Friday, January 31, 2014

Hello, Year of the Horse...

Welcomed the Year of the Horse last night with good friends and new friends.

This is the time of the year that Singapore feels like a ghost town. Hehe! From my home, I went to Alexandra to go to the gym. From Alexandra, I headed over to Tanjong Pagar to meet up with Richie. From Tanjong Pagar, Richie and I headed to Cross St.

The city felt so empty. Hehe! Those celebrating the Chinese New Year were all home having their reunion dinners.

Luckily, I have friends to welcome the New Year with. Yay!

We had dinner and drinks at a relatively new bar/restau at China Square - & Sons Bacaro. The food is good. A bit small servings, but if you're with a big group, everyone can order one or two dishes so everyone can try something.

The restau was almost empty except for a few fellow foreigners. Hehe!

Spent a good few hours at the place before heading down to Club St. for coffee. Club St. was very much alive. It felt like being overseas walking down the street since majority of the customers everywhere were ang mohs. Hehe!

As usual, I went ahead of the guys since I had to catch the train. Aside from that, I also wanted to get enough rest so that I can do some stuff today.

Good start of the year!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Another chillax Sunday...

Relaxing Sunday.

Brunch at House of Robert Timms followed by Dallas Buyers Club at Shaw Lido.

I really like the Robert Timms at Wheelock Place. It's still in the Orchard area but it's far from the maddening shopping and window-shopping crowd of Orchard. Hehe!

Each time I go there, be it lunch time, high tea or after dinner, I'm always able to get a seat.

The food is also enjoyable, imho. Over the weekend, I tried one of the brunch plates. I was very happy with it. The food tasted nice. The price was not expensive at all. I also enjoyed my latte. Haha!

After brunch and the movie, I took the train back to the heartlands. I decided to attend the 6PM Mass at St. Anthony. I've attended a few Mass celebrations here and I like the priests a lot. They dun make me tune out during homily. I also like the church itself as it is not too big. There is still the warmth one can only get in small community churches. So far, my favourite church is still St. Francis Xavier, followed by Church of St. Mary of the Angels, St. Anthony of Padua Church, and fine, fine, Church of St. Michael. Hehe!

Chillax Sunday it was.

The House of Robert Timms
501 Orchard Road
Wheelock Place
Singapore 238880
Tel: +65 67359201
Opening Hours:
Sunday to Thursday :8am – 1am
Friday and Saturday :8am – 3am

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tugs night...

During the volunteer appreciation dinner last Saturday, I was feeling feverish by the time dessert was served.

It did not help that I ate both the ube ice cream and the cendol that were served. Lol.

Feeling unwell, I wondered whether I should just skip the tugs night with the guys.

I'm glad I didn't.

After the dinner, I took the bus and headed down to Tipz's place to charge my phone, freshen a bit and borrow a shirt for the night out. The last item was a bit of a challenge for highly obvious reasons. The shirts I wear are all medium. Tipz, on the other hand, was either a small or even an extra-small. *gasp* Haha!

Luckily, we found a shirt that I was quite comfortable in and one that didn't make me look like a sausage. Harhar!

From Farrer Park, we headed first to MkSurf8 and RKGreg's love nest (love nest?!?!?!) to "load up."

By the time we left for Taboo, I was already a bit too "happy." As always, I have RKGreg's deadly mix (tonight it was his friend Jack Daniels) to thank.

DJ Alan Liao from Taiwan was spinning that night. He is goood! One of the nights in which music at the club was right. Haha!

We were quite a big group - me, Tipz, Chris, RKGreg, MkSurf8, Elj, August and Kris. I also bumped into PG Boy's friends Bruce, Ken and Derek. Lol!

The dancing ended around past 3. We headed to Maxwell for supper before heading home.

What a great night! I'm glad I went. I would kick myself if I missed it.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Volunteer appreciation dinner at Bumbu...

Last night, I attended the volunteer appreciation dinner for one of the groups I volunteer with.

The dinner was held at the Thai-Indo place Bumbu located along Kandahar Street.

