Thursday, October 31, 2013

Random post...

Just a few more weeks to go before we say goodbye to 2013.

I've been ready to say goodbye since July of this year. It was mainly because of the death of my father.

Having just celebrated my birthday a few weeks ago, I realize that this year is not really a bad year despite and in spite of a lot of things. It still has been and continue to be a good year. I am grateful for the blessings and the challenges.

I dunno. I became even more grateful this past year, I think. There's hardly a day where I don't feel blessed or thankful. Is that weird? Hehe!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Changed World exhibit at NMS...

Saturday was also a busy day. Haha!

In preparation for the guiding for the new exhibit at the museum, I attended the curator walkthrough for docents.

I always enjoy curator walkthroughs. I find it very enjoyable listening to them talk about the exhibit.

And because they usually know a lot about the exhibit, what was originally scheduled to be just an activity for an hour turns into a two-hour thing. Hehe! No complaints from me though.

Last Saturday, a bunch of docents who volunteered to guide for the exhibit gathered just outside the gallery around 10AM.

For the next two hours, we went around the gallery listening to Szan and Daniel talk about the exhibit and select pieces on display.

I may have said it before. Visual arts is very close to my heart thanks to my late father Antonio. It was really him who developed the love for the arts. I'll always be grateful for that.

The exhibit was exciting for me because it was an opportunity to get to know more about the Singapore art scene. I've always wondered about the art scene here and I'm glad that this exhibit allowed me to learn more. Well, to a certain extent, I was really required to read and read several books on Singapore art to equips myself with knowledge about the artists and their works.

In the past few weeks that I've been reading about Singapore art, I can say that my favorite artists so far are Cheong Soo Pieng, Georgette Chen and Lai Foong Moi.

Soo Pieng was among the so-called first generation artists. Georgette Chen and Lai Foong Moi are two of the prominent female artists. Hmm, I dunno why but I am always curious about and drawn to works by female artists. In the Philippines, my favorite is Anita Magsaysay-Ho. Believe it or not, I'm not much of an Amorsolo fan. Hehe!

Going back to Soo Pieng, Georgette and Lai Foong Moi, they are but a few of the artists whose works are on display at the exhibit. About 125 pieces are featured in the exhibit which will run until March 2014.

Oh, I should mention by now that the title of the exhibit is "A Changed World: Singapore Art 1950s - 1970s." It features art pieces from the 1950s to 1970s. Why this period? Who are the artists? why "A Changed World?" Head down to the museum starting 16 November to find out. Hehe!

A Changed World: Singapore Art 1950s - 1970s
Exhibition Gallery 2, Basement
25 Oct 2013 - 16 Mar 2014
10am - 7pm (last entry at 6.30pm)
Free Admission

Monday, October 28, 2013

Busy, busy Sunday...

Today was rather a busy day. Haha!

As always, I started my Sunday very early. I woke up close to 6AM to make it to the 645AM Mass at the Church of the Holy Trinity.

Afterwards, I headed back to my home in the East to a still asleep PG Boy. Hehe! By 9AM, I got ready to head down to the city.

I had three engagements today.

First, I had a guiding duty at the museum. The slot I got for the month was the 1PM slot. Today's group was a very interesting mix - 2 from Malaysia; 2 from the USA; 3 from Germany; 2 from the Netherlands; 1 from New Zealand. Along the way, the group added a few more people but I was unable to get their nationalities. Yes, we do get the nationalities for the museum's visit statistics. So far, I've yet to have Filipino visitors.

I was a bit tired after the hour or so tour. I stayed for a few minutes at the volunteer room just to rest and recov for a bit.

From Dhoby Ghaut, I headed down to Chinatown to go to Oogachaga. I was asked to share how the LGBT scene in the Philippines is. I prepared a nice Powerpoint for it and I also showed a few interesting clips. It was a very small group. Including me, there were just about 10 people. It was a good group though because everyone was participative and I think the group enjoyed the presentation. Hehe!

