Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Queermas party... Asean edition... hehe...

Sunday night was spent with Pg Boy's friends.

His housemate and good friend E organized the get-together among the group. Good Pinoy friend Ian was there too so yay.

Come to think of it, it's because of Ian that I met this group. Had it not been for him, and had he not invited me to join him at rowing, I dunno how I would've met the entire group.

That night, the group included Filipinos, Singaporeans, a Malaysian-Chinese, Indonesians, and an American (E's dad who flew in for business and to see E).

There was no theme for the food. Hehe. But, the good thing about this was that there was a variety of food - sushi, popish, an assortment of pies, cheese and crackers, chocolate cake, chocolate cupcakes, and wine, lotsa wine. Haha! Ian also made his really popular vodka sprite mix.

I guess one of my fave moments of the night was just after everyone has already eaten and almost everyone settled down at the long sofa to continue to chitchat. Pg Boy and I brought out our bag with gifts. I love the look of surprise (and appreciation) on everyone. Hehe!

Since I was off last Thursday and Friday, I took care of the shopping after checking with Pg Boy if he was okay with the gift ideas. His assignment was to write the individual messages for the gift cards.

You can take the Filipino boy out of his city. But you can't take certain traditions in that Filipino boy. It reminded me of the Queermas party in Manila where everyone has gifts for everyone. (MkSurf8 and Chris, your gifts are with me. Late shopping. Ergo, I wasn't able to give during the Pinoy Queermas party. Hehe!)

It was definitely a good dinner. No, it was definitely a good first Christmas away from home thanks to all friends who still gave the gift of Christmas through their house parties, even if we were in a country that doesn't really celebrate Christmas.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas eve dindin...

Because it's my first Christmas away from home, and because the last time I celebrated Christmas with someone special was five (or was it six?) years ago, I really wanted to make it more memorable.

Thanks to Google, I found two good choices - Carousel at the Royal Plaza at Scotts and one of the restaurants at the Meritus Mandarin.

Both had good reviews. I called both dining venues. However, since it was just a few days away from Christmas eve, both restaurants were already fully booked.

A little more Googling and I was led to a restaurant at the Pan Pacific Hotel.

It seemed like a really good choice.

I had no idea whether the food was good, but I was confident that the venue was going to be super. So I decided to go ahead and book a table for two.

Saturday night. Pg Boy came from another appointment. I came from my home. We agreed to meet at 7PM at Suntec Convention Center.

Close to 7PM, I get a text from Pg Boy that he's running late. It's Christmas and I was really excited for dindin, so I just stayed cool. I called the restau and they were more than happy to hold the table for 30 more minutes.

Christmas can still be saved. Haha!

By 730, Pg Boy arrived. We walked to Pan Pacific right across the street. We got into the lift. Someone already pressed 37. I moved really close to the window to get a good view of the city during the ride up.

The lift doors opened and we were at our destination - Hai Tien Lo.

I thought it was a really nice restau. After giving my name to the reception, we were led to our table. I asked for a table that gave a nice view of the city, and I was really glad that they granted my request.

Haha! I dunno if it was because of the formal setting or what, but it felt like we were on a first date. I felt nervous, and was a bit tense. Haha! We were back to our usual selves once the food was started to be served.

The starter was a deep-fried prawn with wasabi mayonnaise sauce and barbecued duck. Soup was braised shark's fin with fish maw and chicken. There was also spare ribs with seafood spring rolls, followed by poached white cabbage with baby abalone in shark's bone broth. Since it was a Chinese restau, rice had to be part of the menu. Hehe. The main was Wok-fried rice with scallops and eggs.

The dessert was really good, too. Chilled cream of pumpkin with rock melon and ice cream. At first, I wasn't so sure about the idea of pumpkin but it turned out to be really nice.

So did the whole dinner experience.

I was actually grateful that I didn't get to book a table with the other restaus. Otherwise, it wouldn't have been as nice and romantic as the one we had. Things do happen for a reason, yeah.

Really memorable.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Chrissy din...

In Manila, one of the highlights of the Christmas season is the annual Christmas party with the gang, which we have called Queersmas party (Hehe!).

The first ever I can recall was in 2003, I think, at the place Xoch and Jigs were renting. Since then, it has been a yearly thing. Sometimes, the venue would be at a restau. Sometimes, it would be at someone's home.

