Sunday, June 29, 2014

Pink Dot 2014...



Saturday was quite busy.

In the morning, I finished watching the season 3 finale of Downton Abbey. What a finale! I still haven't recovered from the whole Lady Sybil incident and now this. Haha! I messaged my SG-MNL group chat friends who have all seen Downton and they all sympathised with me. Lol. It's funny how a TV series can affect one living in the real world.

The major event for the day was Pink Dot. However, I managed to squeeze in some time to go to the gym for Pump. I also managed to convince Jon to join me for class. Tipz was supposed to join us (or I think he at least wanted to join) but Westgate is just too far from him. That and the fact that the class was too early. Hehe!

In the afternoon, I headed to Hong Lim Park to join the Pink Dot celebration. This is the third time I joined the event. Hmm, my feelings for the event have been changing through the years but I still went anyway because Richie wanted to go and because I wanted to support my Singapore friends.

It was a successful event. This year was a bit tense though because it is the first time that individuals of certain religious groups spoke out. Thankfully, everything proceeded peacefully.

Happy Pink Dot!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Happy birthday, Mama...




Now I know where I got my being clingy from - my Dad.

He had to pass on two days before my Mom's birthday. Now, all the remaining birthdays of my Mom would have to be associated with him. Hehe!

It doesn't sound right to be joking about this, but I think my Dad wouldn't mind. He's always been a goofy person is laughing from above. I just dunno if he'll admit to being clingy. Haha!

Moving on, today is my Mom's birthday. She turns 65 today.

God, I keep forgetting that she's already in her 60s because she doesn't look her age. To me, at least she doesn't.

I owe her a lot. I respect her a lot for the sacrifices that she's made. I've learned a lot from her, though I must say it was in an unorthodox way. Hehe!

One of my prayers is for her to be blessed with several more years of good health. This is so that I can bring her on a holiday every year.

It's sort of an unofficial promise I made to myself.

Her dream is really to go to Cambodia to see the Angkor Wat.

We could have gone this year but it had to be postponed because of the expenses of my Europe trip. Haha!

Add to that the fact the crazy airfare to Siem Reap from SG. The cheapest was about SGD300 per pax. Wtf?! Lol!

So, I'm afraid Cambodge will have to wait a bit.

She is coming this September though to spend two weeks here. I managed to buy really cheapo tix to Yogyakarta.

Prambanan and Borobodur first this year before the great Angkor next year.

Hope we'll be blessed with good weather.

Anyway, happy birthday, Mrs. Morales! Love you!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Happy 1st, Tonyo...



Today is the first death anniversary of my father.

I did not really get an opportunity to write about him when he passed on. I was away from home and I had to keep myself busy. That was the only way to keep myself together.

On this very same day in 2013, I woke up at my usual time before 6AM. Like almost everyone who owns a handphone, the first thing I did was to reach for my phone to check messages. I saw a few missed calls from my best friend Tey and I saw some messages.

I knew that Dad had already returned to Our Creator.

There was no point in calling the fam at that time. What I did was to get ready for work and as soon as I reached the office, I called my Mom. I asked her how Dad passed on.

She told me that the night before Tonyo was already looking like he was ready to go. In the early hours of 25 June 2013, she was by his side and they prayed the rosary. He breathed his last before 5AM.

It was a good death I think - your wife by your side, praying with you. There was no more pain on his part. There would be some sorrow on ours. But by God's grace, I knew (and I was right) that things would all be okay.

I didn't go home to say goodbye to a dead father. I went home a month or two earlier to say goodbye to my father when he was still alive. To me, that was more important.

For a few days, I was by his side to care for him. The roles have been reversed. The son now takes care of his ailing dad. I changed his diapers. I saw how deep his wounds were and I couldn't imagine at how extremely excruciating it must have been for him while the f-kin doctor cleaned my Dad's wounds as if it were just another wound.

The most important thing for me was that our relationship was healed before he went on.

Months before the fateful day, I was on my way back to PG Boy's home from the morning Mass. As is my routine, I called Manila. I spoke to my Mom before Dad asked for the phone.

His immediate statement was "Please for give me for all my shortcomings."

The good thing was I was at the void deck of PG Boy's place and there was no one around because that was when I burst into tears.

There is no need to detail the conversation but I must say that phone conversation was all that was needed to mend our relationship.

Tonight, I will say a prayer for our dear Tonyo. I miss him but I know that he is with Him now. What could be more beautiful than that?