It's actually a very nice place for private functions or special dinners.

The staff are very nice and helpful. The food is goooood! The other thing I love about the place is the collection of Peranakan items. From Peranakan tiles to wall dividers to wall decors to tin lunch boxes and so on, there is much visual treat around the restau.

It was quite an enjoyable night.

I had a good time catching up with some of the volunteers. The good thing about the dinner was it was an opportunity for volunteers to gather together and just enjoy each other's company.

Since volunteers rarely see each other, I always make it a point to attend the gathering. Alright, I also attend because of the good food. Hehe!

Speaking about volunteering, I've been volunteering since I arrived in SG almost three years ago. This year, I intend to do some self-examination of my volunteer activities. I have to see how I can move forward with my volunteer experience.

Anyway, that's a whole other topic.

If you're looking for a new place to try, do go to Bumbu. After dinner, you can head over to the neighbouring Maison Ikkoku or even Haji Lande for drinks.

44 Kandahar St, Singapore 198897
6392 8628

Saturday, January 25, 2014

BNO at eight cafe and bar and Roosevelt's...

Last night was one of the semi-spontaneous night out with some of my closest friends here in Singapore - RKGreg, Chris and Tipz.

As the day came to an end, we all just chatted and asked about what each other's plans for Friday night were.

Except for MkSurf8 who was on a business trip to MNL and Ian who already had plans, the four of us were the only ones free to meet up.

We all agreed to go to eight cafe and bar in Outram Park. I've been meaning to go since I follow the owner Bill on Instagram.

His food photos are always mouthwatering. His cafe photos make one want to visit.

Surprisingly, we were still able to book a table though we called quite late.

Chris and I were the first ones to arrive at the cafe. It kind of reminded me of the Sanctuario cafe in Tagaytay. Friends Romil and Sean own the cafe and I used to visit Tagaytay quite often to hang out with the pair. eight cafe had the same vibe.

Since we were starving, we ordered ahead of Tipz and RK Greg. Chris got the aglio olio, while I settled for an onion soup and a salad (given that I ate rice for breakkie. Haha!) Later on, Tipz ordered the fish dish while RKGreg got the laksa pasta. We also ordered a calamari to share.

It was an enjoyable dinner. We stayed at the cafe til close to 10. Aside from the food, what I also liked a lot about the cafe was that it was a place where everyone can just really chill and be themselves... ;)

From eight cafe, we walked to Outram Park station and tried the coffee and dessert at the newly-opened cafe Roosevelt's. The mocha was quite similar to what I usually get. Price was cheaper compared to other cafes. We also ordered the apple forest berries crumble a la mode. It was quite an interesting dish I must say.

We parted ways close to 11, which was just right for me since I had to catch the train.

It was definitely a good boys night out.

eight cafe and bar
8 Bukit Pasoh Rd, Singapore 089822
6220 4513‎

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lunch under the trees....

This was where I ate my lunch today.

After buying my lunch from the food court of crowded Fusionopolis, I decided of looking for some place quiet to have my lunch.

Usually, I would just go back to the office and eat at my desk. On certain days, I would have lunch with colleagues.

Today, I was just planning to tapau and head back to the office. However, my cubicle mate was fasting today. It would be so inconsiderate of me to eat my lunch in the same workspace. I'm sure she wouldn't mind. Still, I thought eating elsewhere was the right thing to do.

So as I made my way out of Fusionopolis, I decided to walk towards Buona Vista Rd. My office goes the other way. I wasn't sure where I would be headed, but I just kept on walking.

After a few minutes of walking and crossing the main intersection, I found a neighbourhood community park. There were no people at all, except for a few fellow FTs who were taking an afternoon nap. LOL!

I looked for a bench, took out my food and started enjoying my meal under the shade of the trees. Thankfully, the sun wasn't out and it was quite windy. That made the lunch more enjoyable. In addition to that, I could hear birds chirping and crickets(?) singing.

Very relaxing, I must say.

It's been written a number of times that being surrounded by trees, seeing the green of nature have a calming effect. I must say I agree.

