Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New pair of running shoes... bday gift to self...

Over dinner last night, running buddy and good friend Ian told us about the Royal Sports House warehouse sale happening today.

I've been looking for a new good pair of running shoes to replace my Adidas pair, but I haven't been able to allot a budget for it. I found a brand new pair of New Balance being sold online, but I wasn't too keen on the design. It looked exactly like the ones issued to guys who undergo NS here.

Despite having only four hours of sleep, I managed to get up at 8AM and meet Ian along Macpherson Road by 9:30AM. The sale begins at 10AM at Wisma Gulab and we wanted to be there early. It was actually a good idea. By the time Ian and I made it to the venue, there was already a queue outside.

The gates opened 15 minutes before 10, but we still had to wait just outside the tents for the clock to strike ten. There was already a crowd all eager and hungry for a good buy. Ian and I had to come up with a strategy to make sure we get what we wanted. Haha! I could feel the pressure, the intensity and the competition. Haha!

As soon as the RSH people opened the sale, people just dashed to the goods. I saw the area for New Balance, and went straight there. Luckily, all the others took their time at the brands that were near the entrance.

I saw a few pairs of NB that I wanted. A few minutes later, Ian showed up and I consulted him which one to get. He pointed a specific pair. I asked for a size 10, and I think it was meant for me because I was able to get a pair. Woohoo!

I held on to the box, as if I were carrying an expensive piece of jewelry. Haha! I went around to check the other brands to see if there were any good buys. I wanted to get some Vans but ended up not getting the pair. I told myself I must stick to my budget. Haha!

An hour later, Ian and I met up again and sorted our goods. I ended up just sticking to the pair of shoes. He ended up buying just two pair of shoes.

Still, the goodies we got were a steal. Ian was able to get two pairs of Lacoste for below $100. The pair I got was $49. It was already a very good deal because I saw that the original price was $235!!! Had I been at the mall, I would think twice, thrice before I really shell out that kind of money for a pair of shoes.

It was a very good trip to the warehouse sale. So thankful Ian invited me. So glad I found a pair. It's my birthday gift to myself already.


Tugs on the eve of Diwali...

The good thing about having a public holiday during the weekday is that you can go out on the eve of the PH and tugs the night away.

That's exactly what happened last night with two good friends and usual tugs buddies here in Singapore.

There were no plans to go tugsing. Just before 11PM, the idea of heading to Neil Road was brought up and the next thing we knew, we were already in one of my fave tugs places here in SG. Haha!

Good, good Tuesday night.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Four nationalities, one funny moment...

I thought I'd write about one of the funny moments PG Boy and I had with one of our good friends a couple of weeks ago.

When PG Boy and I decided to make things official, we didn't really announce it to the entire world. I asked him if he's told anyone and he said he's told two of his closest friends. On the other hand, I was slowly telling people about us.

After that very short-lived moment with this other guy, I thought I'd keep things to myself first. It was also the advice of friend Ian - to just enjoy the new development first before sharing it to everyone else.

Anyway, it was a Saturday night. PG Boy invited me to dinner with his best friend and our common friend Andi. PG Boy's best friend of course knew about us already. I wasn't sure about Andi. It was an interesting mix that night - Filipino, Singaporean, Malaysian-Chinese and Indonesian-Chinese. Our group was pretty much like an ASEAN meeting. Hehe.

Following dinner at the Korean restau in Esplanade, we headed to MBS where we had dessert and coffee at High Society. (Btw, the cupcakes here weren't that good. At $7 a pop, I thought it wasn't worth it. The cupcakes at this Tanjong Katong bake shop tastes much better).

While we were tasting the assorted sweets we ordered, Andi turned to me and said, "Hey, Angelo. I heard you have an Indonesian partner."

I looked at Andi and said, "Oh, Andi. No, he's Malaysian."

Andi replied, "Really?! Because I remember PG Boy saying you're dating an Indonesian guy."

PG Boy stepped in and helped clarify things. "No, he had an Indonesian partner."

