Thursday, February 27, 2014

A bit unwell...

I'm not sure if it's the weather or if it's some bug going around, but I've been feeling unwell the past two days. Bleh!

Last night, I didn't need the AC to go to sleep. Even with just the fan, I still felt cold some time in the middle of the night.

Still, this feeling of being unwell didn't stop me from waking up early yesterday morning to attend the Body Pump class at FF. Haha!

Auntie gave me some bitter-tasting tea last night for my throat. I dunno what it is but it helped soothe my dry and itchy throat.

You really gotta love her! We dun understand each other but she sure does know how to be a mom.

I was also craving for a nice, hot bowl of chicken macaroni soup last night but where to get, ah! And I'm not just talking about the macaroni soup that Toastbox serves. I'm talking about the macaroni soup that's cooked the Pinoy way. Hehe! It would've been an awesome dinner.

Anyway, I hope things will improve by tomorrow.

It'll drive me crazy if I will be stuck at home this weekend doing nothing. Haha!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Back at MacRitchie for the TreeTop Walk...

When I said that I want to be back at MacRitchie for another walk, I didn't think it would be as soon as the last weekend. Haha!

A few days before Sunday, Mr. Lim messaged me about going back to MacRitchie. This time though, we would be doing the treetop walk.

I tried to get out of it by reminding him that the last walk was almost 13 kilometres and that didn't even include the treetop walk yet.

Mr. Lim replied by saying that there was a shortcut to the treetop walk.

Why didn't I think of that? Haha! I forgot that at one point, we actually reached the road leading to the Singapore Island Country Club. So, surely there was a shortcut to the treetop walk.

I wanted PG Boy to go along with us since we didn't get to spend much time that weekend.

After telling him that the walk will only be for about an hour and a half, that there is a shortcut to the treetop walk, that it won't be too hot as the path is shaded with trees, and most important of all, that we will meet Mr. Lim at 9:45AM, PG Boy agreed to go.

Mr. Lim picked us up from Potong Pasir and then we made our way to MacRitchie.

Our walk this time was much shorter.

The HSBC TreeTop Walk itself is about 250 metres in length. It is quite an adventure crossing the narrow free-standing suspension bridge.

Though a short walk, what I love about it is that it gives a fantastic bird's eye view of the surrounding forest and a wonderful panoramic view of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

Definitely worth a visit.

Do check out this blog to get an idea of the trail/path we took last Sunday.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

I loved Monuments Men...

Earlier, I watched The Monuments Men and I didn't expect that I would love it so much.

I had an idea on what the movie was about, but it was only when I watched the movie that I fully understood the magnitude of how epic the true story on which the movie was based on was.

Referred to as the greatest treasure hunt of history, the Monuments Men tells the story of the efforts of the allied nations to rescue cultural artefacts stolen by the Nazis during World War II.

In real life, the "Monuments Men" was a group of about 345 men and women from thirteen nations. They comprised the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section during World War II. From what I read, the group was composed of museum directors, curators, art historians, artists, architects, and educators who all shared one mission - to protect monuments and other cultural treasures from the destruction of World War II.

In this interesting article, it names a few of the pieces that were rescued during the operation. Thanks to these men and women, the world can still see Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, Michelangelo’s “Madonna of Bruges,” Édouard Manet’s “In The Conservatory” and Rembrandt’s “Self-portrait, 1645″.

It was only while watching the movie that it occurred to me that yeah, thank god someone thought of rescuing these priceless pieces during the war. When nations are fighting and people are dying, art is probably the last thing on many people's minds.

However, one takeaway that I got from the film and I'm sure from the story of the real Monuments Men is this: art is part of a nation's history. It is the nation. Societies will rise again. Nations will be rehabilitated. But these cultural pieces, once gone, are forever gone.

I can't imagine Juan Luna's Spoliarium being stolen or worse, burnt. I shudder at the thought of paintings by Anita Magsaysay-Ho or BenCab being destroyed. I cringe at the thought of a UP Oblation with a missing head or arm.

The movie seems to have been getting mixed to negative reviews. Still, it is worth seeing. If the movie twisted a few things about the real story, I'm quite sure it's not as bad as what the producers of Pompeii did. Hehe!

Now, I'm curious if I should skip Brussels and just go to Bruges and Ghent. Hmmm...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Back at Macritchie...

The plan was do the TreeTop Walk since I haven't done it before. We made it to the starting point of the TreeTop Walk, but we didn't get to do the walk. :-S

The walk itself was a very good one though. We covered a little over 12 kilometres.

