Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Xi'an


By the time we got on our train to Xi'an(a 16 hour ride from Shanghai), I felt the first signs of a cold. My eyes were red, my throat itchy, my head pounding, and my nose wouldn't stop dripping. So its not surprising that I wasnt particularly cheerful when we arrived in Xi'an. From the ticket counter, we bought our train tickets first - this time to Beijing, then headed to our hostel. Ludao Binguan was just a 5-minute walk away from the train station - there we met the owner/manager Jim Beam. Cool name right? We just had time to stuff our bags in our room to catch the bus for the Eastern Circuit Tour which will take up the entire day. First stop was Lintong Meseum - a boring same-old-same-old museum. Then off to Huaqing Pool where the old emperor Xuanzong and his concubine Lady Yang had their pleasure baths.

After a quick lunch, our guide told us the next stop would be the Terracotta Warriors Museum. Woohoo! This is one of the reasons why we are in China - over 7,000 terracotta soldiers, horses, chariots and weapons have been found here and they are still excavating. These lifesize warriors were buried with the first emperor of Qin in 210 B.C. which means these guys are over 22000 years old! There are 3 pits on the museum - Pits 1, 2 & 3. Earlier, while we were still stowing our bags away on the dorm, Jao read on the wall(guests can just write anything on the dorm's walls - tips, notes, greetings) that the best way to see the pits is in the reverse order. That is go to Pit 3 first, then 2, then 1 because 3 has the smallest collection and 1 has the largest. Well, turned out it was an excellent advice. The pits got better and better as we went along, but I'm not sure why we weren't that awed. It was impressive alright but I thought upon the sight of it we would flip out and ran out of superlatives but I guess I was expecting too much. Maybe the warriors were quite far from us, that's why. And it was quite frustrating how hard it is photograph the soldiers. The museum was a bit dark, so a tripod is a must. I brought one but my lens is not that long so no close-up shots of the warriors for me. Sigh.

Before we left the museum, Jao couldn't find her digicam anymore. She left it on the sink in one of the toilets, and when she tried to come back for it - it was long gone. This earned her the title - 'the slob'.

Our bus brought us back to our hostel, and while resting we drew the philippine flag using pink, light blue and yellow markers(because there were no more red and blue) and posted it on the hotel lobby wall of flags. Then we walked to the not-so-near Muslim Quarter for our dinner, the city was very lovely at night - we walked past the bell and drum towers, a dried fruit market, some souvenir shops and then to the restaurants.

Next Day

We rented bikes to explore the city, it was surrounded by city walls and we wanted to bike on top of the walls. We were looking for the way up for quite a while so when we saw a young couple biking - we asked them for directions. They didn't know the way up either but they helped us find it - after some time they realized what should have been so obvious, the reason why we couldn't find the way up is we were looking for it outside the walls. The walls were built to keep out outsiders so we should have been looking for the entrance inside the wall. Hehe what a bunch of dorks. The wall of course had an entrance fee(40 rmb) and they don't allow bikes so we had to leave them down. Up the 13-km wall, we rented bikes(20 rmb) again - and biked all way around for almost 2 hours.

Our train is leaving in a few hours but we wanted to see the Great Mosque first. We biked all the way from the wall to the Great Mosque(beautiful courtyards, interesting architecture - combination of chinese and muslim) to our hostel. We said a quick goodbye to Jim Beam(who had a crush on Sym - which earned her the title 'the concubine') and ran to the train station. We forgot to eat the entire day except for breakfast so on the train to Beijing, we had quite a feast. The train's food was yummy by the way(or maybe we were just too hungry).

More pictures of Xi'an trip here.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Xitang


Day 4

Xitang was not even featured on the latest edition of Lonely Planet China. I only learned of the place when a chinese friend recommended it as a sidetrip from Shanghai. He said the ending scene of Tom Cruise's MI 3 was filmed there - I remember that scene quite vividly - he was running on a long cobbled corridor with cloths still hanging on the lines, the waterfront houses were these ancient ones with black tiled roofs, the town was rustic and charming.

We were not disappointed. It was already dusk and the town was lighted with red lanterns - we walked through several narrow alleyways, crossed an old graceful bridge and arrived in a guesthouse with a courtyard that resembles a museum.

We had dinner in one of the small restaurants near our house, the tables were located on the riverside where old gondolas skim by, willow trees lightly curtained the view, and the food was very interesting. They preserve vegetables for winter and they put it in almost all of the dishes. (it was mustasa according to Jao - by the end of our trip, we could not bear to eat this vegetable anymore. even the instant noodles are mustasa-flavored)

We walked for some time, and even tried a gondola ride up and down our street. It was a very cold night so we looked for a place to have a drink. We found a small bar covered all over(walls and ceilings) with post-it messages from tourists, they served us a hot pijou(beer) which tastes like soy sauce.

Day 5
The next day, we just walked around town, and took lots and lots of pictures. The town was so photogenic, I just want to capture everything - a cat resting near a window, a bike parked near a bricked wall, an old man washing his clothes along the river, an artist painting near a bridge.

And by the way, there wasn't a single english-speaking person in the place. Good thing Sym and Jao still remember their mandarin. :)

How to get there: From Shanghai South Train Station, take the 1-hour train ride to Jiashan. There are buses/minivans outside the station. A van to town will take around 20 minutes and costs about 35 rmb.

Where to stay: Tongcun Hotel, Tawan Street. 80 rmb for 1 room with a bathroom. We waited for the owner of the guesthouse to pick us up in front of the town's hospital.

More pictures of our Xitang trip on this link.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Day 3 & 4 - Shanghai



Day 3

From Macau, we took a 1-hour ferry ride to Hong Kong. Several transfers on the very modern and convenient MTR later, we collected our train tickets to Shanghai at the Hung Hom train station. From there, we met Jao and Sym. We boarded the train quite early, so we had a lot of time taking our pictures, unpacking our stuff, checking out the toilets and the other types of sleepers(we got soft-sleeper berths) and all in all we were very happy with the K100 train. With so much free time in our hands, we spent the next 24 hours reading up on Shanghai, practicing our Mandarin on each other and on the train staff and the next thing we knew, we were finally in Shanghai! We headed straight to the ticket counter to buy our tickets to Xi'an and then we decided to just take a taxi to our hostel, but getting one was a lot harder than we expected. We found a few taxis alright but some of them just wanted to bring us to some hotels they know and some don't want to use their meters(the bastards). So to be on the safe side, we just took the metro which is just outside the train station. We found our hostel(Captain Hostel) after a few wrong turns, and after checking in to our room and saying hi to our new roommates, we climbed the roofdeck of the hostel. The view of the Pudong was amazing!

After an excellent but cheap dinner(xiaolongbao!) at a restaurant near the Captain Hostel, we walked to see the Yuyuan Gardens and Bazaar. We found the memory cards there very cheap so Raycee, Sym and I each bought a 2G card for our cameras. (We found out much later in the trip that these cards were probably fake, Raycee's card keeps displaying corrupted images and Sym's card reader back home could not even read her SD card, mine was ok though..)

We then checked out the Bund - it was more beautiful than I expected especially at night, the buildings were these old colonial ones and you get a big sweeping view of the Pudong on the waterfront while old boats glide by. From the Bund, we strolled down to Nanjing Donglu - a famous shopping street but we found most of the stores were already closed. It was a very chilly night so we stayed in the nearby Mcdonalds for a coffee before calling it a night.

