Unboxing: Toastwire 2020 Desk Calendar

My home office is coming together piece by piece. The carpet, office chair, and table have been delivered. I ordered a desk calendar from Toastwire’s Etzy store and got it today. I thought of doing my first unboxing video. Enjoy!

Find Toastwire on Etzy. Not paid for this post. I love supporting local artists.

He is @toastwire on Instagram.

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Masks

It’s difficult to get a surgical mask.

I’m thinking about a third of the people I’m seeing while commuting are wearing masks. The majority of which are wearing surgical masks. There are a few people wearing the N95 mask which you would normally see during the haze in Singapore.

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Photo by Tore F on Unsplash

PJ and I have tried to buy surgical masks at various drug stores like Watsons and Guardian but they are sold out. We even checked Venus Beauty where one could get cheaper shampoo.

My office has distributed N95 masks for employees and I’m lucky to have one for myself and PJ. I also placed an order for a small box of surgical masks from an online store (arriving in February) while a colleague returning from India has thoughtfully offered to bring back a box as well. I’ve no intention to hoard masks. Only keep a box for myself, PJ, and share with my flatmates.

There is a subtle mood of paranoia in crowded areas and public transportation. But people are carrying on normally. Save for a moment when you would hear a sniffle or a cough. It brings back images of our friends at ground zero (Wuhan) who are overwhelmed with the coronavirus.

I’m suspicious by this turn of events given Trump’s impeachment followed by the assassination of a general in Iran. All of this is obviously unfortunate. Add to that the fury of people who want to divide and shame rather than build solutions. I’m speaking to those who share something with an undertone of racism or unverified news (that link you’re sharing is from a tabloid website). Read the content and make a logical assessment muna, can? Totoo ba ito?

If you have a mask to wear, consider yourself fortunate.

If you have an extra, pass it to onto an uncle, auntie, or someone in public who looks like they need it.

Review your social media timelines. Share information that’s credible and from trusted resources. If you doubt mainstream media, fine. Try cross-checking data on your own. Don’t play a part in dividing people in a time of crisis.

Nothing can divide us more than a lack of compassion.

***

As of this writing (28 January 2020) there are five confirmed cases in Singapore of the 2019-nCOV (2019 novel coronavirus or Wuhan coronavirus).

Note: Originally shared on my Facebook profile.

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How to be a little less scared of the ball

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To be honest, what this group photo doesn’t show you is how it capped off an hour of being ridiculously scared of getting hit by the ball. I grew up avoiding sports that involved projectiles!

Earlier while playing, I observed how skilled my colleagues were. I was having fun, yes! But for many moments I was asking silently “why am I here? I’m getting in someone’s way. What do I do when I get the ball — and pass it to the wrong person? Who’ll teach me this, that…”

The answer? The experience will teach you. And that only happens if you can crawl out of your own head. If you can silence doubt (familiar from a struggle during my dragon boat days). Focus! You’ll fail but you must learn from it. Each instance is a nugget to learn from.

What happened? I managed to pass the ball a few times. I learned how to observe the interactions on the pitch. More importantly, I continued playing with my chin up after a lousy kick or block. At the end of the hour, I’m still scared of the ball. Just a little less.

How are you facing your fears today? Let me know!

Experiencing Business Class for the first time with Philippine Airlines PR507

New video episode! I experienced flying with business class for the first time. YEAAAH. I fly economy. Even on most business trips. I’m not accustomed to the perks of flying business. But I can understand now why it can be addicting.

  1. Legit preferential treatment when checking in.
  2. Access to airline lounges.
  3. The seats on the plane.

In the video, I talk about how I ended up booking a business class seat. Don’t forget to hit subscribe. 🙂

If the video won’t play, you can view it via YouTube here.

Sushiro in Tiong Bahru: My favourite item

The following is probably my first favorite video of PJ in 2020.

Have you heard of Sushiro? It’s said to be a popular sushi conveyor belt restaurant from Japan. They opened their first Singapore store at Tiong Bahru Plaza which is a ten minute walk from my block.