When I was done with lunch, I stayed a few more minutes and just enjoyed the serenity.

I started to walk back to the office after seeing on my phone that lunch time was nearly over.

Hmmm... now I know where to go in case I need a good break.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Run, run, Wednesday...

Went for an easy run just now.

Another good thing to like about my neighbourhood, or SG for this matter, is that there is an abundance of space for health and fitness activities.

I've never been to an area where there is no access to a park connector, a park, a community centre gym, or some open space/field for activity.

When PG Boy was staying in Tampines, Bedok Reservoir was a fave area of mine for a morning jog. Now, that he moved closer to the city, there is a park connector near his place. Either that or we go to the gym.

At my own place, which is very ulu (haha!), there is a nearby park connector that gives me a good few kilometres to run and sweat a bit.

The first few times I decided to go for a jog/run, I was a bit experimental and I wanted to explore the neighbourhood. The result was me getting lost and surprisingly, ending up at the next MRT station. Haha!

Recently, I've been sticking to a more familiar path. I would usually go for anything between 5 to 6 kilometres. If I wanted to and if I'm not lazy, I can even go for a 10K.

I'm really grateful for these park connectors because it's a safe space for running, walking,jogging. By safe, I mean I can wear my earphones and I dun have to worry about being hit by a car. I also dun have to stop every so often to give way to crossing vehicles.

However, I do choose to skip the run if I get home around 8 or so.

The reason is I'm afraid of the dark. Seriously. While the park connector has lamp posts, it's still dark and there are very few runners/joggers by then. Also, the other side of the park connector is nothing but trees, trees and more trees. It does get eerie at night.

It's not that I'm afraid of being mugged. It's because my active imagination frightens me that someone or something might start running beside me and that someone or something is floating. Hahahaha! Afraidy Aguilar.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Weekend of (mostly) so so makan...

I dunno why but the weekend that just ended was memorable because of bad eating. LOL!

For some reason, it seemed like PG Boy and I were destined to have failed breakkies and lunches for two consecutive days.

The thing about PG Boy's new place is that there is very limited food places around the neighbourhood. If one wants to have a good breakkie, either you make it at home or you take the bus/MRT.

On Saturday morning, we took the train to Farrer Park and decided to look for breakkie. We ended up at a prata place near Mustafa. I like prata. If it weren't so sinful, I wouldn't mind having it more often. Wait, let me correct that. I like prata from the prata stall at Tampines St. 81. So far, it's the best prata I've ever tasted in the whole island. That belief was reinforced after our breakkie. Seriously, how can one screw up prata? Haha!

Noontime, PG Boy and I made the mistake of going back to a hawker centre, which I swore I would never go to again. Once experience was enough. That day though, I thought maybe the other stalls are better. Nope. Haha! In the middle of our meal, PG Boy asked me, "Why do you look so unhappy?"

I just kept quiet and finished my food. Haha! In my head and later on, out loud, I told PG Boy, "We are really never eating there again."

Having two so so meals on a Saturday, I was determined to ensure that dinner would be good. After PG Boy and I finished coffee and dessert at The Little Prince Cafe in Farrer Park, we headed to the grocery at City Square Mall to buy pasta ingredients.

Thankfully, my Mom trained me well in the kitchen. PG Boy and I had a good dinner. LOL!

Sunday was not much different. I had a lousy breakkie and a lousy lunch. Haha!

When I got back at PG Boy's place from Mass, I told him that we should just have dinner at a nearby zi char place which I have christened Two Sisters Eatery. Haha! We've been going to the restau a few times and it has never failed.

As expected, the restau did not disappoint and we had a good dinner.

Sigh, I really miss the eating places at the old Tampines neighbourhood. Aside from the fact that there are more choices and that the prices are more friendly, the people are also super nice. I miss the pancake ladies, the breakkie aunties, even the uncle who doesn't smile. Hehe!

I hope I can adjust to this new place. Haha!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sunday walk along Sungei Serangoon...


