27 November 2006

Singapore Diaries

Finally! Here goes THE trip, long overdue

Day One

Flying with Tiger Airways is really the cheap alternative to go to Singapore. We got our tickets at PHP5,700+, round trip. However, since it is a budget airline, they don’t serve food, they sell it at very expensive prices. Our flight was at 11.30am so imagine Tostillas without water for lunch. As the food cart approached, I looked longingly at the S$2.50 mineral water. Then the Flight Attendant approached me. I thought she would be kind enough to give me water to wash down my chips. But no. She goes “Outside food is not allowed inside the plane, ma’am.” Well, what do I do then? Throw it out? Duh!

Everything in Singapore is clean, aesthetically pleasing and efficient. My boss says it’s the Singaporean’s malady, efficiency. Nice malady. Everything is labeled and tourist-friendly. You don’t have to bother the locals with your lost tourist questions unless you don’t know how to read signs and maps. Just mind your step at the MRT escalators. Man, they’re extremely fast. Reminds me of the escalators in Hongkong. You feel like you’re being ejected when you step out of it.

The best purchase on this trip was the EZ Link card. It pays for the MRT, the bus, 7-11 purchases, McDonald’s purchases and all known government transactions. All with one powerful plastic card.

If you really want to go on a budget trip, call on friends who live in the country, especially those celebrating their birthdays. You’ll surely get a free dinner. We ate at Chong Pang at Marina Bay. It’s fun to eat something new, but when you’re hungry and you’re faced with raw food that you have to cook yourself, it’s pretty frustrating. But hey, it was free, no complaints.

For a different perspective of Singapore, visit Geylang. It’s Singapore’s very happening red light district. I’ve never seen so many women primped, lined up, waiting or harassing possible customers. There was a gay lane with very pretty and really tall transvestites, a lane of Malay girls, and a few streets lined up with petite Chinese women with minimum cup C breast sizes. Our very willing guide said that most of these girls get 10 customers a night. I’ve never seen so many women line up for sex!

In a backpacker’s hostel, you can never predict what you’ll see or not see when you open the door to your room. It was complete darkness during our first night. Extremely hard to move around with just a pen light. I didn’t know Europeans slept so early!

Day Two

Europeans sleep early and wake up late. We woke up at 7am and the lights were still out. It was morning but we still moved in darkness. We didn’t have the guts to open the lights. Darned Pinoy sensitivities!

The Butterfly Farm was disappointing. It came highly recommended by a friend so expectations were quite high. I expected hundreds of butterflies to surround us. Unfortunately, there were a few pesky ones flying here and there. I observed five kinds of butterflies, no more. And the area was quite small. I waste of S$10. Actually, I enjoyed the Orchidarium more than the Butterfly Farm. There was no admission fee and the orchids were just so pretty. My dad would enjoyed seeing all the orchids in full bloom if I took him with me.

The dolphin show was fun and amazing. Although the pink dolphins weren’t that pink, they were equally adorable. Doing tricks and jumping all over the pool, it was the stuff I only saw Flipper do on TV.

Lesson for the day, remember to scope the area for better lunch options. We made the mistake of thinking that the chicken and fish burger stand was the nearest option for cheap lunch food. Upon consuming our crappy lunch, we walked to the restrooms and discovered the Food Gallery just a few steps at the back of the burger stand. All we could do was eye the scrumptious roasted chicken and beef satay.

We took as many shots as we wanted of us and the different marine life in the Underwater World. A lot of our fellow tourists were highly amused at our camera whore-ness. Hey, we’re making the most of our S$19.50. I think this was the first time I saw a real dugong. I even managed to take a great shot of a nemo and dory fish. Sorry, I have no idea what they’re really called.

A warning to all the pretending-to-be-brave travellers, it’s not advisable to ride the Sentosa cable car on a rainy day. They shut down the Sky Tower so we thought we’d ride the cable car instead. The route had two stops before it turned back to Sentosa. It took us back to mainland Singapore then back to the island. It was a little bit unnerving watching us pass the harbor and seeing that we were higher than the Sky Tower. Not to mention that the rain was getting stronger and stronger. On it’s way back, the car suddenly jerked to a stop in mid air. We were above some highway near Vivo City. That was the longest 10 minutes of my life. Every time the car attempted to move it would stop and give a very disturbing jerk. To make us feel better, we said that it was better for the cable car to have stopped above the highway than above the harbor. That’s even scarier. When we finally reached the last stop, we gladly went down, thanked God for another chance at life and adios-ed Sentosa even if we originally planned to watch the fountain show at 8 in the evening.

