Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Brunch at Eggs & Berries...

As much as I like having the usual traditional breakkie set at the food store across PG Boy's place, I still crave for something different on certain weekends.

That's why last Sunday, I suggested to a sleepy PG Boy that we head to Changi City Point instead to have brunch at Eggs & Berries.

Luckily, City Point was not crowded yet and we didn't have to wait to get a table at the restau.

I'm not sure if there's any other brunch place in the East that serves nice brunch sets. Hmm, the other closest brunch place to Tampines I can think of is already in Farrer Park. Hehe!

Anyway, what's good about Eggs & Berries is that the brunch plate is quite affordable/reasonable. Excluding the coffee, the brunch plate set which includes the three pieces of mini butter pancakes is about $15. Not bad, yeah?

Will definitely be back again soon.

Eggs & Berries
5 Changi Business Park Central 1
#01-37/38 Changi City Point
Singapore 486038
Tel: 6636 4212
Opening Hours: 8am to 10pm (daily)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Thian Hock Keng Temple tour...

Thian Hock Keng temple holds a very important place in Singapore history. After it was built between 1830s-1840s, early Chinese immigrants paid a visit to the temple upon arrival in Singapore to give thanks to Ma Zu (Goddess of the Sea) for a safe sea voyage. One can't see it now, but more than a century ago, the temple's location along Telok Ayer St. gave a view of the sea.

I came to know of Thian Hock Keng (Temple of Heavenly Happiness) at the museum guiding course at the National Museum of Singapore. Thian Hock Keng was briefly mentioned during the session that talked about Tan Tock Seng, the prominent Peranakan businessman and philanthropist who was one of the main donors of the temple.

When I learned that two guided tours of the temple are part of the activities under Singapore Heritage Fest, I wasted no time in signing up for the tours of one of the oldest and most important Chinese temples in Singapore. Not only would it give me additional information that I may use when I do my museum tours, I can also pick up tips/techniques on guiding. Hehe! ;-)

Friday night covered customs and traditions at the temple, while Saturday was an architectural tour. Between the two, I thoroughly enjoyed more the architectural tour given by Prof. Yeo Kang Shua. A professor from the Singapore University of Technology & Design, he knew his stuff very well and had a lot of things to share. In fact, the tour extended beyond the allotted one hour because of the amount of info he has to share.

The tour began with the group gathering on the other side of the road where we all had a good view of the facade of the entire temple. Prof. Shua started by saying that Chinese temples may be discussed and dissected into three parts - the roof, the body and the details.

For example, he explained that from simply by looking at the roof alone, one can already tell whether the temple style is Northern or Southern Chinese architecture.

Southern Chinese architecture tends to have a central ridge in a curvilinear shape compared to Northern Chinese architecture which is usually just a straight line.

From the roof, he moved to the body of the temple. On a quick look, one can say that the temple has three sets of doors. But look again and you will see that there are actually 5 sets of doors. Two are for the commoners; two are for the rich; and the central one is for the Chinese emperor, the monks or the deity.

The next part of the tour involved walking around the temple and dwelling on the details found around the temple.

Among those I found interesting are the following:

1.) How do you know which side to enter? Look for the dragon. Traditional temple entrances usually have a dragon wall painting or stone sculpture on the left side and a tiger on the right side (from the point of view of the deity). From what I read after the tour, the dragon represents entering the temple to pray for luck while exiting the tiger side means the driving away the evil spirits.

2.) Just after the main entrance of Thian Hock Keng, you will see six brackets above the doors. Three are of Buddha designs and the other three carry a floral motif. This tells us that there were two sets of craftsmen who worked on the temple. The temple doors also give an idea whether the deity housed in the temple is male or female. In the case of Thian Hock Keng, eunuchs are painted on the doors for the commoners and the rich. This tells visitors that the main deity of the temple is female. The central door (the one meant for the emperor/deity/monks) is painted with gold-gilded dragons. What's worth mentioning about these door murals is that they were made by local craftsmen. You will see the signature of one of the artists, Mr. Seow Kok Tin, on one of the doors.

3.) The temple has two side wings, which are dedicated to minor deities and to administrative offices. Among the other deities present in the complex are Confucius, the God of Wealth, the God of Health, the Goddess of Mercy Guan Ying, the Sun God and the Moon Goddess. The area where the monks used to stay is now an altar that holds ancestral tablets.

4.) You would also notice that the areas with the most intricate and most elaborate carvings and design are the entrance and the area just before the main hall where the altar of Ma Zu is. The reason for this is quite simple. According to Prof. Shua, these areas are meant to impress the power of the deity on the devotees. Meanwhile, the main hall is kept very simple to ensure that devotees focus their full attention the deity.

