Friday, September 30, 2011

My fave month is (almost) here...

Because tomorrow is already October, I'm posting this. Haha! :P

Got it from here.

I have to say most of what's written are true.


Traits of Libra

Stylish, good taste, sociable, easy to love, great listeners, supportive friends, spiritual, able to discern the truth.

Main Motivation:
Seeks justice

Challenges (and How to Transform Them):
Difficulty Pulling the Trigger
Librans are known for their capacity of seeing and understanding both sides of the picture. Their downfall is they can have a hard time deciding; both sides make complete sense to them. Solution: Trust your gut and don’t obsess over past decisions.

Emotionally Blocked
Librans have a tendency to cover up their feelings. This trait will sometimes lead them to unfaithfulness because an unhappy Libran will look for happiness somewhere else. Solution: Express your feelings with your words, either spoken or written.

Can’t Hear Criticism
Librans tend to beat themselves up a lot so when it comes time for hearing criticism; their heads are already full. Solution: Go easy on yourself. Good criticism will help you grow.

Flirty and Frivolous
When it comes to matters of the heart, Librans are ruled by the planet of Venus. On the surface, they’re all about romance and hedonism, but on the inside their hearts are guarded. Solution: Love is all about sharing– sharing your feelings, your fears, your hopes and dreams. Open your heart wide and let someone in.

How to Improve Your Relationship with a Libran:
- Be gentle. When giving them criticism, preface it with praise.
- Encourage them to collaborate. They work much better in partnerships than on their own.
- Help them decide. Once they have decided, nothing can stop them.
- Be delicate when encouraging them to finish what they start.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

F1 weekend with friends from Pinas...

I didn't get to experience any of the recently concluded F1 fever. Hehe!

That's because both my home and my workplace are far away from the city (which became a race track for a couple of days), from the roaring engines of the race cars, from the excitement of F1 race fans coming from different parts of the world.

We'll see. Maybe next year. =)

But one good thing I had thanks to the F1 event was that several friends from the Philippines were in town and I got to catch up with them - Manny, Joi, Reg. Franco was also in town but we didn't get to meet up because he was only here for a day.

Sunday night was spent clubbing with the club-going friends. I missed tugsing I have to say. Haha! Last time was in HCM, and that was just whoa! So Sunday, no very early Monday morning, was ultra fun dancing to the awesome beats of DJ George Leong.

Monday night, on the other hand, was spent with Joi, her husband-to-be, and Manny. It's a good thing Manny missed his flight. Hehe! At least, we got to finally hang out.

We all met up at Vivo City, had dinner at Food Republic (which had nice interiors) then drinks at some Irish pub facing the harbor.

It was definitely a good F1 weekend. Hehe!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tuesday nights at NUS Bukit Timah...

The past two Tuesday nights have been spent at the track oval of NUS Bukit Timah.

SG buddies Sarge, Chris, Ian and I have been doing some speed training.

Uhm, actually it's Ian and Sarge who have been doing the speed training.

I, on the other hand, am struggling to do some speed training. Chris is doing his own thing. Hehe!

The NUS BT campus is really quite good and conducive for training.

There are several other groups that go there to train. Some for football. Some for basketball. Some for tennis.

Being there really encourages one to try to be fit. Hehe!

So I think we'll be there the next few weeks, or until the big race in December. Hehe!

But I got to say that the best part of the training is not at the campus. Hehe! It's afterwards when we head to Newton Circus for dindin. Hehe!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

While waiting for a friend to finish his workout yesterday, I decided I'd go to Kinokuniya at Takashimaya to check out if there are any interesting titles.

I haven't read any new books for awhile now, and I think it's time to get back to reading.

Well, guess what? I stumbled upon a number of titles from a certain genre I did not really expect to see on shelves of a local bookstores.

LGBT fiction. In Singapore. By local authors. Woohooo! :)

I was lazily going through the rows and rows of books, when I saw the shelf labeled Local Literature (or something like that).