I told Andi how I felt it was best to end things with the Indonesian guy after realizing that I'm not really wired for long-distance relationships.

Andi replied, "Oh, alright. That was fast. And where's this Malaysian guy?"

I replied, "He's here, Andi."

"Oh, so he's working in Singapore?!" replied Andi.

"No, Andi. He's here." I said making sure I emphasized the word "here."

Andi had a puzzled look on his face for about half a minute. When it finally dawned on him what I meant, the four of us just broke into laughter.

PG Boy's best friend said, "I wanted to kick Andi for him to realize it, but he was just too far away."

It was definitely the highlight of that evening, at least for me. Up to now, thinking about that moment brings a smile to my face.

Pre-bday dindin...

The birthday celeb began hours even before the clock struck twelve.

While I was waiting for my Friday to end, I receive a WhatsApp message from PG Boy inviting me to dinner.

As soon as the time on my PC screen turned 5:30, I quickly fixed my things and dashed for the door. Hehe. I had to head back first to the home in the West to grab some stuff for the weekend.

Close to two hours later, I reached PG Boy's home aka the other home in the East. I dropped my stuff, rested for a few minutes and then we headed out for dinner.

I wasn't sure where we were going, but I was pretty excited. We took the green line bound for Joo Koon. When we alighted at Tanjong Pagar station, I had a hunch that we were headed to the Italian restau PG Boy liked a lot.

True enough, after a couple of minutes of walking, we reached the place located in Duxton Road.

Etna Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria is a nice dining place with a cosy and ambiance. The staff were friendly, and the food was good. No wonder PG Boy liked it a lot. It is perfect for dates and get-togethers with a small group of friends.

For starters, we got the Antipasto di Mare and Chicken Fingers. We could have gotten just one, because the serving of each dish. was good enough for sharing. Haha! For the main course, PG Boy the Gbocchi ai 4 formaggi (homemade pasta in a four cheese sauce - perfect for any cheese lover), while I got the Spaghetti all'Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino which was my usual favorite.

I liked everything.

I even got a nice tiramisu cake with a birthday candle. Yey! :D

After dindin, we headed to nearby Neil Road and had a couple of drinks. It was really nice. We bumped into our other friend Ken who was with his friends.

We left just before midnight. Still full from dindin, we decided to walk all the way home. It took us almost an hour, but it was a very good walk. The weather was just right. Except for a number of people every so often, we had the city all to ourselves.

Definitely a good start for what would be a birthday weekend celebration.

Etna Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria is located in 49/50 Duxton Road, Singapore. (Tel: +65 6220 551).

Friday, October 21, 2011

Three decades later...

Three decades later, the same question still pops in my head around this time of the year.

Good friend Chris shared this John Meyer song with me. Uhm, could pretty much relate to it (except for the quarter-life crisis part, I'm done with that. Haha!)

Because, yeah, grateful as I am for everything that's been going on right now..

... I [still] wonder sometimes...
About the outcome...
Of a still verdictless life...
Am I living it right...

32 in a few.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why you should date a writer...

Stumbled upon this blog post of Fickle Cattle's Von Bryan. I thought it was worth sharing because I could fully relate to several thoughts he raised in his wonderful blog post below. :)

(This is a response to this particularly brilliant piece of writing found here, entitled Never Date a Writer).

You should date a writer. You should date a writer because he will fictionalize everything. He will write about things you have done to him, o things you have never done to him. He will write about the time you held his hand, in the rain, and shared an umbrella. Or said nothing when he cried copiously in a movie theater. He will write, in pure passionate prose, about how, during the time you were together, you came across a stray cat on the street and you cried and you took it home and gave it to him and he fell in love with you for the first time.

You should date a writer. You should date a writer because he will fictionalize everything. He will write about the time you fought, and made up, and made love, and fought again. He will scour the details of your lives, and make from them poetry. And his words will sing in your head like birds in spring.

You should date a writer. You should date a writer because he will fictionalize everything. He will write about things that have happened, or that have not happened. He will write about the time you broke up, and he broke your heart. Or the time that he asked you to stay, and you left. He will write, words bleeding on a page, about love and life and lessons learned.