Day 4

After a hot shower and checking out of our room, we deposited our bags and went on our way to Yuyuan Gardens, we couldn't find this garden the night before so we had to come back today. Yuyuan Gardens is famous for its zigzag bridge - the reason for the irregular shape is to prevent evil spririts from crossing it, the chinese believe the spirits can only travel on straight lines. The bridge was more stunning in the pictures though, I guess a view from top is much better. There is a garden near the bridge where you had to pay 40 yuan to enter, and since its there, we might as well check it out. It was pretty what with the ponds and trees but maybe a bit slippery because Raycee lost his footing and almost broke his neck and gave us quite a scare, good thing he only got a few scrapes and bruises.

When we got tired of the gardens, we had a quick brunch(xiaolongbao again!) and then headed straight to the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel(40 yuan each). This train leads to Pudong, the trip lasted for a few minutes but it was such a cheesy ride, we couldn't wait to get out(and to think we bought a round-trip ticket). In Pudong, we saw up close and personal the pink Oriental Pearl Tower and Jinmao Tower but we decided to go back to the more interesting Bund because Pudong was quite boring. We strolled along the Bund, checking out some buildings, and we stayed for some time in a cafe in the old HSBC building(No. 12). I love their pizza :)

We claimed our bags in the hostel after a while and took a cab to Shanghai South Station where we will take the train to Xitang - our next stop.

More pictures here.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Day 1 & 2 - Macau


Yes, it might have the yummiest, creamiest, melt in your mouth egg tarts. And the ruins of the Church of St. Paul was very impressive whichever angle you look at it. And the Senado Square was quite charming, with all the old buildings surrounding it and the flowers in the windows and the big water fountain in the center of the town square. But it is not these things that remind of Macau. Not even the ubiquitous casinos and the fellow Filipino workers everywhere. It is the one night I spent in a small house-turned-hostel named Auguster's Lodge. We arrived on a weekend and we didn't have a reservation so Cath and I had to squeeze in on a single bed and share the room with 3 swiss guys. It wasn't that bad and we thought Raycee was the unluckier one because he didn't even have a bed - just a small, foldable mattress that they put up in another room. But the moment I opened the door to our room, the nasty odour almost knocked me out. The culprit was already sleeping with his stinky feet dangling from the upper deck of our bed, and his yucky shoes and socks were all over the floor. Haay. Surprisingly, we fell asleep quite easily but not before sniffing a good amount of tiger balm to drown the smell.

More pictures of our Macau trip here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

china train journey

if you sum up all our train rides, we spent a total of 79 hours - that's 3 days and 3 hours of sleeping, eating, reading, playing cards, and just hanging out.

i didn't expect the trains to be so comfortable - toilets were most of the time clean, ordering food(by pointing at other people's food) and finding out we liked what we ordered at the dining cars was fun, and most of all I loved the bunk beds. it's just like staying in a hostel - soft sleepers are in a closed compartment and even if we had to stay in hard sleepers, we can always use the trusty malong* as an improvised door.

*malong is a woven multi-colored cloth from mindanao that can be used as a blanket, dressing room, hammock, etc.


Monday, November 27, 2006

once upon a time in china

my trip to china would not have been as fun and as special without these 4 clowns around. we spent 2 weeks exploring only a chunk of this huge and proud country, and we all went home satisfied and yet wanting to see more.

our first night in beijing where we almost froze our ass off. lamig! (Raycee, Cath, Sym and Jao)

this is a map of the cities we have visited:

1. we started the trip exploring macau
trip's high and low: yummy egg tarts! our roommate's nasty smelly feet :(

3. shanghai
trip's high and low: strolling along the beautiful bund. the cheesy bund sightseeing tunnel(aka the great space coaster)

3a. xitang
trip's high and low: sipping hot pijou* in a warm bar on a cold night. the pijou tastes like soy sauce (*pijou is mandarin for beer)

4. xi'an
trip's high and low: biking on top of the city wall and eating ice cream after. jao losing her camera in one of the toilets in the terracotta army museum.

5. beijing
trip's high and low: climbing the great wall from jinshanling to simatai. raycee and I on our own(jao, sym and cath had to go back to work)

2. hong kong
trip's high and low: view of the harbour and city at night. our tiny but pricey room with the sleazy transparent bathroom.

more pictures and stories later :)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

ang dinner ko ngayong gabi:

main course - doritos con tostitos salsa
dessert - leche flan na tapaw* mula sa birthday party ni eduard nung sabado
drinks - malamig na malamig na tubig

muy delicioso! ok na to para sa tamad na tulad ko. di naman talaga ako tamad, nagluluto ako lalo na nung kasama ko pa si beng sa bahay at pag dumadalaw si n. pero pag mag-isa lang ako, ok na to. bon appetito!

* tapaw ay singlish for balot

shanghai/beijing train reservation

Yehey! We now have train reservation from hong kong to shanghai(Train No. K100) and back (Train No. T97 beijing to hong kong).

Because our trip starts in hong kong, it is possible to book tickets by email at www.kcrc.com and later present our confirmation to collect the tickets at the intercity passenger center in hung hom station(hong kong). They don't accept any other booking though like shanghai-xi'an and xi'an-beijing. We probably need to buy them at the shanghai train station.

Lower hard sleepers were already sold out yesterday so we opted to take the soft sleepers. Perhaps a bit more expensive - $530 versus $825, but i'm sure we will be much more comfortable. And besides, they have an ongoing promo so we got the soft berth for $743 for hk to shanghai ($82 discount) and $841 for beijing to hk ($93 discount).

I hope and pray that the toilets in the soft sleepers section are clean.

Udon Thani to Vientiane



Mabuhay ang budget air! Tiger airways has a new destination - Udon Thani. It is only an hour away from Vientiane, the capital of Laos. From Vientiane, destinations like Luang Prabang and the Plain of Jars can be reached by bus or boat.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Brrr


ito ang weather forecast ngayon sa Xi'an(6 c) at Beijing(9 c). patay ako dyan. di pa naman ako sanay sa malamig na klima. sa katunayan, ang laman ng cabinet ko ay panay sando lang. dapat na yata ako bumili ng medyo makapal na jacket.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

There are chinese soup...



Chinese Visa Single Entry - 50 sgd
Lonely Planet China 9th Edition - 57.12 sgd
Round trip ticket to Macau - 237.83 sgd
2 weeks in China - priceless! (i sure hope so)

China has forever intrigued me, and next month will be my big chance to explore some parts of it. Our plan is to fly to Macau, take a ferry to Hongkong and then take a 1-day train ride to Shanghai. From Shanghai, more train rides to Xian and Beijing. Then maybe try to squeeze in Yangshuo and Yunnan.

*** The title of this post is from a popular Knorr commercial jingle during the 80's in the Philippines.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Haze and how to roast a marshmallow

Forest fires in Indonesia has blanketed Singapore in haze. This is the view from our living room.

While uploading the haze photos in my laptop, I found out I can roast marshmallows on the side. Really! :)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Bugis Street

One of my biggest frustrations is not having enough guts to ask strangers if I can photograph them. I think its just too awkward - me holding my big camera while a stranger shouts in a foreign language and waves me away.

