Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dangling Earrings

Earrings are my favorite fashion accessories. Even if I just stay at home (which is like 90% of my time) I wear them. I feel incomplete when my ears are bare. For some time now, I've been obsessed with the dangling variety. Although it really depends on my attire and my destination. I don't want to come across as being too flimsy for sporting a chandelier type dangling earrings at church. Heh! I prefer them to be just the right length. Not too long but not too short either. When we visited my sister for the holidays, I was really happy that she allowed me to borrow some of her dangling earrings from her huge collection. She had them in all the colors of my outfits. Wow, I was really impressed!

I figure with Heart's day just around the corner, dangling earrings are good Valentine's Day Gift ideas for Romantics and non-Romantics, too. So I've been shopping online and I made a couple of purchases to add to my collection. I might as well gift myself given that the hubby is neither a romantic nor a gift giver. Nah, I'm not complaining, I still love him! =)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Reading materials

Although I still have several posts about my trip to Singapore in my drafts folder, let's take a breather and talk about books.

A few days ago, I bought Alice Sebold's "The Lovely Bones". The main reason I bought it is because the novel has been adapted into a film. Normally, I'd watch a film even though I never read the novel it is based upon. There are simply a lot of movies to watch and books to read that (lack of) time is my main concern. But I got totally confused from "The Time Traveler's Wife" movie that I went and bought the novel to get a better grasp on the whole sci-fi time traveling concept. Verdict: I'm still just as perplexed! Perhaps because I don't really dig sci-fi themed novels or movies for that matter. I'm too much of a realist to get lost in realms of fantasy, wizardry and strange phenomenons. That's why I haven't read any Twilight, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings novels. But I've seen the movies for their special effects features.

I used to read quite a lot in my younger years. And I got the defective eyesight as proof. But lately I tend to fall asleep after reading just a few pages. Then the next time I open the book I would read the previous chapter all over again to refresh my failing memory. My preference has fluctuated through the years. Nowadays, it gravitates towards novels about espionage, conspiracy theories and intriguing stories set in exotic places like Turkey, Afghanistan and Iran. I don't really have a favorite author but if you check my book shelf you would find Alan Furst, Allan Folsom and Ian Rankin (among others) reigning supreme. I also read most of Erich Segal and Michael Crichton's novels. Sadly, both authors have departed for the great beyond and would no longer enthrall us with their literary works.

I made a silent vow that I would read more this year. More as a means to enrich my vocabulary in this age of abbreviated text messages (which I totally dislike) but my only wish is that books would be more affordable so it doesn't eat up a big chunk of my (limited) budget.

Friday, January 22, 2010


I believe the best way to experience a country is to sample/taste/eat their local cuisine. Singapore does have alot of offer in the Makan (eating) business.

For cheap(er) food consumption, one must savor eating at a hawker center. Every community tends to have its own hawker center areas. They are usually found in the void decks (the lower portion of the condominiums, near the elevators) of public housing establishments popularly known as HDBs. Most of them have a few tables and seats. There are a wide variety of shops selling different food choices depending on your taste buds. Most dishes are complete meals. You can either order rice toppings, noodles (with or without soups), viands (ulam) and desserts. You have the choice of 'dining in' which means you consume it there in the open area sans aircon or 'packet' which means food to go (nicely wrapped in styrofoam boxes with condiments in plastic bag). We usually order Pepper Crab (Singapore is famous for its Chili Crab but it is too spicy for our taste buds!) from the hawker and have a feast munching on it in the comforts of our home.

Valuable Tip # 1: Most eateries like hawker centers and food courts in Singapore don't offer tissues/napkins. So make sure you bring your own tissue paper to wipe away the grease from your oily lips! :D

Naturally, there are an assortment of eateries found in the malls. I notice that their food courts are now called "Food Republic". They also offer a wide variety of cuisine, this time in a cooler air conditioned setting. They tend to cost more but still quite affordable.