And you will learn about the time he waited outside your door for hours, not knowing if you were coming home or not. Or about the time he baked you a cake, lopsided and burnt, and threw it away because he did not want to give you a stupid ugly cake on your birthday. Or about the time he woke up at 5am in the morning to get you fresh flowers in the market, because he couldn't afford the ones they sold at the mall and he knew how much you liked them.

Or about the time when he was sick, and you were there, making sure he was safe and warm. How you skipped work that day, and puttered around his apartment, making more noise than was probably necessary. And how you kissed him on the forehead when you thought he was asleep, and whispered a promise he dared not believe.

You will learn about the time he stood by your door, and told you he loved you, and how that was the happiest and scariest day of his life. How nervous and fearful he felt, not knowing if you loved him back.

You should date a writer. You should date a writer because he will fictionalize everything. He will immortalize in words, the life you shared, or the time you both laid in bed, and whispered affectionate promises of forever.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bukit Brown Cemetery Heritage Walk...

Who knew it's possible to learn more about a country's heritage and history by visiting several tombstones at a very old cemetery?

Sounds creepy, huh? Maybe when you do it at night. But when you do it on a hot Sunday morning, together with twenty-plus other people eager to learn about their country's heritage and a very knowledgeable heritage walk guide, the whole activity actually becomes one unique learning experience.

Even though I had a late Saturday night, I found myself waking up at 730 in the morning on a Sunday to meet up with Singaporean nature-tripper friend Melvin and his friend Norman at Bishan Junction 8.

Our destination for that morning was one not too many would probably be very keen on going to. Yes, it still still involved the greenery. Yes, there was a lot of walking/hiking involved. But around you are hundreds, even thousands, of tombstones and gravemarkers. Hehe.

After a quick breakkie at MickeyD's Bishan, we got into Melvin's car and hit the road for our destination - Bukit Brown cemetery.

The plan: to join a guided tour of the cemetery led by members of the Asia Paranormal Investigators (API).

A brief background on the cemetery. It was a public Chinese cemetery that had been established some time in the 1920s. The cemetery is located between Lornie Road and Mount Pleasant Road and was named after the land's first owner, George Henry Brown. Brown sold the land to three Ong families (?) who then passed on the land to the municipal authorities for a public cemetery. It was abandoned since its closure in 1973. Close to 100,000 tombs are found in the cemetery.

The largest grave in the cemetery belongs to one of the Ongs - Ong Sam Leong.

What makes Bukit Brown extra special?

Many of Singapore pioneers and forefathers from the late 19th century to the early 20th century were laid to rest here. Chew Boon Lay. (as in the Boon Lay MRT station) Cheang Hong Lim. (as in Hong Lim Park). Son and daughter-in-law of Chia Ann Siang (as in Ann Siang Hills). The mother of Eu Tong Sen (as in Eu Tong Sen in Chinatown). The aunt of Lee Kwan Yew who was the first woman doctor of Singapore.

We managed to visit several of the graves of these prominent Singaporeans. In each grave, the tour guide Raymond gave a very good story/historical information about the deceased. It was really impressive. He gave info on how the person contributed to the Singapore society, how the person is related to contemporary prominent Singapore people.

What also made the tour interesting was that there were a number of descendants were present. So we got stories straight from the horse's mouth.

The other interesting features were the intricate carvings of dragons, phoenixes, Chinese mythological creatures, Peranakan tiles, that decorate the tombstones.

Several markers also had inscriptions on them, which according to our API guide, was meant to serve as life lessons to be remembered by the descendants of the deceased.

"In every tombstone, there is a life lesson to learn," said our API guide.

Today, the Bukit Brown Cemetery is in danger of being cleared. With the site slated for redevelopment, the dead might make way for the living. Pretty soon, it will all be gone. (I just learned that Bishan HDB estate and Ngee Ann City Shopping Centre were once cemetery grounds as well)

Though I am not Singaporean, it's saddening to learn these. The country is not just losing another cemetery. It is losing a historical landmark, a significant part of the rich cultural and historical heritage.