I gravitated towards it, and the next thing I know I was hanging in that area for more than 30 minutes already.

The first book that caught my eye was entitled To Know Where I'm Coming From by Johann Lee. The cover image was a portrait of a handsome local (I think) who looked like he was contemplating something.

I picked up the book and got excited when I saw that it was indeed LGBT fiction. That's the only time I started to notice that there were several other titles that are from the same genre.

Uhm, so I ended up buying a number of titles even though it is not included in my budget for the month. I just rationalized the purchase by thinking the new titles would be great additions to my growing collection of LGBT fiction.

I started this morning with Peculiar Chris also by Johann Lee. The first few pages have got me interested, and it looks like I will finish it faster than I think.

Wooohoo!!! :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

They're back. Woohoo!

After the long wait, Elena, Damon, Stefan and the rest of the gang of The Vampire Diaries are back.

Excited, excited.

This is one of the very, very few series that I watch. Haha!

I hope the story continues to be a good one. :)

Currently, I'm addicted to local TV series The Pupil. Other series I'm looking forward to are The Secret Circle and season 2 of The Walking Dead.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The cab ride to NUS Bukit Timah...

Just got back home from a training run with SG gang Ian, Edsel and Chris.

We went to the National University of Singapore campus in Bukit Timah, where there was a nice track oval.

On the way to the venue, Chris and I sort of got lost. We could see the NUS building but we somehow couldn't find the way to get there. Haha!

Instead, we found ourselves amidst the lush greenery of the Singapore Botanic Garden.

We headed out of the garden as soon as we saw the next exit and as soon as we got out, there was an empty cab that came our way. When GoThere fails, take a cab. LOL!

After telling the kind Uncle where to bring us, Chris and I proceeded to talk about work and other things.

The Uncle, a Singaporean who must be in his fifties, must have known that we were Filipinos, because he asked how often we came back to the Philippines.

Afterwards, he wowed us even more by telling us that he has been to the Pagsanjan Falls, Cebu, and even the Malacanang Palace where he saw the thousands of shoes of former First Lady Imelda Marcos.

I was really impressed and I felt proud that a local knows about the nice things about the Philippines.

However, his next statements kind of saddened me.

He said, "The Philippines is a very beautiful country. It used to be a favorite holiday destination of Singaporeans. But after all the news on terrorism, not anymore."

When Chris and I alighted from his cab, we had the same sentiments. It was really sad to hear another comment/story of how the Philippines used to be on its way to the top but somehow, something went wrong and it is where it is now.

This wasn't the first time I've heard the same comment from a local. And it does make me wonder, "What happened to us? I'm sorry I'm going to say this, but I think we need an iron fist to get us back to the top."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A dose of cheese over the weekend thanks to "Love in Space..."

I'm a sucker for cheesy, romantic movies. One of my OGTs. Hehe! So shoot me.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw the movie poster for Love in Space. It's a Chinese film that's being shown locally. I wasn't sure whether it was good or what. But after seeing the trailer, I decided I want to see it.

Yesterday, I was able to drag a friend to go see it. Hehe.

The film looks into different kinds of romantic love stories experienced by a mother and her three daughters. All three girls have achieved much in life, except in the love affairs department.

A quick background.

The first sister and fellow astronaut are both in a space station. Once a couple, they broke up due to some misunderstandings.

The second sister's story shows how love is indeed powerful, empowering a person to face his or her fear to be with his or her match.

Lastly, the youngest sister is an popular actress who decides to go incognito to prepare for an upcoming role. As she works as a waiter at a local cafe, she meets a struggling writer who works as a waiter by day and a watermelon seller at night.

The two spend more time together, and eventually start to like each other. I sooo love how Wen Feng would give Peny a ride to her "home" on her watermelon cart.

However, Peony's manager tells her she has to go back to the real world sooner than she wanted. Wen Feng continues to wait for Peony, and they meet again when Wen Feng ends up as an extra in Peony's movie.

