Saturday, December 18, 2010

I don't know what's the title.

The feeling of wanting to break free is again lingering... As much as I'd like to, but I couldn't....

The fact is, I know myself as a person who does not sit on things. I need to make sure and be assured of the concreteness of things.

I don't like to say nothing especially if the whole thing is totally unfair.

What exactly happened last week was a circus to me. Yeah and it's about work. I don't want to incriminate myself or point fingers, so I can not further divulge.

How I wished that people learn from other people. I believe I have said and done what I need to and I know it's not enough but I will continue to do it....

Note to self: timing, acceptance, sense of fairness and equality, perseverance and yeah fun :D

Lastly, I hate communism!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Adventure at Caramoan, Camarines Sur

My flight to Manila was at the 6th of November. It's a planned vacation gone amiss from the major plan because of some unforeseen eventualities. Nevertheless, it's fun, worth remembering with delightful introspection and curiously one which folds your stomach for more excitement.

I arrived in NAIA terminal 3 around midnight. Mj was at terminal 1 so when I texted her, she said she was waiting for me for like hours and that I told her I was in terminal 3. She took a cab and went to the right airport terminal. We then headed for a ride going to Fairview, Quezon City where she's stayed with her office mates. It was a tiring flight and a two hour ride to Fairview so once we arrived at their apartment, we resigned ourselves to bed. Sunday came and we planned to take a bus going to Naga at Cubao. We wanted it a night trip. Since we did not have a decent meal when we left home, we dined at Max restaurant after I withdrawn some cash to be used in Camarines. We had chopsuey and sinigang, paired that with plain white rice and a quenching fresh buko juice. After that hearty meal, we proceeded to the bus station to reserve our tickets. Too bad, the lazy boy chair buses ran-out so we settled for the less comfortable two-sitter bus type. Soon enough we got our skin under the scorching heat of the terminal and the noisy trek from the mall to the bus station, we decided to go back to the mall to chill and wait for our 9pm land trip. What else should we do? Well, we bought some snacks, shop a bit, and then watched a movie. Strolling the crowded mall was fun and the movie completed the day's experience. After having a simple dinner, we went out of the mall an head to the bus station which was a 20-minute walk away. Since the seats were pre-assigned, there was no need to worry of where to settle comfortably. The bus fired up it's engine at around 9:30 - there were some delays as the bus attendant had to wait a bit for some customers. Anyway, the journey was really long and at around 1 or 2 AM we stopped at Sariayaya Quezon for bio break. We then headed straight to Naga and arrived there at 5AM. Just to note, I fell from the bus having my left knee as the victim giving me a painful and a bit deep bruise. It was terribly bleeding and there was no clinic nearby. I had some facial wet wipes and used that to clean the wound. We were looked for some store selling band aid and found one at the other end of the Naga City bus terminal. I had to cover the wound so the bleeding has to be controlled. Anyway, we did not wait for too long and found the bus chartered to Lagonoy, though based on Mj's inquiries we had to stop at San Jose. It was another 2 hour ride. We arrived at San Jose at around 7 and we had to look for a clinic to dress the wound. Good thing there was one located approximately 200 meters from the waiting area. The nurse attended me and Mj was chatting up with the folks. They were so surprised that we were from Cebu. Anyway, the guy nurse told us that Survivor Serbia has just wrapped up the reality show and so he suggested that the islands are for public viewing and that we should visit them. Smiles glistened in our eyes for the adventure that awaits us. After saying thanks etc to the kind people at the clinic, we bid good bye. We were heading to Sabang port and it's a 30 minute ride on motorcycle. The morning breeze was nice and chilling and the air was fresh. One could smell the misty field and the forest walled by verdant mountains from the horizon. Oh we loved the sunrise! After that short trip, we braced ourselves again for a two-hour ride on this huge motorized outrigger. It's a locally designed water craft. While in the boat, we took some naps. The journey was calm as there was no rain or typhoon of some sort. So there were no worries, and everything was fine in a bright morning. We arrived at Guijalon port around 9AM. There lots of people in the area trying to do business with some passengers but since we can managed to carry our stuff, we just head straight to a parked tricycle and headed to the Caramoan central proper. We were hungry so the mission was to go to an eatery and found one courtesy of Mj. After our decent breakfast, we walked to the church and prayed and said some prayers. Oh, there was a nice church at San Jose and visited that one too. The churches were some of Spanish legacy so you could see the structures older than my generation. Anyway, we scoured the internet looking for a place to stay and decided to go to the Aplaya to look for one. We hired another tricycle going to the beach front were inns were scattered in Aplaya. The driver suggested one homestay inn but turned it down as it was not fronting the beach front so we decided to look for another one and found Rex inn, just a few meters fronting the shore. We were so tired from the land trip beginning in Manila and finally to Caramoan so after we ordered something for dinner, we just slept at our very cheap attic room with only one tiny window as our view to the outsides of the inn. Quite a long trip that was. You can try though a plane ride through Cebu Pacific or PhilAir if you want to and would reach Naga in just an hour. Anyway, we had our plans fixed for the next day which was Tuesday, and that was an island hopping at the east side Caramoan islands. At around 7:30 PM, we went to this small resto bar and ate fish sinigang. It's a fresh catch and surely the food was sumptuous to fill our tummy. After dinner, we headed back to our inn and readied to bed.

Tuesday morning, 7AM was our scheduled island hopping. We were greeted by two men who would serve as our guide. The east islands of Caramoan was near so we did not have to bring lunch in there. Anyway, we rode the motor banca and passed by some rock islands, majestic in form and really captivating in sight. I would say the area is blessed with these wonders. Our first stop was Tinago island. The term "Tinago" when translated means hidden. True enough it is hidden as you would pass by some rock islands and its nestled in between two islands behind another island. We had a short swim in the area and some photo taking. There were less fish and most of them were fingerlings. After that, we headed to Lahos Island. It was a short 15 minutes ride going to Lahos. The word "Lahos" would mean something like "pass through". To give you a picture, in an island dale. The small valleys are made of rocks and in between was the sand. You can see both ends of the island, an open sea to see and not just that, but to swim and have fun. The island was beautiful and would want to stay there for the whole morning but at around 9AM and spending more than an hour in Tinago, we headed to another island just opposite to it. It's another short ride. Then we stopped at Matukad island. Sorry, I don't know how to translate it in English. But, I tell you, the island is really perfect. I mean the beautiful powdery ivory sand is just amazing. Plus the view of the other islands surrounding Matukad is also fascinating. There we uttered, "we love Caramoan". Such a wonderful group of islands nestled between Camarines Sur and Catanduanes and beyond that is the Pacific Ocean. Since we were up for adventure, we went to the two caretakers of the island and Mj asked about the lagoon in the island. We did not fail as the caretakers were friendly enough and the one younger guy accompanied us to climb the cliff. We did not mind our injuries. I wouldn't deny that the trek was dangerous as there were no harness or any protective gear we wore. One big mistake and a bad accident like breaking the branch of plant or stone your grabbing would certainly spell death. Just imagine the stones on the sides of the cliff as sharp knives. Even how scary it can be, we just put our trust to the guide. Fortunately, we reached the top of the cliff then descended going to the lagoon. It was an amazing experience climbing and trekking the lagoon. After some few moments of appreciating God's creation, we decided to trek back for safety. When we got down from the lagoon, the pre-ordered lunch came. It was two grilled fish and pork adobo. We were hungry as beast and finished most of the food brought by our guides. Anyway, after lunch we continued to bask under the sun and swim the island's beautiful beach. We came out so tan, perfectly sun-kissed skin. At around 2PM, the guide decided to go for another island opposite of Gota Village. The island was also nice but the beachfront has lots of sea grass and there might be some urchins on it, so I did not swim. Since the island as a beautiful scenery so we just enjoyed the sight and grabbed our lenses to snap some shots. It was around 3PM when we call it a day. We head back to our inn by the beach. We again pre-ordered for dinner. After that, we had our shower and went to have a nap. When the clock struck 7, we went for dinner. The food was really nice. We had grilled fish, boiled eggplant topped with tomatoes and laing. After the meal, we had some fun chit chat. Then we headed to our inn. Before going to bed, we browse through all the photos we took. Mj went to bed first while I stayed night playing on my iphone. Around 10pm, I went to bed.

