SG Flashback Friday No. 2

Every Flashback Friday I'll share photos that were taken at some point in the past two years during my blogging hiatus.

This week we flashback to April 2012. I was living in a backpackers’ hostel in Lavender during my job hunting period. At the time these photos were taken, I had already accepted a job offer. 🙂

Since my future office was just a bus stop away from MacRitchie Reservoir, I invited my friend Bau, and three other friends I met at the hostel, to join me and my boyfriend on a little hike at the MacRitchie trails.

First, we needed to store up on some energy so we headed over to the Wendy’s near our hostel. At the time, I was unemployed for about six months already so eating at Wendy’s where a burger meal is SGD 12.00 (PHP 400.00+) was almost impractical. I ate like mixed veggie rice (yung parang turo-turo) so much that I feel like throwing up when I think about it now. Grabe ang tipid days namin when we were looking for a job.

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I love my boyfriend’s photo here.
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(L to R) Neil, Douglas and Eric (friends from the hostel), and Bau
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Buses that call at 51071 MacRitchie Reservoir.

MacRitchie Reservoir is almost at the center of the island of Singapore. It is an ideal place for jogging, hiking, and appreciating tropical nature. Honestly, it’s amazing that a highly urbanised island city-state like Singapore manages to maintain these beautiful nature reserves.

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Neil, Douglas, and Eric
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We shared bunks with seven other backpackers at a time. This happened for two months!
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Eric was also hunting for a job during those days.
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We still looked fresh here.
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Ate Marichu (the girl there) was the receptionist at the hostel. Super friendly. I miss her!
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Ate Marichu and Neil would have coffee sessions every night. While Mandy.com was on.

It was a gorgeous sunny day in Singapore. It was nice to see so much landscape in Singapore. At the time, all I had been exposed to was Singapore’s urban side. I had to take this sight in and breathe a little. Maybe even pinch myself… “I’m in Singapore!”

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The part of MacRitchie Reservoir that sits closest to the park and bus stop.
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Douglas and Ate Marichu.
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Dessie also joined us for our little hike.

From the bus stop you can enter the MacRitchie Reservoir park which has manicured lawns, running paths, benches and exercise equipment. There are various trails at MacRitchie that depend on how far or how much time you wish to spend there. We took one of the smaller trails.

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Here we go!
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We had just started our hike. Look at our enthusiasm!
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The trail was pretty laid out already.
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Occasionally a runner would pass by us.
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There were lots of monkeys!

After only a kilometre into the 8 or 9-km trail, we were already feeling beat by the tropical humidity. Grabe di ba! Kain agad.

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Pagod na agad?!
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Useful trail markers.
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Beware.

The weather started to change slightly as we went deeper into the MacRitchie trail. It started to become a bit cloudy.

Neil
Neil
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Douglas
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We were excited to visit the TreeTop Walk but didn’t realise how far inside it was.

We wanted to give up since we weren’t prepared for the heat and humidity. Most of us didn’t bring enough water and snacks. Eventually, with a little push, we made it to the TreeTop Walk. What a relief!

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TreeTop Walk at MacRitchie Reservoir.
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Is Dessie afraid? 😛
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Ate Marichu didn’t realise we were going on a long hike hahahaha.
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Letting my hair down ‘yo.
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Best. Pic. Everrrr.
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Ate don’t.
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I think dog’s weren’t allowed on the bridge. But madam managed to let it pass.

Afer the bridge we were worried it would start raining and we would get stuck in the middle of the MacRitchie trails. Worse, I was afraid of lightning because lightning is CRAZY in Singapore.

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Wooden paths. You get the idea that these trails are pretty much laid out. hehe
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Ayan basa na ang pathway
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The first two hours it was like a yellow brick road. Now I’m hungry but no food!
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I don’t want to be here at night.
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I’m getting hungrrrryyy

The following photos were taken about three hours into our 8 or 9 kilometre walk into the MacRitchie trails. We wanted to get out na by this point kasi gutom na kami lahat.

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Okay this is getting too real.
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Deep inside Singapore.
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No snakes. Bet they are watching football or something. (Gutom na ako!)
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Pagod na!
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Suddenly in the middle of nowhere a map… followed by a shed with bathrooms, a vending machine, water fountains… goodness how convenient. This is Singapore.

Yes we wanted out. Kasi ‘di kami prepared. If you flashback this Flashback Friday you’d notice again that we were wearing casual clothes! As if we were headed to City Square Mall instead of the jungle. LOL.

