Thursday, November 28, 2013
What a long day? Haha!
Just got back a few minutes ago, but I'm feeling a bit lethargic. It's been a long day for some reason.
I didn't get to attend yoga this morning. Last night, I went for dinner with three fellow museum docents who are my batch mates and I got home quite late. When I got home, I decided to do my laundry because I wanted to wear some of the clothes for this weekend.
So I think I went to bed a few minutes before midnight. *gasp* Haha!
Still, I woke up around 545AM. I left the house around 645 and reached work around 730.
Since I had a few more leaves to clear, I took the afternoon off. The problem was I had nothing planned. My only plan was to go to the museum and practice for the tour I'm going to give in a few days. Lol!
It's quite exciting but I must say I'm still nervous. It's my first time to conduct this tour. I hope things will go as I planned.
Surprisingly, that activity took up my entire afternoon. I left the museum around 5PM. I asked PG Boy if he was going to stay late at the office. When he said that he was indeed going to stay back a few hours, I decided to buy dinner for him. He got home quite late last night without any dinner. Luckily, his gastritis didn't keep him up all night.
So from Dhoby Ghaut, I made the trip to Macpherson. Afterwards, I headed to Farrer Park for a quick catchup with Tipz (who's leaving for Bali tomorrow for yet another holiday!!! Hehe!).
From Farrer Park, I took the train back to Serangoon, switched from the Purple Line to Circle Line and made my way to Bishan. Upon arrival at Bishan, I switched from Circle Line to Red Line to get back to my place. Hehe! I guess that must be why I'm feeling tired.
I was hoping to sleep early (around 10?) as I was falling asleep in the train. But surprise, surprise, look at the time and it's almost 11PM. Gosh, how come time flies so fast?! Hehe!
Anyway, tomorrow is a Friday. I dun expect work to be too toxic since it's a holiday in the US. My editors and authors will all be on Thanksgiving mode (I hope. Haha!)
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
In return, I got this letter from the Ministry of Manpower. As stated in the letter, I'm supposed to keep this notification letter until I receive the new work pass IC hopefully next week.
It's kind of amusing how a single peace of paper carries a lot of power. Hehe. Between now and until I get the new IC, I think I have to carry around this paper with me as proof that I am allowed to live and work in Singapore. Hehe.
Another two years starting soon. The next two years are kind of critical. It is a period that needs to be put to good use for making long term plans.
The first two years that I was here were more of a "Oh, I'm just going to enjoy my time here. Have fun and so on." The third year is sort of the wakeup call. And now that another two years are about to begin, I feel that the coming two years need to be played right.
In two years, I'm nearing 40. Wtf! LOL! How did that happen?
Anyway, I should sit down and start planning as soon as the new IC arrives. It'll be my reminder that the hourglass has been turned over.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
I came across this amusing photo while browsing through my Instagram feed.
It's amusing, isn't it? Hehe.
For the past few weeks (months), I've been able to go back to practicing yoga at least twice a week. Luckily, the FF next to my office has 7AM classes, which is just perfect. Dun be surprised. The class size is usually around 10 or so people, which is just right.
When PG Boy was still in Tampines, I get to practice three times a week. I would drag him out of bed on Saturday mornings so that we can attend the 10AM Hot Flow at FF Tampines. He was quite happy with the class (so was I) because the teacher was very good.
Now that he moved to a new place, I must check the yoga classes in the nearest FF branch (which I think is One George?).
Hmm, I'm glad to be able to practice yoga again. It does help in one way or another. I get to know my body more. I wish I'm more flexible. I have difficulty with folding poses. LOL. But maybe in time, it'll get better.
As Caroline, the Hot Flow instructor at FF Tampines, would usually say, "Okay, you try today. And if you can't reach it today, that's okay. You try again next time. And maybe one day, you'll be able to finally do the pose perfectly."
Keep calm and ommmm on?
Sunday, November 24, 2013
So, PG Boy and I said adios to Tampines today and finished moving to his new place closer to the city.
Though Tampines is far from the city, the way I feel for it is the same as I feel for my home in the West. I really like it.