Since we're on the subject of passing on, I guess I must say that the almost three-year relationship with PG Boy has also passed on. It was earlier this month. But this is reserved for another post..

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Wedding bells for Mary Crawley...



What a wonderful, wonderful episode 1 of season 3 of Downton Abbey. I am hooked. Haha!

Loooong day at the other side of the Causeway...



What a looong day today turned out to be!

Just got back a few minutes ago. I'm just resting a bit before I shower. Afterwards, I'm going to hit the sack immediately. Wo hen lei!

I was supposed to go see MkSurf8, RKGreg and the other guys tonight but the trip to JB took so much longer than I expected. And even if the spirit was willing, the flesh is already so Lola. Haha!

Today was my scheduled appointment with Dr. Tan of Advanced Dental Surgery at JB. Dr. Tan was the one who did the crowning for my molar that had to go through RCT. I was very happy with his service. His clinic is very impressive. The staff are all pleasant and hospitable. How can I not stick with this clinic?

My appointment was at 2PM. Thinking that 2.5 hours should be enough for me to get to the clinic, I decided to leave Singapore by 11:30. Mr. Lim decided to join me at the trip to the other side of the Causeway as he wanted to get a massage and have dinner as well. Bryan also joined us much later as he had work until 5PM. It was really nice of him to go through the trouble of going all the way to JB for dinner.

Going back, 2.5 hours weren't enough to get to the other side of the Causeway. Everything that could go wrong this noontime just went wrong.

By the time I reached the clinic, it was already 2:40ish. I already expected Dr. Tan would not be able to see me so I was content with just setting up a new appointment.

A few minutes of waiting and his assistant told me I can come back after an hour. Woohooo! He really is the best!

Today may not have started out very well but it certainly got better and better. Just glad that I was able to do the things that I wanted to do at JB. I wish I had the energy to go out tonight but my eyelids are closing even as I type this. Haha!

Friday, June 20, 2014

My new addiction - Downton Abbey...



I have a new addiction. Downton Abbey.

I dunno what took me so long to finally watch the series. Haha!

Just finished season 1. On to season 2.

Lady Sybil is my favourite person. But of course, I am just fascinated by Lady Mary and of course, the Dowager Countess.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

If/Then...




Loving these two songs from If/Then! :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sunday at the Gardens...



Sunday morning, I went for one of the easiest nature walks I've ever done. Haha!

Following breakkie at our usual place at Bishan, Mr. Lim and I drove to the Botanic Garden.

I've been to the historic garden a few times. After our walk that morning, I realised that there were still several parts of the gardens that I haven't explored.

Also, it was quite a good walk since we were able to roam around for about two hours. If it weren't for the sudden downpour, I'm sure we would have kept on walking around. Haha!

The garden has a rich history. I'm not too familiar with it but it has been around since the 1800s. Singapore has to thank Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles for the gardens. It was his idea in the 1822 to have a botanic and experimental garden.

However, the garden was established in its present site in 1859 long after the death of Raffles.

Anyway, I think I'll bring Mom to the gardens when she comes over this September. We can go for a stroll around the park before heading to Dempsey Hill for brunch. Hehe!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Another busy weekend...

What a long Saturday it turned out to be.

As usual, I was awake before my alarm went off. That was about 530AM. Haha!

I just went online and did some surfing and checking of emails. Afterwards, I headed to the nearby Toastbox for my fave breakkie set. Then, headed back to fix the room and chat a bit with my best friend in Manila and a good friend in Timor-Leste.

Since I skipped gym the entire week, I decided to go for two classes - Pump at 1120 followed by the Combat class at 140.

This morning, my entire body is aching. Haha! That means I must have done something right in Pump, yeah?

After Combat, headed back home just to change clothes and then went out again. I initially wanted to go to Ikea to buy some photo frames for a home project. There are a few Jake Verzosa photos that I want to put up on the bare wall of my room. However, Tipz suggested I put up my own travel photos instead. Hmmm, that's an idea. I think I'll do that.

However, I found myself headed to Changi Airport instead of Ikea Alexandra. Hahaha! It was quite ironic given that earlier during the day, I told Mon that I'm too lazy to head our to the city.

Dinner was at Expo followed by coffee and dessert at Changi Airport. The airport never ceases to amaze me. Seriously. I know I've been to very few airports but all the others pale in comparison to Changi. I don't even remember much about Incheon. Maybe because I went there eons ago. Haha!

