Thursday, June 30, 2011

Aphrodite Live 2011 was a blast...

The Kylie Minogue concert was a blast.

It's my first time to watch an international artist of that fame and talent. It's my first time to watch at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. It was my first time to watch a concert with my SG gang.

Simply put, Wednesday night was definitely one unforgettable night.

A month or two ago, Richie mentioned to me about the Kylie concert and that we MUST watch it. When I first visited SG in 2008, Kylie had a concert as well but I didn't get to watch with Richie and Mon because I opted to take a side trip to Kuala Lumpur.

This time around, I would have been really stupid if I chose to miss this performance. Richie was kind enough to get tickets for me and the rest of the gang.

On the day of the concert, I was really excited for the experience. The Aphrodite album was on repeat the entire day. As the clock struck 5PM, I couldn't work anymore. I was just too excited and I wanted to leave and head to the venue already.

After a quick dinner at the mall across the stadium, the guys and I headed for the concert. Excitement filled the air. I loved how "organized" getting to the venue was. It wasn't also that difficult to look for our seats. I wanted to get some souvenirs, but decided not to. (Now, I'm kicking myself for not doing so. Haha!)

But I got the best souvenir though - which was the awesome performance from Kylie.

After the concert, I loved the songs from her Aphrodite album even more. The crowd also went wild when she sang some of her "classics" such as Locomotion and "Can't Get You Out of My Head."

On so many songs, we were on our feet just dancing to her numbers.

Even if the set in Singapore was a whittled down version of the stage in other countries, it was still a fantab experience, one that I wouldn't mind having again very soon.

Woohoo! :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Kylie Minogue tonight...

Tonight, all roads lead to the Singapore Indoor Stadium for the Aphrodite Live concert of Kylie Minogue.

Wooohoo! :)

Very excited! First time to watch at SG Indoor Stadium. First time to watch an international artist of this calibre.

And the fact that I'll get to watch it with good friends...

It's going to be one awesome night!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Takashi Murakami on Google homepage...

Google is one of the pages that I launch every morning when I get to work.

I'd gotten used to being treated to seeing different stylized versions of the word "Google," since the site does it every so often.

But I have to say that today's homepage is one of my most favorite, and was definitely a very nice surprise when I opened the Google website.

Japanese artist Takashi Murakami's work on the Google homepage!!!

After doing some Googling, I learned that Google asked Murakami to interpret the logo for the summer solstice.

Above are the two versions of the logo that Murakami did.

How cute!!! Or should I say, how kawaii!!! :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pink Saturday...

Saturday afternoon turned out to be a very "pink" one.

After attending Jon's surprise bday party, Richie, Mon, Chris, Ian and I trooped to Hong Lim Park in Clark Quay to join Singaporeans, PRs, and fellow foreigners for Pink Dot 2011.

I've heard about the event last year (or was it two years ago?!) and back then, I thought to myself how great it must be to be able to go.

So I was extremely happy to be among the ten-thousand strong who headed to Hong Lim Park yesterday to celebrate diversity.

The gang and I got to the venue past 4PM. It wasn't difficult to find the venue. As soon as we got out of the MRT station, all we had to do was follow the groups of people in pink.

And when we exited the station, we were greeted with everything pink - pink shirts, pink wigs, pink picnic mats, pink umbrellas, pink drinks, pink everything. Nice, nice.

The afternoon program went smoothly. There were colorful performances from local artists. Then as 6PM approached, the program hosts called on Singaporeans and PRs to the center of the park to form the Pink Dot.

Meanwhile, foreigner supporters and friends stayed on the sidelines to watch. Unfortunately, the park policy indicates that only Singaporeans and PRs could join the formation.

I was just happy to be there and be one with the LGBT community of Singapore and the straight supporter friends.

At that point, it wasn't about one's gender. It was about everyone's belief that everyone has or should have the freedom to love.

The event closed with the community singing of The Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

One good takeaway I had from participating in Pink Dot 2011 is becoming aware that there are so many local LGBTQ resources and support groups. Many of these are run by volunteers, which is really quite awesome.

Now that I have an idea about the local LGBTQ community, I'm looking at ways at how to get involved. It would be a good venue to meet people, to keep myself busy, and to just be able to do something.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ready to go pink...

The Freedom To Love

A couple of years back, some good friends and I worked on this project.

It's called Icon magazine. Yeah, I dunno if people have heard of it. Hehe!

We did it for a good two years or so I think. We came out with about 8 issues, excluding the coffeetable book.

And the short time we did it was one of the best experiences I've had in my life.

I got to meet so many interesting people and learned about the Philippine LGBT history.