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What we wore in the jungle. Haha! Yung bag mo Ate Marichu. Jungle day.
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Yes let us out!
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You can get prosecuted for feeding the monkeys.
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But the monkeys have already found a way to help themselves. (Malamang.)

Looking back… we took the funniest exit ever. We walked towards the service road which brought us past a military facility (!!). Parang no one was walking around that area. Mala-Lost ang itsura namin.

Venus Road… where the hell is that?!

This service road snaked its way around a golf course before it spit us out along Upper Thomson Road. Having enjoyed the first two hours of the hike… followed by two agonising hours trying to find our way out of MacRitchie trails… we hopped onto a bus that took us to nearby Ang Mo Kio. Haha.

Nakakaloka ang ma-lost ka sa MacRitchie. With big maps and well-maintained trail paths… who the hell gets lost there haha. Parang tanga lang but it was real fun to bond with ze friends from the hostel.

If you’re wondering why I didn’t use GPS or something… this is the reason why:

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That’s my phone model when I started out in Singapore. OMG. But that’s also the phone model where I received a call from HR telling me about a job offer. Happy days!

Next week on Flashback Friday: The intrigues living inside a backpackers’ hostel.

MacRitchie Reservoir is a fun place for nature lovers. Learn more about it by visiting this website.

Throwback Thursday: 2nd Year College Reco

I’m starting a throwback thursday series on ohGeorgyy. My challenge is that for a photo or video to qualify, the content must have been taken more than 10 years back. Knowing myself… kung ano-ano kinukuhanan kong picture. My friends were patient with me. I argued with one of them when he wasted my film pa nga! Haha!

To kick off the first #ThrowbackThursday on ohGeorgyy… we travel back to 2003 when I was a college sophomore.

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I studied at a (medyo, somewhat) religious university so that meant having recollections each year.

Recollections. Supposed to be a spiritual retreat but ends up being a venue where pwede maglabas ang mga sama ng loob kung meron. Haha! But particularly in my sophomore recollection, held just outside Tagaytay in the mountains… this was about love! Ang daming nag-eexchange ng candles during one portion… tapos puro yihee maririnig mo… oh those days! (I used to be “straight” pa!)

The full set of photos from this “2nd year recollection” has a lot of funny photos kasi… parang, out of this world. Yung mga mag-jowa dati… girl-boy relationships ha… super holding hands sila. I mean, it’s sweet to look at… but so funny din kasi these days, some are married na… have kids… are about to have kids… mix and match… and dahil students kami ng liberal arts… more than half the boys in the class have since come out as bisexual or gay.

Hail to thee our alma mater… *wink

 

Thai food concept ‘BangkokJam’ in Singapore

Ang daming gastos lately so I have been trying to save where I can. Unfortunately, that means scrimping on restaurants for the past few weeks. Leslie’s Tagaytay was an exception last Christmas… but back in Singapore… puro hawker food kinakain ko lately. Ang mahal mahal kasi ng pagkain dito. Actually lahat naman ng bagay dito ay mas-mahal compared sa Manila.

But I couldn’t help it.

Papayag na sana ako mag KFC na lang (haha!) but it was a Sunday and kating kati na ako mag-restaurant uli. We ended up at a cute place called BangkokJam (no space) at the new wing of Plaza Singapura. What sold me was the “Thai Milk Tea” on the menu at the entrance. I love Thai milk tea so much I could practically bathe in it!

Winning menu design. Contemporary and not trying hard.

Like 98% of the restaurants in Singapore at 7:00pm, the place was  full of people. I noticed families, businessmen (huh, Sunday?), couples gay and straight all enjoying their meals. Appears this place has a following. The pleasant restaurant manager (I presume, he was in smart casual) allowed us to sit at a larger table.

Immediately you’ll notice the quirky interior. Like street posts with road signs of familiar Bangkok streets. They had pseudo power lines with pink birds (an interpretation I guess of Bangkok’s hot pink taxis). Even the drink coasters were cute!

Bangkok I love you!

It took us a few minutes to look through the menu (which is strange because it’s just two sides and not a family album like Thai Express). Nakakaloka kasi ang in-order lang namin was the basic stuff like Thai milk tea and noodles.

Huwag niyo na pansinin yung mga galing CR.