So when I learned that a National Geographic photojournalist will be conducting a workshop here, I had to sign up. According to his bio, "During nearly three decades working and living overseas, Ian Lloyd as has eaten duck's blood soup with Vietnamese hill tribes, survived a balloon crash in Thailand, been chased by wild elephants in Sumatra and nearly drowned in mud on the banks of Burma's Irrawaddy River. He's also taken some pretty good photographs." Cool!

The workshop only lasted a day but he managed to cover quite a big topic(some maybe a bit too technical for me) and at the end of the day, we had an hour-long field trip at Bugis Street. Well, what can I say, he was very good with people - talking to them first and when they are comfortable, only then will he take his shots. Imagine him doing this while 15 of us look on, doesnt sound that easy right? One man declined when Ian asked if he can take a shot, and it wasnt that bad. He said "thank you" and moved on.

He also taught us panning techniques, using an unusual vantage point(high, low) and shooting blindly. The group shot on the lower left was taken by Ian :)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Weekend with Jao



The plan was to meet in Malaysia but we ended up spending the weekend in Singapore instead. Which turned out to be a good thing because I've been here for over a year and have not explored much of the island yet. We pigged out, shopped and explored the colonial district and chinatown. More photos here

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Oh, the places you'll go!


In my ongoing effort to save some cash (I'm barely able to maintain the minimum amount of my newly opened savings account), I've decided not to buy books anymore. That's right. Books are expensive. One book is worth one week's lunch allowance. So yesterday during lunchtime, I dragged myself to the Regional Library to get a membership to the National Library. After I flashed my passport and employment pass and my 21 dollars, I got my Borrower's ID in less than 5 minutes. So fast lah! Once I got the card, I went straight to the Travel section and picked up some China and Malaysia travel guide books - my next destination in the coming months I hope, hope, hope. Checking out the books is fast and automated - just insert your card, place the books on top of a scanner and voila! The computer will give you a Loan Receipt listing the books you borrowed plus the due date. Returning the books is easier with the 24-hour bookdrops in all libraries. Haay, I love Singapore!

Friday, August 18, 2006

To give you an idea how shitty my work is and how I have to deal with all things shitty, read the thread below - the first thing I found in my inbox yesterday morning:

Lala,
As i highlighted earlier, this is not acceptable that you come to office only after 10:30AM. The latest you need to be in office by 9:30AM everyday, if you delay any further i would have to report this to A--- and re-look at the contract. Please consider this email very serious. There will be no more warning, before i report this to A--- on the next occurence.

Everyday going forward drop me a mail once you are in office.

Boss

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My reply:

Boss,

I have been coming home very late at night for weeks now. Those late nights have taken their toll on me. If I get home by 7pm every night then it's easier to come on time every morning. And its not as if I don't complete my 9 hours work everyday. I don't think it's fair that we come home late every night and we don't complain but if I arrive late in the morning I get all these reprimands without consideration.

Lala

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The boss' reply:

Lala,
As discussed let us work together to see how we can leave early and avoid too many late nights. We have another resource now, so it should get better. Also work out with your teammate C---, so that any one can leave early and the other can come late in the morning if you are staying back.

Please note you and C--- are holding key roles for our projects. And your efforts are getting appreciated.

Regards,
Boss

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Regards my ass. The boss gave me a call and explained his side with this slow, corny, soothing voice and I'm just glad I stick it to him. The boss is a bully and I hate bullies.

Now its friday afternoon, and I'm lying on my bed watching tv while munching m&ms - the boss let me use my compensatory off leave today in lieu of my working during weekends. Happy weekend to all!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Birthday boy



Ilan sa mga pictures sa asalto ng birthday ni Nathan. Na empty battery agad ako kaya di ko na nakuhanan ang pagblow nya ng candles at pagbukas ng regalo(sayang, na shock pa naman sya sa regalo namin).

Friday, August 04, 2006

And I'm back in the the game!

The bad news
1) My work still sucks. If anything, it has gotten worse. For some weeks now, I've been staying in the office until/past midnight. Tonight is a good example. The boss said we need to stay until 1 or 2am. (damn you boss) And I'm here in my desk yawning like a madman, listening to a conference call that has been going on for hours, and I am still clueless why my fix wouldn't work.

2) I recently found out I have cone-shaped corneas. The doctors call it "keratoconus". It's not life-threatening or anything but still I cried when I learned about it. You see I was all set to undergo a LASIK surgery to correct my near-sightedness. I have planned it for months, and the day of the operation itself, one of the tests said I have this eye problem therefore I am not eligible for LASIK. Apparently, it is dangerous for me to have any kind of laser vision correction surgery as it may further weaken my already weak corneas. I have asked other doctors for their opinion but sadly the findings are all the same. I am doomed to wear contact lens for all time.

The good news
1) I turned 29 last month. Yey! N cooked for my birthday, and bought me cake and an mp3 player. I felt so loved. And I had a nice dinner with friends. And was able to talk to my family and friends back home.

2) I moved to a new condo. And I love it. Everywhere is so near lah! The marketplace, the church, the hawkers, the boyfriend's flat, the dragonboat training site.

3) I have started training again with SPC(Singapore Paddle Club). I was also able to use my 10-month old paddle for the first time. Yeah!

4) I finally opened my first ever savings account! I even have a cool passbook and an atm to prove it. I hope this is my first step to becoming rich and maybe after a year or two I can quit this damn job.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Stalker strikes again

It's 11 o'clock on a Friday morning and I'm running late for work. I'm sprinting the stairs two-at-a-time, when a familiar face greets me. Uh oh.

"Hi La La!" Stalker guy waves at me.

"Hello," I greeted back. I am panicking but I'm trying not to show it. How can this happen to me?

I walk as fast as I can and stay near a group of Aunties. I dial Jao's number and pray she answers my call. It is ringing! Thank you cell phone providers! The train arrives and I stay with the Aunties.

"Hi Jao! Look, I just need to talk to someone for 15 minutes. I don't want anyone talking to me while I'm on the train," I plead.

"Why? Is someone horrible trying to talk to you?" she asks.

I haven't mentioned to her my previous encounter with Stalker guy so now I tell her everything. While I'm on the phone with her, I hear another call coming in. Uh oh again. Stalker guy is trying to call me. Why god?? I ignore the call and continue talking to Jao. By the time I finish, the girl is laughing at me.

"Why did you give your number to him?" she asks incredulously.

"I don't know why. I just wanted to get rid of him the last time and giving him my number was my easy way out," I reply sadly. Of course I got the opposite of what I had in mind.

Stalker guy has been texting ang calling for some days now but I just ignored him. I have already told him to leave me alone and delete my number but he just won't quit. I am getting quite scared now.

Somehow our line got broken, and when I try to call Jao again, she's not answering anymore. So I try calling my officemate Cha. She stayed with me for 5 minutes until I finally reached the office.

Call me paranoid but those calls made me feel safe.

When I reach the office, my phone vibrates. I'm fearing it is Stalker guy but thankfully it's just Jao.

"Hi Jao! I'm in the office now," I say in a very relieved voice.

"What happened to our call? I thought someone has put a sack over your head and kidnapped you," she says jokingly.

"I tried to call you again but you wouldn't answer. Thanks a lot pal! Anyway, I just called an officemate until I reach the office," I say. And then I noticed my zipper was open. Gawd! Maybe this is why I have a stalker, maybe stalkers are attracted to exhibitionists.

