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Filipino American Expat in Singapore

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The LGBT rights movement took a momentous leap forward in 2013 with the United States Supreme Court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA. The Obama administration stopped defending DOMA and a colourful roster of characters including Edith Windsor shattered that glass ceiling. Love is spreading.

In California, Proposition 8 was ruled unconstitutional which restores same-sex marriage in what I consider my home state.

While more mainstream personalities are coming out of the closet and the level of LGBT acceptance reaching historical highs (including Pope Francis’ statement “Who am I to judge?”)… the LGBT movement has setbacks in countries like Russia, India, and Uganda.

Let’s see how this momentum will continue in 2014.

Everybody knows that Singapore loves to eat. You have hawker stalls, coffee shops, fast food, Indian, Malay, Chinese, Western… so much to choose from. There’s one fast food franchise in Singapore that honestly pales in taste compared to neighbouring Malaysia (and gravy-loving Philippines as well)… it’s KFC!

I have not been impressed with KFCs in Singapore.  The original recipe here is bland! A highlight when crossing the causeway to get to Johor Bahru, Malaysia is the opportunity to taste the KFC over there… and it is tasty and true enough to be finger lickin’ good. But in Singapore? The sole Jollibee in Singapore takes a foothold.

Don’t get me started on local KFC mashed potato!

But for this post who cares muna. We went ahead to try KFC Singapore’s latest gimmick, the KFC Spicy Korean Craze! Nako, Korean cuisine is one of my favourites in Asia.

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I noted three variations of the KFC Spicy Korean Craze. First was the Spicy Korean Burger with Spicy Korean Fries and lemonade. The second was the 2 pcs. Spicy Korean Chicken Crunch and lemonade. The third was a burger and 1 pc. Spicy Korean Chicken Crunch. All three are individually priced no less than SGD 8.20 (PHP 275.00+). To gauge, the basic 2 pcs. chicken meal is no less than SGD 6.50 (PHP 221.00+).

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The Spicy Korean Craze Crunch that came with the burger set was a tiny leg (as usual the pieces are small, let’s not start the great KFC debate on how these chickens were raised). It came sprinkled generously with sesame seeds. The glaze is just like a spicy variant of barbecue sauce.

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You’ll notice we had the chicken as take-away since the KFC near our flat was crowded.

Neil was the first to try and his description was a dramatic………. “okay lang” haha

When I left the Philippines in 2012, Bon Chon was all the craze… I hated it… and this one was no exception. Anong Korean dito? What’s Korean about the taste?! lol Just another fast food gimmick like the Kampong burger at McDonalds. (Isn’t Kampong the localised version of barangay… like a little village? Barangay burger? Imagine.)

I already pre-empted the experience by ordering for take-away 2 original recipe chicken wings ala carte (SGD 3.00 or PHP 102.00). So I munched on that instead.

KFCs are all over Singapore. Some of the best chicken I’ve had are at hawker centres or like at famed stalls you can find at Chomp Chomp in Serangoon. The chicken at Jollibee here in Singapore manages to hold its own. Because I love gravy.

This is the portion where I brag about all the gifts I received this Christmas so you can go ahead and skip reading this. But it’s not like I’m a materialistic freak show anyway. This is a sincere thanks to my family and friends who were thoughtful this season. Special mention to Dessie, you’ll understand why in a bit.

First of all, here is our Christmas setup at our humble HDB flat in Singapore:

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I got the Christmas tree at Groupon! For real Christmas trees, you know… the ones that I would imagine smell as sweet as Alaska, you can get them from Thomson Road here in Singapore. But I wouldn’t know what to do with it once the season was over. The decorations are from IKEA (couldn’t find meatball ornaments though). The Christmas lights are from FairPrice Finest (think SM Supermarket). The boxes under the tree are from Lacoste and Louis Vuitton =p =p

My housemate added a few candy canes for added effect. Kaso hindi namin na-consider ang humidity ng Singapore… so some of the candy canes melted… ang sweet ng tree namin 🙂

Underneath the tree:

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Effort Dessie! Special mention to you!

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The boyfriend, excited as always.

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Thanks Jenny for the placemats, drink coasters, and adorable sandok!

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So cute!

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Gifts from my housemates and from Toni, which I brought over from the Philippines.

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My mom gave me a t-shirt (she also gave one to Neil, yihee!), a religious diary and a heartwarming card.

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This one was gifted by my former officemate DJ. Look, Neil already ate through half of it.

Thank you for the thoughtful Christmas gifts! The smartphone case from my housemate, the Astroboy tee and office notepads from Toni, the pencil case from Dessie, a t-shirt and religious diary from my mom (plus the card, perhaps a nod to my coming out to her earlier this year)… and the cashew polvoron from DJ… which Neil is almost done with.

