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. :-/

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The terracotta warriors were in town...

One of the things I really love about Singapore is the effort the government puts in advancing cultural knowledge by providing extensive support to its museums and similar institutions.

The Asian Civilisation Museum in Raffles Place is one of my favorite places here in SG. In addition to its highly interesting permanent exhibit showcasing Southeast Asian history, the ACM also holds exhibits that are always a treat for anyone hungry for history and culture.

From June to October, the ACM became the home of a number of pieces from China's well-renowned Terracotta Warriors discovery. Through the exhibit entitled Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor and His Legacy, I was able to see up close the magnificent archaeological pieces.

I've always wanted to go to Xian in China to see this. Thanks to ACM, I can delay that trip. Hehe!

It was on a Sunday some months ago that I checked out the exhibit. I just got back from a morning trip to the Sungei Buloh reserve park, I asked PG Boy if he wanted to check out the exhibit. I've been planning to really visit the exhibit, but haven't found the time to go. Good thing PG Boy wasn't that tired yet and he said yes.

After grabbing lunch at Marina Square, we walked to ACM.

I read that this was the first time the statues were showcased not just in Singapore, but in Southeast Asia as well.

The statues that were on display included a general, two archers, infantrymen, a cavalry officer, a charioteer, a strongman and a horse.

What made the exhibit more interesting for me was an iPhone app was developed especially for the exhibit. The app featured Augmented Reality experiences and mini-games and I was just wowed by it. Seriously.

PG Boy and I spent a good two hours roaming around the exhibit. Whereas I was busy taking photos (one more thing I love about ACM - photography allowed!), PG Boy followed the guided tour and listened intently to the museum docent. Hehe! He looked like a schoolboy who was very eager to learn about the pieces on display because an exam might be given. Hehe! Really cute.

The other thing that never fails to amaze me whenever I go to ACM or to most museums is how the exhibit was set up. I'm always interested how a painting or a sculpture was mounted, or what materials were used for the accompanying literature. It comes from the fact that I did events in my previous job. Hehe! I just never got rid of the habit. I seriously think working for a well-funded museum would be a job I can take. Hmm, why didn't I consider that when I was filling up my university application? Hehe!

The next exhibit I'm eyeing to visit is Dreams and Reality: Masterpieces from Musee d'Orsay, an exhibit at the National Museum. I'm really, really excited about this one because works by great painters like Van Gogh, Monet will be on display. Wooohooo!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Loooong Sunday aftie...

While Saturday was quite a relaxing day, I couldn't say the same of Sunday. Haha!

PG Boy and I got home from the boys night out just before midnight. I fell asleep close to 1AM.

I got up around 6AM, because I wanted to catch the 730AM Mass at the Lourdes Church in Ophir Road. Given the activity/errands for the day, I knew it was my only chance to have my QT with Lordy.

From Ophir, I took the bus ride to Bedok Reservoir Park for dragonboat rowing. Two hours of rowing under the scorching heat of the sun.

Wahlau! I die! The day was so hot meh! Hehe!

It's our second to the last training before the river regatta. Good luck to us! I think I've gotten stronger, and I'm more determined to race this time. Yosef did very well in motivating people. Though there were just six rowers plus him, I actually felt quite good after that training day.

From Bedok Reservoir, I grabbed a quickie lunch before heading back to PG Boy's place. Afternoon to evening was allotted for the birthday get-together with friend Desmond.

Headed to Bugis Junction to pick up a gift for Desmond. Walked to Purvis to get the cake from Garibaldi. Then walked to Fairmont to meet up with Melvin. He booked a room for the celebration. Nice, nice hotel!

When PG Boy and Desmond arrived around four, we left the hotel and drove to Marina Bay Sands for the Titanic exhibit. It was impressive, very impressive. The setup was really good. Check it out if you can. We also checked out the Dali exhibit. Not a huge fan of Surrealism, but it was still okay. No photos of the exhibit because I was told no photography allowed. Boo. :-(

From MBS, we headed to Pepes at Ngee Ann City for Indonesian dindin. By the time we got there, I was really tired and I was slightly nauseous. Perhaps it was because I didn't have enough sleep and I was just really tired. Really, really grateful PG Boy was there because I got to lean on him during the drive back to Fairmont.

