Thursday, March 28, 2013

Old sketches...

On my recent trip back to Manila, I found my sketchbook for a Visual Arts class I had in uni.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the sketches I did are still in good condition, considering that these were done over ten years ago. Haha!

On my senior year in uni, we had to take up an Elective class. While the rest of my blockmates were registered in an Anthropology class, I was happily drawing in my Visual Arts class. Hehe!

Okay, okay, I admit that one of the main reasons I signed up for the Visual Arts class was because I wanted a final grade of 1.0-1.25. Haha! (I think I got a 1.25. I have to check my transcripts. Hehe!)

But the class turned out to be a good one. Most of my classmates were students under the Philippine Arts program. I was the only one from the Organizational Communication program.

Our teacher was the late Sid Hildawa. At that time, I didn't know that he was actually a very accomplished individual. He was a good teacher. I was sorry to hear about his untimely demise.

After the semester, I still did a few sketches. Those are my folks. I wanted to draw my entire family, but I didn't get to finish it anymore. The other portrait is... me! This was when I was still in prep school. Hehe!

I haven't been doing a lot of sketches now. I dunno. I'm too preoccupied with too many other things. But at least, I'm glad that I got to do these few drawings then.

It's proof that I am indeed one of the sons of Antonio Morales. Hehe!


Best email I received this morning.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Tailoring Tales: Transferring the pattern to the fabric...

On one occasion where I was waiting for my number to be called at the Philippine Embassy, I saw a streamer for a Filipino organization that offered various courses.

I decided to get the contact info of the said organization. The following day, I gave them a call to ask about one course I was interested in. Come weekend, I signed up for the course.

Yesterday was the second session of my Tailoring course.

Yup, it's Project Runway: Singapore OFW edition. Kidding. Hehe!

The classes are held on the afternoons of every 2nd and 4th Sunday at the Bayanihan Centre near Labrador Park MRT.

So far, the two sessions have been fun learning sessions. Our teacher, Tita Lisa, is a very nice lady who patiently answers my questions and explains things to me.

On the first session, I thought I'd be attending a lecture first. No, it was immediate hands on. One of the other teachers just explained to us the scale of an inch. After that, we were already making a pattern for our first project - pajama.

I had no "school materials" with me. Leave it to the kindness of fellow Filipinos to lend me a drawing paper for my pattern, pencils, measuring tape, erasers, etc.

During yesterday's session, Tita Lisa checked our patterns for our pajama and showed how to transfer the pattern to the fabric. I had my tools ready yesterday - tracing paper, tracing wheel, chalk, ruler, vary form curve ruler, L-shaped ruler.

The session ended with us cutting our fabric after the pattern was transferred.

Next session, we will piece the front and back of the pajamas. First time to use a sewing machine. Woohoo! :D

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Lunch is glass noodles and ngo hiong. Wheee! :D

Friday, March 22, 2013

Ramen place at Tanjong Pagar...

Had dinner last night with MkSurf8 at a fairly new ramen shop at Tanjong Pagar area.

To be specific, it's at the Orchid Hotel. There are two Japanese places just outside the hotel. First is Keisuke Tonkotsu King, which has a very loooong queue. The other one is Menya Sanji.

I was intrigued by the food at Keisuke because of the queue. It's definitely a good sign. However, I think I will try it on another day and I will definitely be there vearly. Hehe!

Anyway, a few steps away from Keisuke is Menya Sanji. It's a very tiny shop. There was also a queue but it was definitely shorter than the one at Keisuke. I've never been to Japan. However, Menya Sanji looks like the shop of the guy in the documentary Jiro dreams of Sushi. The place can seat less than 20 people I think.

From what I read, the ramen served by the shop is called Kagoshima ramen aka tonkotsu style ramen. I tried the original Sanji Ramen with roasted pork topping and I liked it. The pork was a bit dry, but it was still okay. I'm glad that it didn't have any fat at all. Hehe.

The service is also good and fast. For a small shop, they have about 5 or 6 people behind the counter. One guy who knows how to smile (!!!) checks the queue and takes people's orders. Another person takes care of clearing tables. The rest are behind the counter preparing your happy bowl of ramen.


Menya Sanji
Orchid Hotel #01-14 1 Tras Link
11:30pm – 3:00pm, 5:30pm – 11:00pm Daily

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Good luck, Rej...