There's a part of me though that also feels lucky for being able to set foot on these grounds before it disappears and becomes one more relic of a bygone era.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Some Monday cheese...

Thinking about the Saturday night dinner party still brings a smile to my face.

In particular, I smile when I recall that part where the "oldies" in the group (me, Pg Guy, Alexie, Paula and Chris) left the "kiddies" on their own and headed out for a breath of fresh air.

We went to the verandah and took our place at the deserted table and benches. It was already close to 10, so there weren't any other people besides us.

The weather that night was pretty nice. It wasn't humid at all. There was a breeze of wind every so often. We had the full moon in view. A number of stars dotted the dark skies.

Alexie placed the quarter-filled bottle of tequila on the table, along with a bag of chips. Chris sat beside Alexie, Pau sat on the other bench, Pg Guy say beside me.

And for the next few hours, we just talked about pretty much whatever came to mind. Work. Living in Singapore. And so on.

I loved it when Pg Guy put his arm around my shoulder. (Usually, it would be me who'd do that.) I loved it that none of my friends were repulsed by it, or showed surprise upon seing that display of action. After all, it's not everyday you see a guy lovingly put his arm around another guy. It seemed like the most natural thing.

I hope there would be more instances like this.

Birthday dinner cum meeting the work friends...

Good friend from work Rach celebrated her birthday last Saturday with a dinner party at her house.

I was really looking forward to attending the dinner party because I knew that Filipino food will be served. Hehe! Add to that the sinful sweet creations of another friend from work Alexie.

Aside from celebrating a good friend's birthday, the Saturday night event was also extra memorable for me because it was the first time Pg Guy will meet my friends from work.

Initially, Pg Guy was a bit hesitant about going primarily because it might be a Filipino-speak party. But I assured him that things will be okay, that my friends are warm and would def make him feel at home. I also told him that Chris will be there so he has two people he can talk to. Hehe.

I'm glad that Pg Guy was game enough to go because the whole thing turned out really well.

He mixed well with my close friends from work. He seemed to have enjoyed the food. We were supposed to leave early to catch a movie, but ended up staying late. Haha!

The best part: my friends thought he was really nice and they liked him.

Parang birthday ko na din tuloy sa saya.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A cupcake surprise...

Rach and I got a really sweet surprise earlier from work buddies Sylvia and Jeremy. (The four of us started in Wiley on the same day. We were groupmates during the pre-work training. Sylvia and Jeremy are two of my first non-Filipino friends here in SG.)

Anyway, tomorrow is Rachel's birthday, and mine is some time next week. Hehe!

Sylvia sent out a group message inviting everyone to tea break.

When Rach and I reached the pantry, we were both surprised to see several cupcakes that formed the words Happy Birthday R & A.

It was really, really sweet of them. It certainly reminds me of the surprise bdays things we have in Smart back then. Awww...

(Group photo above was from our training days last April. Wow, feels like it was so loong ago. Haha!)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I've finally booked a ticket for Lion King.

I had to wait until it was the last few show weeks before really pushing myself to get that ticket.

Good thing the show kept on extending. Otherwise, I wouldn't have forgiven myself. Haha.

Really excited to see the show.

Monday, October 10, 2011

10K run for the dreams of the Mitrataa girls...

It was a very sporty Sunday morning. Haha!

Woke up really early for "Run for a Dream," a charity run organized by the office for the girls of Mitrataa in Nepal.

It was a good run. Venue was at the East Coast Park. Haven't been there for a long time, so it was great being back.

Chris and I signed up for the 10K category.

I thought I did well. The weekly training runs at the NUS Bukit Timah campus with Ian, Chris and Sarge have definitely helped. We should continue having those weekly runs.

As soon as I crossed the finish line, I rested for a short while before boarding a cab to Kallang river.

At 10AM, we had our dragon boat training at Kallang Water Venture.

Though still tired from the run, I had to go to DB training. I just had to.

Thankfully, training that day focused more on technique rather than speed so it was quite okay.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Good things come to those who wait...