From Chinatown, I took the train down to Little India/Farrer Park. Friend from Manila JB is in town and Ian organised a dinner for him at an Indian restaurant suggested by Richie. Sakunthala is a wonderful Indian restaurant located at 66 Race Course Road. I enjoy Indian cuisine. Seriously. But I'm also thankful that I don't get to eat it that often because otherwise, I would be putting on so much weight. Haha!

I invited a lot of people. LOL. Only the usual suspects were able to go - Richie, Mon, Coly, PG Boy, me, Ian and of course, JB.

Good dinner. Good dinner. :)

What a busy weekend!!! I didn't even feel I had a weekend. No complaints though about being busy. As my best friend Tey and I always say, "We rest when we die."

And yeah, I do agree with this mantra. Hehe! Most of the time, I would like to be occupied with something. Unless I'm very, very tired, I would always choose doing something - whether it's people watching or reading a book or studying something or going for a walk and so on - over staying in bed and doing nothing. Hehe!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Clubs21 Bazaar time again...

It's back.

Club21 Bazaar, the only sale worth visiting and saving up for is happening again!!!

Head down to the Pit Building between 24 October and 27 October to scoop up selections from the best brands. As most people would know, Club21 carries the best brands in Singapore - from Alexander Wang to Comme des Garcons to Yohji Yamamoto and so on.

I was able to go to the bazaar last year and it was crazy good!!! :) I spent about $400 and that included an Armani Exchange duffle bag, several packs of DKNY undies, Armani office pants, a number of Comme des Garcons tees, a couple of Marc by Marc Jacobs tees, to name a few.

So, the sale is really worth visiting.

My tips: head down to the venue early. Doors open at 10AM. I was there at 9AM to queue. Just bring your wallet. You'll be given huge plastic bags for your shopping anyway. Know your priorities. Is it the Comme des Garcons tee or a Margiela tee? The pieces are categorized by brand so it's good to know which one you want to go first. Collect and select. Just get what catches your eye and decide to buy later. You must think quickly. Otherwise, another shopper can snap up the piece. Hehe!

I dunno yet if I'll go this weekend. It's really fun and it's such an awesome sale! However, I have other commitments and I'm saving up for something else. Hehe! But who knows? We'll see.

The Club 21 Bazaar
Date: October 24 to 27, 2013
Venue: Pit Building, 1 Republic Boulevard.
Opening hours: 10am to 8pm

Follow Club 21 on Facebook at and Instagram @Club21.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Advance mini-celeb...

Turning 34 in a few days. Haha!

Can't believe it. I've been alive for more than three decades already. Haha! It'll be a bit different this year. I didn't get to organise the birthday party for kids like I've been doing for the past five or so years. I hadn't really put much thought on the celeb this year. Whether it's because I'm one year away from mid-life or I'm just being bo chap about it, I'm not sure. What I'm sure of though is I am grateful, deeply grateful, for what I have right now.

Last night, Mr. Lim and Miru were kind enough to have an advance ultra mini-celebration. The plan was really just to catch a movie. We watched About Time at Plaza Singapura. Very good movie, I must say. It's worth watching.

After the movie, Mr. Lim suggested we go for coffee and he said he wanted to buy a cake. I did say that there's no need for it, but he was just "Why not? Let's go for it."

Okay then.

So we headed to Canele at the new wing. We got a table beside a group of four girls who were also celebrating a friend's birthday. Hehe!

It was just a simple celebration. To be honest, I'm really not planning any major celebration. I'm just going to Mass. Afterwards, I'm going to have my health screening. LOL! Can you say aging? Haha!

Everyday is a celebration, anyway. Hehe!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Before Anna, there was Diana...

Recently, I've been seeing/hearing a lot of Diana Vreeland's name in the books I just finished reading and documentaries I stumbled upon. Hehe!

Diana Vreeland was a fashion editor at Harper's Bazaar who later became the editor-in-chief of US Vogue.

Yep, before there was Anna Wintour, there was Diana Vreeland. Or Mrs. Vreeland to some. Or Diana to some.

She was followed by Grace Mirabella who was then replaced by Anna Wintour. I dun hear much about Grace Mirabella.

Recently, I was able to find a copy of the documentary film "The Eye Has to Travel." It chronicles Diana Vreeland's life in the fashion industry.