I want to talk to her more but work has piled up already, so we say goodbye. I soon forget about Stalker guy but when I get to breath a little from work, I start to worry. I hate that this has to happen to me, but I got myself into this mess, I should tangle myself out of it.

Friday, July 07, 2006

An Open Letter to the Guy Who Borrowed the Sports Section of my Newspaper on the Mrt Station

Dear Sir,

Look, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings.

I was minding my own business, innocently reading the sports page of the daily while waiting for the train when you asked me who won in the semis. I figured you're not much of a football fan if you didnt know yet - so I said "France won 1-0 by a penalty shot". I thought that was the end of it but then you began asking more questions like which team I'm betting for in the finals(Italy!) or my bet for the 3rd place(Germany!) and the next thing I knew, I was sitting next to you in the train.

I was looking forward to a nice, quiet train ride while reading the news but I guess that was not to be so I reluctantly let you borrow the sports section. Maybe you were more interested in talking than in my newspaper because you began asking your next batch of questions. You asked for my name first - now I don't have any qualms giving my name to strangers because I think my name is very common thus forgettable. But you went on and on about the meaning of my name and you concluded it means a flower. Haha! I have to tell you it's just a little girl's name in my country, and I was told before that in India it means an old rich lady storekeeper.

Maybe you were satisfied with my answer because you proceeded with your next question which is - "Are you single?". Okay, I admit this one has caught me off guard - I was that surprised that I can only tell the truth. So I said yes. I mean why would you ask a stranger this question?? Why? I only answer this type of question when I fill up immigration forms in the airport or something like that.

By that time, I was starting to get really sorry that I brought a newspaper with me. I didn't know it can be such a stalker-magnet. Or maybe it was my eyes - yeah I think my eyes did it. Because yesterday, my eyes were all nice and blood-shot. From not getting enough sleep. From waking up at 3am in the morning for 2 consecutive days to watch the semis.

By the time you asked your next question, I convinced myself that I should lie. You wanted to know what time I usually leave work. Now, I'm not very sharp when I lack sleep but I think I realized then what you were up to. Most of the time, I leave the office by 7-8pm so I said around 9-10 pm. I was feeling smug about my lying when you said "Me too!". And what do you know, we get off at the same mrt station! You were still holding my newspaper so I was kinda waiting for you to hand it back which you did after a few more minutes of walking. I was congratulating myself by then, I managed not to be rude, and now I can continue my reading and I guess all in all you were a pretty harmless guy.

But why did you have to hand your phone to me? And ask me my number? You caught me off guard for the second time and damn it I couldn't invent a phone number that fast so I gave you my number. stupid stupid stupid. And that was the last time I have seen you. But not the last I have heard of you of course. After 3 text messages, and 4 missed calls from you - I realized ignoring you is not the way to get through you. I had to be cruel to be kind, so I sent you an honest and unmerciful message and it worked.

I wish you all the best, and I hope you should think of the train station next time not as a place to make friends but as a means of transportation.

Sincerely,
Lala

(I got the open letter idea from McSweeney's Open Letters to people or entities who are unlikely to respond. They're hilarious.)

Monday, June 12, 2006

my work sucks. big time. 11:30pm on a monday night and im still here in the office. sucks. im so sleepy. and my breath smells like onion. i just ate cheese fries which was full of onion stalks. my boss delivered it to my desk an hour ago. my former boss that is. she asked me to help out her team tonight since theyre doing some technical cutover-whatever. very big deal. for them. my phone rings once in a while and they would ask me to check logs, talk to some people, very boring stuff i tell you.

in other news, today is the 108th anniversary of the philippine's independence day. i dont know if anything has really changed - we're still fighting poverty, injustice and corruption and all that crap. but still, i wish i was home tonight.

room hunting blues: part 1

so n, beng and i went to see the condo yesterday. the first thing i noticed was there were no covered walkways. at all. and it was raining, that's why we took a cab going there. so we walked as fast as we could, getting a bit soaked and strenuously looking for the block number of the condo unit. it was kinda depressing, us - walking in the rain, big pool, no people around. anyway, we found the unit and beng commented they got a very nice and modern-looking door. i have to agree with her. the door opened, and this big, jolly guy greeted us - and then he and n began talking like they were best friends or something. turned out they worked on the same company before. small world, lah. so i thought this was a good sign. he showed us the unit then - it was very white, and spacious and orderly and clean. ridiculuosly clean. next he showed us my room. it was spacious alright. and has a queen-sized bed and a built-in cabinet. but it has this small window. which made the room look kinda dark and sad. and that was all i could think of afterwards. he showed us the kitchen, the laundry room, the common bathroom. all clean and white. and lastly, he showed us the bomb-shelter room. it's a pretty big room where they put all their boxes and luggages and he said i can store my bike there. coolness! the room even had a phone inside in case you get stuck inside when a bomb falls off. which made us think of the panic room movie. so this big guy and n chatted a little more and then i told him i'll think about the room first. he also advised us to walk in the basement on our way out, in case we don't have umbrellas. so that solves the covered walkway dilemma.

while on the cab on our way home, i had a survey on the unit. beng says she likes the unit(spacious, big pool, nice door) but thinks the unit is too clean. hmm.. good point. n tried to read me by saying i didnt like it. the boy was right but i wanted his opinion, so he said at least he knows the person i'll be living with(n says this guy reminds him of donish, which rocks because i miss donish) and my room was big but the condo was far from my office. all valid points. now i'm torn. i like the condo, and the fact that this guy i'll be living with reminds us of donish, but i dont like the small window in my room. hate that window. so i cant decide yet. i guess i'll still be on the look-out for other rooms. but this room is number 1 on my list, because that's all i have right now.

condo pics by the way, tell me what you think

Thursday, June 08, 2006

wanted: roommate/s

im moving. next month. im not really sure where. current contract will expire next month and i cannot possibly renew it on my own. thats right, ill be on my own. from living in a very comfortable and huge and homey 4-bedroom condo unit with friends, i am now forced to go solo. my roommates have decided to leave this ultra-modern and organized country. why you ask? because our job sucks. c-- is a crappy company and we're surrounded by really foul people and we're really just here for the money. if i was born rich and neil is not here, hell i'll leave too. but since im poor and n is here, i'll finish my 2-year contract with c--. anyway, one year down, one year to go baby. (so jao if you're reading this, im not a complete and total sellout. im also here for love hahaha)

did i already say im poor? i'll repeat, im poor. that means i cannot possibly get my own unit, what i need is to share a unit with other people. maybe share a unit with other people whom i don't really know. im scared. what if i dont get along with those people? what if they dont wash their dishes right away after eating or what if they hog the washing machine all weekend or what if they won't let me park my bike in the living room??? im telling all these fears a month ago to n and he suggested that i should calm down and ask friends first, maybe they have a vacant room i can rent. and that's what i did. a few weeks ago i sent an email to my friends and what did i get? nothing. one or two of them referred me to a room but those rooms did not pass my requirements. yes, of course i have requirements. what do you take me for? desperate? next month i'll be desperate. but this month i can still be picky. this is more or less what was in my email:

1. room should be spacious
2. unit should be in east coast area
3. condo should have an olympic size swimming pool
4. and since i sent it pinoy friends, that means i want pinoy roommates also.