Wednesday, Peter will be arriving from Manila. He is a high school mate now working at ADB as a CPA. Anyway, he arrived around 10AM and we were planning for another island hopping and this time to the west side of Caramoan. When Peter arrived, we just needed 20 minutes to set everything and off we go to another adventure. The first island was far and it took us around an hour to have reached our destination, Bitang-laya if I am not mistaken. But that long trip paid off as we were greeted with nice sand bar with shallow water to swim and from the horizon is another verdant mountain. On the opposite side would be some rock islands. It was beyond description I supposed as we were left in awe. After basking and enjoying the place we then headed to another island. When we arrived, there some tourists enjoying the place as well. Since it was noon, we decided to take our packed lunch. Another adobo meal with rice but this time its chicken and pork - very sinful to those who are on a diet. We enjoyed the lunch and enjoyed our talks regarding what has happened in our lives after schooling. I was not really close to Peter but he was nice person and easy to deal with. He is also an intelligent and studious one. After lunch, we went to the other side of the island and we were greeted with some isolation. There was no other human being except us and the guides. We took photos of the breathtaking shoreline. It's a long stretch of beautiful white sandy beach. At the near end of the shoreline, we decided to camp and enjoy the beach. We continued our talks basically surrounded about work and life in general.... It's fund listening to people's experiences. Oftentimes it's inspiring especially how one has gained so much in life as years unfold. I personally enjoyed talks I had with Mj and Peter. And sometimes, I would leave the conversation and see underneath some fishes. I guess the area is sort of a breeding ground because there were holes on the sand and there were small and medium sized fishes swimming around not minding our raucous. After an hour spent in the island, we then decided to go east of Caramoan to again visit, Lahos and Matukad. It was another long journey. The seas went a bit rough so when we reached near Lahos, the guide told us that it's difficult to dock so we decided to go to Matukad. The seas were still crumbling and according to the guide there was news that Mayon is having some activity - not alarming though but it brings some seismic activity thereby causing the sea to produce unfavorable waves. Anyway, even if it was such, we reached Matukad safely. When we dock, it was difficult for us to jump out of the boat and there were huge waves. We then successfully got out of the boat and walked near the other side of the shoreline. It sea was a bit rough and it was a high tide. Imagine we were soaked near the shoreline and it was chest deep and were like chatting still. We sometimes would jump on and ride the wave and were like swept to the shoreline and then we just moved forward to the same thing. Please don't think that we were crazy. It's just that I haven't been gone to the beautiful beaches in my country for almost a year already. Well Singapore does not have a world class beach with pristine beauty so you can't blame me. Since the waves were getting bigger and the sky started to be gloomy, we decided to just call it a day. We headed back to the Aplaya where our inn was. That was great fun and adventure and I would say, the Caramoan group of islands is really beautiful. Though they need to improve some roads but I guess it was part of the thrill so not much of a factor. We then paid our dues for the island hopping and then wash up ourselves. Then we ordered for dinner this time good for three persons.

I took some nap while Mj and Peter still had some not so serious conversations I supposed. At around 7:30, we headed for dinner at the resto bar by the beach. It was another sinful meal. After that, we headed back to our inn to prepare for bed. Peter was accommodated downstairs in an air-conditioned room while Mj and I were still staying in the attic room. It was a tiring day and yes we went to our dreams with huge smile in our faces.

Anyway, the next day, 11th of November will be our last stay in the place. We will be heading for a night stay in Naga City and then another night stay in Legazpi City.

In Naga City, our first stop was at SM to eat for lunch. Then we came looking for a place to stay but found none so we decided to go to CWC - it is a world class facility for wake boarding and other water sports. We stayed there until 4PM watching some locals and foreigners doing the sport. It was an exciting thing to try but I had a knee injury and Mj had an ankle injury so we just decided to be spectators. Since it will be getting dark, we decided to look for a place to stay. Half way going out of the facility, the rain poured and it's heavy. So the driver had to stop at the city government hall. Good thing the driver took some initiative and helped us out to look for cheaper room to stay and his friends suggested that we could try the eco-village just with the area. We were surprised that there was a cheaper cabin room with double deck available at 350pesos for a night. So we took the chance and got the cabin room. Compared to the cabanna in CWC proper, it was way cheaper. Many thanks to the driver and his friends who helped us seek refuge at the eco-village. We were a bit soaked from the rain but since were a bit tired, we just jumped to bed and slept. I woke up around 8:30 and was cold and hungry. I checked Mj but she was not eating. So I decided to wear another shirt and went out to the front desk. Good thing, they have two places to dine, one is the mansion and another one is the CWC and they had a service van free of charge in going there so I booked myself to CWC. I arrived there and ordered Hainese chicken rice and a beer. After that dinner I was satisfied and full. The wake boarders were not playing but having some dinner as well. It was getting late so after I finished the beer, I decided to take a walk going back to the eco-village. It was pitch dark and I got lost on the way. I had a wrong turn so when I noticed that I was walking a bit far and seeing nothing, I decided to move back. Good thing there was a motor bike with two people commuting so I asked them where is the eco-village and told me to turn left on the first intersection I encountered. They left and I headed back. It was a bit scary and my crazy imagination of some night creatures did not help. The flash light in my iphone did not help much. I could hear the gushing river and feel the creepy stillness of the night. At last after walking for around 10 minutes, I saw the checkpoint/guardhouse of the eco-village. I was relieved from my self induced fear of the unknown. It was a good exercise though. Before I left I switched off the air condition so when I arrived it was not that cold. I then decided to go to bed.

The next morning, we went to CWC complex again for breakfast and planned to go to Legazpi at around 9AM. After breakfast, and watching some wake boarders sporting their craft, we decided to move out and head for our last destination. We took a bus going to Legazpi. It was a three hour trip and we stopped at Iriga. Since there were few of us passengers left, the driver decided to let us rode another bus going to Legazpi. After an hour of bus ride, we arrived at Guinobatan and since, there were few of us passengers, the driver decided to let us rode a jeepney. It was roller coaster ride indeed and we hoped that we were not going to transfer to another vehicle. there was a girl beside me going to Legazpi and asked her if Legazpi was far and she affirmative. I did not know like how far so when we passed by an intersection, there was a sign board telling me that Legazpi was 37 kilometers away. At somepoint the jeepney had a problem so we stopped and the driver was like fixing the engine of his vehicle. The situation did not help as there was this tattooed guy wearing a black sleeveless and he was skinny. He kept on checking on us. We were heading to Legazpi but we wanted to checkout first the Cagsawa ruins in Albay. Since the jeepney was still being fixed the skinny guy went out of the vehicle. He then talked to me in their local dialect and I was a bit scared of him and all I could reply was nod. Anyway, the vehicle was fixed after 20 minutes of waiting and off we went. When there was a signage telling me that Legazpi was 19 kilometers away, I spoke to Mj that instead of going to Cagsawa, we can head to Legazpi city proper to eat. I did not tell Mj about my scary feeling about the guy so I just asked here that if we could just go to Legazpi first and eat. Thank the heavens Mj agreed. So by the time we arrived at Cagsawa, we told that attendant that we were going to Legazpi instead and we had to add 12 pesos each for he extended trip. After that long land trip and three transfers, we arrived at Legazpi and we checked the LLC mall for a late lunch. Since our stuff were a bit heavy, we decided to check it in the package counter. Then we went to their food court. I had bihon guisado with siopao and lomi soup with empanada while Mj had a sizzler. After lunch, we went out of the mall intentionally leaving our belongings. We took a jeepney bound for Cagsawa. After an hour ride, the driver blurted if were going to Cagsawa and we said yes, then he replied that we missed. A bit pissed off, we alighted from the vehicle and crossed the opposite side of the road and rode another jeep going to Cagsawa. This time we spotted the sign and went out of the vehicle excitedly. Then we asked a local if how far the ruins are and he just told us that it's a walking distance which really was a walking distance. We were greeted by the beautiful, perfect cone Mt. Mayon without it's apex as the cloud surrounded the volcano as it's halo. We just continued walking and found some souvenir shops and after that, the Cagsawa ruins. We took some pictures and explored the place a bit. The were lots of tourists in the place and most of them were students on educational tours. They were from Naga city as one of the three buses had a signage in front of it. After this particular excursion, we headed back to Legazpi. We picked our bags at LLC and then went to another mall to watch a movie but their now-showing movies did not interest us. We walked around the mall and since we were hungry, we decided to dine at Mang Inasal. After the meal, we decided to try to stay at the airport just for the experience of sleeping in the airport. We took a jeepney going to the airport. We alighted after the lady told us there we just arrived and since we do not know the place, we called up a tricycle and asked him to take us to the airport. It was a short distance but he asked 20 pesos for the fare. Anyway, the security told us that the airport was closed and since our trip is for tomorrow, we need to get to a hotel and if we like, there was one airport hotel. Then we tried our luck on the airport hotel and the rate was a bit high. So we decided to take a walk and look for a hotel or lodge or whatever decent inn. We found Pepper's hotel and checked their rates and it's way expensive. Trust me its like more expensive than any nice place in Cebu but the facade of the hotel looked very ordinary. Anyway we found Edgar's lodge and when we inquired they have a 900 pesos air conditioned room. Since we were on a tight budget already, we inquired and got a 500 pesos fan room. It was decent enough for a night sleep so we took it. It was a bit tiring from all those excursion going to Legazpi and so we decided to call it a night.