My cousin in the states also snail mail’d holiday greetings. It’s nice to see photos of family back there.

Let’s end this post with a version of the ABS-CBN 2013 Christmas SID made by some of our friends here in Singapore. If you watch through it… my boyfriend is there swinging his arms around.

Merry Christmas!

Ah… the crowded shopping malls and apocalyptic traffic could not stop me from flying home to the Philippines for Christmas. It’s the season to spend time with family, friends and shady male massage therapists lol.

And no, this time I didn’t book the usual PAL or Cebu Pacific (both were charging higher than most other carriers, even SQ). I booked a return flight on Malaysia Airlines because journeys are made by the people you travel with and I happened to be travelling on my own so I guess I didn’t get a journey, but rather an experience…

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Note: The iconic sarong kebaya uniforms. Don’t note: The older MH 737 I got (SIN-KUL).

Look at this pretty MH bird parked at KLIA. It’s a Boeing 737-800, brand new seats with individual IFES (inflight entertainment system for non-AV geeks). Syempre may special mention ang IFES ‘cuz I usually fly PAL or 5J to Manila… which don’t sport IFES but instead chatty FAs on PR and perky pen-or-pouch wielding FAs on Cebpac.

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Malaysia Airlines is part of one world alliance. (Cathay, Qatar Airways, American Airlines)

You may have noticed that I skipped blogging about departing from Singapore’s Changi, a place I worship… see photos on my IG feed instead. This #MHjourney brought me to KLIA for the first time. I frequent the budget terminal LCCT (I miss that signature tropical scent near OldTown)… so imagine how wide-open my eyes were at KLIA. Oh wow… airplane models, another OldTown coffee shop, and speed aerotrains… omg Burger King!!

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The stars. KLIA keeping it modern.

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I spotted the PR and 5J models inside a glass case towards the back.

Failed side trip: My objective was to have lunch at KFC because the KFCs in Malaysia are truly finger lickin’ good, not like the bland bland bland KFCs in Singapore. So happens that accessing the KFC means going past immigration. Haggard. Ayoko kasi ma-Tom Hanks dito.

I took the aerotrain to the satellite structure (okay so at the time, I had no idea which was which, basta lang may aerotrain connecting two parts of the airport). At the other side there’s this giant atrium much like the one sa Gateway in Cubao. Lakas ng loob ko to go inside by myself (tourista lang)… only to feel a few spider webs clinging to my skin. French exit!

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All airports in Southeast Asia should have this.

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This satellite structure houses all the airline lounges for business and first class passengers. Some lounges have windows you could peek through (voyeur lang). Others like Emirates had one exclusive doorway (nightclub?) and your imagination could only hope that tarpauline outside depicting ano meron sa loob was true. Bilang isang economy passenger lang ako, bumagsak ako sa Burger King. It was the only fast-food option there. I ordered a Whopper Jr. but after struggling with my bags to get to my table and realising mali ang laman ng wrap, I just ate whatever it was lol.

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At MYR 14.00, still cheaper than any BK back in Singapore.

KLIA has massage chairs (Rest & Go, priced at MYR 3.00, 5.00 and 10.00), movie/news/sports viewing areas, lots and lots of chairs, free wi-fi across the terminals… wide spaces, airy feeling… definitely at par with the airport in Bangkok, Singapore, and even Jakarta (I give CGY plus points for design).

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Sit back and put your feet up.

I took the aerotrain back to the main structure so I could board my flight to Manila. Lots and lots of Pinoys were gathered… oh the spirit of Christmas bringing home so many OFWs.

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Onboard an MH flight to Manila. It’s a 737-800 with two-class seating.

I booked a seat at the first row of Economy since this was a 3.5 hour flight. Yay for IFES so I could catch “One More Try”, the sole Filipino film offering. Crazy film btw… watching Angelika and Angel bickering. Jusko, sex lang with Dingdong para magka-baby that will save the first kid. Daming isyu.

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Inflight meal options were chicken (Satay, with rice) or beef (noodles). I went for the chicken satay. Airplane food, Georgy and not Jalan Alor levels. It was OK.

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I’m saving the Mars for my boyfriend since it’s his favourite.

Nothing much else happened but I did enjoy the flight. Beautiful skies. Seeing the little islands and atolls of the Philippines thousands of feet below. It was gorgeous. I finished the flight off with an episode of Fashion Police.

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What island is that?

Our plane landed on schedule and unlike the 6:30pm sunsets I’ve gotten used to in Singapore, it was already dark in Manila.

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Passengers from jumbo jets origination from Sydney and Hong Kong sharing the same belt. Haggard!

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Christmas decorations at NAIA Terminal 1.

I met my parents at the arrivals area. As I stepped outside just past the guard, I saw a woman and her child try to pickpocket the luggage of the man in front of me.