Wherever it was, the gathering is always meaningful, full of laughter and happiness. For me, it's a time to be with friends who have made the year that is about to come to an end very memorable and special.

I'm really glad that that tradition was carried on here in Singapore.

Despite our busy schedules, Ian, Chris, MkSurf8 and I were able to plan a Chrissy dinner for friends. Hehe.

Thanks to MkSurf8 for agreeing to have the dinner party at his place.

Thanks to Chris' contact, we were able to have Filipino dishes - chicken adobo, lumpiang shanghai, sisig, and rice. Hehe! Guests also brought food and booze. Ray Conniff music played. The TFC was on. Hehe.

It was the OFW version of the Queersmas dinner party. :) Definitely a good first Queersmas dindin away from home for me.

Happy Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Afternoon with the Masters...

Having a painter for a father, I've been exposed to the art world at a very young age. I remember, as a young boy, I would wake up in the middle of the night and see my Dad in one of the rooms of the house. A watercolor brush in his one hand, different colors of paint on a palette, classical music in the background.

He had a number of books on the world's greatest artists lying around the house, and I remember I would marvel at the photographs of paintings by people I had no idea were legendary.

This, I guess, is one of the reasons why I have a natural affinity towards the art world. In uni, one of my favorite classes was Humanities II (Art and Society). I remember one of our exams was to talk about an artwork. What were the techniques used by the artist? What does the lighting mean? What were the objects in the painting? I talked about one of the ballerina paintings of Edgar Degas, and I remember getting 1.25 for that exam.

One of my dreams, of course, was to see these paintings up close. I envy my friends like Bernice, They and recently, Grace, who have had an opportunity to see the works of Masters during their travels abroad.

Last Saturday, that dream became a reality when I visited the Dreams & Reality exhibit at the National Museum of Singapore.

This is one of the things I love about Singapore. There is an effort to promote both local and international arts and culture among the locals. Since I moved here, I have had the opportunity to see so many great works.

The appropriately named exhibit featured over 140 Salon, Realists, Impressionists and Post-Impressionists paintings, photographs and drawings from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century from the collection of the world renowned Musée d'Orsay.

After handing over my ticket to the . The first painting to really wow, I guess, any visitor to the exhibit is Alexandre Cabanel's The Birth of Venus. It's the first huge painting you will see as you walk towards the hall leading to the other paintings.

I spent a good few minutes just marveling at the painting. I rented an audio guide, which helped me appreciate the painting even more.

The works of the "superstars" were uhm purposely placed towards the last section of the exhibit. Save the best for last I suppose.

Obviously, that's where I stayed the longest.

For many, including me, I'm sure the highlight of the exhibit was Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night.

When I saw it, I just stood there for several minutes in awe. I dunno if it's because I knew it was a van Gogh, or maybe because there was just really something about the painting that mesmerizes any person looking at it.

One surprise for me, which I liked, was the presence of works of female Impressionists. Not to be a sexist, I didn't have a clue that there were female Impressionists at that time. I was truly pleased when I saw that several of the outstanding pieces on display were by female artists like Berthe Morisot, Marie Braquemond and Eva Gonzalès.

The exhibit was definitely star-studded, so to speak. Manet, Monet, Cezanne, Gauguin, Degas, Pisarro, Renoir.

I allotted about two hours to see the exhibit, but I realized that it wasn't enough. I should probably allot close to half a day to have enough time admiring select pieces. I definitely want to see the van Gogh again, that's for sure!

The exhibit would be until Feb 2012. It would be awesome if my Dad were here, I'm sure he would really enjoy it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A&F boys are waiting for you...

Several weeks ago, this wall that boarded the A&F store was in the news because some conservative was scadalized by the image.

Sheesh, one objects to this while no one objects to the scantily clad images of women for lingerie ads? What's up with that?

Anyway, the board, if I remember correctly, was taken down.

A couple of days ago, A&F made it to the news again when thirty (!!!) shirtless men stood outside the store to be greeters.

They were there on the days leading up to the event.

Haha! I'm not sure if this is what they do in all A&F stores that are about to open.

But whoever thought of this idea, good job! Such a great way to get back at those narrow-minded individuals. Hehe!

Monday, December 12, 2011

New Year's Eve... the movie...

Well, I certainly didn't expect that this film would make me cry.


I dun cry that quickly when watching movies. I get cheesy and mushy, yeah, but I dun cry.