Last night, I had dinner with Rej. She was one of the people who really inspired and encouraged me to make the move to Singapore. She was one of the people who really helped in making my Singapore dream come true.

In a few days, she'll be flying out Singapore and heading to a new country for work. Huhu!

I'm really glad that we had the chance to get together one more time before she flies out. I hardly see her but I know that she's one of the people I can really talk to about buhay OFW.

Over dinner, we talked about how things currently are for foreign workers in Singapore, visiting the Philippines, plans after Singapore. We talked about friends in Smart, life when we were still in Smart, school, going back to school, relationships. We talked about how being OFW changes someone.

Definitely a good dinner. What I thought would just be a one-hour dinner (because she had to go back to work) turned out to be a three hours over get-together. Haha! :)

Thank you, Rej, for everything! Here's to new dreams... *wink wink*

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Combat 55...

Fave track from the recently released Body Combat 55.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

New volunteer opportunity...

This morning, I went for an interview for a volunteer post.

It was a volunteer post I've been eyeing and have been waiting for for quite some time now. Every time I would check the website of that organization, I would always see "There is currently no recruitment for volunteers."

That changed last Monday.

Because PG Boy asked me over the weekend about volunteering with the organization, I decided to check the org website when I got into work and there it was...

Landing page had a huge banner that said "Recruitment of Museum Volunteers Ongoing." Yay! I clicked on the banner and I was led to a page that said Application deadline 3 March 2013. Monday was 4 March 2013. Boo!

Still, I submitted an application. I figured I wouldn't lose anything. Come the following Monday, I received an email from the group saying I've been shortlisted for the volunteer recruitment. Yay!

This morning, during the interview (which I think went well), I told the interviewers about the status of my work pass. They told me it was a concern. Boo!

My new work pass expires this 2014 March. The organization requires a one-year commitment until July 2014. That's because training is April until June and the actual deployment is this July. I just told the interviewers that regardless of the interview, I plan to do everything I can to stay in the country.

I would be lying if I say that I wasn't a bit crestfallen upon hearing that the work pass status was a concern. I expected it to be a concern though. I really planned to mention the work pass status during the interview. I'm wondering now whether I should have delayed divulging that information. Hehe.

I already saw the training course topics and schedule and it is wonderful and exciting. I can already imagine it will be a good learning experience. Sigh.

There's nothing I can do now but wait. The results of the interview will be released in a week's time. Crossing my fingers. If it doesn't happen, I'm going to take it as a sign...

Restaus worth a try....

Okie, last post related to Kathmandu. Hehehe!

There's no need to worry about going hungry in Kathmandu. There are several restaus in Thamel that are worth a try. Below are the restaus where we had dinner or coffee and I recommend them all... seriously:

1. Green Organic Cafe (Nepalese food)/ with wifi

2. Thamel House Restaurant (Nepalese food)/ no wifi

3. Roadhouse Cafe (great wood fire pizza!)/ with wifi

4. La Dolce Vita (great Italian food)/ with wifi

5. Kaiser Café (Western food)/ with wifi but you have to pay for it.

All the places above are within walking distance from Kathmandu Guest House. Other places we were told to try but didn't get a chance to were Pumpernickel and Himalaya Java (their version of Starbucks).

A helpful tip: Be prepared to wait and wait and wait. To those used to a fast-paced everything, one might see them as too slow. I guess that's how the way they do it. Meals can sometimes take about 30 minutes or more to arrive. Hehe!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Habemus Papam Franciscum...

Woke up to good news.

We have a Pope.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Where to stay in Kathmandu...

For the trip to Kathmandu, our partner foundation recommended we stay at Kathmandu Guest House. The short stay at Kathmandu Guest House helped make my first trip to Nepal a memorable one.

The hotel used to be a Rana mansion. (The Rana dynasty ruled the Kingdom of Nepal from 1846 until 1951). Much of the original structure still exists. It has a nice courtyard and garden where you can just find a corner to read, write, have coffee or chat with friends. The rooftop gives a view of the surrounding neighborhood and a mountain range. The front desk staff is generally friendly. Look for Uttam, who is the most friendly to everyone.