Valuable Tip # 2: In hawkers and food courts, you order your drinks separately from a shop/stall which sells only beverages. But they do provide straws so no need to bring your own straw. :D

Our family has been known to patronize mainly three restaurants in Singapore. Places we keep frequenting because we can't get enough of their food:
(1) Seoul Garden is an eat all you can buffet resto where you cook your own food. On the table, there is a round hot plate where you grill different kinds of meat (shrimps, poultry, lamb, beef, pork) and in the middle there is a soup pot filled with stock to boil veggies etc. The thing is you pay first before you are led to your table then you can practically stay there the whole day and eat eat and eat till you burst. :D

(2) Crystal Jade Restaurant serves an extensive menu of authentic Hong Kong Style Tim Sum, BBQ items, congee, noodle & Cantonese dishes. They have branched out into fine, specialty and casual dining, family restaurant and a confectionary. We patronize the Crystal Jade Kitchen which is their casual dining fare.

(3) For local fare we hop over to Cuppage Terrace. This strip of restaurants in the Somerset portion of Orchard Road has vastly improved after it was fully renovated. A tantalizing array of 15 al fresco outlets, including restaurants, bars and spas, is now open. It offers more late-night options for office workers and tourists alike. The area is open from from 11am till late. We ate at the Cross Straits Restaurant for our Christmas dinner. We ordered Chicken Satay, Drunken Prawns, Char Kway Teow, Soft Celled Crabs and Oyster Omelette. Food was delicious!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


You mention Sentosa and the first thought that enters my mind is Bon Jovi. Yes, it was the very first concert I watched of a famous band and the venue was in Sentosa, Singapore. Back then (eons ago) this tiny recreation island was still undeveloped and a bit inaccessible. It was humid, muddy, dark and swarming with mosquitoes. I remember coming home from that concert, bathed in sweat and my clothes were full of mud! But I enjoyed it nonetheless because we (my sister and I) were quite near to the makeshift stage right beside the booming speakers whose loud treble palpitated my heart and burst my eardrums! :D

Since then, of course I've been back to Sentosa on numerous occasions. I'm constantly amazed at the new(er) attractions which keep cropping up to give its many visitors more entertaining/recreational options. Our trip to Sentosa this time around came via the Singapore Pass. For S$2.00/passenger, we took the Sentosa Rhino Feeder bus from Suntec City.

We visited the Underwater World and Dolphin Lagoon. It was interesting to see all sort of marine life in this big aquarium setting like this giant crab!

Giant Crab

Rates include single admission to Underwater World Singapore and Dolphin Lagoon.
Adult: S$22.90
Child 3-12 years old: S$14.60
Child below 3 years old: Free
9am to 9pm daily (Last admission at 8.30pm)

We rode the Tiger Sky Tower which is Singapore's tallest observation tower.

Tiger Sky Tower Ride, Sentosa

Tower height: 110m
View height: 131m from sea level
Tower column diameter: 2.5m
Foundation diameter: 15m
Cabin capacity: 72 persons

Admission: 12 $$/adult
8 S$/child
Open from 9am to 9pm daily

We also rode the Skyride! It was so much fun, even though your legs are dangling and it started to drizzle during our ride. You get to admire a fantastic view of the 3 beaches (Siloso, Palawan and Tanjong) on Sentosa, the ships docked at the harbor and a panoramic sight of the whole of Singapore. But we were NOT adventurous enough to try the Sentosa Luge which is part go-kart, part toboggan which has its own steering and braking system.

Yipee on the Skyride

There are several luge & skyride combo packages to choose from. Admission for skyride only: One way: S$ 7/person Two way: S$ 11/person

There are many more attractions to explore on Sentosa. Soon to open later this year is the sprawling Universal Studios and the Resorts World Casino (it had its soft opening on Jan. 20, 2010)

Universal Studios site to open soon on Sentosa Island, Singapore

You can either book a room at some of the hotels located on Sentosa itself or take the various transports (taxi, MRT, public bus, Sentosa Express) available from Singapore to get to the island.

For S$ 3.00/passenger, we took the Sentosa Express to get to Vivo City.

Sentosa Express the monorail that connects Vivo City to Sentosa Island

Monday, January 18, 2010

The sound of silence

For 5 days (since Wednesday), a silent lull permeated over our home. Main culprit was our broken TV. After a few disturbances over the past months, our Panasonic TV decided to finally conk out for whatever reason!