Drama unfolds, but in the end, love prevails and everything is just the way they should be.

The mother has her own love story, although the movie focused more on the story of the three daughters.

Of the love stories presented, obviously, my fave was that of the youngest sister and the struggling writer. I really thought that there was great chemistry between the actors who played the characters of Peony Huang (Angelababy) and Wen Feng (Jing Boran).

I really found actress Angelababy soooo pretty, and actor Jing Boran was really the boy-next-door kind of guy. Cute and dorky. Nice combination. Hehe!

The script was not bad either. If you want cheesy, if you want drama, if you want comedy, you would definitely get it from this film. The movie was also show at different locations including Beijing, Sydney and the International Space Station.

It is definitely one of my fave movies this year, for so many other reasons. *wink wink*

I hope a DVD is released.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Gucci artisans are in town...

After Hermes, it is now the turn of fashion house Gucci to showcase the skills of its craftsmen.

Gucci artisans are in town until tomorrow to show how Gucci's most iconic handbags such as the New Bamboo and New Jackie are assembled.

Just like the Hermes exhibit, this is one rare opportunity to see the artisans at work outside of the Gucci workshops.

From what I read, the Gucci Artisan Corner display will include custom work tables, a sewing machine, a leather stand, and metal tools, as well as additional background materials. The craftsmen will show how Gucci pieces come to life from mood board and sketches.

Planning to check it out tomorrow.

The Gucci Artisan Corner will be at the Paragon, Singapore til tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Staying away from that FB section...

The most embarrassing thing happened to me last night.


I was being playful and reckless with Facebook.

The one section I haven't really touched for years is the Relationship status. It has always and continue to be "Single."

For some stupid reason, I thought I'd play with it. Surely, it would do no harm because FB has to confirm whatever change I do, right? That's what I thought.

Initially, I thought I'd make my relationship status "In a Relationship." But thinking that no change would happen, I decided to take it further and make it "Married."

Still thinking that FB would have to confirm with me whatever change I made, I typed in this person's name in the box.

As soon as I finished typing the last letter of the person's name, I saw the message that the person has been notified to confirm that we are indeed married.

I suddenly felt cold, and I wanted to bang my head against the wall for being stupid.

Immediately, I changed the status again to "Single," deleted the notice on my wall that I am "Married," and apologized endlessly to the person.

Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!

Thank god no harm done. :) The person said I shouldn't stress over it. I dunno if it's because he doesn't really care or maybe, just maybe, the optimistic person in me is hoping that he probably has some feelings even in the smallest amount.

Oh well, lesson learned. Never touch that section of FB again, unless there's really a real change in status. Haha!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Green SG: The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve...

The mission to explore the other "wild" side of Singapore continues.

This time, the destination was a wetland reserve located Northwest area of the island-state called Sungei Buloh.

Saturday morning I got an SMS from nature-tripper friend Melvin inviting me to go to Sungei Buloh. I gave a quick yes. Any opportunity to escape from skyscrapers and to be in the midst of greens was something I always welcomed. (Plus, I love that I'm getting to see a side of Singapore not too many get to visit.)

The reserve is about 130 ha of mangroves, ponds, forest and wetlands that is home to various flora and fauna. From what I read, Sungei Buloh is also a destination for migratory birds.

We agreed to meet up at Bishan the following day at 845AM. Melvin said he'd invite some friends to come along. I, on the other hand, invited the usual suspects. I also invited Alex, who I'm glad agreed to go (thanks to the help of my little buddy Zap. Haha!)

Sunday, I was up early. Really early. I heard the sound of rain from outside my room. True enough, when I got up and took a look, it was raining. Argh!

I called Melvin. No, I woke up Melvin from his sleep (haha! Sorry!) to ask if we were pushing through with the trip. Ever the optimistic person, he took a quick look outside and said yes.