5.) There are two statues of Ma Zu found in the temple. The bigger one has a pink face while the other one has a black face. The former represents Ma Zu in her human form, while the black one is supposedly for her suffering for the people. There is a third colour, gold, which depicts Ma Zu in deity form but the temple does not have it. By the way, the black one is the older and original statue brought in from China. The pink one was added during the renovation done in 1998.

6.) Granite tablets may be found on the walls just after the entrance and before the exit of the temple. These tablets document important events related to the temple such as the erection of the steel balustrades, the purchase of floor tiles, the sourcing of materials such as teak. The granite tablets tell us that not all materials were from China. The tiles, for example, are from the UK while another line says that Malay teak wood. The tablets even say the cost of some of the materials.

These are but a few of the things that make Thian Hock Keng a very interesting landmark in Singapore, whether for religious, historic or tourism reasons. I don't know how often tours of the temple are done so I'm really grateful that I was able to join the tours with fellow culture/museum/history fans. Hehe! :)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ah Seng Duck Rice at Serangoon Gardens...

I'm not really a fan of duck, but I learned of one food stall that sells one of the best braised duck in the whole of Singapore. (Yes, I am that confident. Hehe!)

Ah Seng Braised Duck Rice at the Serangoon Garden Market & Food Centre looks just like your usual hakwer center food stall.

But come 11AM until after lunch, a long queue can always be seen.

Luckily, Mr. Lim and I did not have to queue very long last Saturday because we arrived at the food centre quite early. Mr. Lim decided that we should go have duck rice at Serangoon Gardens.

We ordered braised duck, braised pig's ear and egg, and veggies. We also ordered pig organ soup from the neighboring food stall.

It was not difficult to understand why Ah Seng frew to become such a popular braised duck place.

The sauce has just the right saltiness. The duck itself is very tender and chewy, which I really liked. But what I liked about it even more is that the duck has been already deboned.

I must say that the braised duck goes very well with a cup of steamed rice and veggies. Hehe! I would have wanted a second cup of rice, but I managed to control myself. Hehe!

If you plan to go, one obvious tip is to be there early because the queue does get quite long. If you're not going to tapau, the system is queue to order, give your table number and your food will be brought to your table. Quite nice, right?!

I would definitely want to go back and try the other braised items.

On a side note, it's my first time to drive around the Serangoon Gardens area and I have to say it is niiiceee! :D I had to ask Mr. Lim, "Are we still in Singapore?" Hehe! PG Boy describes the area as having a very Aussie feel. I wouldn't know because I've never been to Aus. Hehe!

But seriously, the neighbordhood seems to be a very good one!

Ah Seng Braised Duck Rice
49A Serangoon Garden Way#01-44
Serangoon Garden Market & Food Centre
Mon to Sat 11am to 9pm

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Good morning....

While waiting for Body Pump class to start this morning... Hehe!

One of the big reasons I would drag myself out of bed vearly is that I get to see this. I get to see a brand new day start. I may have previously mentioned that I'm a big fan of the sunrise. Hehe!

With this kind of greatness greeting you in the morning, how can one not be hopeful that today will be an awesome day?! It really does make one hopeful and grateful, yeah?! :)

Oh, and the fact that I'm back to my weight before my Manila trip makes today even more awesome. Haha!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A walk in the park... a former cemetery park... Hehe...

After so many weeks, maybe even months, I was finally able to go on a nature walk again.

Before I left for the short trip to Manila, I told my usual nature walk/hiking buddy Mr. Lim that it's time for us to go on a nature walk again. I can't remember the last time we went on one and I am really starting to miss being surrounded by trees and greenery.

Mr. Lim and I agreed to go for one when I return from Manila. We invited some people to go with us. He also invited five friends of his.

On the mvorning of our walk, it was just me and him. Haha! Why am I not surprised? We're the only two people among our friends crazy enough to wake up at 7AM on a weekend, I suppose. Hehe!

Our desination over the weekend was one I've never been to before - Bidadari Park.

Bidadari Park is located very near to Potong Pasir MRT. What makes it unique is that it used to be one of Singapore's largest and oldest cemeteries.

Yep, you read that right! It used to be a cemetery.

But just like what's happening to Bukit Brown Cemetery at the moment, Bidadari was cleared of graves during the second half of the twentieth century to create spaces for the living.

When it opened in 1908, the cemetery served as a multi-religious burial ground. Burial sites for Christans, Muslims, Hindus were found in the cemetery.