It is really interesting how an electronic gadget can have such a significant impact in our households. But life went on. I was amazed that I wasn't really pressing D to go out and buy a brand new TV. We thought it was wiser to wait for the weekend to canvass and then decide which TV set best suited our budget, our lifestyle and our viewing habits.

Never mind that I missed some of my fave tv shows or I wasn't able to watch news programs. Never mind that we ate our meals without any background noise. Never mind that we slept earlier than usual. Because for me, the mere fact that we had really interesting conversations on various topics is priceless!

But hey 5 days is long enough, alright?

I'm glad that our 21' Slim TV with Eco Mode for saving energy was delivered this afternoon. Just in time for me to watch the Golden Globe Awards show, tonight!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Quack ... quack ... all aboard!

Another fun activity I'd recommend in Singapore is the DUCKtours. It is a combination land and sea tour on a Vietnamese war craft. A tour guide gives commentaries on the landmarks the duck passes by. It was a uniquely fun ride!

Is it a bus?

Or a boat??

The Durian shaped Esplanade: theatres by the bay

The Padang (cricket field)

The Merlion

DUCKtours Information
Location: DUCKtours@Suntec City (Galleria)
Operating Hours: 10am to 6pm
Tour Duration: 1 hour Tour
Frequency: Hourly departures
DUCK Capacity: 31 DUCKies
Tour Fare: $33.00/Adult (>12 yrs)
$17.00/Child (3-12 yrs)
$2.00/Toddler (<3 yrs)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Web templates

From time to time, I like changing the look of my blog by sporting a brand new layout. Web templates do come in handy. Certain websites managed by generous persons offer them free of charge.

Even with a minimal html knowledge and limited technical web skills, you can easily customize the layout to suit your taste. It is like choosing what to wear daily. You can mix and match the contents of the templates based on your preferences. Website templates make designing your website easy!

But if you have extra cash to spare, you can contract a web designing company to make an entirely new layout from scratch for a fee. It all depends on your preferences, your budget and your target readership. Me, I just usually rely on readily available web templates to spice up my blog's layout, occasionally.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Up up and away

Singapore has alot of attractions to cater to every whim and fancy. For first time visitors, I suggest you pass by one of the Singapore Visitors Bureau offices located in key areas of the city. I believe there is one at Changi Airport and another one on Orchard Road.

For the uninitiated, no visit to Singapore would be complete until you set foot on Orchard Road. It is THE shopping street as it contains numerous malls in one long stretch right in the heart of the city. Malls which cater to every spectrum of society. It is the place to be when the city holds its Grand Singapore Sale, usually the months of June and July. Let me tell you they truly slash their prices during this annual event. Thank God I'm not much of a shopaholic! I was more excited about the facade of the malls all decked up for the holidays than the flashing SALE signs. But take note, I did shop just a tad bit. I kept commuting how much it was in pesos so that kept me from splurging since 1 Singapore Dollar equals (roughly) 33 Pesos! :D

So we availed of the Singapore Tours and Attractions Pass from the Duck & Hippo Group. We got the 2 days pass at the hefty price of Singapore Dollars S$63. You pay for two popular tours and get to enjoy 11 other tours for free. Mostly entrance fees to museums. You can also ride the HOP on HOP off tours bus anytime and see the sights on its route at your own pace. The open roof tour buses arrive at bus stops at an interval of about 25 minutes and they provide you with a well detailed leaflet which lists down all the bus stops and their estimated arrival time at the stops. Very well organized, I'd say. Since it was already about 4pm, we decided to hop on the CityHippo Tours bus and alight at Singapore's newest waterfront attraction.

Hop on Hop off Hippo Tours Bus

The Singapore Flyer is the world's tallest observation wheel that stands at 165 meters from the ground. The 'flight' rotates for 30 minutes and each air conditioned capsule can fit 28 persons. You get a panoramic view of the business district skycrapers, the housing complexes, the Marina front development, Changi airport, Sentosa. You can also glimpse parts of Indonesia and Malaysia. Be sure to grab an audio device to listen to a very interesting spiel that narrates the history of Singapore. It also points out the stories behind the landmarks you can view from the capsule.