I'm going to miss a lot of things about the Tampines neighbourhood. Hehe!
Ironic since I only spent weekends in that area.
Thanks, Tampines St. 81, for the vgood memories!
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Last night was a Welcome Back and a Welcome to SG dinner for Ian and for RKGreg. (Hehe! I had to crop out @MkSurf8 and @RKGreg. Must remain mysterious, you know? Kidding. :D)
Ian messaged earlier during the week to check if anyone was up for dinner. It was a good thing because a dinner with the guys was long overdue.
It was also great because 1.) we haven't seen Ian since he got back from the US and conquered the New York Marathon! Woohoo!; 2.) Rich (and Mon) didn't know that RKGreg already moved to SG. Haha!
Aside from these, we also got to try the food at a Korean restau that is said to have the best KFC in town. That's Korean fried chicken! Hehe!
It was a good thing that Ian made reservations. When I reached the place, there were a number of people waiting for a table. Good job, Ian! Unfortunately, Chris and Mon weren't able to join us because they were stuck at work. PG Boy was also unavailable since he was stuck in some island north of Singapore. Hehe!
Still, it was an enjoyable time catching up with Ian and with RKGreg. The food was yummy. I liked the chicken a lot although I ate more of the veggies since I'm trying to work on my choles levels. What is aging? Haha! The guys ordered mussels, too. When it arrived, we were all surprised I guess by how huge the serving was. I only had one piece because of the mentioned reason. Again, what is aging? Haha!
On the way home, some of the guys were telling me to move closer to the city. That way, I wouldn't always rush to catch the last train. It's funny because just yesterday I was writing about how much I dun like moving.
Hmm... I dunno. I've never really thought of moving because even though I live in some ulu place, I really, really, really love my current living arrangement. On the way back, I did Google places for rent. We'll see. Anyway, things will be prolly easier now that PG Boy moved closer to the city. Maybe I can crash at his place on late nights or something. Hehe.
Anyway, dinner last night was at Kko Kko Nara.
57 Tras St, Singapore 078996
T: 6224 8186
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Well, not me. Just PG Boy. After a year of living in faraway Tampines, he's now moving to Boon Keng area. It's closer to the city. And I guess it's easier for me because the Purple Line is connected to Dhoby Ghaut. It'll be easier now to go to the museum on weekend.
Hmm, I don't really like moving. I don't really like to move. LOL! I was actually telling PG Boy that I'm more attached to his neighbourhood in Tampines than he is.
Though it's only been a year, I've loved so many food places in his neighbourhood. My favorite prata in the island is right next to his block. The glass noodles at one of the kopitiams is our fave. The claypot chicken rice in another kopitiam is also awesome. The fact that it's only $4(!!!) makes it even greater. Haha!
Plus, PG Boy and I have been kinda friends with the Aunties at our usual breakkie place. I guess it's easy for them to remember me since I'm the only Filipino who most probably goes there for breakkie. (Actually, I dun see a lot of Filipinos in the current neighbourhood.) We're also chummy with the duo who sells pancakes in one of the kopitiams. They dunno we call them Pancake Ladies though. Hehe!
Then there's that awesome bakery which sells really good buns for only $0.99! Seriously! I've never met anyone who didn't love the stuff from that bakery.
Apart from the food, I also love the area because Bedok Reservoir is a very short distance away from the house. Then, there's the fact that the Church of the Holy Trinity has also become a fave because of its 645AM Mass. I even know my seatmates.
See, there are so many reasons why I'm attached to this part of Tampines.
I guess the main good thing about moving to Boon Keng is that it'll be a new area to explore. But still, I dun like moving. Once I've found a place I can call home, I like to stay there. That is one reason why I dun leave my place in the NorthWest. Though it's soooo far away, I really feel that I've been blessed with a vgood home/housemate/landlord! Oh well! The coming weekend is packing/moving day.
I hope the next big move will be moving to.... hahahah! Tipz? Hahaha!
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Saturday was a good day.
In the afternoon, I went to NMS for my guiding duty. Around 2 something, it started to rain. Heavy rain. Uh oh. I was wondering whether there will be people who'd be visiting the museum.