I've always had a certain admiration for Anna Wintour, as well as Grace Coddington and French Vogue's Carine Roitfeld. People can say what they want about Anna but I, and I'm sure there are thousands of others out there, still adore her.

After watching the documentary on Diana Vreeland, I'm starting to feel that I like her more (?). Hehe! Based on the interview clips and the interviews of people who were lucky enough to have worked with her, it seemed like she was truly ahead of her time.

Out of curiosity, I downloaded a Kindle version of Empress of Fashion, which is about her. I'm also currently looking for her autobiography "D.V." Maybe I'll get it as a birthday pressie. Hehe!

They should be interesting reads.

I dunno. To me, fashion was never just about good clothes or accessories or the perfect bag. It has always been more than that. If one does examine it, one can see that there's an intriguing history behind it. It is not all frivolity. It can even be very political.

Anyway, check out the trailer of the documentary.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hoshino Cofee at Plaza Sing...

Ever since a colleague told me about Hoshino Coffee at the new wing of Plaza Singapura, I've been meaning to really go and try the coffee, at least.

However, each time I go there, there would always be a horrendous queue to the place. It's not that the restau is small. They actually have quite a lot of tables. I guess it's either people really take their time to enjoy the food and the coffee(?) or I always go at the wrong time. I've never been a fan of queueing. LOL!

Last Sunday, some miracle happened. After Tipz and I had lunch at Four Fingers, I suggested we go check out Hoshino Coffee since there may be no queue.

Lo and behold, there was no queue yet. As soon as we reached the place, we were given a table. Yay!

Still full from lunch, I just ordered the hand drip coffee while Tipz got his green tea. For dessert, we ordered the French Toast.

I've been looking at reviews of the place and a few reviews say that the coffee wasn't that vgood. I dunno leh. I actually liked the coffee lah. :P I would have asked for another cup if it were not too damn ex. Haha!

The French Toast was very good, too. Having just finished lunch, Tipz and I both agreed that it was just too much. Haha! Thankfully, I have a sweet tooth and we were able to finish the dessert.

I definitely want to go back and try the other items on the menu. I think the place is worth a second, third, fourth visit.

Hoshino Coffee
#03-84 Plaza Singapura
Singapore 238839
Contact: 63383277
Opening Hours
Mon to Sun: 1130 – 2100
Closed from 1700 – 1800

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Artsy Sunday afternoon: Part 2

The second half of artsy Sunday afternoon was spent visiting the Singapore Pinacotheque de Paris pop-up exhibit at the Fort Canning Centre.

I've been seeing banners of the event but I've been ignoring it. I thought it was just some random event for art collectors. Obviously, I did not read the details. Mucho thanks to Tipz for telling me more deets about the exhibit.

Pinacotheque, the largest private museum in Paris, will open a Singapore counterpart at the Fort Canning Centre in early 2015. (Hmm, same year as the opening of the National Art Gallery).

Similar to the Paris museum, the Singapore museum will showcase works of Old Masters and Modern greats from anonymous private collectors. Pinacotheque has about 200 pieces on permanent loan (I didn't know there was such a thing. Hehe!) from collectors. I guess opening a Singapore counterpart would make it easier for collectors from the region to loan pieces from their collection.

When Tipz and I reached Fort Canning Centre, it didn't look much from the outside. The venue felt like it was some abandoned building. Hehe! The doors to the exhibit wouldn't make one think that behind those doors are some of the world's priceless art pieces. Haha!

Some 20 pieces from different periods and art movements are placed side by side in the small venue. Among those on display are Amadeo Modigliani’s Young Lady with Earrings, Claude Monet’s Suzanne with Sunflowers, Sandro Botticelli’s Christ Carrying the Cross, Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Pablo Picasso's. There was also one piece by Jackson Pollock and another piece by Mark Rothko.

Surprisingly, there were very few people visiting the exhibit. To me, it was really great because I was able to take my time in admiring the art pieces. Tipz and I went back to take a look at some of the other pieces again. We also had some discussion when it came to some pieces such as Peter Huys Descent into Limbo. Haha!