Check out time was 12 noon. We woke up around 9AM and then we prepared for the trip going back to Manila. We had our brunch at a small local store which served Filipino food. It was a satisfying meal as I ordered another cup of rice. We headed back to our lodge. Since it was still 11AM we decided to take a nap. I was actually playing some games on my iphone while Mj took a real nap. When it was 11:45, we decided to check out and then we headed to the airport. There, we saw Mt. Mayon in its fullness. It was lovely and graceful towering from the horizon. But we were checking in the airport so we just took some photos from afar. When we check in the security personnel wanted me to leave my adidas body spray. She told me that it was flammable so I cannot bring it inside the airport. I told her that I am checking in my bags. Then she explained the flammable sign on the bottle. I told her or rather asked why was I able to check this in when I was in Singapore and not here in Legazpi. Then she asked another officer and the guy told me to it was okay to check in my stuff. After that, things went smoothly. The process of checking in was fast except for that very minor incident. Anyway, our flight would be at around 3 so we had to wait. While waiting Mj was reading Eat, Pray, Love by E. Gilbert while the kid in me played Pigs Vs. Wolves in my iphone. When the clock struck 3, it was boarding time. When the plane shoot off to the sky, we bid good-bye to Legazpi as well as the paradise that is Caramoan.

That was a very long trip. We were actually planning to go North of the Philippines which is the Ilocos region but there was a typhoon and there was an oil spill in Pagudpud. So yeah, we decided to go to Camsur and we were not disappointed with the changes we made in our plans.

Hoping for another great adventure in my beloved country with my friends. Ya voy;)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Travel warning because of terrorism...?

Omg! Allied countries of the Philippines starting with the United States issued travel warnings against the Philippines regarding the imminent danger of its citizens from terrorist attacks. Then, U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and lately, France issued the same warning. What has happened prior to this travel advisory, was that the terrorist plots were mainly discovered to be done to US and UK. Let me emphasize, the plot to terrorize was going to be done on to these two countries. And so why in the world the Philippines be dragged to this whole faux pax. I call it a faux pax because there was no diplomatic intelligence sharing in the first place and the internal intelligence gathering of the Philippines happened to not have this terror threat in major cities.... I wish I knew all the details.

Threat is everywhere not just in the Philippines, but anywhere else.... There are more western tourists in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam or even Singapore and why on earth are these "allied countries" did not have to do such in these countries. Do you still remember the 9/11? What about the Bali and the Jakarta bombing? What about that train bombing in Spain? Well sometimes, bullying doesn't happen only in schools but, even in between countries. Maybe it's easier to pigeonhole the Philippines for this matter. There maybe truth to this perceived threats to the Philippines or should I say threat to the western citizens, but the fact is, the number of western people are more concentrated in the countries that issued the travel warning. How ironic, isn't it?

On a note, good thing the Philippines has heightened its security a month ago which I would say was commendable and also after that disastrous hostage taking in Manila, the government decided to form tourists' police.

Hoping that, more tourists will visit the Philippines and appreciate the beauty of the country especially the 9 million Filipinos sporadically located around the globe.

To the "allied" countries, please be more diplomatic and not just issue travel warnings without prior information to the concerned country. We all know that your intelligence is much more "sophisticated" so why not share these intelligence ....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Jeff's Schweeby Schweeb

Everyone loves to go green and organic. Mushrooming of crusades against green house and solid waste pollutants. Lots and lots of organizations have joined the bandwagon but nothing beats "Schweeb". Shweeb comes from the German word "schweben" which means to float or to suspend. It's a human propelled monorail system. Interesting enough, it has caught the eyes of Google and right now they have actually won a funding from this giant.

Waaaahhhh! I would love to visit New Zealand as Schweeb is being pioneered in that green country. Maybe in the near future, I'll get my ass on to that simple yet fascinating technology.

Do you want to feel the ride? Watch "Schweeb" in motion:

Thanks to Jeff Barnett to this amazing technology. Indeed, Schweeb is the most efficient transport system in the face of the planet.

Monday, October 18, 2010

What took this so long ?

I dared not to write anything for the past days grrrrrrrrrr .... I tried to but can't get it off my mind. I have been blogging since 2007 and actually been writing since grade school. I guess an old habit will always find its master.

Well a lot of things has happened - really a lot. Sorry for the great hiatus, though it's not enough to say those words, still I'd like to utter those words....

After July's passing, I went to Vietnam with my officemates. We strolled the streets of Ho Chi Minh and ate some local food. I love their Pho (noodles) with all the spices and vegetables and of course meat. Toured the countryside and checkout some historical sites and places of interests. Therefore I conclude wahahahaha I am really scared of snakes because when we had a Mekong delta tour, we landed on an island and there was a boy who brought a python and to test myself, I dared to hold it but I can't deny every muscle in my body was shaking and I was trying to hold my breath when my friend took a photo. I did it so the shaking were not visible blllleee.... Wahahahha ... I am also a bit claustrophobic because when we explored the tunnels of Cu Chi, I panicked. So I was not able to cross under the tunnel to the other end.... I'm not sure if its the small space I was in or I guess the darkness which enveloped the whole place, or maybe - both?

Recently, also went home which is in Cebu, Philippines. Feeling homesick and missing home cooked meals was one of the reasons I booked a plane ticket via SilkAir. Seeing my dad and my brother was great ;) Most of my days were spent at home but during the night I went out and met some friends for dinner. Also, I watched local TV shows excessively and play with our house pets. On a particular Wednesday, I attended my officemate's wedding. I was their candle in the ceremony. It's a Catholic wedding so there were some symbolism to it. The church wedding was really beautiful and I could see that the couple, together with their families and friends were really happy. All in all, I spent 9 days in Cebu.

Also, our pet dog died of some viral infection.... It was so sad for the whole family. We treated our pets like members in the family. It was a Sunday and I was watching a dog movie early in the morning entitled, "Hachiko" and my brother just buzzed me via facebook telling me that our dog passed away. I couldn't do anything but wept.

