Don Don Donki opens in Tanjong Pagar

The “Japan Discount King” Don Don Donki opened its doors in Tanjong Pagar last week. It’s near the office… so it’s a new hangout place I guess? Lol. To buy stuff that I likely don’t need.

My eyes just wander.

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Day 2 in HCMC: The Tunnels

It’s not raining like yesterday!

On today’s itinerary:

  • Brunch at L’Usine Café
  • Ben Thanh Market
  • Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Dinner at Vy Da Quan
  • Saigon Skydeck
  • Saigon Centre

Day 1 stuff here.

Day 1 in HCMC: The City

The family has arrived in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam! This is our fifth Southeast Asian country the last five years after Cambodia (2013), Singapore (2014, 2016), Thailand (2015), and Malaysia (2017).

First order of business: PHÓ!

Day 1 Checklist:

  • Special Beef Bowl Phó at Phó 24
  • Reunification Palace (State Rooms, Bunker)
  • Norodom Palace (Interactive Museum)
  • War Remnants Museum
  • Vincom Center

-to be continued-

Hello again, Saigon!

Rushed to Changi Airport earlier to catch VN 654 to Ho Chi Minh City!

It’s the first time I got to use Terminal 4 (and not just visit it for a tour…)

It’s also the first time I flew on Vietnam Airlines.

My family flies in tomorrow morning from Manila. This is the first time I booked the family at a hostel. We’ve done hotels in Bangkok and Singapore. Serviced Residences in Kuala Lumpur. So HCMC will be a hostel. But we have our own “family room”.

***

Here’s me saying HELLO!

BEAUTIFUL.

I’m at the crossroads once more.

It’s similar to the one I had right before I started college in 2002. I was entering a very lush, green campus. It’s the butterflies you get on your first day. But that’s the same day that I met my friend UP. It was the first day of the most beautiful four years of university. I would fall in love with a boy for the first time. I would come to terms with my sexuality. I would live in a dormitory and learn to sleep away from my home. I would learn how to speak Tagalog.

It’s 2006. I was unsure if I would get a job working at ABS-CBN News Channel where I had my internship the Christmas prior. I wouldn’t easily forget the scent of the halls of the ABS-CBN’s main building. Or it’s eerie silence past midnight (knowing how very much it comes to life during TV Patrol). While waiting for my first job offer, I remember driving around Cavite with my best friend TO. Eventually, I landed my first job and it was for Studio 23. The next six years were beautiful. I met my first (and only) boyfriend to date. I learned how to survive in Metro Manila. I remember Christmas after Christmas.

It’s 2012. I’m hugging my mom at NAIA on a warm summer day. She’s accepted and supported my dream of leaving the Philippines to work in Singapore. It’s a beautiful day when my Cebu Pacific flight lands. My then-boyfriend picks me up at the Changi Airport budget terminal (having arrived a day prior). The city felt huge. Massive. Green. Ready to be explored. My heart was racing. We lived in a backpackers’ hostel in Lavender. Those first few innocent days of Tori-Q and Old Chang Kee. I repeat that story so many times to friends who ask me how I started in Singapore. It was the beginning of life living in a foreign city.

Now, it’s 2018.

I don’t have a boyfriend to lean on if I want to cry after a terrible day has gone by. I’ve lost my drive doing the most repetitive tasks. I feel anxious and worried. But I’m beginning to dream again for that next beautiful change.

I don’t know where I’m going. I just know I have to go somewhere. I have to keep going. I cannot stop. Money can be spent and exhausted. But it can be earned back. Not like time. When time is spent, it’s over. You don’t get that back.

Sayang ang kuryente.

Got this from UP’s Instagram.

A slice through the week – 02

It was NOT a stellar week. I guess it’s time to face the music. But I’m going to face it with as much grace as possible. I’ll give it my best. I hope to talk more about it soon. I’m just in the clouds still.

Some activities this past week.

Singapore Airlines had a road show pop-up at Tanjong Pagar Centre. I managed to visit their A380 set-up. I’m in the business class booth (pictured above).

This is the first DBS Marina Regatta that I’m not racing in. I lended my trusty paddle to my teammate CE. All the best, CE! May you paddle with all of your heart.

Here’s the poster my friend NE and I designed for the team.

This is an awfully framed shot of our table. But it’s basically a Korean BBQ dinner with some of the Filipinos at my current company. Great to catch-up with them.