My first impression of Orchard Road is that it’s the Makati of Singapore, even if the whole country looked like Makati. Everything is rushed and fast. Even malling is not leisurely. In a weird way, I found it exciting, not unnerving. Some get intimidated by it, I didn’t. Unfortunately, it’s taking a toll on my friends who recently moved there. They looked extremely tired and homesick. I just wanted to hug them both and take them home with me.

Little India is not as exciting at night. In fact, it was scary walking the streets at 11 in the evening. My friend and I held each others arm tightly and walked extremely fast to avoid drunk Indians attempting to follow us or stare at us like they were planning on doing something nasty.

Day Three

One of the best places to shop for pasalubong is Chinatown. The minute you get down from the MRT, there’s a bazaar ready and waiting. I bought most of my gifts, and then some, here. Particular finds were metal mobile accessories with the Merlion hanging on it and really nice metal book marks. We didn’t have the energy to look for and walk to Smith Road where all the hawkers’ fare was. It was such a hot day that we were drained of energy by 10am. So we went to a convenient food court at Chinatown Place right across People’s Park. The food wasn't good but when you're thirsty, hungry and tired, everything tastes great.

Jurong Bird park is a long trek from the main city if you’re taking the MRT and the bus. But every stop on this trip has been worth it so far. Parrots doing tricks, eagles flying close enough for their wings to slap you in the face, regular vultures, white vultures, orange flamingoes… It was great. And I was able to see real penguins for the very first time. Can’t wait to see Happy Feet!

The best zoo stop was the Night Safari. There’s a heightened feeling of thrill as the tram goes along the dark zoo route. Being close enough to touch the animals gave it a more safari-like feel to the whole experience. I turned off my camera completely since flash photography was out of the question. Flashes would disturb and startle the animals, which might cause them to run or jump towards the direction of the tram. Scary! I didn’t particularly warm to the animal show since they hid a huge snake under one of the seats as part of the act. I kept thinking the whole time, what if they placed it under my seat? I'd probably faint!

Wrong time to test my alcohol consumption limit, but when in Rome… Our friend cooked shrimps in butter and we had dinner at 12 midnight after our Night Safari gallivanting. And since we were the bearer of tequila, our two new friends wanted us to enjoy it ALL. Consuming a whole bottle of tequila is no joke. The only one “standing” was my friend who has acquired some magical alcohol immunity through years of drinking with her boyfriend. I crashed in the guest room’s bed, the whole ceiling going round and round.

Day Four

Ugh! I woke up feeling nauseous and just plain crappy. All I could think of was barfing. And thank goodness I did or I would’ve spent the rest of the day in bed. Much to our co-tequila drinkers’ surprise we were up and about, ready for our last Singapore day.

Singapore Zoo is a duplication of the Night Safari. I had a great time the previous night, and going to Singapore Zoo was a chore. We had to go because our ticket was payed. Then it started raining… hard. In Singapore, even the rain is efficient. It comes only once a day and usually lasts for a good 30 minutes. Then sunshine again. However, it lasted longer when we were at the Zoo and we didn’t want to wait for it to stop or we’d be stuck there forever. So even if I only had S$8 left in my pocket, my friend convinced me to buy S$1.90 bright yellow raincoats. We looked like big bird walking to the MRT station. But I didn't care. I wanted to make the most of my S$1.90.

Back at wet Orchard Road, we met one of the first few friends that we’d meet up with that night. She took us to this bargain perfume store in Lucky Plaza. I had no intention of buying anything. But I approached the wrong sales girl. She was too good, I ended up buying three perfumes. Parents’ Christmas gifts, check!

I couldn’t get myself to buy Starbucks. My friends did, I couldn’t swallow coffee that cost me S$6.50. It’s just too much. Good thing my other friends arrived, joined them for dinner and tasted authentic Asian cuisine at one of the kopitiam in Suntec City. I instantly fell in love with kaya toast.