Another engineer was recruited in the office and there's another one who came, an Indonesian lad but he resigned just after a month of work. I guess there's something wrong, somewhere, on how the things were managed because people were leaving.... Hope someone can notice and take action on this. But sometimes, to some, it's easier to turn a blind eye to certain things rather than deal with it. Good luck to my mates who had left Gemalto tools - team. Personally, I understand their decision and sentiments and I wish them success. And to the newcomers, I welcome them too.

Also, I quit from Fitness First, subscribed and bought an Iphone4 with Singtel and lastly, finished reading a Sidney Sheldon book entitled, "Are you afraid of the dark?".

I think those were the major things which took place in the past months which made those days memorable and worth retelling.

I guess I'll be signing off and I can't promise when I'll blog some of the happenings. I wish I had all the luxury to do so.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I had hip-hop dance

Gemalto had this free dance workshop and I joined the hip-hop dance. I was excited about it infact, I chose to stay in front near the instructor. I think I like the moves she taught us, thus, not minding about the MJ music. Some of the moves were difficult and she gave us like discounts - she's joining the Great Singapore Sale.

The lesson took us two hours and I was a bit drained. The room felt so humid and I was gasping for air. Good thing there were few minutes of breaks as she noticed that people were gasping for air.

Anyway, after the lessons, my friends and I went to ION to get my jeans at Uniqlo. I had it altered because its too long. And since we got lost in getting to Uniqlo, and it was a deal, I had to treat my friends for a drink.

We had dinner at Food Republic and yeah I bought them drinks.

I want to try another lesson and hopefully it's for free. Thanks to Gemalto for sponsoring the activity especially to the organizers. It diminished the stress brought about by office work and also it makes our Fridays non-monotonous.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Weekend @ Jakarta

It was a last minute decision of mine to go to Jakarta in Indonesia to attend a wedding of a friend. Last minute because I decided during my lunch break at Passionz - a resto which sells wines but has this sideline of serving lunches, and the wedding was going to happen on weekend. Kay got me a ticket round-trip to Jakarta for around 150SGD via TigerAirways.

I did not have a decent pair of shoes so after the office hours, I went to Anchor Point to buy two pairs at Pedro and also purchased 4 polo shirts are G2000. They were actually factory outlet shops so there you can get some huge discounts up to 70% if I am not mistaken. Shopping in Singapore is crazy if you know where to buy....

When I reached home, I had to stay a bit late to iron my stuff to bring and pack them up. I slept around 2A.M and my flight schedule was at 11AM, 5th of June. I had to set an alarm at 8AM. I actually woke up very early, before my alarm did its job because of the lawn mowers - simply put they were waking up the whole village. Anyway, I went to the sala, and watched some Filipino news and as usual, it was about the Philippine elections dominating the scene. My housemate told me that my alarm was already calling so I jumped off the couch and got my towel. I was in a bit of a hurry because I don't want to be left behind from my flight. I went out from our flat at around 8:45 and was walking to the MRT. Taxis will prove expensive and I thought I still had time to commute through Singapore's very effective public transport. Kay was actually checking on me already and informed her where I was. When I arrived at the airport, it was already 10 and I had to wait for the bus. Kay was calling me through my mobile but I was not able to answer it so I called her up. She was asking where I was and told her that I was on a free shuttle going to the budget terminal. When I arrived at the airport, the TigerAirways' counter was closed so it was like she closed it when I arrived. When she tried to get my ticket and opened the booking system, she said it was already closed so I was advised to transfer to another counter. I went there and I explained to the lady that I was told to transfer in this counter. I was talking a bit shaky because I might just miss my flight. The girl who seemed to be irritated took my printed e-ticket and told me that next time I should come early. Well, it was my fault actually so I did not say anything. I was just so thankful she let me in. When I was done, we then went inside the checking for immigration and boarding. My friends actually checked some stuff at Duty Free and Miri who will be playing host was eating breakfast. After everyone got ready, we went to our boarding area and there was a long queue. The flight was a short 1 hour and 30 minutes - no need to worry or anything. We boarded and since I was late, I was on the front area and my friends were at the back near the tail end. I don't exactly know the terms of the plane's passenger seating sections so forgive me about that :)) .... Anyway, the crew distributed some peanuts as a snack. Then some immigration card. The crew asked me if I was Singaporean and told him not. So he gave me a card which was in Bahasa Indonesia. When he came back as he was finished distributing the cards up to the passengers located at the tail-end of the plane, I called him up and asked him something that's English. He asked me where I come from and I showed him my passport. He then said sorry and gave me the English translation of the immigration card. Since I did not have the pen in me, I went at the back to borrow a pen from Ronny. I went to my seat and forgot to wear my seatbelt. I then filled up the info which was asked of me from the form and then the co-pilot announced of the turbulence ahead. So I fastened my seatbelt quickly and there the plane just had a slight free fall. Imagine that you are on a ferris wheel and on descend. It did not happen ones, but twice and the kids behind me screamed and most of the passengers just said "wooooooooohhh" word. Well as for me, my skin shivered including my gut, and my heart was pounding. I felt my stomach separated from my body and my thoughts were shooting off as well, calling for Jesus and saying shit. I was also thinking of my way back to Singapore if it's going to be the same. I just imagined that the angels of God were flying with us thought he plane's wings. Anyway, after some turbulence, everything normalized but I was still shaking a bit from the inside. Was very thankful when we landed safe and sound. Indonesian airport looked so big and simple and has a unique Indonesian design. It was an airport with a taste.

When we had our passports checked, the immigration guy was curious about my doing business in their country so he asked me questions. I just explained to him what we will be doing and good thing he believed me. When we got out of the airport, we had to change some SGD to the local curry which is the Indonesian Rupiah. Miri's dad was actually waiting for us. After some few minutes his dad was there and we greeted each other and then shook hands. Miri's family car was big enough to suit our luggages and bags and ofcourse including us. We were a bit hungry and tired so, we went to thing Indonesian resto to fill our stomach. I had fun with the food which was totally different with what we ate back to my home country. I have tried authentic Indonesian food in Bali and the one in Jakarta was different as well.

After the lunch we had, we decided to go to the mall and shop. I think Jakarta is a nice city, not that crowded as Manila and much cleaner than Bangkok. Also, we Filipinos looked a bit Indonesian so we blended in a bit. I got two game cds and one nice jacket with a fur. Bud did not have much to buy as well as Kay. Patty bought an Indonesian dress which she planned to wear on Sunday's affair. After roaming around the mall, we met Yudi, Ron's friend from the university as well as Miri's at BIT. After the mini shopping, we went to starbucks to have some coffee, but I had a green latte. All our drinks was on upsize because, Yudi paid it with his credit card - no, the drinks were not free hundred percent coz we paid Yudi :D. By the way, Miri was not with us during the shopping thing coz they had to somewhere else with her parents. After having some break, we went to Miri's house. It was an hour long drive. When we reached home, it was a nice place to stay and the people were very accommodating especially Miri's parents. They invited us for a mini break actually. I had to change clothes because later we will be going out for dinner. After some few minutes of putting our stuff, we prepared for dinner. We went to the city proper and had dinner by the seaside. It was a huge place to dine. There was music and lots of people enjoying their food and the little rascals were everywhere. Miri's dad ordered a lot of food and since we had to wait, we went to a boat ride. It was a fun experience I supposed because I haven't had a boat ride before a dinner to be prepared. After the short, 20 minute ride I guess, we went back to our table and the food were ready. We tasted some nice Indonesian style of preparing seafood. It was really fattening and we enjoyed it. After dinner, we went out for a walk and some exploring of the area. After some cam whoring, we went back to Miri's home. Everyone was a bit tired and bloated I think ....