Some of the "superstars" who were laid to rest here were Dr. Lim Boon Keng (yes, of Boon Keng MRT station) and Song Ong Siang. Both are Peranakans who served the colonial Singapore community for many years.

I think the marker for Dr. Lim Boon Keng is still around. I also read that the iron gates, which was the entrance to the cemetery, is also still around. Too bad we didn't get to see those.

Mr. Lim and I, however, did see a number of very interesting birds and animals. We saw three of the white squirrels that live in one of the wooded areas. Over at the area where the Muslim cemetery used to be, we saw Brahminy kites (some eagle or hawk specie) and... a number of cuckatoos!!!

After the cemetery closed in 1973 and the graves were exhumed, the area naturally turned into a habitat for birds and animals. Bird watchers would go to the park because migratory birds could be seen. The cemetery also became a sort of recreational area for residents who live nearby. Mr. Lim and I saw a few people jogging and cycling. There was a man who was flying a radio-controlled plane. There were two men who carried huge cameras with them taking photos of the surroundings.

As for me, I just enjoyed in the midst of all the greens. It was really relaxing not hearing any human or vehicle noise, but just the sound of wind and the "noise" made by the cuckatoos. Haha!

I'm glad I got to go to Bidadari. I intend to return to look for the wrought iron gates and the marker of Dr. Lim Boon Keng. I have to do that soon because in a few years, the area might be replaced by HDB flats. Boo! Yeah, that's right. The site is slated to be redeveloped into a housing estate.

I really hope that the area that still has a a lot of trees would be kept and just developed into a park.

Just before I end this post, Bidadari comes from the Sanskirt word "widyadari." It means nymph or fairy. The cemetery was named after the wife of a maharaja whose istana (palace) stood in the area.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Afternoon with the Dragon Divas...

Tipz invited me to watch the Dragon Divas competition yesterday afternoon.

Dragon Divas is a competition among a group of international dragon boat associations in which the guy members go drag and perform.

I'm not exacttly sure what the purpose of the event is though. Hehe!

But anyway, I agreed to go with him to the event since I haven't seen him since he got back from his UK and Manila trips.

We agreed to meet up at Kallang MRT and from there, walk to the Kallang Riverside Park where the event was held.

Seven groups participated in this year's Dragon Divas - Japan, Germany, US, Canada, UK, Ireland and of course, the Philippines.

Of the seven performances, I have to say that I enjoyed the Japanese performance the most.

To me, the group was the one that was most organized, most prepared and with the most creative and most original presentation. I know. A lot of "mosts" in that stament.

But it's true though.

The Okinawa Dragons was the only team that really understood what it meant to go drag.

While the performances of the other teams were also entertaining, my vote really went to the Japanese team.

As for the Philippine team, I was expecting more especially after seeing photos from last year's competition (in which Tipz performed). I wonder what happened.

In any case, it was a good Saturday afternoon activity.

Thanks mucho, Tipz, for the invitation. Thanks as well for the pasalubongs from the UK and from the Philippines.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I may have written in a previous post that recently, I've been feeling so much stress because the employment situation here.

For someone who does not like gray areas, I find it so ironic that I am in one big gray area at the moment. Haha! I swear, the Big Guy up there must be laughing thinking, "Ha! You dun want gray area, is it?! I'll put you in one." Hehe!

But seriously, I've been so stressed recently because the new work pass I have right now is only valid for a year. Come end of year, I would have to bug our HR to start applying for the renewal of my work pass. One year can go by so fast and I dun want to go back to the Philippines just yet. No, not yet. I still love Singapore very much that I am willing to do what I can to be able to stay here for as long as I can.

However, I also realised that maybe, there is a lesson being taught here. Perhaps the most obvious one is to put complete trust in Him. This is probably Him saying, "Relax lah. No worries lah. I will take care of everything, no matter what." I really have to say I'm grateful to have strong faith in Him. Otherwise, I wouldn't know how I would handle certain challenges that I've experienced here.

The other recent thing that I realised is that instead of worrying, I should spend time preparing and making plans. It's true that I dunno what will be the result of the renewal, but I can still plan. (I am optimistic though that I will be renewed again and again and again. This is me claiming it. Hehe!) In this case, I need to have a Plan A, B, C, D, E and so on.

So lately, all these ideas of what I will do are coming to my head. To be honest, I'm quite excited by the ideas.

The important thing right now is to continue saving. I should save as much as I could because as long as I have moolah, I will be able to move forward with my different plans. Hehe!

My friend Bernice sent the above photo via Facebook. She said, "Friend, I thought of you when I saw this." I really thought it was nice of her to remember. The photo is just so appropriate. Hehe!