Even with just a few hours of sleep (I got home past 3:30AM), I can always rely on my damn body clock to still wake me up vearly. Haha!

Thanks to being used to wake up very early every day, I managed to get up before 8AM to meet up with KK for an easy nature walk.

KK picked me up at Serangoon station. From there, we drove to Kovan Market and Food Centre for breakkie with his three friends David, Patrick and Jen.

By the time we finished breakkie and drove to our walk's starting point, it was already 10.30 plus.

This has to be the latest start for a nature walk that I've ever had. Usually, KK and I would already be halfway through our route when we do our walks since we start kinda early.

Thankfully, the weather yesterday was just nice for a late morning/noontime walk.

We started our walk at the Park Connector path near Serangoon Secondary College. It was a nice park connector pathway since it runs along Sungei Serangoon.

For the next hour and half, we just kept on walking and walking and walking.

Our end destinations was the Serangoon Tidal Gates, which was already in the Punggol/Pasir Ris border.

On the way back, we stopped by a food joint where I had a lousy burger meal for $15!!! Unbelievable! Haha! We should've just headed to the fried chicken fastfood place beside it and I would have had an equally unhealthy but better-tasting lunch.

We finally reached our starting point by 2PM.

By then, I was ready to head back and take a nap before heading to Mass. Lol!

I'm glad I got to join KK and his friends for the walk. I need it. I really need it. In a past blog entry, I'm sure I have written that my favourite places in SG are its parks. Seriously.

To some people,it's probably the malls, the shopping, Orchard area. Not for me. As much as I love being surrounded by gorgeous pieces up for grabs at Ngee Ann or Paragon, I would still choose any of the parks around Singapore on any given day.

Friday, January 17, 2014

On volunteering...

Recently, I had an interesting convo with a fellow volunteer.

We were discussing volunteer recruitment matters. I pointed out something to this fellow.

He then told me about this article/research he read about reasons why people volunteer.

The reasons can be one or a combination of the following: 1.) pure altruism, 2.) social network, 3.) escapism, 4.) career advancement, to name a few. There were three more items but he couldn't recall. Lol.

Uhm, it was a bit of a news to me given that I come from a traditional school of thought when it comes to volunteerism.

Up to this day, I still recall my first volunteer experience. It was when I was in Primary 2. We visited an orphanage which was a short walk away. I remember I brought a few toys to share with the other kids.

Back then, I was still too young to understand what I was doing. Lol. Few years later, I started another volunteer commitment. This one lasted me close to seven years. In uni, I was part of a volunteer group. After uni, my first job was with a volunteer organisation. The following jobs saw me in the field of corporate social responsibility, which included a volunteer component.

When I came to SG, one of the first things that I wanted to do was to volunteer with a group. I was blessed to have found one group and I've been with them for close to three years now. (Whoa! Time flies!). Last year, I started another volunteer commitment. This commitment is on its way to its first year. I am planning to volunteer with one more group.

Writing this down, I am amused to realise that volunteering was and continue to be a signficant part of my life.

There are times when I experience internal conflict though. At one point, I would either ask myself my reasons or ask whether there is a fit between the values I believe in and the values/thrust of the group I volunteer with.

I still continue to volunteer though. There is much to be done around, whether it's in the Philippines or surprise, surprise, even in a First World country like Singapore.

A fellow Filipino volunteer I recently chatted with shared his reaction after a few months of volunteering with another group. He said, "I'm surprised, you know. I didn't think that there were similar issues here in Singapore. I've always thought everyone has it good here."

Yet another reason why I believe in volunteering. It is another way of knowing the place where we are in. This makes me remember those times that I've gone to far-flung areas for immersion. The objective was simple: live with the community to understand their way of life. Hopefully, when one returns home, he/she will have an understanding of the need for action, for volunteerism.

There's this quote from St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of my primary school. Though I've graduated from Grade 6 a looong time ago, I still recall this quote and it continues to be one of my guiding principles in life:

"Brothers, let us begin. Let us begin, for until now we have done little or nothing."

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Happy birthday, Kate...