Esplanade, Merlion Park, Boat Quay and Clarke Quay are best visited at night. The lights are up, plenty cute foreigners are out and about. It was the perfect ending to our gallivanting.

It's sad business to end a trip like this. You can't seem to stop and just want to move on to the next unexplored country. However, resources run low and reality sinks in. I left Singapore thinking that I'd willingly welcome the opportunity to live there. And I think on top of it all, I was proud of the fact that this trip was out of my own savings, the fruits of my labor... which I shall again face when I get home.

Posted my trip pics at flickr

Orange Git at 10:28 AM


23 November 2006

What the...?

Pet peeve #1 You wake up and look at your closet. Put on something really nice just to perk up your day. A cute dress, a pretty skirt, a new belt or a dainty top. You go out then people start to notice your outfit. They ask you "Do you have a date?"

Pet peeve #2 You decide to cut your hair, add bangs... Iron it or blow dry because you're tired of it always looking so limp and frizzy. People see you and comment "Uy, nagpa rebond." or "Uy may date." or "Uy, may nagpapaganda."

What the hell is it with all these impertinent and annoying comments? I don't know if it's just the culture but it's really irritating. Can't we simply say "Hey, nice outfit" period. Or "You look nice" period. Or nice haircut, cute skirt, love the top! Why should there be a need to justify your desire to look good? It's getting so tiresome to just smile and say "Wala lang." One of these days, I'll be forced retort "You on the other hand look like crap." Let's see how they react to that.
You don't need to go somewhere to make a statement.
- Kenneth Cole ad

Orange Git at 5:17 PM


20 November 2006

Things to do while the whole bloody country watches the Pacquiao fight

  1. Attempt to finish the blog you’ve been wanting to post about your recent travel
  2. Beef up your resume and write cover letters so you can finally make that first step towards “moving on”
  3. Text all your Pacquaio fanatic friends saying “I know who won, I know who won.”
  4. Think of what else you can munch on even if you just ate lunch an hour ago
  5. Mentally fix and rearrange your room (Operative word being "mentally" since you don’t really want to get up and actually do it)
  6. Revise the Christmas list that you thought was already complete (forgot a few people you shouldn’t have forgotten)
  7. Play really cheesy songs and sing at the top of your lungs to distract and annoy your dad and everyone watching the fight
  8. Wonder what you’re going to wear tomorrow to work since that’s the only thing that gives you a boost everyday (depressing!)
  9. Consider looting the nearest grocery store (Hey, no one would probably notice you’re stealing their goods since they’re glued to their TVs. And it was reported that the crime rate considerably went down in the Metro during Pacquiao fights. What if I up the figures?)
  10. If all else fails, shut down your laptop and contemplate taking an afternoon nap even if you’ve only managed to wake up at 12 noon, hoping that when you wake up, the damned fight is finally over and you can snatch the remote off your dad's killer grip

Orange Git at 10:51 AM


15 November 2006

You know you’re addicted to Korean dramas if…

Got this from today's Inquirer. Let's see if I'm really addicted.


You know you’re addicted to Korean dramas if…

November 15, 2006
Updated 01:04:13 (Mla time)
Melissa Telan

1. You’ve tried, or you’re trying, to learn Korean in the hopes that one day you’ll watch your favorite dramas without aid of dubbing or subtitles.
CHECK! I can read Korean characters now, I just don't know what most of them mean.

2. You’ve watched your favorite dramas at least three times, and your favorite scenes—the most heart-wrenching or the most kilig—at least 10.
CHECK! I even downloaded the NGs (not good scenes, bloopers)

3. Someone asks you to recall a particular scene from your favorite drama and you recite it in full detail, including the actors’ lines and the episode number where such scene is found.
CHECK AGAIN! Scary if I start reciting in Korean

4. You convince your friends, family, classmates, officemates and just about anyone who hasn’t caught the Koreanovela bug yet to watch Korean dramas. And you do this with the kind of fervency that would make a door-to-door salesman proud.
CHECK! I've recruited one, still looking for more victims.

5. Your cell phone’s ring tones feature the theme songs of “My Girl,” “Full House,” “Winter Sonata” (or the ring tones featured in such shows).
Does it count if my cell phone music playlist has Korean songs?