We woke up and prepared for Fitri's wedding. The girls went to the salon and the boys just worked their turf. I had breakfast together with Miri's dad and Ronny we had a small talk but their are times that they talk in Indonesian so I just pretended I was not listening. But they would translate it into English so that was very considerate of them. When the girls were finished with their salon, and had their breakfast, everyone was ready especially the boys. All the girls were in a western style dress except for patty who wore an Indonesian native dress and a hairstyle of a Javanese. We went to Fitris wedding once once everyone was ready and we arrived their at around 12 or early 1PM. Muslim wedding is totally different and it was fun appreciating cultures. Fitri and her beloved half wore clothes which were in gold and adorned with gold. There were plentiful of food to try. I had fun with the desserts as usual, I loved the mini sweets and some tarts. After the wedding reception, we went to this chic mall. It was a mall with a theme and it housed some of the very famous designer brands. We had coffee with some newly met Indonesian friends and had some bit of chit-chats. After that, we decided to go back to Miri's place. When we arrived, and as for me, I went to bed without changing .... I think Kay told me that they had some cam whoring. When I woke up, it was again eating time and some fun talk of cultures. It was about food, language but yeah mostly food.... All I can say is that Miri's family was amazing, my impression on them was they were really nice and wonderful people. I was so thankful of the experience I had in Jakarta together with my friends who are also my officemates at Gemalto. After that simple dinner, we prepared a bit for our flight back to Singapore. It was another long ride and good thing there was a smooth traffic. We came to the airport just on time and as usual we were like children just laughing and seemingly carefree of the world.

Well thanks to Miri and her family for being so wonderful and made our stay in Jakarta truly amazing :D

To the next adventures, bring it on!!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Smoking, Smokin', or smoKING ?

Yeah whatever you call it, it still is a health hazard -smoking. What's outrageous about is that, a young boy in Indonesia was condoned to doing it. Young boy would mean at the age of 18 months and since, has gotten an addiction. Watch this:

What do you think?

Aside from the parents who has the sole responsibility, it should also include the government. This does not include just in Indonesia, but to the rest of the countries who care for their loved ones and their people.

In the Philippines, smoking is really cheap and even if there is a law banning youngsters to not engage in this activity and a law banning smoking in public places, people would just shrug off and care less. For me I would not mind if they don't blow the smoke to somebody else if smokers inhaling everything, but it's not just the case. Maybe a deterrent is to tax these vices higher (200 - 500%).

Anyway, goodluck to everyone smokers and non-smokers alike - whose going to stand long ....

Sunday, May 30, 2010

American Idol and Sex in the City 2

Well the recently concluded American Idol 2010 had Lee as it's winner and oh I like Crystal than him. Even so, Lee is also vocally talented and yeah people of America loved him so there, he emerged as the winner. Well, good luck to both artists.

Anyway, I went out with friends to watch Sex in the City 2. This movie never failed to make me really really laugh. I like Samantha portrayed by Kim Catrall because of her really outlandish and woman - trying to live life with age as not a hindrance to celebrating life. Well the funny Charlotte and the nerdy fashionista in Miranda also made the movie really fun. Not to forget, the not so usual life of " the " Carrie Bradshaw, makes all the movie even fun to watch.

After watching the movie at Tiong Bahru Plaza, we went to Holland Village for an hour of chit-chat at Coffee Bean cafe. We had some cakes and regular chocolate drink. It was like really refreshing updating each and everyone's life - future travel and plans definitely were not a miss.

We went home at around 3AM and ofcourse, I was not able to sleep that early as again I played DOTA. This is a mild addiction I guess....

Planning to watch Prince of Persia today ;) Hope you guys had a great weekend and have fun :D

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lady Gaga mtv spoof

The very talented lady gaga was spoofed by these Filipino comedians. If you know how to speak Filipino then this video will make you laugh all your troubles. I don't know what are the undertones here be it cultural, political or other form of personal beliefs. But the talent put into this spoof is really amazing....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The thought of it gave me chills

The Philippine elections last May 10 has steamed off. My vote went to Gilbert Teodoro whom I believe, is the most capable and qualified. I was having doubts because of his association with Gloria whom I voted as well, but prior to this final decision of mine, I was really thinking of voting for Noynoy Aquino, just for the mere fact that he was full of idealism and spirit, and I for one felt his sincerity. I was almost convinced but when I researched on information about all of the presidentiables, I found Gibo to be the best man.

After the voting process, I was so jittery and really waited for all the news about the results. The leading candidate is Noynoy followed by Estrada.... What ??? It's a huge WTF!!!! The thought of it all Estrada who garnered some 8 million votes as of latest tally gives me chills.

Everything happened for a reason indeed. God still loved my country and so grateful for this for not letting Estrada win it all. And for those who voted for Estrada, good luck to them.... I may understand that they pity the person of what happened who they loved for whatever reason but not to the point of reappointing him. For goodness sake this is not one of his movies - this is REALITY.

Anyway, Gibo is ranked fourth but I still believed in his idea of change and all the logical and clear platform of government. I think I can give Noynoy a chance and support him and make all his best effort to deliver his platform of which the majority of the voters believed.

Grrrrr .... It still gave me chills....

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Long time no post

I have not been posting any entries in this pet blog of mine for eons. A lot of things happened actually. I had my birthday, I went a bit panicky in a lot of things at home, lots of interests relived, busy stuff with friends and politics in my country. Well, in all these I still have to pursue one of my fascination in this world, which is to record what has happened to me and the people around and anything that concerns me, the world - naaaaahhh my world I guess.

It was my birthday last March 30 and my friends gave me a set of Giorgio Armani perfume and all these body effects. We held a simple get together at Makan Sutra on Friday for a mini celebration.

My friend invited me and my housemates for a free ride of the Singapore flyer. For those who might not know, it's a ferris wheel actually same as that of the London Eye.

Had a trek at Mt. Faber with housemates and then went on a dinner with my ex-colleagues and friends at a Korean restuarant in Bugis Junction.

What else .... hmmm with all these, the slacker which took so much of my time was playing some games with friends. The culprit games are DOTA and Counterstrike or CS for short. I was trying to evaluate what were those things which led me not to post anything and it led me to these two really addicting games. I will end up still awoken late and end up having some unforced nap during the day.

Anyway, it has been so long really and I would like to change that. Hehehehe. Hopefully I will be able to write more in detail but I think as time passed, memories were thinning like specks of dust. For absolution, I have to have a strict time management at home :D

Wish me luck in joggling at lot of things like work, life, time with friends and for the self.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ikea stuff

I've got a lot of Ikea stuff in my room. We just moved in to our new place for like two weeks already and I have been buying some stuff.

Since I had some extra savings, I decided to buy a new single mattress, bed frame made of metal and wood materials, and a two door wardrobe / cabinet. But these things were not from Ikea. Hence, these are from the furniture stores in Sungei Kadut. They have these gazillions of warehouse and even factory outlets of all home furnishings.

Immediately after an eight-hour battle in the office, I went to Ikea to buy bed stuff. Since I was hungry and it's time for dinner, I just went to the Ikea food corner and had my dinner. I ordered poached salmon, two sumptuous chicken wings and California orange juice. I think I ate too much because after that I had to go to the toilet - believe me it's crazy. After that moment, I went to the ground floor of the building to check the bed stuff. I decided I needed a door mat so I got one, I thought I need a new pillow so I got one. I actually planned to get a new bed cover or sheet so I took one. I thought I needed a quilt, so I went to the opposite side of the bed sheets section to get a quilt. When I passed by the curtain section, I thought I needed some blinds or a curtain would actually suffice so I was like busy checking things in that area and I then realized that there was no way for me to dig some holes or hang the clips for the blinds as the owner of the flat do not want us to borrow some nails or anything on walls. So I decided not to get one and planned to just check the window in my room of what to do with it. I then passed by the bathing towel's on sale and so I thought the towels I had were faded and felt old which deserves replacement, so I got one for myself. It felt so heavy as I was carrying the whole bed stuff purchases in a sack sling bag. Well, the counter was a bit far from the section where I was so I decided to drag the whole thing on the floor unmindful of the people around me. I arrived at the counter safe and sound ;) After I paid everything, I just went home. I thought of getting a cab but the queue is really long, which is actually just normal, I decided to go walk again to the nearest bus stop. I know that, I will have to walk after alighting at Buona Vista as there was no direct bus going to our new place. I saw a taxi stand and there were like few people queuing but then there was no taxi around not even a shadow. So I proceeded to the bus stop. I had this receipt from Ikea food corner and the receipt from the Ikea bed stuff so I rolled that in the plastic handle because my hands were complaining already. Good thing the bus arrived after 5-7 minutes of waiting. It took me around 15 - 20 minutes to get to our flat. Good thing I did not have blisters in my sole and in my palm. Jason was just there in the sala eating some turnips. I felt thirsty so I grabbed three slices and was not satisfied so I took another two. After I changed clothes, I tuned into American Idol. American Idol is a bit disappointing. Anyway, I had to fix my bed stuff and clean my room and do all the things. Aim and shoot, see my new Ikea stuff :D