When I arrived at the guided tour meeting point, there was no one for the guided tour. There was a group of people but they were there for the Singapore Biennale guided tour. Two couples came. I asked if they were there for the guided tour. They both said no. I went around looking for people, but there was no one who was going to the gallery.
I waited for twenty minutes before deciding that there were no guests. I went to the gallery to see if there were people I could guide but there were very few people. The 2PM group was there and there were just 4 guests. The others had audio companions. So, fail. Haha!
With free time, I just decided to go join my friend's guided tour of the Singapore Biennale pieces on display at the National Museum.
From NMS, I walked to Plaza Singapura to meet up with Mr. Lim, our friend Des and two more friends.
Haven't seen Des in a looong time so I'm glad that he was free to meet up and hang out.
We went to Crystal Jade for steamboat dinner, followed by a movie and capped the night with coffee and dessert at Secret Recipes.
It was definitely a good Saturday! :)
Thursday, November 14, 2013
I've been refraining from opening my Facebook these past few days. But since it's been very difficult (LOL!), I've just been very selective about what I read and I dun spend too much time going through the posts.
With the recent tragedy that hit central Philippines and events that are recently happening, my Facebook timeline has been deluged with a lot of debating opinions. It's stressful. LOL!
Seriously, maybe we can just all focus on relief ops and rehab efforts?
How about a quotable quote from the Abraham Lincoln?
“in times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity.”
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013
I dun really have any issues with Monday. I dun really have Monday blues. I dun mind getting up early on a Monday to start the week. In fact, I always try to get up early on a Monday so that I can attend the 7AM Body Combat class at the gym next to the office. The Combat class + seeing the sunrise + endorphins almost always results in a happy day and thus, sets my mood for the week. Haha!
But today, I was just so tired. LOL!
It felt that there was so much to do. No, scratch. I didn't feel it. There was really a lot to do. I was still going through the million emails in my Inbox when I saw that it was already 4PM. Whattashet! Where did the day go? Haha!
I couldn't stay back today, even if I wanted to because I met up with Jeaners. Our former colleague from UP is here for holiday along with her family. Jeaners and I promised to meet up with them.
So the plan is just to do the major OT this Wednesday. Hehe!
It's all good. Definitely not complaining. I had a very good weekend, so nothing to complain about.
In other news, I just saw the photos of what typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda left behind. Heartbreaking, just heartbreaking. The Tacloban photos look like a tsunami hit the province instead of a supertyphoon.
Relief operations have begun left and right. Foreign aid is starting to come in. I hope that all the donations and assistance meant for the victims will reach them. I also hope that other areas that are not getting as much media coverage but are just as heavily affected will also receive attention.
Prayers for the country and the people. I have no doubt that the country will surpass this.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
A few weeks ago, I was invited by one of the groups I volunteer with to share about the LGBT life in the Philippines.
The group has a program whereby AJs from different countries talk about what it's like to grow up homo in their home country.
For the first session, the featured country was Malaysia. I missed that one.
Going to my session, we were a small group of 10 people. It was just right though because it allowed a dynamic discussion among the participants.
I prepared a Powerpoint presentation and a number of videoclips to accompany my sharing.
The participants enjoyed the videos on the Ad Congress, the Pond's TVC and the trailer of Thank You Girls! Hehe!
Bulk of what I shared had to do with the media's role in raising awareness about the LGBT community.
It was a good two hour discussion. Obviously, it was a huge challenge to talk about everything given how rich and how colourful the Philippine LGBT community is. That's why I started my sharing with a disclaimer that I was only sharing about what I know and what I experienced. Hehe!
I'm glad that the participants gave good feedback about the talk and the presentation.
The next one after the Philippines is China. That should be interesting. I hope to be able to attend that one.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
I went for my second heritage walk at Bukit Brown last Sunday. It was the weekend for All Saints Day and All Souls Day and I thought, "What could be a better way to observe both days than by doing a walk at the cemetery?" Hehe! Luckily, Kok Kuan told me about the heritage walk.