6. Your mp3 player contains mostly K-pop music or Korean ballads from your favorite drama’s soundtrack.
CHECK! Well, I don't have an mp3 player yet, but my laptop has plenty of K-pop.

7. You create an online shrine dedicated to your favorite hallyu star or show.
I haven't tried this one yet. Although I've devoted countless blog entries on Rain ;)

8. You know what hallyu means.
Hehe.. CHECK! Korean wave...

9. Your Korean drama collection is big enough for you to open a small video rental shop.
Ummm... no naman... just enough to get me in trouble with Edu Manzano

10. You’re part of several fan clubs or a regular in online forums such as those found in soompi.com, d-addicts.com and tsinoy.com, all dedicated to your favorite K-artista or artistas.
CHECK! Soompi babe of the Rain forum!

11. You tirelessly write, petition, clamor and beg local television stations to bring your favorite Korean star to the Philippines.
Not yet. I think other pinoy Rain fans are doing this already so let's not duplicate efforts ;)

12. You’re one of the earliest to line up at the airport when a K-star does come. Then you follow him or her to the hotel, where you’ve also booked yourself. If he or she has TV guestings or mall tours, you chalk up perfect attendance in all of them.
I will when Rain comes to town.

13. You save lunch money to be able to afford pricey collector’s items from www.Yesasia.com, such as DVDs or other K-drama paraphernalia.
Umm... I'm a pirate... nuf said.

14. When you do have lunch, you regularly make a beeline to Korean restaurants to eat kimbap, kimchi, and other such food fare that are featured in the dramas. You also search high and low for soju.
I guess, no. But I do love the Korean Garden resto in Malate by Adriatico and occassionally drop by our friendly neighborhood Korean grocery for goodies. I have yet to venture into the world of soju since I hear it tastes like gasoline.

15. You save up money for your dream tour of Korea to see all the places featured in their dramas.
CHECK! Next year, KOREA in autumn!

16. You watch your favorite drama all over again, this time dubbed in Filipino and shown in local channels, even if you’ve seen the entire English subtitled version.
Nahh, I don't like the pinoy dubbed version. The humor and kilig moments are lost in translation. Plus I love hearing the actual Korean language.

17. You dream in Korean (plus points if the dream has English subtitles).
CHECK! The one dream I had was with Park Shin Yang. He was speaking to me in Korean but I responded in English ;)

So how did I do? 11 out of 17, good enough. I am a certified Hallyu addict.

Orange Git at 2:50 PM


13 November 2006

I'm Bored :(

Got this from Amputated Leg I have yet to fix my Singapore blogathon. I’m so anti work mode so this will do for the moment. Apologies in advance for dropping a lot of Singapore stuff as I'm still on high.