The highlight was seeing a bale of terrapins (so that's the collective term for turtles!) and seeing one giant soft-shell turtle. It was really awesome because this giant reptile swimming towards a group of terrapins. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take a clear shot of it because my phone batt was already down to 20%.

I'm really glad that we went back to MacRitchie. It definitely is one of my favourite nature parks in the island.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Impromptu hohol with MonRich...

What was supposed to be a quick trip to LP turned into an impromptu get-together with Mon and Richie.

From the office, I had to go to LP to send some money to the Phils. On the way to LP, I thought of asking Richie if he wanted to do Jollibee or Happy V.

I thought of asking him since I wasn't able to join him and Coly last night because of my volunteer duties.

I was glad when he replied that he was also otw to LP and that we would be able to meet up.

Tonight was also one of the rare nights that Mon got to leave work quite early so he was able to join us.

Our Jollibee plans turned into something more healthy - Mang Kiko's at Somerset.

It was a good decision since I have 't gone to Mang Kiko's in a long time.

From Mang Kiko's, we headed to Cold Stone for dessert. Lol!

I really wasn't planning to eat tonight. Well, so much for that plan.

The nice thing about seeing Mon and Richie is that we can have long conversations every time.

We can talk about everything. Tonight, our topics covered Singapore politics, living in Singapore, FT concerns, Manila friends, SG friends, US and Aus friends, family, Instagram, travel, and so on.

It was difficult to notice that we've been chatting for three hours or so. Haha!

After their mandatory yosi, we decided it was time to head back.

I was planning to spend the night with Jonathan Groff, but I'm really glad I got to spend it with Richie and Mon instead.

By the way, I'm blogging from the North South Line again. (Practicing for Ams-Bru train trip? Hehe!)

As I type this, the train is reaching Khatib.

Few more stations to go. :-)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Random blah while in transit...

I've been meaning to blog about the weekend.

Unfortunately, the past two days have been quite busy and I have not found time to sit down and write in front of my laptop.

In fact, I am in transit as I type this blog entry. Lol!

Just came from a volunteer shift at Chinatown and now heading home.

My shift partner tonight was Terence. He's a friendly guy, same age as me, Singaporean. He's been volunteering with the group for a longer time though.

I like doing shifts with him because he's easy to talk to. He kinda reminds me of my good friend Carlo, in the sense that we can just have a freeflowing discussion.

We didn't get to chat much tonight though because he was preoccupied with volunteer work.

On the other hand, I brought work with me to keep me busy during a lull moment. Hehe!

Train just reached Buoma Vista. Few more stations and then I transfer to the Red Line.

It's been a long day!

I've yet to watch ep 5 of Looking. Tipz and Richie both said I'll enjoy the ep. Haha! Hmm, I won't get to watch it tonight since I'm tired and I want to get up early tomorrow for Pump.

Hope your day went well!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Chap Goh Mei + V Day celebration...

So, while most people probably celebrated Hearts Day with the usual romantic dinner or mushy surprise, I prepared a different kind of "celebration" for me and PG Boy. Hehe!

Coincidentally, 14 Feb this year is also the Chap Goh Mei. Hokkien for "15th night," Chap Goh Mei signals the last day of the Chinese New Year celebrations.

I thought why not celebrate two events with one activity. Without him knowing it, I registered the two of us for a heritage walk around Chinatown to celebrate Chap Goh Mei.

On one hand, it'll be a unique date, at least that's how I see it. On the other hand, it is also one way of closing the CNY celebrations, which PG Boy observes.

Traditionally, Chap Goh Mei is celebrated by carrying lanterns on the street.

I was really quite excited by this. PG Boy initially didn't want to carry a lantern. I somehow managed to convince (or coerce?) him to carry one and that there's no need to be paiseh about it.

For about an hour or so, together with close to 20 other people, our group walked around different parts of Chinatown carrying our lanterns.

Every so often, the guide would stop in front of a building or temple or some random spot in the street to explain the historical significance of the area.

I guess my favourite portion was walking along Telok Ayer St. and Phillip St. to visit three temples - Thian Hock Keng Temple, Fuk Tak Chi Temple and Yueh Hai Ching Temple.

The last temple was quite busy since a lot of people were praying and making offerings.

It was interesting to know that Telok Ayer is considered to be one of the many "Streets of Harmony" in the island with the presence of Thian Hock Keng Temple, Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church, Nagore Dargah Indian Muslim Heritage Centre and the Al-Abrar Mosque along the same row. Streets whereby significant places of worship from each of the major religions in the city are found are called "streets of harmony."

Singapore being a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-faith community, it is no surprise to find a number of streets of harmony in different parts of the island.

After the heritage walk, PG Boy and I just proceeded to Chinatown Point for coffee and dessert before heading back.