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pablo D. Ayo Sr., Amazing Man of Science

I was so amazed upon reading the story of Mr. Pablo D. Ayo Sr. He is a Filipino scientist and devoted his life towards the betterment of humanity, I must say. He was born to a poor family in Sorsogon. Worse, Pablo's parents died when he was young. That made him decide to work harder and send himself to school. At an early age he has this keen interest in Science and Technology which can be called an obsession, I supposed. He infact went to manila and worked part time while studying at Arellano University taking up Bachelor of Science majoring Physics. He joined this engineering competition, where his entry was flying miniature planes, and won. With this, he landed to Princeton University for further study. He had consultancy job at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He had some patents under his name. Very interesting inventions are the mini hydro plant, the phonograph, photon-run car and tidal generator amongst others.

Currently, the Philippines had the highest power cost in Asia second to Japan. The great deal about it is that, it's making my country less competitive when it comes to foreign direct investors (FDI). Another thing is that, the southern part of the Philippines which is the Mindao group is currently having some power shortages which is due to El Nino - drying up some hydro-electric power plants. People, government, academe, private sectors are coming up solutions like putting up coal-powered power plants, geothermal plants, solar and wind power plants and others wanting to have nuclear power plants. To my thought, why not the tidal generator developed by Mr. Pablo Ayo Sr.? The tidal generator is fitting to the country for it is surrounded by huge bodies of water, no fallout from a nuke plant, reliable as the sea will always be there. This can be very useful in other countries nearing the sea like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and many others. So maybe these countries will have joint projects to harnessing the technology. The reliance to oil will be lesser and the air pollution or smog caused by oil and petroleum usage will be lessened in the cities, thus lowering green house. Waaaaahhh! Leaders with strong political power, where are you?

Thanks to Mr. Pablo D. Ayo Sr., and we were given some great alternatives. I think, he deserves some accolades for his contributions to society in general. I wish I could be like him in someway, able to give back to society fro the betterment of all.

To read a more complete write-up about this amazing man of science, you may visit this link :

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Vaio and American Idol

Arrived at the office around 9:40am and a bit sleepy, actually tired. It's because I slept around 3AM. What happened was like I had to wait my laptop to finish the updates which when counted was close to a hundred. I couldn't sleep because of that. The update was due to the fact that I reinstalled my vaio's vista because I am having problems with it. The lcd screen at the bottom part, where you have the task bar keeps on flickering. I tried adjusting the power consumption setting but it did not help. I tried uninstalling some programs but didn't solve it. The last thing I did was reinstall everything but still the issue persisted. In fact, during hibernation mode, the flickering became worse like there is this speedy interleaving or swapping of the display in the screen. My vaio's model number is a VGN-CS33G which is not an old model. In fact, I cannot believe it myself why or what happened because it's totally new and like I bought it last November of 2009. I did some updates to it but I did not have some issues as the updates I had were recommended updates from the vaio update manager/tool. My suspicion was like it came from the updates actually, and if this was the case, they should have tested their updates very well, because it's a hassle. Anyway, after I arrived in the office, while waiting my machine to be alive, I called vaio through Olga's help and asked stuff about support and warranty. Too bad it rained around 11 AM, it stopped but it rained again - the one thing I hate about Singapore is that the rain comes during lunch time like it's scheduled okay.... Anyway, I borrowed an umbrella from Olga. When the clock struck lunch time, I went out of the office and waited for bus 91. It arrived sooner. I had to go to our flat at Holland Village to get my laptop. I still did not take my lunch, instead, I went to Wisma Sony support center. The bus ride was quick, just 15 minutes. I was deciding to have McDonald's burger but changed my mind and I went ahead to Sony's. I was kind of lost a bit and asked the mobile area and was informed that the vaio support was on the next shop which was kind of hidden. I got my queue number and it was 160 and they were serving145. There were 7 counters if I was not mistaken but only 2 were functional which then became 4 after 20 minutes of waiting. I had with me my IPod Touch, playing word scramble, so I was not bored from waiting. Then my turn came and when I gave my vaio to the clerk, I just informed him that I had a problem with it which was the screen flickers at the bottom part. It was quick like a fox - he scanned my vaio code, confirmed my mobile and it was correct, then he informed that, I have to check-in my laptop and that they will just send me an sms if it's done. I'd like to ask if it was like a known issue to this model and that but I just was so hungry already. I was even interested at the part where he would have asked me if what are the things that I have done or should have done and all the what not. Anyway, I was a bit weak already and thus I needed energy so I chose not to bother. After the short conversation, he gave me a receipt of some sort and then I left. I just went to food republic and had grilled salmon with rice and some fresh veggies. After that, I went out and got a cab going to Gemalto.

At the office, it's so quiet because everyone was on vacation for the Chinese New Year. I was also busy doing the test to pass the DLL I was supporting at the same time improving the code. I was able to solve the issue of the DLL restart. Good thing I have grown familiar with the VB test and also with the whole DLL stuff in my project to the API down to the specific code behavior. I am just happy, grateful and thankful that I was able to finish this task.

After the office, I went with Agnes and Christian to the gym. I gained like a kilo with all the slack I did during the four days vacation. So, I had to do lots of cardio exercises again and to be followed by some weights.

After the gym, my friends and I went to the hawker in Buona Vista, the one beside POSB in Commonwealth Ave. Same old thing, I ordered double fish soup. I also had a homemade ice lemon tea. To so many ice lemon teas I had had in different hawkers, I would say the one in Buona Vista was and still is the best. Anyway, we were just having a fun chit-chat after that simple and satisfying dinner.

I arrived home around 10:40PM and American Idol had just began. Guess what? Andrew Garcia was able to make to the top 24, also my other favorite, Lily Scott was able to make it as well. I was so happy for both, as they were talented and really has that Idol thing in them. I think, they will really be a force to reckon with in the competitions next week.

That's it for today. I hope my vaio will return to me in a great condition and hoping my AI bets will make it through and possibly win it.

Special thanks, to Jason as he offered me to use his netbook :D

Ciao, my laundry is crying out loud! Hikhikhikhik ....

Thursday, February 11, 2010

American Idol Time

It's been like two weeks maybe since the start of American Idol - one of the greatest talent search in the world ever. Anyway, I have been following the show which is aired at MediaCorp, a local channel here in Singapore, every Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Hollywood week has started already and this guy from L.A. is so amazing. He is Andrew Garcia. I'd like to check out the profile of this guy but I can't seem to find any. But anyway, youtube has lots of videos about him and all his stage renditions of some famous songs.

Anyway, just want to share this brilliant performance of Mr. Andrew Garcia in the first round of Hollywood week :

I hope he wins!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gaynor's I will survive ?

This will make your stomach bark and your mouths chirp. Seriously, it's way creative and entertaining. I just personally don't know if they butchered, "I will survive".

Monday, February 8, 2010

Yehey, we found a place !

It has been a long battle searching for a nice place here in Singapore. We are currently staying at Holland Drive which is pretty near the "Holland Village". This place is where most expats stay and with that, the price is really high.