Just to refresh, Bukit Brown is the old Chinese cemetery located between Lornie Road and Mount Plesant Road. It was the final resting place of many Hokkiens and Teochews between the 1920s up until its closure in 1973. Close to 100,000 tombs are found in the cemetery. Today, Bukit Brown Cemetery is in danger of being cleared for site redevelopment. A huge section will be affected by plans for a highway that will cut across the cemetery. Given the rich cultural and historical significance of the cemetery, a group of Singaporeans organised themselves in an effort to "Save Bukit Brown."
Going back to the weekend heritage walk, I initially thought it was going to be similar to the first one I went for along with Kok Kuan and his friend Norman. After the brief intro given by one of the Bukit Brown volunteers, I was excited that the tour will cover other hills of the cemetery and newly discovered tombs. Mr. Raymond Goh led the tour. He is probably the most dedicated, most committed guy to doing research about Bukit Brown.
During the first tour that I joined, most of the tombs we visited were of notable Peranakans since the tour was conducted for the Peranakan Society (I think).
This time, the tombs we visited were of different individuals who contributed to Singapore history. Perhaps the most interesting for me this time was visiting the graves of Wee Keng Yeow and his wife. The tomb is still well-maintained. What was interesting for me was learning that Mr. Wee Keng Yeow was the local founder of the Tian It Remittance Agency.
As a person who's very much familiar with "remittances," I thought it was quite interesting to learn about the earliest remittance centres in the island. Tian It was one of the most popular and was in operation at the turn of the century.
At that time, coolies and workers went to remittance centres to send letters and money back to their families in China. Tian It Pue Kuan was one of the most popular with 33 branches in China and 7 branches in Southeast Asia including Singapore and if I heard correctly, the Philippines!!!
The second interesting thing about the whole tour was that so much can be learned from just looking at the markers and the design of the tombs. It can tell you the family history, the town of origin, which dialect group he/she belonged to, the number of children/grandchildren the person had, the number of wives, to name a few. The carvings and other features of the tomb such as sculptures of deities, guardians, Sikh guards, angels add more to the story.
Lastly, I also learned during this tour was that Bukit Brown was actually one of the battle sites during World War II. In fact, one of the more popular tours is the battlefield tour conducted by archaeologist Jon Cooper. Mr. Cooper did a thorough study on the fighting that happened in the area between the Japanese and the local residents defending Singapore.
Because of Bukit Brown's significance in Singapore history, it is no surprise why many groups are committed to raise awareness on Bukit Brown so that hopefully, it will be left on its own in peace.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
As mentioned in my previous post, part of the post-two year celebration included a buffet lunch at Basilico at Regent Hotel.
I found out about the place from a work team mate who also likes to explore the island for nice and unique food places. We usually exchange info on new brunch places we've tried but there was one instance when I asked her about a buffet place. She excitedly recommended Basilico which is one of the restaurants in Regent Hotel in Tanglin.
Tanglin area is one location I dun really get to explore. It's out of the way and it's quite far from my place and from PG Boy's place. I do know that the area is a place to head to if one wants to escape from the maddening crowds of Orchard. Haha!
Back to Basilico, I went online as well to read reviews. Having read mostly positive reviews, I decided to go ahead and reserve a table for me and PG Boy via Chope.com.sg.
After the lunch last Saturday, here are five reasons why I would recommend Basilico to a friend and why I will definitely visit again.
1.) Location: Like I said earlier, it's far from the craziness of the city centre. Even if Tanglin is still in the city area, you wouldn't be stressed by the volume of the crowd. The hotel itself is also impressive! There is the wow factor as soon as you enter the lobby. It's not very surprising though given that Regent Hotel is a Four Seasons Hotel. I loved that the hotel lobby was very relaxed. It was the complete opposite of Marina Bay Sands, which is like a marketplace. LOL!
2.) Friendly staff: Two hours before our reservation time, I called Basilico just to confirm that my reservation via Chope was reservation. I spoke to a very nice lady who assured me that PG Boy and I will have our spot. She also reminded me about the request I made for a small slice of cake because we were celebrating. Stupid me. I told her it was for a birthday. I wonder why I didn't just tell her it was for an anniversary.