It was quite a nice activity for a Friday night.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Random blah about the one that got away....

Yesterday, I was having a random chat with a friend.

Out of the blue, I asked my friend, "Do you think here was your 'the one that got away'?"

This caught my friend by surprise. Lol!

I added, "Or do you think you are the one who got away?"

Hmm, I was listening earlier to Ivan Leung's cover of Katy Perry's The One That Got Away. This was probably the reason I thought of asking the question.

To my friend, it was both of them "who got away" (using my friend's words). It doesn't mean like finally escaping from the relationship but more like I'm your The One Who Got Away, You're my The One Who Got AWay.

Then I told my friend about how my first (and up until 2011) and only relationship.

I shared how it took me a month before the truth really sank in. I talked about that very unforgettable Sunday of Holy Week 2006 at the home of my friend Sean in Tagaytay.

Anyway, I dunno the real reason why this whole thought came to mind yesterday.

What's kinda weird though was that the song played again while I was at the gym waiting for Pump class to start. You know how instructors usually play music while waiting for people to come in. I dun ever recall having the Katy Perry son in a Pump class.

On my way home, I was just going through my Facebook feed and I came across this article about The One That Got Away.

So strange. Lol. Or maybe I'm just reading into things too much?

I'm not sure though that X was the one that got away. We were more like "we had the right love at the wrong time." Hehe!

Happy Hearts Day to all!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Short lift ride with a chatty uncle...

Work has been quite crazy these past few days/weeks.

I'm not sure when things will normalise again. LOL!

In any case, busy is good. Someone once told me, "Idleness is the workshop of the devil."

Maybe that's why I always try to keep myself busy. Lol!

Still, I'm kinda glad that I still have time to do my volunteer activities.

Last night I had my volunteer shift at this group in Chinatown I volunteer with.

I got back at my place close to 11PM.

Just as the lift doors were closing, someone pressed the button and the doors opened again.

In came an uncle who greeted me a "Good evening."

He was going to alight at the 5th level. When the doors opened, he got into a very chatty mood. He blocks the lift doors from closing and we just talked for the next five or so minutes while the lift alarm kept on beeping and beeping. Lol!

In a span of five or so minutes, I learned his name, stuff about his family, where he's been, what he did for work, how he spent some time in the Philippines, and so on. He also advised me to find myself a nice girl, get married. Lol! Kalurkey!

Finally, we bid each other good night and I guess he sensed that I was just really tired.

It was a good ending to the day though.

Although I take the lift everyday, rarely do I get to chat with any of my neighbours. The only one I usually get to greet is our next door neighbour and that was because I would always greet the aunty or wave and smile when I bump into her.

Nice to know there are friendly people in my block. Hehe!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Another great Saturday night...

Just a quick writeup.

Morning to afternoon of Saturday was quite uneventful. PG Boy and I just stayed home watching TV, talking, reading our own books, and cooking breakkie and lunch.

Late afternoon, I dragged him to the gym since I wanted to do Combay at Cathay. This was followed by a trip to LP since I had to send some money.

Saturday evening til Sunday morning(!!!) was the happening one. Hehe!

In the evening, PG Boy and I met up with two of his best friends for their Chinese New Year dinner. Surprisingly, ion Orchard was not crowded at all. We were all wondering where the people were.

At the same time, we were quite grateful since that meant shorter queueing time at the restaus.

We settled for dinner at Imperial Treasure and coffee/dessert at The Marmalade Pantry. Both food places had good food and were reasonably placed. I think though that DTF still has the best xiao long bao. Hehe!

From ion, I headed back to the weekend home to shower and change for what would turn out to be a very long night.

It was a post-CNY(?!?!) gathering with my guys. When I got home, three of PG Boy's friends were there loading up to get in the mood to party the night away. Haha!

They all asked me whether I was going out, to which I replied, "Of course lay!"

I waited for PG Boy to get back and afterwards, I headed to Farrer Park to pick up Tipz before heading to Neil Rd to meet up with the rest of the usual suspects.

Probably one of the best tugs nights ever.

We left the club around 4 and that was only because it already was closing time. Headed to Maxwell for supper before finally taking a cab to go home.

I got home at 5 plus. Guess what? I was up at 8AM(!!!) WTF, yeah?! Haha!

Anyway, it was another epic night.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Chillax Friday night...

While waiting for PG Boy last night, I headed over first to Tipz's place.

I also had to drop by since I was going to get the Chia Te pineapple cakes I asked him to get for me from Taiwan.

Thank you, Tipz!!!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

It's here...

I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email last night from DHL indicating that my passport is on its way back to Singapore.