a week ago i decided to drop requirement #2, as i still have zero options after that email. and you know what? i found one finally! ill be viewing the unit this saturday and i hope i will like it. n keeps on telling me i should keep my options open since this one is not really practical because a) the rent is almost twice as what im paying now, b) i will be farther away from the office and c) i dont really know the people i'll be living with. but im really not known to be a practical person and the first time i saw this condo(a year ago), i fell in love with it. so i defend it with the arguments that a) rents have really gone up this year and b) anywhere in singapore is not that far if you really think about it and c) i gave my future rommmate a call and he said i can park my bike in the living room so im sure he's a good person. i showed the condo pictures to beng, and she liked it right away so now im very very excited and wish it was saturday already.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Me and my bike


That's a photo of my bike while we were taking a break from a saturday afternoon biking at Bedok Reservoir Park. As you can obviously see, my bike was bored. It didn't help that the park was full of families and friends and lovers jogging/biking/fishing/kissing/[insert here other activities]. Heck, I even envy those folks giving their dogs a walk - at least they have someone to talk to. Sometimes it gets pretty lonely doing something on your own, and I guess that day turned out to be one. I noticed I've been pretty much autistic in my activities here in sg. Jogging, swimming, biking, yoga - I am always on my own. And I can be a really boring company as my bike would have told you. Maybe what I'm driving at is I miss team sports. For one, I miss dragonboat. You know how intense the energy is around you before a race? The counting, the furious paddling while trying to be in sync with everyone, the stench of the bay, the much deserved breakfast after a hard training, haay everything. Even in diving/climbing I get to have a buddy. Maybe I should join a basketball or football or whatever to feel some good ol' team spirit. Or maybe I just need to buy an iPod. (ding!)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Mt. Kota Kinabalu climb

The wind was howling, my wet gloved hands were already numb from the cold, my legs were begging me to rest and I was asking myself "why are you doing this to yourself again?". I was 4000 meters above ground, less than 100 meters more and I'll be on the highest peak of Mt. Kota Kinabalu but I was just so damn tired. Ayie - my climbing buddy was in front of me along with our mountain guide Hajirin when I stopped. I looked around and there it was - a vast expanse of rock granite peaks mostly covered with fog. It was so beautiful, like a scene from a sci-fi movie, but I didn't have the energy to take pictures :(. (damn heavy cameras) I was about to sit on the ground when Hajirin held out his hand to me and said "Come..". So much for my rest, I took his hand and we started the ascent again. After an eternity of crawling and wailing and gnashing of teeth, we finally made it to Low's peak at 4,092.5 meters! Bwaahaha! Top of Southeast Asia, baby! Yahooo!



The day before climbing the summit (Day 1)

Mt. KK has 2 trails - the old trail which starts at Timpohon gate and the longer, more challenging - Mesilau Trail. We decided to go for the Mesilau Trail going up (big mistake :)) The trail was mostly uphill, my backpack was so heavy, waah so tough lah. But it was interesting - along the trail - we found wild orchids, carnivorous pitcher plants, mushrooms, wild flowers, you name it. Aside from these plants, we also encountered cute mountain squirrels, green round birds, and the best one was a brown striped snake! :)


What's so cool (at least for me) about this trail is that every 500 meters or so, there is a toilet with a flush, a shelter and tadaa - a water faucet so you don't need to carry liters and liters of water. 500ml is enough. The best! (sana gawin din ito sa pinas)

After almost 9 hours of climbing(told you we were slow), we finally reached Laban Rata Resthouse(3,273m above sea level). Temperature was already 9.6c outside so it was heaven to finally reach our room. Dinner was superb, though I was the only one who seemed to like it(im happy as long as it's hot and filling). We had a room for ourselves, and it even had a heater. It was a nice good sleep especially after a hot shower. Around 2am, our alarm clock went off but we noticed it was raining outside. Hajirin told us if the rain continues, we might not be allowed to try the summit. But it did stop after a while(salamat talaga), so after a coffee and some toasted bread we started the tough journey up. Fog was everywhere thus no sunrise to experience, but we still reached the summit and I guess sunrise is just one more reason along with many others to come back. :)

More photos of the climb: Mt. KK climb pics

Our sidetrip pics:
Manukan & Sapi Islands
Exploring KK Town & Kiulu river rafting

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Coldplay for one night only!


Yiiiha! :) Coldplay is coming to Singapore on July 10th! I tell you, their tickets are selling like hotcakes so we bought ours today. I'm pretty sure it will be soldout in a few days so better book NOW(they started selling yesterday and now most of the seats are already sold).

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Watery blister on a retired mountaineer's toes

That's right. I got this yucky, watery, sometimes-painful blister on my little toe. Serves me right for wearing a threadbare worn-out old socks while breaking in my new hiking shoes. Hope it drains itself and heal before the climb.

I'm kind of in a panic mood these past few days. I haven't climbed in a year, and now that i think about it kota kinabalu seems pretty tough. I checked my workout plan - and it doesnt look good. My plan was 5x a week workout and this is what ive done during the last month:

Yoga - once a month
Biking - once a month
Jogging - once a week
Swimming - twice a week

Pathetic, I know. I have the endurance of a corpse. :( But i really am getting a bit worried now - my climbing buddies are like hard-core athletes. Let me introduce to you Team KK:

Climber #1
Name: Brian K.
a.ka.: The Runner
Activities: running, marathons, triathlons, football

Climber #2
Name: Wei-mun F.
a.ka.: The Swimmer
Activities: swimming, triathlons, wakeboarding

Climber #3
Name: Ayesha C.
a.ka.: The Yoga Master
Activities: yoga, tennis, jogging

Climber #4
Name: Lala P.
a.ka.: The Retired Mountaineer
Activities: cooking, biking(when i ran out of ingredients while cooking), swimming


Here's a Mt. Kota Kinabulu pic i got from wikipedia. Cool huh? :)

Name: Mt. Kota Kinabalu
Malay: Gunung Kinabalu
Height: 4,095.2 metres Low's peak
Location: Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia
Known as: highest mountain in South-East Asia

Anyway, I got some serious packing to do tonight since our flight to sabah is tomolo morning. Pray for a good weather for us, aight? :)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Quieng kids

sila ang mga cute na kids ni pareng jepoy: ang inaanak kong si enteng na ayaw ngumiti sa camera at si sheryl rose na bungisngis sobra.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Acer Service rocks!

My laptop is back :) with a spanking new motherboard. Acer delivered it to my office yesterday, as they have promised to fix it within 3 working days. It even came with a cool pink bubblewrap bag. Sweet!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Makalipas ang isang taon...


Yan ang kuha namin ni Beng sa ahon ng Mt. Guiting-Guiting nung nakaraang taon. Nakuha pa naming ngumiti pero sa totoo lang ito ang pinaka-challenging na bundok na naakyat namin. Nakakadala talaga:

Una - ang layo ng Sibuyan Island! 24 hours papuntang jump-off (3 boat rides, 1 tricycle).
Pangalawa - bukod sa mabigat na ang backpack namin dahil sa mga camping equipments ay nagbuhat pa kami ng tig-6 na litro ng tubig paakyat ng bundok.
Pangatlo - ang ibig sabihin ng Guiting ay "saw-tooth". Kaya pala. Dito bumigay ang Salomon ko.

