glad that I am reading the book now. It allows me to pinpoint the differences between the movie storyline and the book storyline.

The recent trilogies I have read are The Hunger Games, Divergent and now, The Maze Runner. First place goes to The Hunger Games, obviously. In terms of good book and good movie, it would have to go to The Maze Runner. That leaves the third place to Divergent. I enjoyed the movie very much. I couldn't say the same about the books. In particular, Insurgent was an excruciating read. Haha!

Thankfully, I'm done with the series. Thankfully, TMR is turning out to be much better. Let's see how the second and third book, as well as the prequel, are.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sounding board day...



Recently, I met up with a friend for a meal. On the way to our usual food place, we started to talk about a topic that (almost) every AJ guy and girl I suppose have to deal with - coming out.

We were having our usual topics for conversation and somehow, our chitchat moved into the above mentioned topic.

For the next forty minutes or so, I listened to my friend talk about his concerns and at the same time, we enjoyed the delicious meal set in front of us.

Before we parted ways, my friend said, "Hey, thanks for listening."

On the same day, another friend opened up to me. The topic this time was about relationships, or the lack of it.

I knew it was important for this friend to have a talk because this friend was extra chatty that day. On any normal day, our lengthy conversations would be hours after the day has ended.

In any case, I just listened to my friend speak about every bit of worry and concern.

Every so often, I would nod my head, voice out an "I agree," "I understand." The objective really was just to let my friend pour out all thoughts.

After our chitchat, my friend thanked me for the listening ear.

I wondered if there would be a third friend who needed a sounding board that day. Some people do say that things come in threes.

Not during that day. No third friend came.

Just before I turned in, I felt grateful to have friends who open up to me. It matters to me because I feel that there are friends who find me trustworthy. It matters to me that there are friends who feel that with me, they can lift the veil.

At the same time, I am grateful to have friends that I can share my thoughts and feelings without having to edit my facts or deliberately leaving out some details. It is a blessing to have someone who can and will listen.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Day 5/7: Positivity Challenge and a cheesy Taiwanese film...




Hmm, a lot of things to be extra grateful for today. It's tough to choose just three. Haha!

In no particular order: 1. Sundate with Mom: Started with vearly grocery, early lunch, trip to the cinema, visit to a good friend and ended the day by hearing Mass at St. Anthony's.

2. Getting to see baby Lucas and Mr. and Mrs. B again after a loooong time!

3. Wonderful Mass at St. Anthony's. Tonight's homily was awesome again!

Today was another long day, but I found it to be rather relaxing. I dragged my Mom to see the Taiwanese film Cafe. Waiting. Love., which I've been really meaning to see. Hehe!

Thankfully, she didn't fall asleep. In fact, I think she even enjoyed it. I must say it wasn't on the same level as I did.

Who knew a bowl of hot tofu pudding and an Owner's Special Blend coffee could make one tear up? Haha! If I weren't with my Mom, I might have ended up crying again. Hahaha!

Well, now Mom knows her eldest son is a major sucker for cheese Taiwanese films.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mama Mia's back in Singapura...





Today was a loooong day! LOL!

It started at 3 in the morning. I had to wake up for a few minutes at the ungodly hour to call my brother and ensure that Mom was able to check-in, get past immigration and all.

Two and a half hours later, I was up already because I wanted to do laundry before heading to the airport to fetch my Mom.

Her flight was supposed to land at a little past 9. I reached Changi right on time. In fact, I had to wait some twenty minutes more before I saw her collecting her luggage from the carousel and heading out to the arrival area.

As I expected, Mom wanted to rest and get some sleep first due to her early flight.

It worked well for me because I wanted to go to the gym for Body Combat. Haha!

From the gym, I headed back to rest a bit and charge my phone. Mom and I then left for the city at half past four.

That gave us just enough time to have a very leisurely walk around the Raffles Place/Merlion Park/Esplanade area before heading to dinner.

Her request was to try the chilli crab. That's how No Signboard was decided on.

I'm not a huge fan of crabs but I'm glad that crab lover friends were able to join.

We finished dindin close to 9PM. It was a very filling selection of dishes. Thankfully, we had to walk quite a bit for us to reach Raffles Place MRT.

As I had anticipated, we would reach home a little past 10. It's not even 11 yet but I'm really tired and just ready to zzz.

I would have wanted to read a few more chapters of The Maze Runner, but I'm just too tired. Haha! On a side note, TMR is such an easy read. It was a good decision to read it right after Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch. I started yesterday and I'm already halfway through the book. Then again, I had a lot of time to read going to the airport, heading back, while queueing for Combat, going to the city. Hehe!

Day 1 done. 15 more days to go. Haha! Welcome back to Singapore, Mama!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Day 1: Positivity Challenge...

Because I'm a sucker for memes, I'm doing the Positivity Challenge. Haha! Thanks, Alexie, for the tag.