The hotel has different room options. Room rates range from the affordable to the more expensive ones. The room I got was a Standard Room, which was about US$40 a night. I stayed in 410. The room had three single beds, a TV, a halogen heater, hot/cold shower, dresser, chair and table. I had the basics that I need so I was definitely happy.

What I also loved about KGH was its location. It is smack right in the middle of tourist central Thamel. This meant easy access to shops and restaurants. :)

I would definitely want to stay again in this hotel on my next visit to Nepal.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New volunteer opportunity...

Monday ended on a good note.

I received an email from this particular organization that I was shortlisted for the volunteer recruitment interview. Yay!

Interview will be this Saturday morning.

I'm really hoping I get in as this is going to be a great experience.

More on this soon...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Birthday lunch for KK...

Spent Saturday noontime with a few friends for a surprise birthday lunch I organised for good friend Kok Kuan.

I messaged a few of our common friends and I was glad that most were able to go.

Originally, I was hoping that very good friend from Manila Carlo would be able to join us for lunch. He was going to be in Singapore for a day in transit. I was looking forward to seeing him and introducing him to a few of my buddies here. However, he had to postpone the trip. Huhu.

Anyway, I told the guys to be at Etna Italian Restaurant along Duxton Road at 12 noon. I told Kok Kuan to be at the place by 1215. Thankfully, the guys were all punctual. Hehe!

When Kok Kuan arrived at the restau, he was so surprised to see several familiar faces. What he thought was going to be a one-on-one birthday lunch was actually a small party of 7. Hehe!

Etna is one of the very good Italian places around the island. PG Boy took me there for my own birthday two years ago. We've also been there on another occasion with his friends. The place has a branch in Siglap and in Lau Pa Sat.

The food is priced reasonably. The service is quite good. The place is also nicely decorated. It's a good place for dates and small gatherings. Hehe!

Etna @ Duxton
49-50 Duxton Road
Singapore 089513
Tel : 6220 5513

Opening hours:
12.00pm – 2.30pm
6.30pm – 10.30pm

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Last week, I mentioned to PG Boy that we should go on a trip this coming Holy Week.

It's a long weekend and I thought it would be a good opportunity for us to go on a trip.

So over the weekend, we talked about where we can go. We agreed on a place. Yesterday, he mentioned to me that he already booked the hotel. Today, I spent some time in the morning booking our transportation.

It took me quite some time to find a good bus company and a good schedule. I should have known that we should have booked much earlier. Because it is going to be a long weekend, I should have expected that people would be booking trips early. Hehe!

After messaging two friends to ask for recommendations, I finally found two good bus companies and I was able to book our return tickets.

Before heading back this evening, I went down to People's Park to collect the coach tickets. Xie xie for phone and online reservations. Hehe!

Cannot wait for the long weekend.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

At the Garden of Dreams...

The other place I got to visit when I was in Kathmandu was the Garden of Dreams. For 200 rupees (about SGD3), you can escape the noise and crowd of Thamel for an hour or two and just chill at this historical garden. The Garden of Dreams was created in the early 1920s. Around the garden, one will find pavilions, fountains, and other decorative garden furniture. It could use a little bit more of maintenance (and I think the group behind is doing so). Still, it was a nice escape.

Monday, March 4, 2013

At Boudhanath Stupa...

As I mentioned in the Work Edition post about the Kathmandu trip, 20% of it was a holiday experience. My colleagues and I managed to squeeze in a few touristy activities after each day's events.

One of the major highlights was the visit to Boudhanath Stupa

Boudhanath Stupa is the largest stupa in Nepal. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is said to be the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of Tibet. The stupa is located in the town of Boudha, which is about 7 km East/Northeast of Kathmandu. The stupa was built around 5th century AD.

Other than being a popular tourist site, the stupa is a sacred place for meditation for Tibetan Buddists and local Nepalis.

The most distinct feature of the stupa was the pair of Buddha Eyes on all four sides of the square tower. I also noticed the symbol between the eyes which looked like a question mark. From what I read, it is the Nepali character for the number 1 and symbolises unity.

Colourful prayer flags, mantras and prayers printed on them, are tired to the stupa.

The surroundings of the stupa were also a treat for the eyes. Souvenir shops, Buddhist monasteries and nunneries, a few restaurants and cafes are found around the stupa.

The other temple worth a visit is Pashupatinath, which is near the airport. It was quite close to Boudhanath but we did not get to visit it. Huhu.