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Filipino American Expat in Singapore

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We had a couple of visitors meet us in Singapore in the past few days. If you know me, I love being a tour guide. I’m like “That’s where the cathedral is supposed to be but it’s being renovated…” and “You have to try the chicken rice at Wee Nam Kee” to the more self-centric “This used to be my neighborhood.” #cringe

But in all honesty, I love having visitors. I love showing them around town. It must mean I’m quite passionate about living in Singapore.

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N and I with my college buddy Badge and our friend JD.

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We also met up with my college orgmates Leona, Joanna and Paul.

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Our former boss Ms. Rose visited Singapore with her family. Pictured above with Suzie, N, and Dessie.

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More former colleagues from Studio 23 will be visiting in June. 🙂

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Earlier, a friend of mine and his fiancé had an extended layover in Singapore. I brought them to Song Fa for some bak kut teh and I dropped them off at the Clarke Quay jetty for the Singapore River Cruise. O di ba, I just love bringing people around. 🙂

Visitors are keeping me pre-occupied since I can’t travel out of Singapore for an extended period. I started my new job recently so it wouldn’t be wise to take off so soon.

My life lately: touring friends, jogging, running 10km races (Green Corridor Run, Sundown Marathon 2014, and Jurong Lake Run 2014), editing trailers, and… eating at new places downtown.

One of my college friends recently decided to come live and work in Singapore. To welcome her we thought of throwing a little reunion with other college classmates who are now living in Singapore.

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Ang Mo Kio – Bishan Park is a beautiful location because it’s a crossroads of sort. One of my batchmates live in Tampines (eastern Singapore) and another one lives in Tampines (towards the north). The ambiance at AMK-B Park is also wonderful.

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Our contribution to the picnic were two cake rolls we bought at Polar (Junction 8 Branch). They were pretty tasty!

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#Selfie at the park

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#Selfie that includes Whitney

Here’s a picture with my batchmates. We were blockmates at DLSU-D back in 2002 taking up Broadcast Journalism.

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Rona prepared spaghetti for everyone.

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It was a great time to catch up with each other. I haven’t seen some of them in years!

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I also got to introduce my boyfriend to two of them. I love how this feels so natural today. I’m completely open and gay without nothing to hide. 😛

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We parted ways with some classmates at Bishan MRT. While we had a night cap at the Kim San Leng Food Centre. Celebrating good times with Tiger beer.

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Grateful that some friendships last beyond the years no matter what country you’re currently in. 🙂

 

There’s a dilemma about online shopping. What happens when I’m not home to collect the package? What if the package doesn’t fit in the pigeonhole… (asked no one EVER) What if I don’t want lubricant delivered to my office address?

I don’t do much online shopping (mostly because having a Philippines-based credit card limits my transaction because the foreign exchange SGD to PHP can rip me off). But I did chance upon trying ZALORA. I felt like ordering a shirt and a tee.

During check-out at ZALORA, you are to indicate how you want your clothes to be delivered. Curious to try the POPStation here in Bishan, I selected that option. Oh goodie, I get to meet and greet those blue lockers. #giddy

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The POP in POPStation stands for “Pick your Own Parcel” and these lockers are strategically located around Singapore. They connect with merchants and online shops so deliveries can be made to these “lockers” (unless this is like some STAR TREK thing where your orders are secretly teleported inside).

You get to pick which POPStation it is delivered to. GPS helps find the closest one to you. The ones at the Bishan Community Club looked shiny and new.

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Once your package arrives, you will be notified by text message. A PIN code is issued and all you have to do is key in the code at the computer prompt along with which locker the text message says your package is in.

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It’s really easy! I mean… no more worrying about having to stay home on a Saturday just to collect your parcel. You can collect anytime 24/7 so it is quite convenient. The efficiency makes you want to keep on shopping. lol

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You can learn more about POPStation here.

As for my first purchase with Zalora… it’s quite okay. I seem to think the offerings at ASOS are better. But then again I’m totally new to online shopping.

I haven’t been able to travel much lately. I was in Jakarta a few weeks ago for an extended weekend (literally extended due to a cancelled return flight to Singapore on JetStar) but that was all. I didn’t push through with Myanmar and it doesn’t look like I’ll be going to Taiwan or Japan by July. So how do I deal with being flightless this 2014? I run!

I’m not addicted to running (nor have I perfected the correct form). But I’m so eager to live an active lifestyle while in Singapore. I have friends who are so active here so I thought I should be doing something that makes me happy.

Registration

The Green Corridor Run is one of the unique ‘non-gimmicky’ foot races in Singapore. Non-gimmicky because there’s no color, foam, or flashy lights involved. It is for nature-lovers and those who are into trail running.

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This was my sixth time to join a run in Singapore and my first trail run. I paid about SGD 60.00 for the registration. Kind of steep compared to other runs, but this was unique. I selected the 10:00am Wave which is the slowest bunch. I didn’t want to get in anyone’s way haha.

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The length is 10.5 kilometers and it starts at the old Tanjong Pagar Railway Station which was a treat itself for history buffs. I’ll share photos later.

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The race kit collection happened at City Square Mall. The race kit comprised of an event singlet (neon green in color), some vouchers, and two packets of Thai curry paste (which was quite strange!). Collecting wasn’t a hassle. In fact, you only need to provide the NRIC/FIN you used to register.

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Training (somewhat)

I asked S if she wanted to go on a trail run with me at MacRitchie Reservoir on Vesak Day, a holiday in Singapore. She agreed and we hit the beautiful reservoir on a sunny afternoon.