Surprisingly, time spent at Changi was that long so much so that I ended up heading back at 10 plus. As I expected, I was home just before 12.

Today is also going to be quite a packed day, as well. I'm heading out in an hour's time to meet up with Mr. Lim. We agreed to go for a short trek today. Afterwards, I'm heading to the museum to meet up with fellow docent Lionel. Then, head back for Mass.

Busy, busy...

Friday, June 13, 2014

You learn to live without...



This is my current song at the moment.

Idina, you've hit the head on the nail. Haha!

From the musical "If/Then."

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I love you, Papa Francesco...




Seeing Papa Francesco up close, attending the Papal Audience during Holy Week and receiving a blessing from the Holy Father himself are definitely the highlights not just of the Euro trip but of the entire 2014. I would go so far as saying that if I breathed my last that day, I would have left this world with a huge smile on my face. Haha! (Still, I am grateful to the Lord for not calling me back just yet or else I would have missed Brussels and Cologne. Hehe!)

Describe the experience in one word? Grateful. Extremely grateful. I’m grateful to uni friend Krissie for her tips on how to have a good spot at the audience. I am grateful that the accomms we got was a short walk to Piazza di San Pietro. I am grateful to Mon for helping us get tickets via his Lola. I am extremely grateful to Alex for waking up early even though he is not a morning person. I am grateful that we were blessed with gorgeous blue skies that day. I am grateful for finding the voice to stand my ground against one “holy” person who tried to take my spot. I am grateful to the family who asked me to carry their bambino so that the Pope can kiss him as a Lolo would his grandson. I am grateful that the Pope’s blessing extended to my family.

The experience was definitely one for the books.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Awesome Dr. Jonathan See at Healthway Limbang Shopping Centre...



Today was definitely one of the most unproductive days in my entire life. Okay, that's being a little too dramatic.

Today is in the top 10 most unproductive days this 2014.

I started the morning with a visit to the doctor. 10 AM onwards was spent in bed with my left foot resting on a stack of pillows. It was all thanks to a slight pain on my left ankle I felt late last night. It was a pain I was all too familiar with. It was a pain I knew was bound to get only worse.

True enough, it did.

I didn't get any proper sleep at all because of the immense discomfort and intense pain. I checked my stash of meds and I found a tiny ziplock with a few pieces of Colchicine. I took one immediately but I think I took the med a little too late.

The pain didn't go away throughout the night. In fact, it only worsened.

There was no way I was going to get to work.

After messaging my team lead, the next big problem was getting to the clinic. Since our company changed insurance providers, the nearest accredited clinic was a few bus stops away. On any normal day, I would just walk to the area where the clinic is located.

Today, I knew there was no way I would get to the clinic without bursting into tears. Also, I'm not a masochist so I was definitely not going to subject myself to pain. Haha!

Luckily, I was able to find cabs to and fro.

On the way to the clinic, I was already preparing myself for a scolding from the doctor. "You knew you should not be having alcohol? Why do you drink then?" That question has been asked a few times by Dr. Heartless, a doctor from a clinic near Tampines St. 81. Lol.

Well, I was proven wrong because as soon as I entered the consultation room, I was greeted by a smiling face. Furthermore, he apologised for the long wait. The consultation went on and I kid you not, this doctor has got to be the most compassionate doctor I've met since I moved to Singapore a few years ago. He is a doctor worth emulating by all the other GPs.

I told him this and he was very grateful. I felt that he had to hear the compliment because it is such a rarity.

His name is Dr. Jonathan See. His clinic is at the Healthway clinic in Limbang Shopping Centre.

I knew doctors like him existed. I'm glad I've found him. Lol. The other two doctors who are in the same category as Dr. See are Dr. Wong, also with Healthway, and Dr. Zaiful, who is with Temasek Medical Centre near my home.

Thank you for these doctors.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Day Drunk Gays....





These guys are funny. Haha!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Scala Sancta and Scavi Tour...




Two more highlights of the Rome+Vatican leg of the Euro trip - a somewhat private tour of the Vatican Necropolis and the grave of St. Peter and ascending the marble stairs believed to have been walked on by Jesus Christ on his way to Pontius Pilate.