Around 930, Melvin, Desmond, Alex and I began with our road trip. We reached Sungei Buloh around 10AM. Though it was only a 30-minute drive, the place was faaaar. (To give you an idea on how far it is, I was already getting a "Welcome to Malaysia" SMS from Malaysia telecoms carriers Maxis and Celcom. Haha!)

Our morning exploration began with a short film viewing at the reserve's small theater. The film gives visitors an overview about the reserve.

There were three routes available to take in exploring the reserve. I think we did a combo of all three. Our mission for the day was to get to Tower 2C.

After crossing the main bridge, we started to make our way to the heart of the reserve. Welcoming us was a monitor lizard who was clearly enjoying his Sunday morning. A quick hi, and it lazily went back into the water. You'll find several monitor lizards when you explore the reserve.

Every now and then, we would stop when the group's naturalists Melvin and Desmond would hear a rustling in the bushes or a distinct chirpring of a bird, and we would try to find out where the sound came from.

Throughout the reserve, there are many observation areas. If you're lucky, you can probably spot several of the wildlife inhabitants. Melvin wanted to see snakes, but we didn't. I secretly wanted to see the crocodile, but it was probably somewhere.

But seriously, I was happy seeing 6 (or 7) monitor lizards, a school of archer fish, a squirrel, a number of mudskippers, and three to four species of birds. There was also that dead horseshoe crab. Haha!

We were able to climb two towers, which gave quite a nice view of the reserve.

Exploring the reserve took us about three hours. By 1PM, we were back at the Visitor Center and getting ready to return to the city. I thought it was really a nice way of spending Sunday morning.

Hmm, of the three places Melvin has brought me to, I think Sungei Buloh is my fave so far. In second place would be Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and then MacRitchie Reservoir.

One of the places in the "Next-to-visit" list is Pulau Ubin. That one I'm really excited about.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is open 7.30am-7pm on weekdays,
7am-7pm on Sundays & Public Holidays. Admission is free except on Sat, Sun, Public Holidays and school holidays: $1 per adult, 50cents per child/ student/senior citizen.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Green SG: A Visit to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve...

Francis, one of my first local friends here in Singapore, invited me to go hiking at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve several weeks ago.

The guy is one fitness enthusiast. I met him via the dragonboat rowing. He runs. He goes to the gym. He swims. He goes hiking.

One time over dinner, we talked about hiking and he told me he'd let me know that next time he goes hiking.

Two weeks before he was to leave for London for graduate school, he told me about his plan to go hiking at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve during the weekend. New kid on the block I still am, I was more than game to join him. His friend, Melvin, who is also a nature-enthusiast, joined us. Really glad to have met Melvin as well because he has been showing me the "green" side of Singapore. (Will write about another nature walk soon.)

Some trivia.

The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is about 12 kilometers away from the Central Business District. It retains one of the largest primary rainforest that used to cover the entire island. The Bukit Timah Hill is Singapore's highest elevation at approximately 163 meters.

Bukit means hill in the Malay language. Timah means tin, although from what I read no tin deposits are found in the area.

When we arrived at the nature reserve, we were welcome by several macaque monkeys freely roaming around. Some were just sitting by the road leading to the Visitor Center. Some were watching over the parked cars of nature-lovers visiting the reserve.

The reserve was obviously a fave spot among nature-lovers and health enthusiasts. There are a number of hiking routes that one can take. I'm not sure which one we took. Haha!

It was a good morning activity. After a good several minutes of walking, we reached the Bukit Timah summit. We started our descent after a short rest and the compulsory photo op (haha!) and made our way to one of the quarries. It's rather strange being in the middle of all the greens. One would think SG is all about skyscrapers, malls. Perhaps the next time a friend from abroad comes over for a holiday, I'd take them here instead of the usual tourist attractions. Hehe!

It was really an awesome day! Got to go hiking. Was able to visit a new place. Learned a little bit more about the SG culture.