I ordered the Stir-fried egg noodle with crab meat and bacon (SGD 11.90 or PHP 420.00) while Neil tried the seafood pad thai (SGD 11.90 or PHP 420.00).  Both of us had Thai milk tea (SGD 4.80 or PHP 170.00). The 7% GST not included. Bale umabot din kami ng tig-SGD 20.00 or PHP 720.00. Yes, normal mall restaurant price ‘yan!

Stir-fried egg noodle with bacon and crab meat. (Notice the green chilis mixture.)
The boyfriend ordered pad thai. Healthy colour!

Usually I’m skeptic with how Thai food tastes at a “concept” restaurant. But the noodles we had at BangkokJam AND the thai milk tea all get pretty good marks! My stir-fried egg noodle had just the right portion na hindi ka mauumay. My boyfriend’s pad thai was just right… not too spicy and the ingredients were fresh.  The Thai milk tea was like 90% how I remembered it to the ones I tried in Bangkok last year.

I know it looks like I was playing around and blowing bubbles. Thai milk tea was great!

The other Thai fast food restaurants I’ve tried in Singapore are Thai Express (uhm, sorry no but not impressed… very commercial), BaliThai (pricy and not too memorable), and this one dedicated hawker stall at  Bugis Junction (SGD 5.00 or PHP 176.00, cheapest pad thai I’ve discovered so far)… oily pad thai.

BangkokJam at Plaza Singapura is really worth another visit. I’ll go for the rice meals and curries. They have a good menu too (just click here to see).

BangkokJam Website: http://www.bangkokjam.com.sg

Fast Food: Revisiting MOS Burger

The No. 2 fast food burger joint in Japan (after McDonalds) has several branches in Singapore. There is a branch that is a quick seven minutes walk from our flat. Neil and I went over to try.

MOS Burger has a lot of offerings but we went for the basic menu of a MOS cheeseburger (mine, SGD 3.85 or PHP 135.00) and MOS spicy cheeseburger (his, SGD 3.65 or PHP 128.00). You can top-up for a set meal with fries and drink with an additional SGD 4.00-ish (approximately PHP 140.00). All are served in a cute basket!

You can’t take away the chill sauce from Malaysia and Singapore!
Spicy MOS Burger and MOS Cheeseburger with fries. All served in a basket.
A simple and tasty cheeseburger. Moist burger patty, petite sized bun.
Nakakabitin ang fries!

The iced tea (for an additional +.30 or +.40 cents) was my favourite. Not sugary, ahem, I meant… PURE sugary like other fast food chains. This had a more “house iced tea” authentic taste to it. Plus, they add a slice of lemon.

Poor lemons… they are trapped!

Currently there’s a promotion for a drink called “Konnyaku” (add SGD 2.00 (PHP 70.00). The auntie cleaner saw my epic curious fez and said “It’s real good! Try it! Try it!”. Sige.

Health drink daw. Parang lemon shampoo.
Om nom nom nom…
He didn’t like it. Shampoo nga daw.
MOS Burger seems to be rebranding back to its classic look.

MOS Burger is famous for its rice burgers… which I have yet to try! I’m trying to recall my days growing up on Okinawa and whether MOS was a favourite back then.

According to MOS Burger’s Facebook account (Singapore), they have 29 branches including the one that just opened at Bedok Mall.

See for yourself: http://www.mosburger.com.sg 🙂

SG Flashback Friday No. 1

My blogging hiatus over the past two years didn’t mean I stopped documenting the things around me.  I’ll try not to bore you with photos of stuffed toys and selfies with my boyfriend.  Instead, every Friday let me introduce you to some of the more interesting things I’ve encountered since I shifted to Singapore. Stuff I haven’t shared yet.

So for the inaugural ohGeorgyy “Flashback Friday”… I’m revisiting the experiences I’ve had in Singapore while in the company of my friend Selda. She is leaving Singapore for good since she’s getting married soon.

A Singaporean barbecue?

Selda is the girl  with a cup covering half her face. Wait, uhm… let me look for a better photo…

Helping with the marinade. Photo taken in July 2012.

Whenever we were with Selda, it felt like we were tourists in our own backyard.

For example the time she brought us to the “Southernmost point of Continental Asia”. Can you imagine this is actually in Singapore not off the southern tip of Malaysia?

This photo was taken sometime in 2012.
The platform those people are standing on is the “Southernmost Point of Continental Asia”.
The Straits of Singapore

It screams tourist attraction but it was still thrilling to set foot on this little islet. It is connected to Siloso Beach by a rope bridge. We enjoyed a simple picnic while waiting for the sun to set.