When we arrived at the venue, we were about 15 minutes early but the friendly staff behind the reception were all smiles and nicely asked us as well as other dining guests to wait a bit since the restau opens at 12 noon and they were still preparing the place. I also loved how the lady asked if I was Angelo. It's either she was the one who picked up my call or I was the only Filipino who made a reservation. LOL!
3.) Restau interiors: The setup of restaurant itself was elegant but not snobbish at all. I didn't feel the need to arrive at the restau in a suit. LOL! Most of the other diners were in their relaxed Saturday brunch attire. The place could probably seat about 100 people (but that's just a guess). The buffet spread is located just after you enter the restau. It excites guests immediately and makes your eyes do a quick scan of the sumptuous offerings.
PG Boy and I were led to one of the more private areas. I loved that we were given a somewhat quiet and private location.
4.) Food: Oh my gosh! I have nothing but good words for the food. Basilico is an Italian buffet restaurant and if you're a lover of Italian cuisine, then this is the buffet place to visit. The antipasti section was heaven! A lot of choices to choose from. I loved that even though there were many choices, it doesn't overwhelm guests. You can go around and have a little bit of everything and still have room for dessert. I definitely enjoyed everything from the appetiser to the mains to the dessert.
5.) Price: For Saturday brunch, the price for the buffet alone was $54. If you want free flow drinks, it's $68 if I remember correctly. And if you want free flow prosecco or wine, it's $128. With the fantastic buffet, $54 plus tax and service was a small amount to pay. The place doesn't burn a hole in your pocket. Hehe!
1 Cuscaden Road
Level 2 The Regent Singapore
Tel: +65 6725 3232
Last Saturday, I surprised PG Boy with a very late anniversary celebration. Hehe!
The celebration was almost a month late because he was on hols in Europe. When he came back, the weeks that followed were busy ones for me.
2 November was the soonest date that we were both available.
I had some sort of theme for the celebration. It was Euro/Manila in a day. LOL!
First, I printed out three boarding passes with complete details. One was Singapore - Italy. The next one was Italy - Paris. The last one was Paris - Manila.
After we had our breakkie last Saturday, I just told him to get dressed because I'm taking him to lunch. From his place, we took bus 518 to reach Orchard. From Orchard, we had to take another bus to bring us to Cuscaden.
Upon arrival at the Regent Hotel, I brought out the first boarding pass and gave it to him. I basically explained to him the theme I planned.
Afterwards, I led him to the second level of the hotel and headed to Basilico, an Italian buffet place. I'll write about Basilico in more detail in another post.
For this post, all I can say is that Basilico was a wonderful dining experience. PG Boy and I loved everything - from the hotel itself, to the restau, to the spread, to the staff, to the ambience, to the food itself. At $54 per pax (excluding drinks and taxes), it was a very good deal. We definitely want to go back again.
Full from lunch, we left Regent Hotel and I led PG Boy to the bus stop just across St. Regis. He suggested that we just walk all the way to Orchard since we were stuffed. That's when I brought out the second boarding pass - Italy to Paris. Hehe!
The destination for this was much more obvious. We headed for Bras Basah to go to the Pinacotheque exhibit at Fort Canning. Earlier, we were in a serious discussion over Abstract art. Haha! I was trying to get him to understand a point. He was trying to get me to understand his point. In the end, we just agreed to have a ceasefire since it was like discussing religion with another good friend. LOL!
It was a good decision to visit Pinacotheque. As I readied my wallet to pay for our tickets, the guy behind the counter (who still remembers me from my first visit to the exhibit with Tipz) asked if we were PAssion Card members. Luckily, PG Boy and I are both members so we got in for free. Yay!
He liked the Rembrandt. I liked the Rothko. I attempted to explain to him again my thoughts on Abstract art, but it was prolly best to not pursue it anymore. Hehe.
The last surprise for him was a bit delayed. I only gave the surprise along with the Italy to Manila boarding pass yesterday before he went to work. I bought us a pair of matching bracelets and a card with one of my drawings. Haha! I left it in the pocket of the shirt he was going to wear to work to surprise him. Haha.
It was a simple but a good 2nd year celebration, I think.