The situation left us troubled at times because we might end up homeless. To add to that, our agent kept on telling us that it might be hard to get a flat because of the Chinese New Year. The problem of this agent we have was that he talked nonsense sometimes and there was this instance that I was in a fiery mood and that I talked to him upfront and cut him off. That made me to decide not to deal with him always so I allowed my other housemates to talk to him most of the time.

So there was this certain flat that we were interested in just same block as ours but then it was like in a bidding process and the unit was pegged at 2000 SGD for a year contract. There was one bidder at 1950 so we bid for 1960 SGD. We were so ready with the money but then it turned out that the unit was not allowed by HDB to be rented out. Another unit located at Holland Close which was okay looking but the flat didn't feel right. Somehow the vibes was a bit negative so we did not get it. There was another unit at block 12 where it was at 2200SGD for two years and fully furnished. At first we decided not to get it but we were too close of our deadline already so we took it for 2000SGD for two years contract unfurnished but there was this prospect client and they did a bid for 2100SGD unfurnished. I was personally vocal about this bidding stuff going on in HDB so what we did we just declined and decided not to do a bidding. I am honestly disgusted about this bidding stuff in these HDB because of the fact that agents could have some sort of fishy alliances and that they will play with the clients just to raise the prices of the units. I do not know if this is legal or allowed by the Singapore authority. Anyway, I personally don't agree to join the bidding game because we had a limited budget and it might turn out just a way to raise prices. I just hope that there is a cap or some sort of legal way to prevent an unreasonable price hike of flats. Because as I have said, it might be just the case of agents conniving to make the prices high.

Anyway, we found a place already though it would have resulted in a bidding game but I insisted to our agent that we want the flat already at 1800 for a year contract and if they wanted to have it two years then we asked them to lower the price to 1750SGD simply because for two years they will not have a hassle of looking for new tenants and their income will be more stable. I actually sensed again of the bidding process as there were other people checking out the place. I just made my point up front to the agent and told him that he should help us get the place. If he would have answered and explained things that it's like this and that, I would have told him right then and there that we are cutting off any business relationship whatsoever and we will look for another agent. Somehow he felt my stand and he made the right move. So we got the unit at 1800SGD which is fully furnished and good for a year term....

So right now, my housemates and I were very happy and at last were off the stress already. House hunting in SG is really tough especially if you really want convenience which in our case we were also looking for value of our hard-earned money. Somehow, I just learned to be a bit aggressive and realized again that I have to be very patient at all times.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

She's resigned....

Our officemate and a teammate at the same time has recently tendered her resignation. She has been in Gemalto for two years and I knew her for just over a year. I can a bit relate to her because for the 5 years of work experience I had, I also have gone to so many companies. In effect, I knew how it goes and how it really felt to leave and to be left. I know some of her personal reasons and it's kind of really private so my gut is sealed. Somehow it was fun having her in our team especially the foods which she oftentimes place in our cube's center table, ready to be shared to the team.

Anyway, our team organized a video montage of sorts. We had this officemate's camera rolling and we videoed some clips of farewell in different languages. I took the liberty of saying it in Tagalog, and there were translations in Indonesian, Mandarin, Hindi, Thai and English. It's really fun and there were some bloopers during the shoot. Other teams who belong to the same R&D software engineering dept. had some skit.

Just after lunch today, all the males in the team danced to the tune of single ladies. It was really fun. After that, all the members of this particular team in Gemalto had the last farewell clip.

Tomorrow, we will all gather for a dinner at Plaza Singapura, in an Indonesian restaurant.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hong Kong and Macau Adventure

Sorry for the hiatus as it has been a week or two on not being able to blog. Simply put, I went to another vacation with friends.

The plan was to go to Macau but since Hong Kong is quite near, so we decided to fit it in our itinerary.

Last week's Thursday, January 14, my friends and I met somewhere Holland Drive - where we took a cab going to Changi Airport. Our flight was at around 1 PM but we arrived there at around 12. After arriving at the airport, we immediately look for other friends and we then checked-in some baggage and basically got our tickets. We had our Singapore dollars exchanged to HK dollars. Then we had a light snack at Deli France (it's good for lunch actually). After that, I felt the urge to withdraw more cash so off I went to the closes ATM around the area. After that mini break, off we went to our flight reception. The plane we will be on was Jetstar, where we got some round-trip promo. Upon entering to the waiting lounge, my body wash was beyond 100ml as well as my body spray so the personnel took it from me. Too bad I haven't used those stuff (errrrr stupid me). Anyway, I was not alone as Olga's body lotion was also taken. AFter that, I had some bio break, maybe due to uber excitement and then after some few minutes of waiting, it was already boarding. The plane was an A320 similar to those of other budget airlines. The plane looks old. The flight will be more than 3 hours. SO it's a bit troubling. Once in the air and the stewards were selling food, I ordered sweet and sour fish and red wine. My tummy was already hungry so I must ingest the needed energy. So I can take a good nap, I had a red. The wine was quite good and it's a Shiraz premium Australian wine. Agnes also had wine and loved it too. Well the next minutes were spent in my dreams. 15 minutes or so before landing, I was already awakened. The sky was not clear. In fact, Macau International Airport looked gloomy. The bright sun was not able to penetrate well to the landscape. Anyway, the temperature was at 12 degree Centigrade. We arrived at Macau around 6PM. We were getting excited. We took some visitor's pamphlets and looked for our way out. We did not know where to get our tickets for Hong Kong so Jana asked the information officer. The pier to get to a fast craft going Hong Kong was around 10 minutes walk so we went outside and braved the cold weather. My jacket was not enough to protect me from the cold place. When we arrived at the pier, we immediately bought our tickets and we were able to book for the shortest waiting time for our fast craft. The ticket was at 167 HK dollars. The sea travel was a bit bumpy? Rather, a shaky ride. I can feel my tummy in a carousel and really free wheeling at times. Good thing, I did not puke.... We arrived in Hong Kong a bit dark already and the place was also cold. We did not have to think more as it was evident that we needed to really eat something. Olga, Agnes and I ordered a Japanese shabu-shabu and the rest of my friends had their own individual choices. Our food was served a bit long and since it's a shabu-shabu, we need to boil the ingredients ourselves. The group had to wait for us. Anyway, after that satisfying belly feast, we went out of the pier complex and contracted two cabs. By the way, we were six in the group, and I forgot to mention Cyt, also a Gemalto employee, together with her BF Jun. The cab driver did know the English name of the inn we had and good thing the print out has the Chinese inscription on it. Mind you, their taxis charge for the baggage placed at the trunk so we had to give an extra 10 HK dollars. We arrived at YesInn hostel just in time and then we settled the payment and parked our things. The itinerary for the night is to check some shops or just see the city. We went out of the hostel and then roam the streets? We rode the tram. We also rode their MRT and ofcourse had some photo ops. We went to this mall checked some goodies. We basically checked prices. I found this nice sweater and bought it for 250 HK dollars which was originally at 750 HK dollars. I got a good bargain with it. It seemed that the mall was closing and we still had to do a lot of things the next day so we decided to go back to our place. We arrived at our place a bit lost but not quite as we were able to find our way back to the hostel. We settled in and had some few minutes of talks regarding our adventure for the next day and suddenly there came a girl in our door telling us that she forgot something in our toilet. We were so shocked as she had the password for our room. It was so unexpected as we thought that the room was exclusively for us. We were a bit disappointed as our valuables might be stolen and good thing nothing happened. The problem was the front desk did not inform us way ahead or something but nevertheless, we were really disappointed at Yesinn Hostel. The next day, we were planning to check out and get our advance pay as we did book for two nights and paid everything. We just couldn't trust the hostel for our things. Actually, what we booked was three private rooms but they gave us one big service room and we had no choice as it was a bit dark and a bit late and we just need to park our things. Anyway, after that 6-hour of sleep for most of us, the day began. After everyone has taken their showers and were ready for the day, we planned to get our money but we were not able to get it. We actually paid for two nights so we planned to get the one night advance payment. If I were not mistaken the guy at the reception just told us to file a complaint in their website or something and he was like eating something while talking to us. We even demanded to at least speak to their manager but his alibi was he was not their and that it was their policy not to do refunds or something. Hello for the worse service of a hostel - which is rightfully deserved as it was just a hostel. Anyway, we did not want to be stressed in our vacation so we decided to call it over and not fight with this unmindful guy receptionist. We decided to get a one night stay at Hollywood Hotel at Disney. It was kind of expensive but the service was great. It was all worth it and when we came to the hotel to check in via an hour ride of MTR, we were pleased with what we had. We got two cozy rooms at Hollywood Hotel and it's a seaview, plus, we had a free entrance to Disneyland Hong Kong. After we settled our valuables, we dined at the cafeteria of sorts and then for the next stop, we were going to the Big Buddha. It was just 30 minutes away via the MTR. The ticket was 107 HK dollars round trip via an ordinary cable car to the island of Lantau. The Big Buddha was at the other side of the island and on top of this hillside so after we had that long and fascinating cable ride, we had to walk going to the site. It was a bit sunny but the cool weather made it seemed nice. It was fun taking so many pictures from one corner to the other. Upon reaching at the foot of the hill, their was this long stairway to the Buddha. It was a bit tiring going through the steepest steps but it's worth it. After some sightseeing, we descended and and started to go back to the cable station. We passed by some souvenir shops and checked them out. After buying some nice goodies, we headed back to the cable station. We had a limited time. In fact, we planned to check out some factory outlet shops and also wanted to attend Disney's fireworks display. Once we arrived at the other end of the cable station from Lantau, Olga, Agnes, Jana and I went to this huge mall with Nike, Addidas, Levis, Esprit, Guess etc shops selling factory their goods at factory prices. Cyt and Jun proceeded to somewhere else to purchase lens for their SLR. Anyway, I was able to splurge at Esprit. The selection were amazing. Olga and Agnes shopped all the way at Mango. The prices were really low. These shops are not in Singapore so if you have like extra cash and wanted to shop for a change, I would recommend Hong Kong because of the cheap prices. Anyway, after we finished shopping, we proceeded back to Disneyland. Cyt was like calling us that they were on their way as well. So we planned to just meet at Disneyland. After around 30 minutes, we arrived at our place and its getting 7PM which is the exact time for the fireworks display. We were a bit hungry so we bought some hotdogs with bun with this very tasty Mexican dip. It was just a snack actually, which was supposed to be a dinner.... When the clock struck 7PM, all lights were turned off then viola, the fireworks display began accompanied by some beautiful songs taken from Disney movies. It was a pleasure to watch the show. The kid in us was brought to life and you would not want not to smile in awe. After the show, we checked again some Disney shops. After that, we had some photo session. Since we did not have dinner, we decided to have one at Disney's cafeteria. After the cafeteria, we were a bit tired already so we just headed to our hotel suites and decided to call it a day. We were actually planning to check some night market shops but we were just so tired to doing it.