If this is a preview of what the museum will be featuring once it opens in 2015, then this is one museum I'm going to visit over and over again. ;)

Exhibit runs until December 2013. Admission prices are $15 for adults and $12 for residents (including work pass holders. Yay!)

I really love it that there are all these art havens in such a small area - there's SAM and just across SMU, you have NMS and then just behind NMS is the Fort Canning Centre. And then, very close to NMS is the Peranakan Museum. How awesome, yeah?!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Artsy Sunday afternoon: Part 1

I've been meaning to join a guided tour at the Singapore Art Museum and I finally go to join one this afternoon. Uhm, it was for one of the special exhibits at SAM though. A lot of the galleries are currently closed in preparation for the upcoming Singapore Biennale.

Anyway, this is my first time to see works by Wu Guanzhong. According to the museum guide, he is one of the leading painters in Chinese modern art. The exhibit presented a few of his abstract works along with the works of other Singaporean and Southeast Asian artists.

For the Philippines, a piece by Lao Lianben was on display. Meanwhile, there were also works by Singaporean artists Chua Ek Kay, Anthony Poon and Malaysian artist Latiff Mohidin.

I'm not much of a fan of contemporary art. Most of the time, I leave an exhibit puzzled, questioning, or with a "there goes my money" feeling. Lol. But maybe the fact that the show elicited a response is something to be noted. Some artists feel that a work needs to be understood for it to have meaning. Some artists say that art begins with the creation process itself and regardless of whether it is understood or not, the important thing is an emotional response is present. Whatever the case, I do think it's important to come to contemporary art exhibits with an open mind. Otherwise, one would really feel that it's money wasted. Hehe.

From the pieces on displayed, I guess I liked Wu Guanzhong's A World of Ice and Snow. There is beauty and elegance in the strokes. Do you see the dancing woman on the left side of the painting in second photo?

Free admission currently at the Singapore Art Museum. I guess it'll be free until the opening of the Singapore Biennale.

Singapore Art Museum
71 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189555.
+65 6332 3222

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Saturday hangout with Jin and Jane...

Saturday afternoon was spent with volunteer friends I rarely see Jin and Jane.

I met them in one of the organizations I volunteer with. We were batchmates in the volunteer activity we signed up for. After the volunteer training, they are the ones I was able to keep in touch with. I dun see them that often but thankfully, I am always updated because Jane is quite active with Facebook. I also consult with her when it comes to some work matters. Hehe!

Two weeks ago, the three of us agreed to meet up. It's been so long since I last saw them and a get-together was definitely much needed.

We met up at Tang Plaza before 1PM and headed to the Island Cafe at the fourth level of the mall. It was a nice place for a get-together. Tucked in a corner at the fourth floor, it was far from the maddening crowd of shoppers. Hehe!

The cafe serves a mix of Singaporean and Western dishes. Both of them had crayfish laksa while I ordered the chicken biryani. It was enjoyable. I felt that the taste wasn't that strong. My guess is because they want to make it more suitable for ang moh customers. (I didn't see too many ang mohs though). I love the biryani at Little India or at the biryani place in Sengkang Mr. Lim and I usually go to. The flavors and spices are really tasted throughout the meal. Hehe!

From Island Cafe, we crossed to the other side of Orchard and headed to Robert Timms at Wheelock Place. Like Island Cafe, it's one of the few places I think that is far away from the noise and stress brought by the shopping crowd of Orchard. Hehe!

After enjoying our dessert and coffee, we then made our way to the library in Bugis. They wanted to borrow some books and I wanted to check out some books as well in preparation for a trip next year. ;-)

Before we parted ways, we walked to Toastbox for coffee and tea. Haha! My day started with Toastbox (had the pork floss set for breakkie) and it also ended with Toastbox.

Time flew by so fast. Hard to believe that we were already hanging out for five hours or so. We were just chatting and chatting and chatting.

Definitely was a nice Saturday afternoon thanks to good food, quiet get-together places, great friends and great conversations.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

PG Boy meets the Bee...

PG Boy had his first trip to the Philippines last Friday. Hehe!