Sobra nga yata kaming nadala kaya di na kami ulit nakaakyat ng bundok pagkatapos ng Guiting. (Pero nag enjoy kami sa guiting ha. Nag sidetrip pa kami sa bora - another 13 hours na byahe nga lang. At sumunod pa si augs - meeting place namin sa d'mall :) ) Pero siguro ang totoong rason e wala naman kaseng bundok dito sa gapor. Kaya eto long weekend pero nasa bahay lang kami.

Naalala ko lang ang Guiting kase sa wakas makakaakyat na ulit ako ng bundok! :) Kanina buong araw halos kami naghahanap ni N ng hiking shoes. Una sa Queen's Way - wala masyado. Kung meron man, bukod sa di ko gusto ang style, wala pang size ko. Sumunod naming puntahan - Suntec pero wala rin akong napili. Bihira ang nagbebenta ng hiking shoes dito, naisip namin wala nga kasing bundok dito e. Yung Salomon pala ay na pull-out na dito, sa pinas din daw. Bakit kaya?? Sa Tampines kami nakahanap sa wakas, Vasque ang brand. Libre ni N :) Birthday gift nya daw. Haha ito na yata ang pinakamaagang birthday gift na natanggap ko.

Kota, eto na kami! :)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Acer sucks!

Geesh. Less than 3 months old and now its dead. Last monday, the stupid thing just died on me. First, the monitor started blinking like crazy and wont turn off. So I released the battery to restart, but after pushing it back in, it won't turn on. Even with the A/C cord plugged in, it still won't boot. I tried to hold the button for 1 minute and nothing. Well, not really nothing because power LED is lighting up and I can hear the soft whirring of the fan but that's all. No boot, no hard drive spin noise, no screen, nothing. :(

Argh. Acer! Give me back my money! And to think I just finished paying this piece of junk.

Anyway, we'll bring this duo core shit to the service center this saturday. Their service center by the way is in the OTHER side of Singapore (20 mrt stations away from where I live). I love Acer.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Joey and son



Joey and Nate at Mcritchie Reservoir last easter sunday. Gwapo ni joey di ba? At si nate nakangiti pa. This was taken before we were drenched by a thunderstorm in the middle of the park with no shelter in sight. Sabi nga ni Nate "This is the most terrible adventure ever!" hehe. More pics and stories later.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Pass me the dictionary, will ya?



It was a sunny saturday afternoon, perfect for any outdoor activity - and we were all stuck in the house. Our unit's aircons were scheduled for servicing during the morning but the cleaners arrived after lunch. Gedemit, they almost ruined our plans for the day. Beng and I were planning to go church-hopping(Bisita Iglesia) and then check out the McRitchie Reservoir for some photo ops. Anet and Miko's friend Lani from Accenture is here for the holy week and today they plan to give her the Sentosa Island tour.

To kill some time till the cleaners are done, Beng, Lani and I played some board/word games. We started with scrabble - I ALWAYS lose to Beng in this game but not today. Bwahaha! Thanks to the letter 'X' plus the double-word and triple-letter score. :) Next game was Word Factory. After giving the container a good shake and flipping the timer, Lani immediately covered her paper(?!). She says she's just competitive but I think she's afraid we'll copy her answers hehe. After the time is up and we're about to read our list, we couldn't believe how many words Lani managed to find. She scored 20+ points while we got a measly 6/7 points. A few more shakes and the cleaners finally finished their job. As obviously seen from the pictures, Lani was such a camera-whore so we had some shots taken before leaving the house.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Changi Court

Ha! :) Finally, I can use my camera. I decided to get a 17-85mm canon lens 2 weekends ago, the manual says "Ideal lens for trips, being not only light and compact, but also serving almost all shooting needs from wide-angle scenics to medium telephoto portraits and action photography". The light and compact I dont totally agree because IT IS quite heavy - 30d body plus this lens can tire your arms easily. I guess I'll just have to get used to it. Anyway, now that I got the lens, where should I start taking pictures? N and Beng keep covering their faces everytime I point the camera in their direction. Damot.

So I stepped out of our unit and started shooting anything. Our condo is quite old but has a homey feel into it which is why we decided to rent in the first place.




From left to right: (1)a lone horse I found in an empty playground, (2)money plant in my room, (3)birds-of-paradise outside my window, (4)swimming lessons for kids, (5)electric meters, (6)a pathway near our unit - the second window is my room, (7)santan flowers, (8)white spider flowers, (9)shadows in the playground

Monday, April 03, 2006

brownout!

It was around 2am when the power went out. At first, I was confused - a brownout in Singapore? We figured maybe it would just be for a few minutes. And besides, our condo should have a generator, right? Wrong! It turned out to be a very sweaty, sticky, humid night. By 10 am the next day, we still don't have power. I was getting a bit worried by then, so I called up Joey to ask how are they doing with the brownout and all. And the answer I got was "What brownout?". So I marched to the guards room to check what could possibly be wrong. I'm sure we paid our last month's SP bill so its not possible they stopped their services. I was expecting to see sweaty folks like me complaining to the guards but when I got there - it was just me. Haay turned out our unit is the only one with the power problem. He asked me for my unit number, and after 5 minutes - everthing was back to normal :) Lights, aircon, mabuhay! The guard said it was a power trip - we probably have some faulty appliance thats why. If it happens again they'll check all our appliances to see who's the culprit. For now, I can finally cook some rice and catch up some sleep with aircon set on full blast. :)

Lessons Learnt:
Brownout? Here? Impossible.

Monday, March 27, 2006

At least I gave it a shot. Now I know what to expect. And so the countdown down starts again. 1 year, 3 months and 15 days to go girl. It's not that bad really, but still its not what I would want to do if I had the choice. But the pay man, think about the pay! Haay Im talking to myself again. (If tiongks can see me now, I can already hear his "I told you so")

I just talked to my boss today, asking her to give me dev work. She said its not possible right now, but she'll consider me once there is an available slot. In the meantime, I'll read my canon 30d manual during office hours while waiting for the next payday.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Altered jeans and a camera with no lens

I never really cared much about my height, I've always considered it as average - I got no complaints. Except when I'm buying a pair of jeans, sometimes I wish I was a bit taller. It's seldom that I find a jeans that fits me lengthwise - either I have to fold the jeans or wear it as it is with the risk of stepping on it. I already had a few jeans altered to solve this but the pants never look the same - I want to preserve that cool "frayed look" on the hem. That is until Miko(he does it all the time) suggested that I ask the tailor to remove the original hem, alter the length and then stitch it back on. Coolness!


I brought 3 of my jeans to a tailor last week with these instructions - out of 3 they got 2 right. The tailor explained how she noted what must be done in chinese but her assistant has done the altering for the first pair and she didnt know how to read chinese etc etc - in short she refunded my 7 dollars back. The other 2 jeans look great though so I'm still one happy dude. :)

In other news, my camera finally arrived tonight! Yahoohoo! I had to borrow Beng's lens to take a few shots because all I have right now is a camera body. I'm already too sleepy to read the manual but so far I L-O-V-E my 30D :) The controls are very easy to navigate and I love how solid the magnesium-alloy body feels in my hands.

Some of the shots I tried using 30D:

Friday, March 17, 2006

Last 15 minutes

Friday na naman.