How to get to Bukit Timah:
- By bus:
Bus numbers 67, 75, 170, 171, 173, 184, 852, 961.
Take bus to Upper Bukit Timah Road, alight opposite the Bukit Timah Shopping Center and Beauty World Center. From there it's approx. ten minutes walk along Hindhede Drive to the Visitor Center.
- By taxi/car:
Via Hindhede Drive; parking facilities at the Visitor Center are limited.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Volunteer work training begins tomorrow...

Tomorrow evening will be the start of the training for a local group I will be volunteering with.

When I made the move here, I told myself that one of the things that I want to do when I've finally settled is to get myself into volunteer work.

Yeah, blame it on the Pahinungod years of my life. The three years with my university's volunteer group have really sparked the fire of volunteerism in me. For that, I am forever grateful.

Wherever I go, I have always tried to look for ways to volunteer.

Last June during Pink Dot, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that several LGBT groups are present in this supposedly conservative country.

I decided I would get in touch with one of the groups to find volunteer opportunities.

After doing some research, I sent in my application for a volunteer post to a couple of these groups.

A phone call, a face-to-face interview, some email exchanges and as I've mentioned in my earlier post, I will be starting my training tomorrow night for the volunteer work.

I'm really looking forward to the training, and the real "work" after the training. The LGBT sector is one area I'd like to volunteer with and I'm glad I will be able to do that here.

More deets soon.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Free Confidential and Private HIV Testing On a Sunday (9/11)

Came across this while checking out MGG's blog.

Get that baggage off your chest – on Sunday, 9/11: Free confidential HIV counseling and testing. 10 AM to 5 PM. At Playroom, 35 West Avenue, QC.

More deets here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Believe it or not, this is in SG...

Believe it or not, this is in Singapore.

Yeah, who would have thought, huh? In this land of skyscrapers and luxury stores, this piece of beautiful greenery exists.

And there quite a number, I have to tell you.

You just have to know where they are. And it would be great if you have friends who are into nature-tripping. Hehe!

Will share where this is in one of the next posts.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

At the Hermes Festival of Crafts...

Yesterday, I spent about an hour and a half at the Paragon atrium area to see how craftsmen from one of the best fashion houses around the world create handbags, saddles, scarves, ties, among others.

From September 3 to 7, Hermes craftsmen will be at the Paragon in Orchard to showcase their skills in making luxury pieces.

This is the first traveling Festival des Métiers (Festival of Crafts).

There were a number of work areas at the venue where visitors met Hermes artisans to witness first-hand how Hermes handbags, leather pieces, scarves, jewelry, watches, and other items are made.

I was just amazed at the skill and discipline of each of the master craftsmen and women who were there. You can see their passion and dedication to their craft.

Even if they were all working on different pieces, one could see that what bound them together was the careful attention to detail and love of their craft.

Amazing, just amazing.

After seeing that exhibit, one would no longer wonder why a Birkin costs up to a hefty six-figures. Hehe!

But, seriously, it was really great to have seen the Hermes craftsmen and women at work. I'm glad to have been able to take a peek at how it must be like in Hermes workshops.

It really was what luxury was about.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Second half-mary for the year this Sunday...

The Safra Singapore Bay Run this Sunday is my second half-marathon for the year.

I was supposed to register for the run, but was not able to do so. A good friend wouldn't be in town during the day of the run so he just gave me his race pack. Hehe!

He's been running for quite some time now, and has had really made good time with his half-marathons.

This Sunday will be a new PR for him. Hehe! It will be his slowest. Haha! Sorry, Teh.

It's going to be an interesting run. From what I've read about the event, the Sunday race route includes 20 iconic Singapore landmarks. And there will be about 20 street-side festivities to make the experience even more fun.

I'm excited. I'm not well-trained for this one, but my goal for this is to just cross the finish line.

Good friend Ian will also be doing the run, but this is just going to be peanuts for him since he's been doing full-marathons and is a triathlete. Haha!

Let's do this! :P

My last half-marathon for the year is the Standard Chartered Run this December.