Getting to talk to so many LGBTs from all walks of life sort of ignited the "activist" which I know is somewhere inside of me (being a UP alumni. LOL!)

Anyway, prior to the move here to SG, I've already heard about Pink Dot. It made it to the news, and thanks to social media, made its way to so many blogs, Tumblr, Facebook pages, and so on.

I told myself that I'd like to get involved when I get to SG.

Several weeks ago, I emailed the organizers and told them I was interested to help out during the event as a volunteer.

Unfortunately, they said foreigners were not allowed to help during the event ONLY because of the venue rules. It sucks, but rules are rules and we don't want trouble.

This didn't stop me from still saying that I am interested to help out. Because I am. I really am.

I told the guys that I did writing for a living back in Manila, and that, uhm, skill was the one that got me started on getting involved.

I had no idea that the local LGBTQ community here is very active actually, and that there were actually several number of support groups and LGBTQ-friendly groups.

Impressive. Just impressive.

And I'm just happy that I've taken the first step towards getting involved.

Check this and check this.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

This Saturday, go out in pink...

The Freedom To Love

A bunch of the guys and I are heading to Hong Lim Park on Saturday afternoon for Pink Dot.

Click here for FAQs about the Pink Dot.

Click here for more FAQs about the Pink Dot.

And to fellow foreigners, a note from the Pink Dot peeps:

Foreigners are welcome to come for a picnic, enjoy the concert and soak in the atmosphere at Pink Dot 2011.

However: During the human Pink Dot formation, we’d like to request for our foreign friends to help us honour local laws, and to watch the formation from an observation area in the park.

Let's paint the town PINK this Saturday.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A day at the ACM...

One of the things that I really, really love about Singapore is the presence of so many interesting exhibits (and theater shows) all year round in different parts of the city.

Prior to moving here, I made sure that I checked out the different museums.

On my first week of moving here, I spent an entire day visiting the holy trinity (?) of museums in the city-state - the Asian Civilisation Museum, the National Museum, and the Singapore Art Museum.

That day was truly fantab because each museum had exhibits that were of different themes.

For this blog entry, I'm just going to talk about the Asian Civilisation Museum. The other two I will reserve for future blog entries.

The ACM is located near the Fullerton Hotel. If I'm not mistaken, the museum has a permanent exhibit which showcases the rich culture and history of Singapore and its neighboring countries. (I have no idea why there is nothing much about the Philippines though.)

Anyway, during my first week here, a special exhibit on the art of the Congo River was ongoing at the ACM. Lucky guy that I am, there was an open house on my first weekend.

I made sure that I went and it turned out to be such a fantastic visual treat.

The permanent exhibit was marvelous. The pieces on display were rich in culture, and the way the exhibit was curated was just impressive. I recently visited ACM again when friends JB and Miguel were in town, and I must say that I enjoyed it again. I don't think I'll ever tire of visiting that place.

The best part about that day I visited the Congo River art museum, I have to say, was getting to see Picasso art pieces up close and personal!!! It was completely unexpected so I was truly, truly ecstatic when I found out that there were Picasso pieces on dispay!!!

The masks and statues that were on display were awesome, yeah, but it was the Picassos that really made my heart skip a beat. It was just too good.

I didn't think I would be seeing a Picasso that soon.

Unfortunately, photos of the art works weren't allowed. I managed to take some photos from a distance though. Eeep, I hope I don't caned for doing that. Haha!

Oh, that's one other thing I like about museums here. You can actually take photos as long as you don't use a flash. It was just awesome.

In Manila, I don't understand why some museums don't allow photography. Ugh.

Moving on, that day at ACM was just really good.

During a recent visit, I read that an upcoming exhibit would be the… drumroll please… the Terracotta Warriors from China!!! Wooohooo! I'm really excited about it. I've been wanting to go to Beijing so that I can make a side trip to Xian province to see the warriors.

Now, I can see some of the precious pieces. Fantastic, fantastic. The exhibit is going to open sometime this June and I'm definitely going.

This is just the first of several exhibits I'm going to check out here. That's for sure.

On the same day, I visited the ACM, I went to the National Museum for the Beauty in Black exhibit which featured beautiful creations of Lagerfeld, Kawakubo, among others. (Now you know why another blog post is needed. Haha!) I also visited the Singapore Art Museum which featured several contemporary pieces, including works by Filipino artists. Coooool!

Check out the ACM website here for more deets -

Thursday, June 9, 2011

We're moving...

Tomorrow is our last day here at Parkview Square.

We're moving to the West. Some say it's far. Some say it's isolated.

The good thing about being a newbie in this company, and in this country is that I"m still excited to see much of the city.

I heard the new building is a "green" one so I'm definitely excited to see it.