We surprised Desmond when we brought in the cake while doing a lousy job of singing him the birthday song. Hehe! He looked genuinely surprised that there was a cake for him. Yeeey! Success!

It was a very looong day indeed, but it was a very good one!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Boys just wanna have fun...

Last Saturday, I found myself having a great time at a boys night out with PG Boy's friends (most of whom I've met before because of dragonboat rowing).

We were like an ASEAN gathering. Haha! Three Indonesians. One Malaysian. One Singaporean. One Aussie-Chinese. Two Filipinos.

It was the first time that I've seen the entire group gather together. There were about eight of us. The usual get-together would be composed of about three to five people.

The night started with dinner at Casa Latina. The food was quite okay. I particularly loved the fish dish which Andi ordered. The margaritas were also quite good. What was even better was the conversation among the guys. Topics ranged from Erik's recent trip to Nepal, the new house of Ken, house hounting for Erik, Andi and PG Boy, among others.

After stuffing ourselves with enchiladas, burritos, fajitas, and so on, the group decided to walk to Bugis Junction for coffee, tea and dessert at TCC.

We called it a night an hour before midnight. It was really an enjoyable evening, I must say.

Stupid me, I didn't bring my camera. :-/ Lots of nice photo op moments that evening.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree...

Check out this nice tree at Vivo City.

Woohoo! Starting to feel Christmas-y here!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Christmas is fast approaching...

My fave holiday of the year is just around the corner.

Today, I heard a Christmas carol being played at a nearby mall while I was waiting for my train to arrive.

I couldn't help but smile.

It's going to be a different Christmas.

Also, check out the ABS-CBN Christmas 2011 Station ID. I can SO relate, and it made me teary-eyed. Haha!

And I have to agree, Da Best ang Pasko ng Pilipino.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Kiddie party with the kids of Yong-En Care Center...

Several weeks before my birthday, I was thinking of what I can do to make my first birthday away from home really memorable.

The answer came while I was on my way to work one morning. Why not celebrate it the way I've been celebrating it in Manila for the past four or five year.

Together with friends. At a kids' institution. With games and presents for the kids.

I thought to myself that it would be a nice and meaningful activity to gather together friends from different groups not just to celebrate my birthday, but also to share with friends something really close to my heart - volunteering.

When I got to the office that day, I Googled for orphanages and care centers in Singapore. Surely, a First World country would still have institutions caring for children in need. The good thing about Singapore is that it is well-organized and very efficient. I stumbled upon a website that listed almost all the charitable institutions in the island-state.

Since I had no idea about each institution, I tried to narrow the list down according to type of organization, location and whether they had volunteer activities for the kids.

After coming up with a list of 5 institutions, I drafted a nice email to introduce myself, mention my proposed activity and the reason behind it. I even added photos from my previous kiddie birthday parties to show the institution that I'm no psycho and that I just want to have a birthday party for the kids. Haha!

I sent out my first email. A day passed. No reply. I sent out a second email to another institution. Decline. I sent out a third email to another one. Decline. I sent out a fourth email to one more. Decline.

Wow! I certainly did not expect getting turned down. And then I remembered I am in a First World country. Hehe! Almost all the institutions are well-funded or are very strict about their programs for the children. I told fellow UP volunteer Jean about the declines I was getting and how I was starting to get crushed. She said not to worry about it because I will find the right institution.

The right institution turned out to be the first institution I emailed - the Yong-En Centre. After several days, I got a very positive reply from Sharon (a program executive from the center). We agreed to meet up at the center so that I can explain the activity and talk about what I had in mind.

After finalizing the date, the time, the program, the next thing I did was to invite friends and get them to support the activity.

I was overwhelmed by the support extended by my friends. We were supposed to prepare gifts for just 20 - 25 kids, but we were able to gather so many gifts. Work colleague Alexie promised to make her delicious cupcakes for the event. Friends who weren't available on the day of the event itself promised to send gifts and they did. I couldn't be more grateful.

On a nice Saturday aft, Jean, Julie, Robert and I arrived at the Yong-En Centre quite early to wrap some more gifts and to prepare the venue. I also decided to come in early to wait for the food and to buy some more stuff needed for the party.