The next day, we spent it at Disneyland. We checked all the characters and took photos with them. Enjoying every sight and sound at Disney. All of us were back as being kids. This was my first time so personally the trip was really welcomed. My favorite Disney characters were there like the chipmunks and pluto. I never thought that Belle from Beauty and the Best was really beautiful. And what's funny, the characters felt real though logically, they were just acting. It was fantasy land so to speak.

After the Disney character adventure, we had to check out because our next destination is Macau. We have an advanced booking for our hotel so it was not really an issue. We arrived in Macau at around 7PM and we were very hungry. We still have time so once we arrived at our hotel and checked our valuables in our rooms, we went out for dinner. We rode the free shuttle bus from our hotel going to the downtown where area casinos were juxtaposed. The food feast at this authentic Macanese place was nice. I personally enjoyed what I had. Since Macau was colonized by Portuguese, somehow there was a familiar taste and cooking style. Anyway, after that dinner, we checked out the street and the one caught our eyes was the Grand Lisboa Hotel. We decided to try some casino so we went inside searching for slot machines and so we found ourselves at Wynn Hotel. We played a bit and I lost some 40 HK dollars. It was fun though. Some of my friends went winners. Good thing they had free drinks. After spending like two hours in the casino, we headed back to our hotel so we could be ready for the next day's adventure.

Sunday morning came, and the very first things to do were to have shower and eat. Our plan was to walk some bit of Macau history - visiting old streets, shops and temples. We followed the walk trail into the old Macau. The last stop was the Ruins of St. Paul. Ofcourse, no good view had escaped from my friends lenses. After the long trail, we went to shop again for souvenirs. We bought some shirts, some key chains and frames. It's also fun doing some bit of shopping because they were really low priced. After the shopping that we did, we went back to our hotel to get our things as we were going to The Venetian. We were a bit hungry but decided to have our dinner at The Venetian. We arrived their with all of our heavy stuff. After we checked in our valuables at the Venetian concierge, we went to meet Cyt, Jana and Jun and we decided to look for the food court. The hotel is really beautiful. The ceiling was totally amazing which was made to look that you are in the crisp of the morning. Anyway, all of us ordered Japanese food. After dinner, our friends would want to ride the Gondolas so we looked for the ticket booth and found them. Agnes and I went on taking pictures. After the Gondola ride, we checked some shops then we headed to the casino. It was again the slot machine that we were targeting. I personally played 100HK dollars and lost them all. I had fun though and same with my friends. When the clock struck 12, we had to be at the airport as our flight would be at 2AM. The airport was so close that it took us around 20 minutes. Since the checking in of stuff would happen at the next hours, we decided to just talk. Upon boarding, we still had to wait for an hour, so I slept at the airport. It's my first time to be sleeping in a boarding lounge. Jetstar boarding went so smooth while I was there trying to make sense of the world a bit as I just woke up. We were onboard the plane at the exact time and off we went back to Singapore. The ride was a bit bumpy as according to Olga but then I was most of the time asleep so I did not felt a prick. I was really satisfied with that mini vacation.

Anyway, for the pictures, I will upload them some other time as I don't have them yet. Just hang on there okay?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ice Skating @ Kallang Singapore

Last Saturday, I went with my friends to Kallang. Our plan was to do some first-time skating? This should be an action packed adventure on ice for we are first-timers. This could also mean disaster ....

We took a cab from Buona Vista to Kallang and arrived there at around 7PM. We were a bit lost and found ourselves at the third floor of the building. The entrance fee was around 14SGD if I was not mistaken and we need to pay for the gloves and the socks as well so we shelled out 21 dollars more or less, as one can bring their own equipment.

Warning, the skating shoes had a foul-smell so it's best that you layer your socks and also bring some sanitizers.

Anyway, that did not stop us from enjoying the night. We started to slide a bit while holding on the side-walls of the rink. I said we were first-timers, so we were like snails trying to cling ourselves.... It was fun actually doing that. I happen to get this child's assistance tool so I can practice a bit of my footwork. Olga and I were skating with it for a round. Jason was so excited and began skating while we were still being assisted by the equipment we got. After that round I began to have a bit of confidence. Actually, there were some mishaps as my friends stumble and I bumped myself as I did not know how to stop, to one of the newbie skater. Activities as such wouldn't be fun without the pictures right? And I guess, some bruises ....

We got tired after an hour of doing our stuff. Just a bit satisfied as I was able to skate around the rink for like two to three rounds without any assistance from the side walls or from someone or from anything.

We really enjoyed that simple trip.

Since we got hungry after that fun activity, we went to look for food at their food court but did not like the menu so we headed to Subway and had our dinner.

I like to go back to Kallang to do more skating in a few weeks time with more friends to join us, so it's much funnier. It's going to be really exciting and I can't imagine people falling on ice ... again.

Have a great night everyone. Ciao!!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ronald McDonald's Children

Just browsing around youtube looking for some Filipino films and stumbled some of these quite interesting videos.

Interesting indeed, so who's the wife?