There were some site visits to the new building, but I didn't go because I was doing issue compilation and covering for a colleague who was on a holiday.

I thought to myself it's okay since I'm going to see the new building eventually.

Anyway, I'm really glad I was able to have Parkview Square as an office even for a few months. It was a good short stay.

Tomorrow, I shall say hello to the new building. It's in Buona Vista.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Parang Manila rains lang...

Sunday morning brought a huge surprise to many Singaporeans.

I had just finished Mass at the nearby church and when I headed out, it was raining heavily.

Having been here for a little over two months, I expected the rain to end in a couple of minutes. Usually, that's how it goes. I remember that Sunday Chris and I ran at the East Coast Park. While we were on our nth kilometer, it started to pour. A few minutes later, the sun was out again. Everything's okay again.

Such wasn't the case last Sunday. The rain showed no signs of stopping. Good thing I brought my flip-flops as I was headed to the gym for a session with a trainer. I took off my shoes and put on my flip-flops and braved the heavy downpour.

After all, I'm Filipino. I've been through worse kinds of rain. This was nothing.

I eventually found my way to the bus, and got myself to the gym. By noontime, there was only a slight drizzle. By late afternoon, things were back to the usual.

It was only on Monday morning when I got my daily dose of Today that I saw how bad the rain was on Sunday morning.

Flash floods in various parts of Singapore. Like they've never seen before.

According to the news that I read, it was more than 20 years ago when something like this has happened here. Eeep! What's happening? Climate change?

What I found impressive though is how quick the local agencies concerned acted on the problem.

Additional rain sensors are now going to be added along drains. From just 93, there will be 150 by end of year. Apparently, there is also an SMS alert to subscribers which will inform them when the water levels hit a moderate and a high flood risk. Good, huh?! The agency is also looking into reducing the two-minute interval for monitoring water levels when it rains.

I'm definitely impressed.

Photos above are from Straits Times.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Craving for Pinoy food in the land of chili sauce...

Last year, whenever I would talk to a friend who's been living abroad for quite some time already, one thing I would always hear them talk about is how much they miss Filipino food.

Adobo. Sinigang. Menudo. Lechong manok. Lechong kawali. And all the other (mostly) greasy, unhealthy, cardiac-arrest-inducing dishes that a true Pinoy loves.

That was last year.

With the recent to move to SG, I now join my roster of friends who crave for Pinoy food every so often.

I miss the food cooked by Tey's Mom, Tita Tess. I miss my Mom's adobo. I miss adobo.

One would think that because SG is just three hours away from Pinas, there'll be an abundance of Pinoy restaurants.

Uhm, so far the ones I know are 7107 in Marina Square and Bonifacio in Chinatown (both of which are a bit pricey). The more affordable ones are Mang Kiko's at Lau Pa Sat and at the Youth Park. Oh, there's also Tapa King in Lau Pa Sat. Of course, the place where one is sure to satisfy his or her craving for Pinoy food is Lucky Plaza. Where else?! Haha!

Though there aren't that many Pinoy restaus, the good news is there are a lot of Pinoys in SG. The even better news is that there are a lot of Pinoys who cook.

I remember the first month at Mr. & Mrs. Bernabe's home. Weekends are always a treat because JoAnn would cook some fantab Pinoy dish. I remember the mom of Richie who did a really wonderful dish when she was here and I was here for vacation ages ago.

Recently, the Pinoys from the department I'm part of had an impromptu potluck lunch at the office. Happiness.

Alexie cooked caldereta. Pau brought steamed rice. CJ and Angela brought Tori Q. Chris and I brought roasted chicken. (It was a cheat though because I just bought from Cold Storage. But our peg is the Rustan's chicken so that should count already. Hehe!)

The star of the meal, without any doubt, is the caldereta. We all had second servings of caldereta and rice (eeeep!)

Now that I finally moved in a place I can call home, I'm getting my fix of Pinoy food almost every day thanks to housemate Cyp who loves to cook. So far, we've had sinigang, tinola and binagoongan. Yum, yum.

I recently cooked breakfast for them during one weekend. Nothing fancy. But what was Pinoy about it was the sinangag. Hehe! I know, I know. It's like saying I won first place in a contest and there are only three contestants. Hehe!

The thing is it's been ages since I last cooked. I'm glad the skill is still there. Maybe as I get well-adjusted to the new home, new life, I'd be able to cook more often.

So the next time there's a really major craving for something Pinoy, I'll just check out what's in the fridge and make something that looks and tastes like a Pinoy dish. After all, us Pinoys are very resourceful and innovative. We always find a way no matter what. Haha!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Happy to support Pink Dot 2011...