By 4PM, more friends arrived. Yong-En Centre's Sharon and Candice then gave us a pre-activity orientation. I was really impressed at how organized and efficient they were. They gave us a brief background about the center before proceeding to discuss the afternoon program's lineup of activities.

Fifteen minutes later, close to 15 bright-eyed, highly energetic and happy kids entered the activity hall.

Looking at my friends, they seemed just as excited as the kids were to be there that afternoon.

We started the fun afternoon with Human Bingo. I gotta say the kids were really smart, huh. I wasn't expecting young ones like 7 or 8 year olds ready to play that game. But as soon as Sharon signaled for the game to start, everyone - kids and adults - scrambled around to look for people to sign their Human Bingo sheet. I had a great time watching the kids and my friends interacting amidst laughter.

The next game we played was Streets and Alleys (I think). This one was more tiring because it involved some running. Hehe! I knew it was tiring because I volunteered to be the first player. Haha! It felt nice to be running around the hall chasing after one of the kids, while everyone else did their own role for the game. To be a kid again. Haha!

By the time we finished the second game, the kids were prolly starving. I guess so were the adults. Hehe! So we all moved towards the back of the room to queue for the food. It was nice seeing my friends taking care of the kids and making sure each kid had food.

Cheesy as this may sound, I felt a huge amount of joy in my heart watching everything.

The last part of the afternoon was probably the kids' favorite - gift giving. Because we had so much presents, each kid got to queue for a gift twice.

There were several gifts left and I just asked Sharon to please distribute the remaining gifts to the kids who were not able to attend the activity.

Oh, the kids also surprised me when they started singing "Happy Birthday" and birthday cake was brought out.

The activity ended past 6. I felt tired after the event, but I was just really happy with how the activity turned out. The kids left with big smiles on their faces. My friends said the kindest words.

It was definitely, definitely a very memorable first birthday in Singapore. It was the perfect way to close my three-part birthday celebration. Haha! (Yeah, I had a long birthday celebration. But the story for that is reserved for another blog post.)

To everyone who became part of the event, thank you very much! I am really, really, really grateful.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Because it's not said that often...

Between me and PG Boy, I think I'm the one who's more demonstrative and who's more verbal with cheesiness. Haha! I dun think he'd argue with me on this one.

I'm not complaining. It's just a matter-of-fact observation and statement.

Truth be told, I have not always been like that. Growing up, I can't recall any specific moment that I said "I love you" to my parents. Let's not even start with my brothers. LOL! Our family dynamics was quite different.

It was my best friend Tey who taught me to be more expressive and verbal about one's caring/affection for someone else. She was never afraid to say how she felt. Whenever she would talk to her Mom or to her nephews and nieces, she would confidently say, "I love you, Mama" or "Do you love Tita, Kenjo?"

During those years when we would still use the landline to talk, my phone conversations with Tey would always end with her saying, "Love you, Anj." It took awhile for me to be comfortable with it. I knew she was saying it as a close sibling would, but still it was something I had to get used to.

The good thing was I learned quickly and pretty soon, I became more comfortable telling her and other friends, "Love you, friend" or "Hey, I miss you." Most of the time, a hug would go along with it because when I say it, I mean it.

That helped a lot when I got into a relationship. And it's helping me now with PG Boy. I dun find it difficult to tell him that I miss him. Sometimes, I have to keep myself from saying it too often (even if it's true) just so he wouldn't get tired of it. Hehe!

While I would love to hear the words "I miss you" more often, there is also something to not hearing it said that often actually.

Because he doesn't say it that often and because I dun know when he'd say it, the times he would say it would make it more special for me.

And the times that he would actually say it, I would always find myself with a big smile.

(Haha. Is this too mushy? Sorry, I just thought I'd write about it.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Are you GAYme...

Posting something from Oogachaga:

Oogachaga presents ARE YOU GAYME ENOUGH. A riveting game show modelled event that will captivate an audience while delving into sexuality, wellbeing, culture and history of LGBT.

Teams of two will battle it out, using their knowledge as the ultimate weapon.

Invite your friends to PLAY night club on 4 November 2011 and join us with our MC for the night, Mistevious as we gear up for three rounds of exciting and fun-filled competition to determine which team is GAYME enough.