The last film I can remember that made me cry was Cheaper by the Dozen. LOL!

Anyway, there was once scene in this film that definitely struck a chord. So the next thing I know, I was wiping tears from my eyes. Haha!

Good film. ;P

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's the start of Xmas 2011...

It's officially Christmas.

Yesterday, I attended my first Pinoy gathering for Christmas 2011.

Friday night, I was checking Facebook and that's when I saw the message from JoAnn inviting people to their home for a Christmas gathering.

JoAnn and Kym adopted me on several of my trips here to SG. They also adopted me on my first month in SG. That's why I am so, so grateful to this couple.

After checking with Pg Boy our weekend schedule, I confirmed our attendance to the gathering with JoAnn.

I thought it was really sweet of her to call me on the morning of the gathering just to tell me to ask Pg Boy to go.

I was also looking forward to the gathering because I know that the food will be Pinoy. Woohoo!

Saturday morning, I headed to Ikea Tampines to look for present Pg Boy and I can give for the exchange gift.

Since Pg Boy moved to Tampines, it was much easier for us to get to the home of JoAnn and Kym. Their place was only a few bus stops away.

By 5PM, I was back in my first home in SG. I kinda miss that area. Though it was a bit crowded, I like it that I had access to almost everything I need.

Some guests were already there when we arrived. Other guests started arriving minutes after Pg Boy and I came.

It was a nice gathering. I definitely enjoyed the food. For someone who doesn't really celebrate Christmas, I think Pg Boy did okay. He liked the lumpiang shanghai. And he was game enough to join the games prepared by Rej, JoAnn and Jackie.

We didn't get to stay for the exchange gift part though. It was date night for us, so we had to leave around 8 plus.

Still, it was a good dinner and games night. Thank you to JoAnn and Kym for having us.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Surpreess, surpreess...

It's PG Boy's birthday tomorrow. He's also arriving from his holiday overseas this morning.

So with the help of his housemate, E, I decided to do a little welcome back/pre-birthday surprise for him.

What can I say?

I missed the guy v much.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Happy weekend, despite not doing the SCMS 2011...

Last Sunday was the much-awaited Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon.

I signed up for the half-marathon, but I ended up staying at home because of some injury.

Uhm, I did think of still doing the run because I've been prepping for it. However, I chose to be smarter and decide to stay home to further recover.

Still, it turned out to be a great weekend because several friends from Manila flew in for the run.

Last Friday, Jamie and Rosvie arrived. Jamie was doing the half-marathon with Ian, while Ros signed up for the 10K.

I wish I could have spent more time with Jamie and Ros, but due to you know what already, I had very limited time with them. Boo!

Of all the weekends to get sick. :-/

Also in town were friends from uni Ella and Gino. Gino did the full marathon. Woohoo! Way to go, Gino.

Ella and I were supposed to meet up Sunday night, but she got stuck somewhere so we had to cancel.

Good thing I was able to see her and Gino on Monday. There was even a bonus. Another friend from uni, Sam, joined us. Apparently, she moved here from Australia with her hubby and kids January this year.

So, even if I didn't get to do the half-mary, it was still an awesome weekend thanks to dear friends.

It's always, always nice to see friends from home.

Working to earn a place...

Some random thoughts.

Do you remember your first day in school? The first recess break and you are at the playground and you don't know anyone. And then there's this one other kid who looks like he or she could be your friend. You muster enough courage and walk up to the other kid and try to make friends with him or her. Days, weeks, months later, the two of you become really close friends.

The same thing for someone who decides to change jobs and finds himself/herself in a new work environment. Everyone knows everyone, and you try to look for someone who could be your good friend. Several lunch hours spent together, team building activities attended together, and work assignments that required the two of you to collab, you've found a really good buddy.

I guess the same is true in several other circumstances.

Bottom line is you have to work to earn your place in someone else's life. You don't become part of someone's life that easily.

For some people, it is quite easy to let a new person in. For others, it takes time. Not necessarily because it's difficult, but maybe because the whole idea is foreign and needs some getting used to.

Uhm, I kind of feel like I'm in that situation. I have yet to earn my place.

I'm not complaining. Just writing what's inside my head.

And I've been doing things to hopefully earn that place.

I guess it just feels new to me again...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Volunteers appreciation dinner party...

Whereas Friday night was the company year-end party, Saturday night was the OC volunteers appreciation dinner party.