I took him to Jollibee at Lucky Plaza. It was a first for me as well. Since the store opened, I haven't visited because I didn't have the patience to queue for two hours just to have my Chickenjoy. There is no joy in waiting. Hehe!

Lately, a few friends have told me that the queue wait time isn't that bad anymore. On one night that PG Boy and I were supposed to go but instead opted for Din Tai Fung, we ended up waiting for quite a while that we both agreed we should have just gone to Jollibee. Hehe! Anyway, so Friday night, I left the office around 6PM and arrived at LP just before 7. The queue was not bad at all. I waited for less than thirty minutes to get in and queue again inside the store. The service was quite fast and efficient. The counter people were quick to take and serve the orders. It wasn't difficult to find a seat as well since there were a number of Jollibee staff to lead people to seats.

So the meals were there. Two C3s (Chickenjoy and Spaghetti) and another 2-piece Chickenjoy with rice for sharing. I was there. And PG Boy wasn't. LOL!

He stayed back at the office for an hour or so because he wanted to clear some things before he went for holiday.

After waiting for ... minutes, he finally arrived.

We finished our meal in less than 20 minutes. Hehe! I enjoyed the chicken vmuch. So did PG Boy. The spaghetti tastes a bit different from the one in the Philippines. It's less sweet. I dunno if that was done on purpose. In any case, it was still a very happy meal.

And of course, what trip to Jollibee wouldn't be complete without a photo with the happy bee. Against his will, I got PG Boy to stand beside the bee for a souvenir photo. Hehe!

Good first trip. Maybe his next one would already involve the three-hour flight to NAIA. We'll see.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Two years...

Two years today.

Time flies very fast. Hehe!

I think I may have written in another blog entry that before I left for Singapore, I visited a friend who reads tarot cards. Of course, one of my questions was "Will I have a love life in SG?"

His reply was, "Yes." He even went into details. So far, two of the things he has said have already happened. I don't fully believe in tarot cards because that will probably compromise my chances of entering heaven (hehe!) but it's just fun and entertaining.

Anyway, so here we are two years later PG Boy and me. Well, today the more appropriate statement would be, "Here I am" and "There you are in faraway land." Lol!

PG Boy is on a family trip in Europe. According to him, this is the only time his eldest brother was able to take a leave. Hehe!

I-issue pa ba ko?! Deadma na. Kebs na sa unwanted drama.

We'll just have our post-anniv celeb when he returns. Tonight, I'll probably go on a nice dinner by myself to still celebrate. Hehe!

Our first anniv together was also spent apart. I was in Myanmar with MkSurf8, RKGreg and Chris. PG Boy was in the US with his own friends.

I wonder if it's an indication of anything. Haha! It's an indication that we need to travel together... soon.

Happy two years, PG Boy! :)

Two more years? Parang EP lang. Char.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Birthday gathering in JB...

After the afternoon lecture at the Asian Civilisations Museum yesterday afternoon, I made my way to Woodlands station to meet up with Mr. Lim for our overseas trip.

Overseas trip. LOL! It sounds like we were going somewhere far. The truth was we were just going to Johor Bahru, which was on the other side of the Singapore Straits. Hehe!

Our common friend Miru was celebrating his birthday and he booked a room at one of the hotels in JB. Luckily, there was no jam from Woodlands Interchange to the Customs and Immigration Complex at JB. There weren't that many people at Immigration as well so it was quite fast.

From JB City Square, Mr. Lim and I headed to the hotel to meet up with Miru and his friends.

The room he got was quite big. It was a three bedroom suite and cost only SGD200. Thinking that there would be too many people and that we wanted to have a comfy sleep, Mr. Lim and I booked our own room as well. We got a studio for only SGD70 via Agoda and it was quite big as well. Dun expect too much but the beds were comfy enough. I got an extra pillow. And it was super cold because of the AC.

Anyway, after meeting up with Miru and the rest of the guys, we walked over to the neighboring Korean restaurant for dinner. The restau was right across Danga Bay. It seemed like a popular Korean restau because almost all tables were occupied. Again, since we were in JB, the total food bill of 7 people RM250 (or about $100). We had a lot of food and the food wasn't bad at all.