Three things I'm grateful for today:

1. Having the strength of will to get up this morning at 520 so I can go to the 7AM Pump class.

2. Hearing some good news from ex-colleague Gemma Rosey. Excited for her.

3. Happy email from James Jean. Soon, soon. Haha!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Few more days til Mrs. M arrives...



A few more days before the arrival of Mom.

It's her second time to visit me here. I'm glad that her visit this year will be under better circumstances compared to her visit last year (when we were still mourning the passing on of my dear father).

I'm looking forward to seeing Mama again, but I have to say I am also preparing myself to have the patience of a saint. Hehe!

To be honest, I'm not sure what she'll do on the days that I will have to go to the office. I would really rather that she just take it easy and enjoy the absence of things to do. I am quite sure though that she will find something to keep herself busy. I think I got that characteristic from her. Hehe!

The other thing I'm looking forward to is our brief holiday in Borobudur. I'm praying we will be blessed with good weather so that she can enjoy Prambanan and Borobudur.

It's a bit of a circus at the office right now so I definitely could use a break.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Luckily, I stumbled upon this church...



I woke up this morning feeling like I've been gifted with a new left ankle. Haha! I was so thankful that throughout the night, whatever it was that was supposed to function and heal the "sprain" did its job. I woke up feeling no pain at all and I am just grateful to be able to function normally again.

Needless to say, I was in high spirits when I left the house this morning.

Similar to last Sunday, the morning schedule was packed. I had a museum shift at 1130. I decided to hear Mass before heading to the museum. Thankfully, there are a few morning Masses in the city I can choose to attend.

Originally, my plan was to hear Mass at the same church I went to last Sunday. However, I arrived at the church feeling that there was no Mass that was going to happen at 9AM. It was already 845. I didn't see any church wardens guiding people to their seats. The church lights and fans were still off. There was no choir practicing the hymns. After saying a short prayer, I got up and left the church.

Thanks to my trusted Starhub data plan, I was able to find two other churches I could rush to for a morning Mass. First option was the Church of Sacred Heart at Tank Road. The second option was the Church of St. Bernadette at Zion Road for the 930AM Mass.

It was a few minutes before 9AM and I was having difficulty hailing a cab. I knew I would not make it to Tank Road in time.

I decided to take the train to Orchard and from Orchard, I took a short cab ride to the Church of St. Bernadette. Not only did I arrive early for Mass, I even managed to go to confession. Yay! I've been meaning to go to confession this morning and I'm glad I was able to do so at St. Bernadette's.

It was my first time to hear at St. Bernadette's. From the outside, the church looks old and 1940s. I was pleasantly surprised to see how modern and how spacious it was as soon as I stepped inside the church.

More importantly, I was happy to hear Mass from a priest who knew how to give a good homily. Today's homily talked about fraternal correction. He talked about how truth must be accompanied by two things - love and prayers. If one is going to do "fraternal correction" out of pride, self-righteousness, and the like, it is not fraternal correction. Fraternal correction is when one corrects his/her neighbour out of love for the other person. In my personal opinion, it is a very timely homily, especially in a society where we easily get angry or irritated by the "different" ways of the people surrounding us. Hehe.

The priests at this church and that church should attend Mass here and get pointers on how to give homilies. Haha! Other churches worth the trip because of the good priests are St. Anthony Padua in Woodlands, Church of St. Mary of the Angels in Bukit Batok, Church of the Holy Cross in Clementi, and Church of St. Francis Xavier in Serangoon Gardens.

The takeaway from this morning's Mass is a beautiful passage from St. Paul: "Love is the one thing that cannot hurt your neighbour; that is why it is the answer to every one of the commandments."

Couldn't agree more.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Home boy today...

Stayed at home today.

Well, most of the day I stayed at home. I only went out in the morning to see the doctor. My "ankle sprain" took me by surprise yesterday evening. I felt the pain start at 530. By the time, I got home I was already in hell.

I thought it was going to be a sleepless night. I lay in bed hoping I could find a position for my foot that wouldn't cause so much hurt. I was wrong. The slightest twitch gave the feeling of a jackhammer boring into my ankle.

Thankfully, I found some spare tabs from the last episode. After downing it with a glass water, which involved dragging myself to the kitchen, I managed to fall asleep somehow.

The other times I went out during the day was just to buy food. Other than that, I stayed home in my room.

Still, it was a productive day. I didn't get to go out and go to the gym and do something else I would have wanted to do. I did however get to go through my closet and sort clothes for donation and for sending back to my bros. I managed to do my laundry and change sheets. I gave my mom a call and we had a chat about her upcoming visit. I managed to move forward the novel I'm currently reading. I'll save the review for another post but let's just say I'm glad I managed to power through with reading the title.

Now, I'm just watching some episodes of Gossip Girl and I'm going to prepare for my errands tomorrow. I'm glad the "ankle sprain" was a very short episode.

It makes me wonder though why the sudden onset. I've been going to the gym four times a week. I drink three litres of water every day. I watch what I eat. What else am I not doing right?

I'm a 28-year-old (?!) guy with the internal organs of a 60-year-old man. Lol!