I can say that now that I've done some "processing," I am less stressed. In fact, I am now excited. Sure, I dunno what's going to happen next year. But as long as I've got plans and I've got my faith and my Big Boss, things will be okay.

Pero Lord, please patagalin ninyo pa ako dito sa SG. :)

This was a happy day...

This was a happy day...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Carine is here...

The package above was one of the few packages that welcomed me when I returned to work a few days ago.

I was very pleased to have finally received this package after waiting for a month or two.

My team mate Gen told me about this UK-based website, which does not only sell books at a discounted price but also ships it for free.

How the business earns profit, I have no idea. Hehe.

Anyway, I decided to try the website.

There are a few books I wanted to buy at Kinokuniya. However, I always end up returning the books to the shelves because I couldn't bring myself to fork out 100 over dollars for a coffee table book. Hehe!

Good thing Gen told me about the site.

I went online and checked out the price for Carine Roitfeld's irreverent. It was selling for $91 on the site. At Kinokuniya, the same book was selling for $166!!!

Such a huge difference, right?!

So I went ahead and ordered from the site just to try it out and see if it works.

Well, as you know by now, it does!!!

I'm thinking of buying a few more books again. Hehe! Sure, it takes awhile for the package to arrive. I just think about how much I'm saving.

The site's name is Book Depository. Check it out here.

It may be addicting. Don't tell me I didn't warn you. Hehe!

Friday, July 12, 2013

iHOP and Kabila...

I was able to try some somewhat new restaus on my recent trip - iHOP at Bonifacio Global City and Kabila in Makati, which is right beside Museum Cafe.

Even before the plane left Changi the previous night, Tey, Moneigh and I were already discussing where to have breakkie. Hehe! I was thinking of having a Filipino breakfast such as the usual tosilog, tapsilog and other silogs, but the girls suggested iHOP.

Since I've been reading about the pancake place and I'm curious to find out what all the fuss is about, we agreed to go there. Moneigh picked up me and Tey around 7. The jam going to Makati was starting to get heavy. Luckily, we were going the other way. We reached iHOP in less than 30 minutes.

We didn't have any difficulty getting a table since it was a weekday and it was still quite early.

As expected, there were a lot of choices on the menu. It took some time going through the items. In the end, I settled for one of the platters that had everything. Hehe! That's the best way to go. Moneigh also ordered two types of pancakes for us to try.

Uhm, I have to say I didn't find anything spectacular about the food. The one thing I really liked was the hash brown. As for the pancakes, I think I like the ones from Pancake House.

Kabila, on the other hand, was a very enjoyable dining experience. The restau serves very good Filipino dishes. If you enjoy Sentro or Fely J's, you'll definitely love Kabila. Make sure to ask for the Kabila menu since you might get Museum Cafe menu.

Similar to iHOP, I had difficulty deciding what to order since almost all the items on the menu were calling my name. Hehe! In the end, we ordered Fried Kangkong Crisps, Ensaladang Kabila, Grilled Gulay with Bagoong and Salted Egg, Kabila's Pork Bagnet, and Tinola-flavored Rice!

The dishes were all quite enjoyable! I wish the bagnet was crunchier, but it was still yum. I also liked the kangkong crisps a lot.

I liked Kabila a lot that I suggested to my former colleague CJ that we meet there the following day for merienda. Hehe! For merienda, we shared the Guinataang Bilo Bilo and a very sinful slice of Chocnut Valrhona. Hehe!

Will definitely try this restau again.

IHOP Philippines
W Global Center, 30th St. corner 9th Avenue
Bonifacio Global City
Phone: 808 9589

Ayala Museum Complex, Makati Avenue
corner Dela Rosa St., Makati City
Phone: 757-3000 or 757-6000
Web: http://www.raintreerestaurants.com/kabila.html

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Phone-less day...

Haha! I forgot my phone at home.

By the time I realised that I dun have my phone with me, I was already about to enter the train station.

Even though I could turn around and rush back home to get my phone, I just went ahead and tapped my EZ-Link card and went in the train station.

It'll be a relaxed day, I suppose. Hehe!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Back to Singapura tonight...

It's been a very good trip.

Not too busy. Just relaxed. I saw most of the people I really wanted to see. I wished I saw more friends. Hehe!

But above all, I am just glad that things are okay with the fam after Dad returned back to the heavens.

I dunno if I already wrote about it, but one of the things that this whole experience taught me is that things do happen for a reason. The other lesson is that really, He knows what is best for everyone. It is for that reason that I keep and will continue to keep the faith. Hehe!