Uhm, I actually feel like I'm not that entitled yet to be part of the activity since I haven't done a lot yet so far. I've just had one service session, and then there's the volunteer work during the game show at Play.

But anyway, I decided to go to the party because it would be a venue to see my OC batchmates and I guess meet other volunteers as well.

The venue for the dinner was Cumin Bali, an Indonesian restaurant along Tanjong Pagar road.

The invitte said that the theme for the night was "Resort at Bali." Eeep! I've never been to Bali, and I really have no idea where to get traditional costume so I interpreted the theme in my own way. Hehe! I dressed up as a Bali tourist.

Good friend Melvin was also attending the dinner. He picked me up at Bishan, and we drove to TP. When Melvin arrived, he was dressed in a batik shirt. He saw what I was wearing and he goes, "Why are you not in costume? It said Resort at Bali." I replied, "Well, I'm dressed as a Bali tourist. Dun worry. If I stick out like a sore thumb in the crowd, I wouldn't go in." LOL!

We got to the venue, and saw some of Melvin's friends at the registration table. The pair were dressed in tank tops, shorts and flip-flops. Haha! Melvin asked them the same question he asked me, and he got the same answer that I gave him. Hehe!

As we made our way to the dining area, I saw my batchmates Chinmay, Jin, Jane, Kevin and the other Kevin. Haven't seen them in a while so we had a great time doing a little catching up.

The night started with a "Getting to Know You" activity. Everyone was asked to get up and move around and talk to people. It was a good opportunity to meet new folks.

Immediately after, dinner was served. Indonesian cuisine kinda reminds me of some Filipino dishes. I particularly loooooved the grilled chicken, because it tasted very much like chicken tocino! Haha! Jeez, I ended up having a cup and a half of rice. Eeeeep! Good thing I've already decided to skip the Standard Chartered run today.

The next part of the night's program was the awarding of volunteers who have been serving OC for a number of years now. Some of those recognized have been with OC since 2006. It was really inspiring to see them and listen to their short speech.

Many of them had the same reason behind the decision to volunteer - to work towards making the Singapore society more open, accepting and understanding of the LGBTQ community.

Good Saturday night.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's officially Christmas... err... the holiday season...

The holiday season is officially here.

Last night was the year-end party of the company.

The theme was "Everyone's a Star." Employees were encouraged to come as their favorite star.

Usually, I would be game enough for this. Just look at the photos of the holiday parties when I was still with Smart.

However, I didn't have enough time to prepare for the party because I've been indisposed these past few weeks, and I wanted to see Manila friends Jamie and Ros who arrived on the day of the year-end party.

So, I came to the party as myself. LOL! Many others did.

But it was really so good seeing many of my Filipino friends come to the party as some "star." Chris came as Johnny Depp. Specifically, the Mad Hatter. Alexie and Paula were Audrey Hepburn and Kate Middleton, respectively. Miguel went as Harry Potter.

While I do miss the Smart Xmas party, the company party we had was also a memorable one for many reasons. It was held at Resorts World Sentosa. Food was okay. Nothing spectacular. (Or maybe because I wasn't feeling well. :-/) Several gift vouchers, iPod shuffles, and other gadgets were raffled off. Oh, I also won a 500GB external hard drive during the raffle.

The best part I have to say was seeing Miguel and Chris up on the stage wowing the crowd with their "dancing" skills. Hehe!

2011 has definitely been a good year, a very good year.

Obviously, the best thing that happened to me this year is the Singapore dream becoming a reality when I bagged the job with Wiley.

I'm very thankful.

Friday, December 2, 2011

After Versace, it's Marni...

The next designer collaboration of H&M is with Marni.

I wasn't too excited about the one with Versace. The women's pieces were nice. The men's pieces were okay, I guess, but they were definitely not for me. I found the prints a bit too loud. Hehe!

But the next one with Marni is something I'm excited about. I've seen some prints and colors used by Marni in the collections, and they seem to be something I could wear. Hehe!

Marni for H&M will be available in 260 stores worldwide and online as of March 8, 2012.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December 1 is World AIDS Day...

The fight against HIV/AIDS continues.

If you're in Singapore, visit www.afa.org.sg for more info about the disease, voluntary testing and how to get involved.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to Make it in America...

Having been indisposed these past few days, I have nothing to do at home after checking my work mail but finish this book I'm currently reading and check the blogs I usually visit.