From the restau, we walked back to the hotel and spent the next few hours chatting and playing board games. Seriously. Haha! I've never felt so old! I kept on losing. It was good fun though.

This morning, we just spent a few hours chillaxing by the people before prepping to head back to Singapore.

It was a good weekend getaway.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Another two years, Singapore...

Oh happy day!

I finally received the email from HR confirming that the renewal of my work pass has been approved.

Hmm, I actually I already knew that it was approved. Kancheong person that I am, I've been checking the MOM website periodically to check if the renewal application has been filed and whether the results are out.

I did find out the other day that the pass was approved.

Yay! Yay! Yay!

What I didn't know was the validity period of the new pass.

I emailed the HR contact to ask about the validity. When the reply said that the new pass will be valid for 24 months, I was just happy and grateful.

Finally, I have some peace of mind. Finally, I can make my plans for the next two years. Finally, I can worry about other things.

It's definitely a very early birthday blessing. Thank you, Lordy! :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Vogue Editors and ICON days...

Last night, I finally got to watch the HBO documentary In Vogue: The Editor's Eye.

I've been looking for the documentary for the longest time because I really am curious to watch it. The documentary features several generations of Vogue fashion stylists - from Babs Simpson to Phyllis Posnick, Tonne Goodman and of course, Grace Coddington.

For about an hour, I was in cloud nine as I watched the legends talk about their work and do their work. To some people, or maybe to a lot of people, the world of fashion is seen as one that is shallow and frivolous. To some extent, it probably is. However, upon closer inspection and if one really takes time to know the history, the people, then one can probably see that there is so much more to it than beautiful clothes and beautiful people.

I have always been a fan of US Vogue. My earliest recollection of reading Vogue was when I was just out of primary school. I was probably a freshman in secondary school. I was at my cousin's house for a family gathering. I saw a copy of the revered magazine in one of the racks beside the couch.

However, it would be much later when I would really fall in love with the world of fashion magazines and fashion itself. The September 2004 cover of US Vogue did it for me. It was a gatefold cover featuring the second generation of supermodels - Natalia, Gisele, Daria, to name a few. I loved the cover and I loved the pages that featured them. Since then, I made it a point to buy the September issue.

In the same year, a few friends and I embarked on an ambitious project. All of us were familiar with the LGBT magazines Out and Instinct, to name a few. We asked ourselves why there was no similar magazine available to the Filipino LGBT community. That started our journey of putting up ICON magazine.

We were a bunch of dreamers, but we were all driven to make it happen. We were also fortunate because each one had something to bring to the table and it helped make the dream a reality. One was working for a celebrity photographer. A bunch of us had freelance writing experience and have been published in newspapers or magazines. A few others are either in the advertising or broadcasting industry. We had everything that we needed. So, Richie became the Editor-in-Chief, Suki became the Managing Editor, I-van was Creative Director, I was Associate Editor.

For two years (or was it three?), we produced close to 10 issues of the magazine. I remember the time that the first issue became available. A few of us gathered at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Greenbelt 3 to get our hands on the first printed copies of the magazine.

For the first few issues, I was writing and editing articles. Later on, I became so interested in the photo shoots that I was lucky enough to have been able to style two fashion shoots. It was tiring, but it was definitely fun. We would borrow clothes and shoes and bags from different stores. I remember for one shoot, we borrowed jewellery from Tiffany & Co. The pieces we borrowed arrived on the set… with bodyguards. Hehe! I remember that time when we almost got into trouble with Borgy Manotoc's mom because we had him on the cover in skimpy swimwear. I remember the very hilarious interview with Melanie Marquez. It was also through the shoots that I met very inspiring LGBT individuals. These people have certainly influenced me and have been an inspiration to do something for the LGBT community.

ICON was such a wonderful experience. Though it's no longer around, I am grateful to have experienced it.

The short time we spent doing ICON is probably why I really am fascinated with the world of fashion magazines. ICON is far from US Vogue, but in a way there are similarities in the experiences since it both has something to do with the publishing world.

Writing this led me to dig up some old photos of ICON days. Haha! How's this as an early throwback Thursday post?!