On 18 June 2011, Singaporeans will, for the third year running, gather at Hong Lim Park to form a human pink dot in support of the belief that everyone deserves the freedom to love.

Happy to be here to witness the event.

Pink Dot has an important message to our friends and supporters from around the world. If you're a foreigner planning to attend Pink Dot, please note that only Singapore citizens and Singapore permanent residents are allowed to participate in the formation of Pink Dot.

Pink Dot stresses that this rule is mandated by the authorities governing Hong Lim Park (Speaker's Corner), where the event will be held, and not by the organisers of Pink Dot.

Pink Dot welcomes everybody, regardless whether you are straight or gay. However, Pink Dot also recognises the importance of playing by the rules and seeks the kind cooperation of our non-Singaporean/PR friends and supporters. You are welcome to join in the festivities! During the formation of the dot, a special area will be set aside for non-Singaporeans/PRs to watch and observe. Pink Dot appreciates all the love coming in from around the world - it is something words cannot describe.

Let's all celebrate the spirit of Pink Dot in spreading the message of Supporting the Freedom to Love across the world!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mid-point PR rev was good.

Yesterday, I had my mid-point performance review with my team lead and I was pleased to hear that I'm doing as expected.

Simply put, I won't be packing my bags to go to Manila anytime soon. Haha!

Kidding aside, I was really glad when I read my performance review paper. My team lead is really a good, smart and cool TL, I gotta say. She cited a couple of instances which led her to the initial rating that she gave me.

Compared to the Philippines where the usual probation period is six months, here I'm having mine for three months. I don't know if it's the usual case here or if it's just with my workplace.

Uhm, what is it exactly that I do? I'm now in the publishing industry and I do production work for four medical journals. Three are related to Dentistry and one is Dermatology. Health professionals from different parts of the world submit papers about studies/researches they've done to the dentistry/dermatology society. The society sends all the papers to me so that I can publish them online and in print.

It seems like a simple job, but I'm telling you it's not. It involves a lot of processes and procedures. Add to that the fact that the authors, editors, printers, typesetters I work with are located in different parts of the world.

The first few weeks at work were a whirlwind of events. I would dream about my work. When I wake up in the morning, I would be thinking about what article-related issues I have to work on. On Sunday nights, I would start getting butterflies in my stomach. Haha! That's how stressed I was.

But thanks to helpful work colleagues, I'm slowly starting to get the hang of things. Early last week, I closed my first issue ever for one of my dentistry journals and another one for my dermatology journal. I was so proud. Haha!

There is a feeling of fulfillment after getting a paper online and an issue published, because I feel like I'm doing my part to ensure that the work of these health professionals are put out there. Ultimately, I'm hoping that these studies would help lead to some kind of medical advancement in dentistry and in dermatology. Hehe!

Come the first week of July, I will have another performance review and that's when I will get my confirmation appointment.

Yeah, that's how optimistic and confident I am. Haha! I have to be!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Back to regular programming...

It's been officially two months since I packed my bags, bid my family and friends farewell, and boarded an AirPhil flight to Singapore.

Two months.

It seems like such a short time. But within that brief period, so much has happened in this foreign land I am now trying to make my new home.

I'd like to write about so many things, but I don't even know where to begin. The last blog entry was about how I got here, how the Singapore dream turned into a reality.

And now, I'm here.

I really am here.

Each day, I wake up thanking Lordy for this huge blessing. To be honest, I never thought I would be working in foreign land someday. Seriously. I was blessed with a good career in the Philippines. I had a good set of friends. My family was there.

But I was dreaming of Singapore ever since I set foot in this country three years ago.

I had no idea how to make the dream a reality, but seeing friends who have made it here served as an inspiration for me to take (almost) every measure to get here.

Since that fateful day I landed here, I've been wanting to write about how things are going. I've been wanting to chronicle everything and make sure it is kept somewhere so that one day, I can read it again and remember how I started here in Singapura.

But things just got a bit too crazy. Adjusting to the new work environment. Trying to fit in a multi-cultural work group. Finding my way around the city. Searching for a place to call home. Reminding myself to look the other way when I cross the street so as not to get hit by the approaching car, or if I'm really lucky, a double deck bus. Haha!

These, and several other things, are the reason why I have been away from blogging. But as I've said, things around here are starting to see some semblance of order. Haha! Baby steps, baby steps.

I guess that's what I'll do with blogging as well. Little by little, I'll write about my day-to-day adventure here in this fine city.

So far, things have been really good. There are some challenges, but nothing too big to make me want to pack my bags and go back to the Philippines. Haha!

It's going to be good.

I'm back...

Now that things are starting to get some order since the move here to SG two months ago, I think I will be able to blog again.

So much has been happening, and so many things to write about. That's for sure.