This afternoon, I'll just be relaxing and finishing my packing before heading to the airport. Though my flight is quite late, I intend to leave early - too early, in fact - for the airport since it's a Monday, and 5PM will prolly be damn crazy, and I dunno what to expect at the OFW counter at the airport. Hehe!

It's been a very good trip. I'm really grateful. Thank you to all the friends who took the time to see me.

Now, it's time to head back to my other "home," which I'm also starting to miss.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Random update...

Last night in Manila.

I've been doing nothing but eat since I arrived last Thursday. Hahaha! It's so easy to put on weight when in Manila. Good food is everywhere! Haha!

To be fair, I've been watching the portions that I've been eating. Also, I've only been having once cup of rice each meal. Still, it is a bit too much given that I only have rice once a day in Singapore. On some days, I don't even take rice. Haha!

Hmm, I wonder if I should consider doing Master Cleanse when I get back as suggested by I-van. I just dunno if I will last 11 days of just lemonade and nothing else. Eeep!

As expected, the trip has been going very well. I haven't had the time to meet up with a lot of friends though either because of conflict of schedule or because we couldn't agree on a common location. I've only been shuttling between my home, Manila and Makati. In Makati, I dun even reach Landmark nor Glorietta. Everything is in Greenbelt. Hehe!

Right now, I'm just killing time while waiting for my colleague from Wiley, CJ. We agreed to get together on this trip and I'm actually happy that we found a common time. Hehe!

Okay, this is it for now. Will post again really soon.

I already miss Singapore!!! :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


When I left Manila in 2011, the first time I visited the place again was in January 2013.

I never really felt the need to go back between 2011 until 2012. Sure, I do miss my family and my good friends. However, most of the good friends I have came over to Singapore for holidays. As for my family, the biweekly calls, Skype were sufficient.

Boy, I'm really making up for the two years I didn't visit Phils. this year...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Good, better, best...

It is kind of hard to believe that the first half of this year is already over.

Wow! Time really does fly fasssst!

Just a quick look at the first half of 2013. I would have to say that it was a mix of good and not so good.

To be honest, I am really not liking this year vmuch. For some reason, it's been making me anxious. Could it be because I'm paying more attention to the not so good things rather than the good thing?


Because now that I am writing this post, I am realising that the good outweigh the not so good.

For a quick review, the not so good are quite obvious - Dad going in and out of the hospital and of course, Dad returning to Our Creator; my work pass being downgraded and being given only a one year renewal.

When I think about these things though, believe it or not, I am finding some good in these things. For the one about Dad, yes, he is no longer with us but I am not afraid to say that I am somewhat grateful because now he is out of pain and suffering. I really believe that he is in a much better place now where there is no illness, no pain, no suffering, just light and love. For the one about the work pass, I wish it would have been better but I am still very much grateful because I was renewed and that I still have a job with an awesome company. I am grateful to be part of a company where the managers (at least, my managers) sincerely care for the people - foreign worker or not. (I have really begun to despise that phrase - foreign worker. It's become such a negative phrase. Anyway...)

As for the good things, this is also quite easy to enumerate - the holiday trip to Bali; the holiday/work trip to Nepal; the holiday trip to Malacca; being able to visit Manila a number of times to meet up with friends; being able to take care of my Dad and getting to talk to him about things; being able to spend time with friends who are in town; being able to take up a few classes (though I had to drop out of one); being accepted as a museum volunteer at the National Museum of Singapore, to name a few.

Looking at the things I've written about, I think I should rephrase what I said about good and not so good. The first half of 2013 was a mix of the best and the good.

That means then that the second half of 2013 would be reserved for the "better."

And so far, there's been a good start. Two good friends I-van and Moi were recently in town and I was just really happy to be able to hang out with them along with Richie and Mon. Then there's also the news about getting promoted. Small or not, a promotion is still a promotion. And I am very happy about it.

Hoping that the second half of 2013 would continue to be "better" - a better of the good, and a better of the best.

Monday, July 1, 2013


Even in the darkest hour, there will always be some light. You just have to find it.

I know, I know. It sounds emo, but it's not meant to be.


That's what I'm feeling today, even with the recent moving on of Dad. (I dunno, but I dun like to say we lost him or that he passed away. I guess it's because I believe that physically he is no longer with us, but I know that he is in a better place now happier and able to watch over the fam)

I'm grateful that he is no longer in pain and suffering.

I'm grateful that my Mom and my brothers can move on with their lives.

And at this very moment, I'm grateful to be blessed by great friends - Tey, Gossipgehl, Tian, Ian, MkSurf8, Alexie, Pau, Niña, Belle, Tipz, to name a few - who all have been a source of strength and support.

I really have no words, but "THANK YOU!"