Kinda shows how I feel these days… the photo above. Look at how clean Singapore is. Look at how organized and well-planned everything looks like in the photo. My weary phone giving you that poor light effect. This is the Singapore I know today.

Notwithstanding, I still went for outrigger canoeing at Sentosa on Saturday. We paddled all the way out to St. John’s Island until we quickly turned around as a thunderstorm engulfed Singapore. It was kind of scary. But WTH. Felt good to paddle. I understand I wasn’t in my best form at all. The waves were very strong.

The weather in Singapore this past weekend.

You can never go wrong with a few sticks of Old Chang Kee. I count FOUR.

And a piping hot bowl of laksa on a rainy day.

Here I am again with AR. We played Overcooked on my PS4. She came to visit my house for the first time here in Bukit Merah. I showed her a view of Normanton Park from my floor’s open area. It made me very sentimental. Because “Normanton Park”, where she used to live many years ago… was filled with memories so lovely and so simple. It now feels like a lifetime away. 😦

Here’s my friend CO choosing his Heaven and Earth iced tea drink for SOLO.

SOLO… the 2nd standalone Star Wars film. Loved it.

***

The general feeling now is that of uneasiness. But I’m going to embrace it and embrace whatever changes are coming soon for me. There’s just so much emotion running through my veins right now.

xoxo, George

The Rain

***

I like the lyric ‘to them it’s a park bench, us a magic carpet.’

It was probably written with a sexual tone to it.

But it’s sort of how I see things.

Some people see things in black and white. It’s so damn clear for them.

I tend to romanticise. 

It’s a curse and a blessing. You get what I mean?

It helps you create beautiful art. But the downside is… it makes you sentimental about the places you don’t want to see or go back to.

And damn, I’m exhausted.

 

Wednesday Night CBD Run – 01

I’m trying to make it a weekly habit to go running every Wednesday.

Luckily, I have an officemate who’s equally excited to go running on a Wednesday evening. Our route starts near our office in Tanjong Pagar. We head down Shenton Way, going past Lau Pa Sat en route to the Promontory at Marina Bay.

Once you’re at the Promontory, you basically merge with all the other CBD runners. Some shirtless hotties I might add. Earlier the DBS Marina Regatta 2018 tents and event areas were already up in anticipation for this weekend’s dragon boat races.

I saw the FDS tent and it’s situated on a nice corner by a tree.

Our run route takes us past the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and then on the waterfront side of Gardens by the Bay en route to Marina Barrage. It’s quite scenic and there are plenty of runners. There are also plenty of tourists too. Ah, Singapore, the way this area is enjoyed continues to enchant me. I wish I were a tourist sometimes with NO EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE of this city. Lol.

After one circle at Marina Barrage (there’s this ramp-like structure which is beautifully inclined giving you a great view of the surroundings)… we headed back towards The Shoppes before ending right at the foot of the ArtScience museum.

5.69 km recorded on my RunKeeper.

Sweaty, we walk slowly back to Tanjong Pagar. This would probably be another 3 kilometers by foot. Grabbing Oolong Tea from a 7-11 and chatting about how the CBD area has changed in the past few years. Can you believe that? I’m qualified to evaluate what’s changed in downtown Singapore.

It was a great run and I hope to continue doing my weekly runs every Wednesday.

xoxo, GEORGE

Zumba, Salmon, and… Oily Barbecue!

I went for Zumba earlier! Hilarious. I wanted to cover up the first memory I have of zumba a few years ago. So… THIS. A wonderful session at 100AM. Some people have two left feet. I have about five left feet.

*Flaps arms up and down* WAZZZZUP.

Afterwards… magpaka-healthy naman tayo. I went for my favorite mentaiko salmon at Salmon Samurai. But instead of the usual brown rice. I went for a bed of lettuce. OMG. Walang lasa. I gotta get used to it if I want to destroy my belly fat FINALLY.

I got a message from my friend AR that she needed someone to talk to or hang out with. I was quite worried. So I took the first plane out to Geylang to meet her at Barbecue Box.

Buti na lang sa BBQ Box. Because. Well. BECAUSE lang.

She was with me during some of my darkest moments in the past few months. So I know how it feels to have that need to meet someone or to see someone to vent out. I’m glad she shared her story with me. AR, if you’re reading this… I’ll be there for you. 🙂

Ah, yes. The bus ride back to my place in Tiong Bahru.

It so happened to be a BUS 63. The same bus I’d take to get to my old place. And here I am… heading the opposite direction.

xoxo, GEORGE