Eto ko sa harap ng computer - inip na inip at naghihintay na mag alas-7 para makauwi na. Isang linggo na kase akong walang ginagawa. Nalipat ako sa bagong project(di na kami magka team ni Miko), at ang sabi ng bago kong amo - magbasa daw ako. Mag-aral ng websphere. Haay nakakaantok kaya ang magbasa lang buong araw(5 araw na!). Etong masakit na ang tenga ko kakapakinig ng mp3. Ang mga binabasa kong printout - na shade-an ko na ng red ballpen ang lahat ng letrang O, P, B, q, A, atbp. Naka ilang "yosi" break na ko. Nabasa ko na ang inquirer(65% daw ng mga pinoy ay sang-ayon na magresign na si arroyo) at ang blog ng mga kaibigan ko. Pero di pa rin uwian. Ang bagal talaga ng oras pag wala kang ginagawa. Kaya naisip ko na lang tawagan ang mga kabarkadahan:

Si joey - ayun lungkot na lungkot pa rin. Di daw maubos ang trabaho nya(buti pa sya). Bday nya bukas pero di sya masaya e.

Si beng - nanggalaiti kanina. Bad trip sya dahil may pinadala syang sulat via speedpost pero di pa rin daw dumadating sa pinas.

Si neil - medyo busy sa work. At busy lalo dahil lilipat na sila ng mga housemates nya sa bagong condo.

Si miko - katabi ko lang pero di ko makausap. Buong araw na sya sa phone. Sabi nya babalik daw sya mamayang 1am dito sa office dahil may con call. Kawawang bata.

Si anet at si jepoy - di ko pa natawagan.

Oo nga pala nandito sa gapor ang Rivermaya para sa Mosaic Music Festival! May free concert sila mamaya sa Esplanade. Rock en Roll na! :)

Tignan mo nga naman 15 minutes na lang pala uwian na.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sana sweldo na

Isa na talaga kong material girl. Sawang-sawa na kase akong manghiram palagi kaya bumili na ko ng camera. Kanina :) Mabuhay ang credit card ni N!

Ang napili ko - Canon EOS 30D. Bagong model ito, kakalabas lang last february, isa syang upgraded version ng award winning Canon EOS 20D. Camera body lang ang binili ko, plano ko sanang bumili ng lens na all-in-one, yun bang pwedeng wide angle at telephoto para magaan at isa na lang ang dala ko pag nagtravel. (Ang tanong kelan ako makakapagtravel? Kailangan ko munang bayaran itong camera.)


Naubos na nga lang ang stock kaya after 2 weeks ko pa makukuha. Pero ang mga freebies ay bitbit ko na:

1. 2 x 1G CF Card
2. EOS bag
3. Sling bag
4. Lens Workbook
5. Photo Printer & pack of 4R papers
6. Fundamentals of SLR Photography Voucher
7. Water bottle

Panalo di ba? Pagkatapos ay sinamahan kong bumili ng computer table si N. Pero napabili na naman ako(ayaw magpaawat):

1. Nike running shoes (Iniwan ko ang rubber shoes ko sa shoerack sa labas ng bahay namin. Ayun nanakaw. Kahit saan talaga may magnanakaw)
2. 2 Nike sports bra
3. 1 Puma workout pants
4. 1 white rag para sa kwarto ko
5. 1 money plant
6. 1 book - A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin

Sa lahat ng nabili ko ngayon(wala pa kse yung camera), pinaka natuwa ako sa halaman ko :) Eto may supply na ko ng oxygen sa kwarto ko.

PS
Kinasal na nga pala si Sym at Bok kahapon. Mabuhay ang bagong kasal!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Triangles and parallelograms

Gateway Towers, Singapore

I was astounded the first time I saw this building. The two towers were like giant sheets of steel sticking from the ground. How can offices fit in that space? Whoever conceptualized it was a genius! a magician!

Then I stumbled upon this while reading Lonely planet singapore:
"These sleek glass and steel twin towers, designed by IM Pei as identical parallelograms, appear two-dimensional no matter what angle you glance at them."

Hmmm... Interesting. IM Pei. IM Pei. Sounds familiar but I cant place from where. Thanks to google as al-ways, I finally remembered. The French President Mitterand commisioned him to renovate the Louvre, he's the chinese-american architect who designed the controversial glass pyramid which serves as the entrance to the largest museum in the world. Think Da Vinci Code fame. :)

Grand Louvre, Paris

Now that got me intrigued to read more of him. The architectural beauty Bank of China Tower in Hongkong was also his work. It was inspired by the growth patterns of bamboo symbolising livelihood and prosperity.

Bank of China Tower, Hongkong

And where to start hunting his others works than here in Singapore:
(I am one lucky girl to be able to see 3 of it already)

Raffles City is a large complex which contains the world's tallest hotel


OCBC Tower. The building is nicknamed by Singaporeans as the "calculator".

Now all I need is a camera and a weekend to get my own IM Pei shots.

Photos from:
All photos except Gateway - http://www.pcfandp.com/
Gateway - http://www.buildersfederal.com/cw/Gateway_Singapore.htm

These buildings are just a few of his works, you can see more of his creations here:
http://www.algonet.se/~pwh/pwpei90-94.htm
http://www.pcfandp.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I.M._Pei

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Kwentong Bike

"Gustong-gusto mo bumili, di ka naman pala gaanong marunong" sabi ni N nung subukan kong sakyan yung bike na minamataang kong bilhin. Medyo nanginginig nga ako at halatang hirap makakuha ng balance pero syempre nangatwiran ako. "Mataas kase masyado yung upuan, pwede bang babaan?" Sabi nung may-ari ng bikeshop pwede nya daw lagariin yung seat post kung gusto ko. Wala ng atrasan ito, lalagariin na pala e. Pero sigurado na ko, itong bike na ito talaga ang gusto ko. 4 out of 5 ang score nya sa must-haves ko:

1. dapat discbrakes - check
2. dapat magaan - check
3. dapat pasok sa budget ko - check!
4. dapat medyo kilala ang brand - di ko talaga kilala ang kona, plano kong bilhin ay ang giant na brand. pero mas nagustuhan ko ang porma ng kona, 2006 model pa! Sabi pa ng salesman pang professional daw ang bike na 'to. san ka pa! :) so check din.
5. dapat kulay white or red, na medyo chrome ang dating. dito sumablay kase yung nagustuhan kong model - blue lang ang kulay, shiny pa. pero nung tinitigan ko maganda naman pala. poging-pogi ang bike ko :)

Nagbike na lang kami pauwi ng bahay, angkas-angkas ako ni N kaya napatunayan agad naming matibay ang bike na ito. Yahoo


Friday, February 24, 2006

pekeng pangulo

potek... kung nasa pinas sana ko ngayon, sigurado kasama ko sa mga raliyista.

nagdeklara kanina ng state of emergency si arroyo, may mga nagpa plano daw ng coup d etat laban sa gobyerno. bawal na daw ang magrally. pwede na daw ang warantless arrests. si randy david inaresto rin daw.

grabe naiiyak ako sa inis habang pinapanood ko ang video nya sa www.inq7.net. ang kapal ng mukha nya, sya pa ang "nagbabala sa mga nagtataksil daw sa bayan".

para sa self proclaimed best person/best president to lead the country until 2010, dapat ngang matakot sya.

laban pinoy, laban!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

better to be paranoid than blind

I got a call earlier tonight from N to check out the news on tv - The Health Ministry here in Singapore has strongly urged those using Bausch and Lomb's ReNu multipurpose solution to stop, until investigations are complete.