It was an amazing experience! Try it =)

Friday, January 08, 2010

Glitzy Christmas by the Bay

That is the sign that greets visitors to Singapore when they make their way to the Raffles City near the Raffles Hotel. D & I got there 6 days before the 25th of December and we were thrilled to see Singapore all decked up for the Yuletide season.

Since I love the sight of Christmas trees, my digicam would automatically click at them. Major malls in the city had giant ones all fully decorated in different colors, lights and ornaments.

Click on the links to enter the websites of the malls:
(1) UOB Plaza (2) Ferrero Rocher tree, Ngee Ann City (3) Suntec City (4) Vivo City (5) Ion Orchard (6) The Paragon Mall (7) Centerpoint Mall (8) Orchard Central Mall (9) The Lucky Plaza (10) Lido Cineplex, Shaw Tower (11) Intercontinental Singapore Hotel (12) Bugis Junction Mall (13) Takashimaya, Ngee Ann City (14) Central Mall, Clarke Quay (15) Vivo City (16) Ion Orchard Mall (17) Suntec City (18) Tanglin Shopping Center (19) The Manger at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd (20) The Manger at the Blessed Sacrament Church, Commonwealth Drive

We had the traditional noche buena feast at my sister's flat on Christmas Eve. We celebrated with turkey roast, keso de bola (which we carried in our luggage), chicken salad and a delicious log cake. On Christmas day itself, we heard Mass at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. Then we dined at a Chinese Restaurant at Cuppage. A food haven which has changed quite a lot through the years. But the local cuisine fare still tasted good. I will blog about food in a separate entry, soon. We capped Christmas day with good food, great company filled with love, joy and laughter so we were all smiles! =)

D & D

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

We're back

After 16 days of great fun, we got back Sunday afternoon. We left with a single Samsonite luggage weighing 22.2 kgs and came back with 2 luggages with a total of 31.5 kgs! Good thing we didn't pay anything for excess baggage. I guess the guy at the counter thought it was just a measly 1.5 kgs overweight and let it pass. Hehehe

Our visit (for me anyhow) felt like a long overdue reunion. It was my 2nd time to return to Singapore after we lived there almost 15 years ago. Yes it has been that long. Goodness! Naturally a lot has changed for the best. The MRT line has expanded, the bus stations now have a listing of the bus routes, there are newer malls, more tourist attractions to visit, the landscape has changed and dare I say the Singaporeans are more friendlier nowadays!

My sister was such a gracious host and even had welcome gifts to make our stay as comfy as possible. Her flat was pristine clean and spacious enough to accommodate 5 people. It is located in a quiet, neat neighborhood. There are hawker centers (cheap eateries), shops, supermarkets and everything you needed within walking distance. It was centrally situated and easily accessible to any part of the city. You could simply hop on a bus, take the MRT or easily flag down a cab to reach your chosen destination.

A lil gazebo at Block 6, Holland Close

The best part is the greenery! There were sheltered pathways, covered gazebos, elevated canopies connecting the block of buildings along with beautifully landscaped scrubs, tall trees and manicured grass lawns. It was such a gorgeous sight to behold nature within the urban jungle. Even at night, it was well lighted up.

Singapore is truly a great place to visit and live in. You feel safe, there is an efficient transportation system, it is pollution free, no (heavy) traffic, a shopping paradise catering to all sectors of society, many tourist attractions to visit ... the list goes on ... but I like to say that there is truly really no place like jolly old Pinas. It feels good to be home! =)

Holland Close

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy 2010

We usher in the brand new year here in Singapore where I've walked, walked and walked all over (I got really aching feet to prove it!) to visit museums, famous attractions, familiar haunts and malls all decked up with festive decors. We have feasted on various type of food and tried desperately to shop within our limited buget yet we have truly enjoyed ourselves to the max!

So D & I greet one and all a very blessed and prosperous 2010. =)

Fullerton Hotel