Today is the birthday of my good friend, Kate. LOL!

I've known her for quite some time. We go way back to my primary school years.

My earliest recollection of meeting her was in 1995. I was at the National Bookstore in Quezon Avenue and I saw her cover for the January issue of British Vogue. That image stayed with me ever since.

Then, there are the infamous Obsession for Calvin Klein print ads. Who would not recall those ads? Any child of the 90s would remember those black and white ads.

Since then, I've just been a follower. She's been praised. She's been condemned. She's been in a relationship. She's been out of it. She became a wife. She became a mother. She's been loved. She's been hated.

Everyone can say anything about her, but well she's still here.

And she's just turned 40.

I'm quite sure she'll still be around for the next decade or so. Gemma's gone. Carmen's gone. Gisele and Natalia are seen less (I think). Not Kate.

Happy birthday, Kate.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ready for the Horse?

I went for my twice a month volunteer commitment in Chinatown last night. On my way home, I finally saw the Chinese New Year decors lit up.

I've seen the decors a few weeks ago in broad daylight. That was the time when the decors were still being installed.

It's a bit difficult to decide which version looks better - the one during the day or the one at night.

Anyway... looks like I'll be alone in the island come CNY.

I checked with some friends and a lot of them, if not all, are heading out for a holiday elsewhere.

As much as I want to take advantage of the four and a half days of leave, I am choosing to stay behind since I'm saving for a "project" and I also volunteered to do extra shift at the museum.

There was a call for non-Chinese volunteers to do extra shifts since most of the volunteers will be preoccupied with family CNY celebrations.

Technically, I'm part Chinese (I have my grandfather's family to prove it.) but of course, I don't celebrate it the way I celebrate Christmas.

To be honest, I'm not a big fan of CNY. While the rest of the island celebrates, it kinda makes me lonely since most of my friends are away and those who are here, shall be busy with their families.

The good thing is I have a bunch of things I want to do. The long weekend will be a good opportunity to do those things. Haha!

Plus, my feelings for 2014 are the opposite of how I felt for 2013.

This is going to be an awesome year!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Weekend at the museum...

A few hours of my Saturday and Sunday were spent at the museum.

Saturday, I did the 2PM guided tour of A Changed World. The following day, I did the 1130AM guided tour of the Singapore History Gallery.

Between the two, I was happier with the tour I gave for A Changed World. I thought the tour went really well.

Initially, I thought either the tour will be delayed because there are few museum guests or that it wouldn't push through.

Surprise, surprise.

A few minutes before 2PM, a Japanese couple came in and said they wanted to join the guided tour. They were then followed by a group of four Singaporeans.

I started with the tour and by the time we reached the fourth painting, the group has grown to quite a big one. I counted 10 Singaporeans, 2 Japanese, 4 Caucasians.

The reason I feel that it was a good tour was that the guests were responsive to questions. At the start of my tour, I would tell guests to feel free to share their thoughts about the art pieces. That way, the tour would be more interactive and they don't have to listen to me talking for an hour. Hehe!

For this particular tour, I liked how most of the guests (especially the Singaporeans) were surprised to find out that they actually carry a piece of Singapore art with them almost every day. I liked how, at the end of the tour, a few guests shared their favourite pieces and why it was their favourite.

I was really happy when I concluded the tour because I saw smiles on the guests' faces.

The same cannot be said of the Sunday tour. Lol!

I had quite a big group, too. A family of four Indians. Two Australians. One Canadian. One Brit.

Because there were kids in the group, I had to do away with some of the sections I usually include in my tour. The tour had to be child-friendly. Hehe!

Anyway, I think I have to change a bit of my tour for SHG. I need to think of ways to keep it more interesting.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Weekend of happy meals...

Weekends are for happy meals. Haha!

Friday night, PG Boy and I went to Jollibee at LP. He said he was feeling down that day because of work stuff et al. I told him he needed a two-piece Chicken Joy. I also told him about Jollibee's tag line, "Sa Jollibee, Bida ang Saya!" Haha!