Currently, a total of 39 cases were detected of fungal infections of the eye among contact lens users - 3 or 4 of them has to undergo corneal transplant to save their sight.

Bausch and Lomb's ReNu solution has a strong association with the fungal infection cases, says the Health Ministry.

A total of 35 out of the 39 contact lens wearers infected with the Fusarium solari fungus said they had used the solution.

Dr Chan Wing Kwong, Head of Refractive Surgery Service at the Singapore National Eye Centre, said: "The reason that we are worried is that fungus is slow to present. In fact due to the biology of the fungi, they grow quite easily in the eye without causing too many symptoms and sometimes it can be days or weeks later before they start to present. "They will start to present similarly with redness and pain and poor vision but they will present late and therefore the loci of the infection are now bigger.

Now that's scary. I've been using ReNu solution for years. I even have 3 unopened bottles in my closet not to count the one I'm using now. I guess I have to buy new solutions tomorrow. How troublesome.

Source: channelnewsasia

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The case of the missing hard boiled eggs

So how can you tell a hard boiled egg from a raw egg if they got mixed up in your fridge?

Last night, I was all set to prepare an egg sandwich spread. I've already boiled half a dozen eggs but I got too sleepy to finish up so I just placed the eggs in a bowl and left them in the fridge. Well tonight, just as I was about to resume I found out my eggs were missing! No sign of the bowl. There's no way a person in our house can eat 6 eggs in one go so Beng concluded that maybe someone has returned my hard boiled eggs in the shelf along with all the raws. I asked Anet but she said she hasnt seen any eggs so my only suspect would be Miko. Miko the guilty one admitted he thought the eggs were still raw so he just put them back in the shelf. At first we just looked closely at the eggs and shake em up a bit - we cant tell by the color alone because egg shells here in Singapore are pink. Then he got an idea - he began spinning the eggs like a top. Hard boiled eggs spin effortlessly while a raw egg will wobble. That's because a hard boiled egg is already solid. Haha genius! We felt like we were in some science lab experiment or something.

I still like my idea better though, easiest way to know is to crack em open :)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

2 million jacket at iba pang kwento

Nabili ko rin ang matagal ko nang pinapangarap na jacket. Dito sa gapor, 89 sgd lang sya - natyempuhan ko pang 10% off. Pero nung una ko syang makita - nagkakahalaga sya ng 2 million -- dong. Unang gabi namin ni beng nun sa Hanoi, Vietnam... naglalakad lang kami, patingin-tingin ng mga jacket sa tindahan. Di kase namin akalain na malamig pala sa Hanoi. Sabi kase sa Lonely Planet - dry season daw ang January. Kaya dumating kami ng naka sando, tokong at tsinelas. Tanghali yun pero mga 12 degrees pala sa labas. Ang mga tao naka jacket, bonnet, gloves, scarf!

Sa dinami-dami ng binebentang jacket dun e yung 2 million(1 usd = 16,000 dong) pa ang nagustuhan ko, masyadong mahal kaya di na lang ako bumili. Pinahiram naman ako ni jao ng extra jacket nya, medyo manipis pero pwedeng pagtyagaan.

Maganda ang Hanoi, madaming lakes, parks, museums. Nakita pa namin ang labi ni Ho Chi Minh. Pero di ang mga yan ang maaalala mo sa syudad na ito. Ang palaging bumabalik sa isip ko ay ang pambihirang mga kalye ng Hanoi. Hanep talaga. Sigurado ako lahat ng tao dun may bike o motorbike. Promise. Ang kalsada punong-puno ng bike at motorbike. Bihira ang kotse, kung meron siguro ang ratio 50:1.





Ang madalas naming problema dun e pano tumawid. Kelangan talaga matatag ang loob mo. Di ako OA, kawawa ka kung pedestrian ka dun. Kaya nung huling araw namin, nagtapang-tapangan ako at nag arkila ng bike. Masarap ang feeling, parang taga-dun ako. Pero sa huli naligaw na ko, madami kaseng one-way na kalsada tapos medyo bobo pa kong magbasa ng mapa.

Ang bike ko at ang Hanoi Opera House

Bitin pero masaya ang trip namin sa Hanoi. Sigurado babalik ako. (Kinulang kami sa oras at di ko natikman ang Bia Hoi. Ito daw ang world's cheapest beer)

isang tindera ng prutas sa hanoi

More Hanoi pics.

Sa Bangkok


Bago kami pumunta ng Hanoi, dumaan muna kami ng Bangkok. Sa bangkok na rin kami nagkita-kita nina jao, sym at luv. Shopping talaga ang sadya namin ni beng dun, tinapat pa namin na weekend para sa Chatuchak weekend market. Napakalaki ng market na ito, may lampas 15,000 shops ang laman nito. Sabi nga ni jao, ano kayang itsura ng lugar na ito pag weekday?

Matapos ang sulit na shopping, dumiretso kami sa Lumphini Stadium. Gusto kase namin manood ng Muay Thai Boxing. Bago nga kami umalis ng gapor, nanood muna kami ni beng ng pelikulang Ong Bak - thai film sya tungkol sa isang monk na eksperto sa muay thai. Ang muay thai ay isang martial art kung saan ginagamit ang kamay, paa, siko, tuhod at ulo para dumepensa. Medyo mahal ang tiket, inabot kami ng 2000 baht pero maganda naman ang mga laban. Meron pang na knockout. Pero mas maganda at mas violent ang napanood namin sa Ong Bak. Panira talaga ang mga pelikulang yan. Tsk Tsk


Kinabukasan matapos kaming mag shopping. na naman, pinuntahan namin ang Grand Palace at ang iba pang mga temple sa tabi nito. Pangatlong beses ko na ito sa bangkok pero ngayon lang ako nakarating dito. Malayo pa lang ay kumikinang na ang grand palace, marami sa mga structure dito ay gawa sa ginto(malamang gold-plated). Ayos lang, di ako gaanong bumilib sa grand palace. Naglagay pa sila ng miniature ng Angkor Wat dun kaya mas lalong maikukumpara mo ang dalawa. Malayong-malayo ang agwat nila. (Sangkatutak ang turista at napakainit ng panahon kaya siguro di ko nagustuhan dito)


Pero ang mga templo, sulit. Ang Wat Pho ang pinakamalaki at pinakamatandang templo sa Bangkok. Sa loob nito ay nakalagay ang buddha na may laking 46m long at 15m high. Nakakamangha talaga.

Ang Wat Pho

Malapit dito ay ang Wat Arun, isang templo na mararating mo sa pagsakay sa bangka. Kakaiba ang templong ito dahil pinalamutian ito ng pira-pirasong china porcelain tiles. Lalong nagustuhan ko ang lugar na ito dahil tahimik at konti lang ang turista.

Kami ni Beng sa Wat Arun

Kinagabihan nagshopping na naman kami. At ang huling hirit, sinubukan namin ang thai foot massage. Panalo! Sulit na sulit ang trip na ito. :)

More Bangkok pics.

PS
Salamat N sa trip na 'to. Sana sa susunod kasama na kita. :)

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