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We were planning to go to the Treetop Walk but it was already closed by the time we got there. We wanted to walk-run-hike the perimeter of MacRitchie Reservoir but we encountered some creepy insects that freaked us out. There was a huge ant (brown to reddish in color according to S) which made S laugh because I freaked out over it. But while we were laughing about that… she saw something that made her SCREAM… this S is a tough girl, so something to make her SCREAM that loud freaked me out. Both of us ran as fast as we could away from whatever she saw… she told me it was a big millipede. #stress #omg #escape

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The MacRitchie trail run was brief. I guess I only ran about 3 kilometers of the overall 8km distance we made. I’ve had a chance to train on pavement at AMK-Bishan Park previously so I guess (I GUESS) I’m ready for the Green Corridor Run.

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Green Corridor Run

Getting on the MRT wearing running shorts and a bright neon green singlet made me feel a bit uncomfortable. If I had broad shoulders or toned legs then why not di ba. But I don’t have broad shoulders 😛 and I have chicken legs.

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I made my way to Tanjong Pagar. Because I recently started working there, I knew how to get around. The old railway station happens to be just a few more meters beyond a hawker corner I recently ate at. I saw groups of runners making their way to the station so I followed them.

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The only sunshine that whole morning quickly disappeared as clouds rolled in. A torrential downpour started and this was threatening to cancel the event. Personally, half the struggle is getting to the venue itself. None of my friends were running. This was my own thing.

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I didn’t get to take much pictures of the old railway station. I tried to imagine the significance it once played in Singapore’s history. This railway connected Tanjong Pagar to Kuala Lumpur. Now, trains only run from Malaysia up until Woodlands if I’m not mistaken.

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The first wave began about 20 or 30 minutes behind schedule. I didn’t mind what time we would start as long as we could still race. They announced we could commence running around 10:40am, 40 minutes after our original schedule. Who cares as long as we can run. 🙂

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It was raining but I didn’t notice a single person who was complaining. I mean, this was a trail run. So this was probably a trail runner’s dream: rain, mud, and gravel.

I managed to run without stopping for only 2 kilometres. Omg lame! 10.5km run and my momentum ended at 2km. My running shoes were soaked. There were raindrops all over my glasses. I ran and walked, taking in the beauty of trail running just steps away from suburban Singapore.

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The latter half of the race the rain worsened and a thunderstorm was happening. I am so scared of lightning. There were about three or four lightning strikes in the distance. One lightning strike was on a field to my left… which made me freak out and want to jog to the next underpass. Swish-splash, my shoes and socks drenched. My lower legs muddied!

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There were several underpasses but the elevation of the trail run was pretty consistent and straightforward. While “training” at MacRitchie, the elevation changed several times.

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Drink stations were available every 2 to 3 kilometres. I noticed clearly marked exit signs perhaps for easy use in emergencies. These exits were placed at areas that were just a stone’s throw away from a paved backroad or landed property (house). An ambulance was parked at one so it felt re-assuring somewhat.

The rain did not stop.

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Finally, the finish line was at Bukit Timah Railway Station. I completed the 10.5km race in 1 hour and 45 minutes… haha, quite slow! But I’m glad I did it. 🙂

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Entitlements? A Finisher’s Medal. The material felt a bit cheap though considering I paid SGD 60.00. 😛

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They served bottled cold water, a green banana, and a glass of 100Plus at the Finish Line. The historic Bukit Timah Railway Station was filled with runners cleaning their shoes and taking selfies.

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My boyfriend surprised me and picked me up. He brought a warm towel, slippers, and a change of clothes. He’s never picked me up from a run before. 🙂

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Thanks Green Corridor Run for the experience!

My next run: Sundown Marathon 2014 (10km) 🙂

I’ve been at my new company for a little over a month and it has been great so far. I’m enjoying the feeling of working downtown. You can feel the energy and drive. But I can also sense how this can be tiring too. I guess luckily I work for the creative industry so there’s always something thrilling that’s scheduled.

I’ve discovered…

  • The uncles stationed outside Tanjong Pagar MRT giving out the same flyers everyday. I want to be environmentally conscious but I also understand these old men stand there and get paid a few dollars just to distribute flyers. Instead of snubbing them every morning, I take a flyer and smile. Then I trash the flyer (selling office equipment to PR application services) at the paper recycling bin. lol
  • It’s crazy to have lunch anytime from noon until 2:00pm. The CBD eateries are crowded to the brim. Best to have brunch around 11:30pm and then a light snack around 2:30pm. I had a whole downtown eatery to myself at 2:30pm.
  • Salads, wraps, all things “take-away friendly” are the norm downtown. And the service is fast at some places. Like they have five people passing you from ordering, to toppings, to cashier… like a well-oiled machine.
  • As expected, food downtown costs much more. I used to spend SGD 4.50 to 6.00 for lunch time back at my previous company. Now, lunch is about SGD 7.00 to 9.00. And, sometimes when you have so many options to choose from… it’s hard to actually pick something!
  • Going home at 6:30pm via the MRT is a bit harsh. Rush hour! Best time to leave the office is actually past 7:00pm when the MRT is a bit more manageable.

I’m totally feeling the CBD vibe. I’m aware that perhaps this is only the honeymoon phase and one day I’ll simply blend into the crowd. I think I worked my ass for this. I never experienced working in Makati during my six years in the Philippine capital. And in my first two years in Singapore, I was working at a location in the middle of an estate that has more swimming pools than public playgrounds.