Pinoy snacks!

More than half my visits to the art galleries and museums in Singapore have involved being with Selda.  We visited the Maritime Experiential Museum in Sentosa.

Those clothes used to fit me.
Ships galore.

By experiential we mean this:

Look I’m an ethnic dancer from Indonesia.
What?

I’m such a dork at museums. I actually go read every word on all the panels.  One time at the National Museum of Singapore I took all my damn time and hadn’t realised that Selda and Neil were already waiting at the exit.

Right outside the National Museum of Singapore.

In Singapore the transportation system and infrastructure is amazing. But it also involves much walking to get between places.  During one of our barkada walkathons, we found ourselves at Keppel Bay district where the crème de la crème reside. I mean look at this building…

From the distance it looks like broken shards of glass.
Suzie and Selda.

One funny moment we had while walking was a debate on which would be better to own: a helicopter or a yacht. Most of us picked the  yacht over the helicopter.

A few minutes later we encountered…

If you look closely, there’s a helicopter parked on a yacht.

Here’s a photo of us “getting lost” right outside Marina Bay MRT.

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Somewhere in Dhoby Ghaut.

Selda loves visiting Clarke Quay every September during the Autumn Lantern Festival.

Pretty lanterns are everywhere in Clarke Quay.
Different companies in Singapore sponsor the lanterns.
“Singapore Turf Club supports Chinese Culture” a simple message like that.

Thanks Selda for introducing us to some interesting spots and eateries in Singapore. She took us to Just Acia (where you can get bottomless drinks and desserts for a decent price) and Professor Brawn Cafe (great food, and it is a “social enterprise” that employs Persons with Disabilities or PWDs). There’s also Cafe Cartel which is a go-to place for comfort food.

Selda, will you miss Singapore?
Just Acia has unlimited ice cream.

We didn’t always have to go out in town with Selda. Sometimes we just invited her to go swimming with us. Like when we stayed at a condo in Yew Tee back in 2012.

This photo is a bit more dated #FlashbackFriday lol
Selda is the queen of fondue.

Neil and I would also cook for Selda. Here is a photo us at our HDB flat in Yishun in early 2013.

A Sunday lunch in Yishun.
A picnic at Siloso Beach.
4 Pics 1 Word at our chalet at Downtown East.

Selda, we’ll miss you! Congratulations to you and Tracy. 🙂

Next week on Flashback Friday: My story in Singapore began when I was job hunting and living in a backpackers’ hostel for three months. I’ll share  photos from a trip to MacRitchie Reservoir with friends I made at the hostel.

Celebrating a New Year in Singapore

It was my first new year celebration in Singapore! It might be my last to spend an actual new year away from home… because nothing beats spending it with family back in Cavite. In the suburban Philippines, the skies light up… the sounds of fireworks echo across the horizon for several hours… and my mom does her parade around the house with lusis in hand.

That said… my first new year celebration in Singapore wasn’t bad at all. We decided not to squeeze ourselves into the crowds at Marina Bay (where some of the only fireworks in Singapore can be seen). We stayed at home. I also didn’t want to spend SGD 80.00 (almost PHP 3,000) on party tickets at Siloso Beach.

My housemates and I prepared a little buffet… my goodness busog kung busog. One of my housemates ordered a puto platter (100 pcs for SGD 30.00 or roughly PHP 1,000). They also cooked tokwa’t baboy (tofu with pork) which had a spicy kick. My favourite was the lumpiang shanghai (Filipino-style fried springroll) which was my months-long craving. There was also fruit salad.

I told my housemate she could start up an underground catering business. Make money off cooking these Filipino classics.

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Puto (steamed rice cakes) with a slice of cheese.
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Lumpiang shanghai or fried spring rolls. YUMMY.
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The tokwa’t baboy (tofu with pork strips) in soy sauce and calamansi.
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Fruit salad, Filipino-style… sweet with condensed milk…

We skipped the beer this time and instead had Jim Beam with Coke Zero. I also a few glasses of red and white wine.

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The boyfriend cooked his tuna and mushroom pasta in olive oil.
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Two of our guests ordered pizza from Pezzo (which used to be Sarpino’s).

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I was on Skype with my parents minutes before the countdown. This was my first New Year celebration away from my family.

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My live connection to Cavite. Parents were away lighting up fireworks. I had the popping sounds from Cavite playing on my x-mini.

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We watched the fireworks at Marina Bay from the comfort of our little HDB flat. Happy New Year Singapore!