From LP, we walked over to neighbouring Paragon for dessert. PG Boy suggested we go to Bakerzin. We took a look at the cake selection. I selected my chocolate piece, PG Boy did the same. When the cakes arrived, whoa! We were both surprised! Haha! I ordered for a cake slice and what arrived was an art piece. I told PG Boy, "I'm quite sure this is priced differently from what was indicated on the cake display case. True enough, we were charged double the price. Hahahaha!

Saturday night, PG Boy and I joined his gang for din din. We went to Nam Nam at Suntec. The food was quite good. I want to go back to try the sandwiches. Dinner was followed by coffee and dessert at Pacific Coffee. There, PG Boy's friends regaled us with their adventures in Taipei during G5. Lol! If one is single and is into chinitos, forget Songkarn. Go to G5! Seriously.

Today, PG Boy's housemates and I headed to a neighbouring kopitiam for lunch. Gav reco'd the Western food stall. The man behind the counter was an unfriendly Filipino. "Koya, ngumiti ka naman!" Haha! I ordered the mixed grill plate. Initially, I thought one would either get a chicken chop or a pork chop with the sausage. Nope, to my surprise, it was a plate of artery-clogging goodies. For $8.90, it wasn't bad at all.

Tonight, I'm having a light dinner - probably just a bun and my black cherry juice.

For the next five days, it's definitely back to no rice and healthier choices (salad and yong tau foo.)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Starbucks Bearista CNY 2014 is out...

Image from here

On my way to work this morning, I passed by the Starbucks at one-north.

I saw that their CNY merchandise is now out. One of the items that caught my attention was the Bearista bear. Actually, it's the only item that usually catches my attention. Haha!

Hmm, is it yay or neigh...errr, I mean nay?

I didn't get to take a photo of the item so I just "borrowed" a photo from the net.

Should I or shouldn't I? Haha! The Starbucks Bearista collection is starting to grow. Haha! I dunno if I should adopt one again.

The 2013 CNY Bearista was not very nice, imho. I thought the peg was very Zuma meets Rosebud. Haha!

This year's bear looks cute though. I should check again though. All the "horse hair" on the back of the bear looks weird.

I'm asking for the help of this friend to get me the bear.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

G5 Party in Taipei...

More than Songkran, it looks like the G5 party at Taipei is the one that's more exciting.



Monday, January 6, 2014

Buffet day at Carousel...

PG Boy and I went for our second buffet for 2013 a few weeks ago.

Carousel at Royal Plaza on Scotts Road is one of the buffet places I've been meaning to try. Two years ago, I wanted to treat PG Boy to a Christmas Eve dinner at Carousel but it was fully booked.

This year, I chose a date after Christmas and I booked several week ahead to ensure that I was going to get a table.

If you Google Carousel, most if not all the reviews you will see about the restau are positive. It's included in the "top buffet places in Singapore" lists of many food bloggers and regular bloggers. That's more reason why I really wanted to try the food at the restau.

So a few days after Christmas, I surprised PG Boy with a buffet treat at Carousel.

It was easy to see why the place is very popular among locals and foreigners. First, the buffet spread has a lot of choices - Japanese, fantab seafood station, salads, breads and pastries, Western cuisine, and a special section for Singaporean dishes. The best section I have to say though is the dessert counter since there are three (!!!) dessert stations! Next, the service was quite good. We didn't have to wait a long time to be seated. The waiters were quick to clear plates. Third, the price was very nice. I paid about $120 for both of us. It was such a good price considering how the wide range of food choices. I think I'll visit again this 2014. :-)

Carousel Buffet Restaurant
Lobby Level, Royal Plaza on Scotts 25 Scotts Road Singapore 228220 Tel: +65 6589 7799
Opening Hours: 12:00pm-2:00pm (Lunch), 3:30pm-5:30pm (High tea), 6:30pm-10:30pm (Dinner)
Prices for Adults: $46.00++ Lunch, $62.00++ Dinner (Weekday), $50.00++, $75.00++ (Weekends)