That's how I stumbled upon this HBO series "How to Make It in America."

It's a comedy-drama series following the lives of lead characters Ben Epstein and friend Cam Calderon as they try to break into the NY fashion scene with their brand Crisp NYC.

Season 1 aired last year. Season 2 premiered last October.

It's actually quite interesting, and easy to watch since there are only eight episodes for both seasons.

To a certain point, I could relate to it because I am also trying to make it in another foreign country. Of course, New York and Singapore are very much different but the aim is the same - to make it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Good weekend despite being indisposed...

Despite being unwell, the last few days have been really good because two really good friends from Manila were in town for holiday - my former boss/mentor and really good friend Aimee and my best friend Tey.

It was really good catching up with both of them. And I was really, really happy that my best friend finally met PG Boy. I really want for them to meet each other already.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Savas, Serangoon!

The last few Sunday mornings have been spent on a dragonboat with a bunch of other paddlers under the scorching heat of the sun.

For about two grueling hours every Sunday, we would do various training exercises to prepare for a competition almost every DB team in Singapore is looking forward to.

That competition - the Singapore River Regatta 2011 - happened yesterday.

It is my second DB rowing competition, and I was more confident about this one. During the training days leading up to the race, I really saw the difference in how I rowed. There is still so much more room for improvement, but I've got a number of things already figured out thanks to Coach Yosef and my teammates who constantly remind me how it is to be a good rower.

The Singapore River Regatta is also special because it is said to be the mother of all DB races in town. For me, getting to be part of it was already such an honor and a privilege.

I was also extremely happy about this race because my best friend from Manila, Tey, was here for holiday so I had my very own one-man cheering team. Hehe!

Our team, the Serangoon CSC DB team, was slated for the 11:25 race. We would be competing against the PLK Paddlers, the Punggol North Dragons and the Kebun Bahrun CSC Team. I wasn't sure how good the other teams were but our edge for sure was that we were really determined to do our best during the race.

I arrived at the race venue by 9AM. Ian was already there. We secured our area. Competition was definitely in the air. All around, you would see hundreds and hundreds of paddles, floatation devices, and other gear. You'd see men and women, teens and adults, walking around clad in their team uniform and shorts all excited for the race.

Thirty minutes before the race, we did our warmup and the mandatory pep talk. We talked about our strategy and did a simulation.

Close to the race time, our team was called to head to the pontoon to get on the boat.

The next thing I know, the usual commands were given and we were off paddling like there was no tomorrow.

A little over a minute and it was all over.

It's amusing, huh. You spend hours and hours on the water, at the gym to train and the actual race would only take about a minute or so.

We didn't get to win first place. But we did get into the semis.

I wasn't able to join the semis anymore because I had to take care of something.

The Singapore River Regatta was definitely one more experience that made my new life in Singapore much more memorable. We may not have won the race, but I was just really happy to be able to do the race.

Never did it cross my mind that I would one day be a paddler. Haha!

Savas Serangoon, savas! :D

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nice, nice...

Liking this Ivan Leung cover of Katy Perry's The One that Got Away.

New Youtube "star" discovered. Hehe. My other fave Youtube artists (if there is such a phrase) are Jason Chen, Gerald Ko and of course, Filipino Joseph Vincent.

Woohooo! 0=)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mountain up ahead...

Lordy prolly thought that my life is in need of a little more excitement.

It's the only reason I can think of for this mountain that's been placed in front of my path right now.

Things have been going on pretty smoothly in terms of almost everything, so the heavens must have realized it's time for an obstacle again. Hehe!

The sudden roadblock was definitely unexpected, and has been daunting. But surely, there is a reason for the challenge that came my way.

And what's to be done right now is carry on with the journey and conquer that mountain.

I found the following words in one of the spiritual books I used to read when I was still in the university.

"Let those very obstacles give you strength. God's grace will not fail you: 'Inter medium montium pertransibunt aquae! You shall pass through the mountains!'"

It couldn't come at a better time.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Movie date night...

Movie date night tonight.

Planning to watch this flick - You are the Apple of My Eye. Looks like it's a good one. I wonder if it will be Dawson's Creek-ish or Tabing Ilog-ish. Hehe!

I'm starting to like Chinese cheesy films, eh.

What's your plan tonight?

P.S. Go to Youtube for the subtitles. Dunno why the subtitles aren't appearing when embedded. :-/