Yup, apparently, the visa is processed in Kuala Lumpur.

It was very impressive how fast and efficient the embassy was. I applied for my visa Tuesday noontime. The day after, it was already in Kuala Lumpur for processing and was bound to arrive in Singapore today.

When I checked the tracking information when I got back at the office from lunch, I saw that the parcel has already been delivered and received by our receptionist.


I checked with her and after confirming that the parcel has arrived, I went to the seventh floor to get the package.

As soon as I got back to my desk, I carefully opened the package, took out my passport and looked for the page with the sacred Schengen visa. Hehe!

Multiple entry. 30 days.


Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lordy!

By the way, I dunno with the other EU member states but with the Netherlands embassy, they have a service whereby the passport may be delivered to the passport holder via DHL. The fee is a minimal SGD10. This is just awesome since I dun have to head back to the embassy for passport collection!


So, yeah, see you Europa in April.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Enjoyed The Fault In Our Stars...

I have just finished reading John Green's The Fault In Our Stars.

After seeing the trailer last week, I decided to get a copy of the book.

Thanks to the long weekend and the fact that the book was well-written, it didn't take long for me to finish the book.

I was just too engrossed in each page.

Looking forward to seeing the movie.

This is definitely going to be one huge tearjerker.

I'm in love. Haha!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Happy Tuesday....

Do you believe in signs? Hehe!

Yesterday, I was quite sure that I came across some signs that my visa application will be approved.

I am currently reading this book and to my surprise and delight, I reached a chapter where the protagonists of the story were "rewarded" with a trip to Amsterdam.

Well, I pray that the sign was for that one and not for the reason the protagonists were "rewarded." Haha! Choi! Touchwood!

My appointment with the embassy was yesterday afternoon. Given that I had time to kill, I decided to hit the gym first.

While I was waiting for the Body Combat class to start, I received a call from an unknown number.

It was the embassy calling to inform me that my visa application appointment had to be postponed due to a technical issue on their side. I was told that once the issue is resolved, they would call me again.

My appointment was at 3:45. I got the call before 12noon.

Hmm, I still decided to go to the embassy and try my luck. When I reached the office, I was told by the nice lady behind one of the window counters that the issue has not resolved.

However, she offered to check my papers to see if everything was in order. I was really grateful for that. At least, something still came out of my visit.

This morning, I received a call again. I was able to arrange an appointment between 1 and 2.

Thankfully, my team lead allowed me to take a late lunch today.

Headed down to the embassy around 1. I was greeted by a very pleasant and pretty lady. She checked all my papers. I really liked it that she was very approachable. She even said, "Oh, you're going to the nicest cities!"

After a few more minutes, I paid for the visa fee and the courier service to have my passport delivered to my office.

When the consul said I can leave, I had to ask, "How will I know if it's approved?"

She just smiled and said, "It will be approved. All your papers are in order."

Yahooooo!!! Thank you, Lord!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Saturdate at the museum with Farquhar and Raffles...

I had a good tour at the History Gallery this noontime.

Today is an open house at the National Museum (as well as the other museums) so it was quite expected that there will be a bigger crowd today.

My tour was at 1130AM. By the time I headed to the Guided Tour Meeting Point, there were already a number of people waiting.

Since the group was big enough, I decided to start the tour on time.

It turned out to be one of my favourite tours. The group was composed mostly of senior citizens and two families. My friend Jean and her fiancé Jim.

One reason I really liked this tour was because the most members of the tour were quite responsive to the questions I fielded. That way, it was more enjoyable for me.

When I reached the gallery for the Japanese occupation, one of the senior museum volunteers Mike joined the group.

I tried not to look at him so that I wouldn't be nervous. Hehe!

As I reached the end of the tour, I gave the conclusion I usually give and I was just very happy when the audience applauded after. A few of the guests even gave positive feedback "Well done!" "Excellent!" which I always appreciate as it encourages me to do better.

The group was composed of 9 Singaporeans, 6 Brits, 3 Chinese, 2 Americans, 1 Filipino.

From the museum, I had lunch with Jim and Jean at Plaza Singapura.

Afterwards, I decided to head home to rest before going for a jog.

Out of curiosity, I checked the self-scheduling calendar for the other exhibit. I went cold when I saw my name was scheduled for the 2PM tour today.

Kill me now. How could I have missed it?!

I relied heavily on the schedule on my mobile phone that I missed my tour. Argh! Argh!

I sent an email now to the museum volunteer reps to inform them of my oversight. Hopefully, I will be allowed to make up for this mistake by giving a tour tomorrow instead.

Sigh! Oh well...

Lesson learned: Check. Double Check. Triple Check.