Good things come to those who wait.

Two months later, it's official.

8 October 2011.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thank you, Steve Jobs....

Thank you, Steve Jobs.

Crossing my fingers...

I was thinking of holding a small activity for the coming 22nd of October.

But it's turning out to be quite a challenge. More details some other time.

The other night, I did a last check on my email just before hitting the sack and I saw this email that finally brought good news.

So, yeah. It seems like the small activity might have a chance to take place.

Crossing my fingers.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Finished queer fic book #2...

I just recently finished reading Different Strokes by David Leo.

It's one of the four queer fic books I recently got.

It was quite an easy read, given that it was a short novel.

The story revolves around the life of two people living with HIV-AIDS. It describes the challenges and obstacles the two people face while living with the disease.

The central character is a reporter named Keith. Because of the story assignment by his editor, Keith finds himself learning more about the disease and the issues faced by people living with the disease.

Published in 1993 (sheesh, I was just a high school freshman then), Different Strokes is said to be one of the earliest works related to the LGBT community in Singapore.

I wonder how the local community now views HIV-AIDS. I recently attended a short talk about it, and I was a bit surprised to learn that the meds here are not free. Maybe because this isn't a Third World country? In the Philippines, I know that meds are given for free via the UNAIDS Global Fund.

I also asked the speaker about whether the disease is discussed in science and health classes in schools. I was a bit surprised with the reply I got.

Good thing there are a number of local groups like Action for AIDS, which provides education, support and assistance.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Two Boys, One Sandwich...

Two boys. A sandwich. Eating out.

He's always been a Zinger boy. Since the first time they ate at KFC, that's what he would always order. Zinger, regular fries and Pepsi Max (since Coke Zero was not a choice). On certain occasions, he'd add mashed potatoes or one of the other side dishes.

But on any given day, he's perfectly fine with his usual Zinger combo.He knows it tastes well. He knows he loves the combo.

He knows it's what he wants.

It's not the same for him. The first time they went there, he got the same thing as his lunch companion. Zinger, regular fries, Pepsi Max. He even had the same side dish of mashed potatoes.

But the thing is he wants to try the other things on the menu as well. He still hasn't decided want he wants. On one hand, he knows the Zinger is good. He knows it takes away his hunger. He knows he's happy when he has it.

And yet, there's a side of him that feels like there might be something better. He doesn't want Zinger every single time. Maybe he's just not ready to stick to Zinger yet, even if every so often adding a side dish or a dessert seems to be more than enough to want that combo.

So how?

Maybe they can both just keep on going to that fastfood restau. He will continue to keep having his Zinger. He will maybe one day see that Zinger is good enough to satisfy his hunger. Who knows?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Jonrox, Ela, Sheena in town...

Nice surprise while I was headed to DB training this morning.

I was checking my FB page on my phone and I saw a Wall Post from uni friend Jon. He, together with girlfriend Ela plus, were in Singapore. Ela's best friend Sheena was also in town. They were here for holiday and to visit Sheena's boyfriend Mickey.

After taking note of Ela's number, I gave her a call and it was just really great to hear a familiar voice from back home.

We agreed to meet up later in the afternoon, since they already had an itinerary the entire day and I had my own plans as well.

Around 6PM, I was at one of Singapore's most iconic tourist spots - the Merlion Park - looking for the group. It didn't prove to be too difficult to spot them. In a sea of tourists, I saw two gorgeous girls in a flowy jumpsuit-ish number and looking very chic. Jon and Mickey were easy to find as well given their towering heights. Hehe!

I gave the girls a beso and huge hug, while the guys the usual firm handshake and tap on the shoulder. Yeah, I know, I know. Very butch. Haha!

From the Merlion Park, we went to the Marina Bay Sands and hung out at the Ku De Ta bar for pre-dinner drinks. Thankfully, it wasn't raining and we had a great night view of the city. Afterwards, we headed to Killiney for dinner at bak kut teh place that Mickey recommended.

It was really a great get-together even if it was quite short.

Always, always great to see good friends from Manila. :)