1. Where were you 1 hour ago? – in the same seat, same desk, same old job :(
2. Who will be your next kiss? – hmmm… let’s see… Rain. Wahaha! Crazy!
3. Is there anything pink within 10 feet of you? – pink paperclip right in front of me
4. When is the last time you went to the mall? – Saturday, went mall crazy in Singapore. Visited Lucky Plaza and Paragon at Orchard Road and Suntec City at Suntec
5. Are you wearing socks right now? - nope
6. When was the last time you went to the province? – two weeks ago in Laguna
7. Have you been to the movies in the last 5 days? – nope, I missed The Prestige. Dang!
8. What was the last thing you had to drink? – instant coffee
9. What are you wearing right now? – mustard green top, black belt, black skirt
10. What was your last purchase? – panic pasalubong shopping at Changi's Duty Free, one box of bbq pork jerky for mama
11. Last food you ate? – buko pie tart, half of it
12. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? – my office friend who is so far away
13. Have you bought any clothing items in the last week? – uhuh, bought a shirt for my dad at Bossini on Orchard (how typical!), restrained myself from buying tons of dresses and skirts, too expensive!
14. Do you have a pet? – wolf our half breed spitz, and a four of mongrels named winky, wiper, won and wang
15. What's the last sporting event you watched? – the Wimbledon men’s final match in the movie Wimbledon. Hehe. I don’t really do sports.
16. What is your favorite class? – European History and Theology of Liberation
17. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be? – I left my spirit in Singapore. I wish I was still there now.
18. What is the last thing you purchased online? – I can’t purchase anything online, I don’t have a CC.
19. How old are your parents? – mama’s 51, papa’s 56. What’s the point of this question?
20. What's your favorite soup? – my mom’s nilaga
21. Do you miss anyone? - uhuh
22. Last play you saw? – Rent which was eons ago
23. What are your plans for the night? – dinner with my old officemate
24. Who is the last person you messaged on myspace? – no one
25. Ever gone to camp? – no, did I miss out on a lot?
26. Were you an honor roll student in school? – no, I was the just good enough student
27. What do you know about the future? – that I should start thinking about it already
28. Are you wearing cologne? – yes, citrusy… I forgot the name. it’s in my bag and I'm too lazy to stand up
29. What should you be doing now? – eating lunch
30. What perfume or cologne do you use? – Tribu which ran out. I bought Green Tea by Elizabeth Arden in Sing for a bargain price of $29
31. Do you have a tan line? – a tan :D from walking around hot hot Singapore too much
32. How old do you want to be when you have kids? – 30 max
33. Do you collect anything? – i used to collect candles but kinda stopped
34. Do you have any tattoos or piercings? – nothing extraordinary
35. Have you ever drank your soda from a straw? – ha?!
36. How do you like your soda? – with plenty of ice
37. Do you like hot sauce? – yep!
38. Who do you like? – such a autograph book question, I love it! Hehe. So who do I like? Plenty plenty!
39. What is your mood? – sleepy and tired
40. Are you someone's best friend? – Of course!
41. What's the last TV show you watched? – A downloaded episode of Desperate Housewives

Orange Git at 1:34 PM


12 November 2006

Leaving vacation behind

11 November 2006

I've been wanderlusting in Singapore for the past few days. My legs hurt. My feet resemble those of the elephants I saw in the zoo from walking too much. I'm a few shades darker again, if that is at all possible. I will be broke when I get back home. But it was all worth it.

Going on vacation like this is addicting. I don't want to stop and go home. But I have to. In a few hours, I'll be flying back home. It makes me really sad to think that this time tomorrow, I'll be home. Sigh...

Will post the Singapore extravaganza when I get back home.

Orange Git at 2:03 AM


07 November 2006


Why am I weepy and wallowy (if there is such a word) these days? I am normally weepy when it comes to emotional scenes in movies. But it's so much worse now. Everything makes me cry! Examples...

Queer eye. The Fab 5 helped a Filipino couple set up the wedding reception that they never had since their wedding was rushed. All their family and friends were there. They started to dance, their parents and guests started to cry, I started to cry. No reason, I just found the moment poignant and sweet.

Last night, my friend was asking me another "what if" question patterned after this Korean series we were watching. What if I was asked to choose between to men, the other one is extremely moody but loves me to high heavens and the other one is rich, funny, intelligent, someone I really like, yet is not sure if he wants me to be his friend or something more than that? Who would I choose? My eyes became teary. I started sniffling then there were tears. My friend laughed at me. I laughed at myself. But I still couldn't control the tears.

I received a text message this morning from a friend.
At some point you have to make a decision. Bounderies don't keep other people out. They fence you in. Life is messy. That's how we're made. So, you can waste your life drawing lines... or you can live your life crossing them. Buth there are some lines... that are way too dangerous to cross. Here's what I know. If you're willing to take the chance... the view from the other side ... is spectacular.
- Meredith Grey, Grey's Anatomy

I never thought something from Grey's Anatomy would make me cry, and it was just sent thru text.

What's happening to me?! Distraction is coming tomorrow. *sigh*

Orange Git at 4:55 PM


03 November 2006

Friday Solo

Another Friday night spent alone. It's pretty pathetic that I'm here in the office on a Friday, blogging. But in a way, it's satisfying being alone. It's sometimes scary how I enjoy being alone.

Next week will be a whirlwind of events. It's a week of changes, trips, moves. I've been waiting for next week for months now. Next week makes me giddy yet scares me. Too much happening at the same time. The clarity that I've been hoping for will finally come. I wish it was Wednesday already.

Orange Git at 6:21 PM