The Scala Sancta and Sancta Sanctorum. Across the basilica of St. John the Lateran is a nondescript building that houses the Scala Sancta or Pilates Stairs. It is believed that the Scala Sancta is the actual staircase Jesus Christ ascended on his way to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate for his trial. The stairs were taken to Rome in the 4th century by Emperor Constantine's mother St. Helena. The marble stairs have been encased in protective wood and may only be ascended on one's knees. At the top of the stairs is the Sancta Sanctorum, the personal chapel of the early Popes. Ascending 28 steps on one's knees sounds easy but as I soon found out, it wasn't. As a Catholic and a Christian pilgrim, being blessed with the experience to climb the stairs was a tiny way of honoring the Passion of Jesus Christ. It was a deeply profound and spiritual experience. It also doesn't hurt that a plenary indulgence is granted to those who ascend the stairs on their knees (or so I've read).

St. Peter's Tomb and the Vatican Necropolis. I read about the Scavi Tour while doing research for the trip. Organized by the Vatican Excavations Office, the Scavi Tour is a rare opportunity to visit the Vatican necropolis and St. Peter's burial place. (Only 250 people are allowed into the Necropolis per day!) If there's a lesson to be learned, it's persistence. I wrote to the Excavations Office on 21 March and 22 March to register for the tour. As expected, all slots were taken. I decided to write again a few days before our trip. To my immense surprise, I received an email saying that we have been registered for the tour! Persistence and a lot of prayer. Haha! There were about 10-12 of us in the group. We were led by one of the curators of the Excavations office. It was an exciting tour because it felt like being in a National Geographic documentary or the movie Da Vinci Code. In some chambers, the mosaic tiles decorations are still intact. It is really amazing when one realizes how old the structure is. No photography allowed though.

Good thing I threw a coin into the Trevi Fountain. Hopefully, I'll be back in Rome one day and I'll get to visit the last of the four papal basilicas and complete my papal basilica pilgrimage.

Visit to three of the four Papal Basilicas...





When MkSurf8 and RKGreg went to Rome last year (or was it two years ago?), I asked MkSurf8 to bring back a rosary from the Vatican for me.

He brought back one beautiful rosary, which I've been using until now.

What I like about the rosary he got me was that each papal basilica was etched on the bead in which the Our Father is recited. This was partly an inspiration for me to want to go to Rome and the Vatican during Holy Week and be able to visit the basilicas.

While I was dragging PG Boy to the different churches and basilicas, I told him that I wanted to go to the four papal basilicas. He asked what a papal basilica meant. Lol! I didn't know exactly. I just assumed that they were very important churches.

But I did my research when I got back and I found out that Papal Basilica is the title given to the four highest-ranking Roman Catholic churches. The most popular, naturally, is Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano (St. Peter's Basilica) since it is the centre of the Vatican City. Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (Basilica of Saint Mary Major) is believed to be the oldest church in the west dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, while Arcibasilica Papale di San Giovanni in Laterano (Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran) is the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, of which the Pope is bishop.

The only basilica we didn't get to visit was St. Paul Outside of the Walls. Just as St. Peter's Basilica was built over the burial location of St. Peter, this basilica was built over the burial place of the St. Paul. We missed going to this basilica because I spent a few hours at Via Condotti. Lol! :-S

Will have to go back someday then.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

We are adults...



When did that happen?

Curry fish head and Tiramisu Hero...



Yesterday, my friend Bernice was supposed to fly in to SG for a night before flying off to Bangkok today for work.

We were both excited for her trip since we haven't seen each other in ages. She was supposed to host us in Amsterdam but having accepted a job in Timor Leste, she had to move out of A'dam much earlier.

Since this was her first trip out of Timor Leste since moving there last April, she was pretty much looking forward to it. I had already thought of where to bring her for dinner and dessert.

Over breakfast, I received a WhatsApp message saying that flights were canceled due to a volcano that erupted in Indonesia. (I guess there was a no fly zone? I just wonder why the flight path couldn't have been diverted?)

Bummer!

She did however get a flight for today, but that meant flying to SG and a connecting flight to BKK.

With no Bernice in town, PG Boy and I decided to just watch X Men (which I found plodding). Movie was followed by dinner and coffee with PG Boy's best friend.

We headed to one of the curry fish head places in Geylang and then moved to Boon Keng for dessert at The Tiramisu Hero.

I sent photos of the curry fish head to Bernice and told her that it was supposed to be our dinner. Haha!

She'll just have to wait a week then. :)

In other news, I can't believe it's already June!!!