I’ve been there a few times and I quite like the sushi. The price range is in the more affordable range ($2.20 for the cheaper plates, upwards to $5 for the next tier ones). My favourites include the ones that have basil cheese on top… like over salmon or shrimp.

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Sarap!

The place gets packed quickly. But the queuing system is pretty organised. YES, I’ll recommend this place if you happen to be in the neighborhood. They’re opening a 2nd Singapore store soon at Shaw Lido in Orchard.

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Sushiro for weekend lunch.

Also noticed PJ’s cheeks are now puffier. Blooming.

Sushiro is located on the 2nd floor of Tiong Bahru Plaza.

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Bangus in business class

After years and years of supporting the flag carrier of the Philippines… I finally got a tiny taste of its business class! I have never flown business class EVER. This was a surprise booking which I’ll explain later.

I’ve filmed material for a new video episode about my experience flying PR 507 Manila to Singapore in business class. You can subscribe and visit my YouTube channel. For now though, some quick photos I managed to take.

Excuse the geekery. Also, nahihiya ako mag-picture (I’m a bit embarrassed to take photos). I guess this fuels my aspirations in life. Sipping on champagne at 35,000 feet. Sitting or sleeping comfortably on a flatbed or super reclining seat. A Parks and Rec ‘treat YO self’ situation. Or a feel of what money can buy if you work hard for that money. Like start a business, run for office, or strike some sort of agreement with a sugar daddy.

I’ll cover the Mabuhay Lounge (NAIA T2) and actual seats in my upcoming episode. Let’s fast forward to the plane. It was a Boeing 777 on the first Monday after New Year.

Like in SQ economy (what I can afford on a good day), we get menus!

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What’s in the menu? A selection of the flight’s hot meals along with a list of beverages available like champagne, wine, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. My seatmate got herself mimosas… so I basically asked the FA for the same.

Next, the seat in front of me. Look biiish at this space:

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You have to get out of your seat to grab the magazine. Oh snap. The screens are also a bit far. LOL. But what I enjoyed was the configuration of the seats. There’s no squeeze. There’s no ‘ma’am may I go out???’ drama. Use the bathroom as many times as you want. There’s so much space. You get a view of 3 or 4 windows too.

They provide cloth for your table!!! Okay, you’re getting my drift. Maybe I can grab table cloths from Daiso and use those during our upcoming Scoot to Bali.

Here’s a photo of the lightly salted cashews… served in a saucer. Exquisite. No tiny bag of peanuts to deal with. No Korean Air nut rage needed. I had a glass of white along with the orange juice.

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By this point, I had struck a conversation with my seatmate who was happily sharing her travel experiences to and from Singapore. While she was talking, I wanted to take a photo of the appetizer. “Picturan ko lang muna ito ahihi.”

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A bread roll. Except that you can choose from a basket that the FA in the business class goes around with. And that the bread is very nice and warm. The butter is served in the usual packet you can see above. Then there’s this glazed shrimp over mango. In fairness, masarap. The greens… for texture or garnishing. Kinain ko ghorl.

Now onto the mains… I picked the milkfish with mixed brown rice.

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Yes, serving you business class bangus.

It was a healthy chunk of milkfish which I loved. Served in a nice ceramic bowl. ❤

I enjoyed my brief business class experience on Philippine Airlines Flight PR 507 Manila to Singapore. Can’t wait to edit the full video and share that with you. Also, the FAs of Philippine Airlines are beautiful and handsome. I will always have a soft spot for Filipino.

How did I end up in business class? I had booked my Manila flights quite late in the year. The economy ticket was expensive (over $400) and the return was… SOLD OUT. They only had business class available for my preferred return day and time. BUT… there was a special promotion at that exact moment where the business class was on “sale”. I ended up buying return flights (SIN-MNL-SIN) for SGD 780 (one part economy, one part business class). That’s almost a steal for the peak season.

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Is this the site for a future SM Tanza?

Hello from the year 2020!

I’m starting to notice the vacant land across McDonalds and Jollibee in Tanza. I remember it used to have some structures or minor buildings. It seems like a prime spot for a future shopping mall. Given that this intersection involves roads leading to Trece Martires, Naic, and Tanza Proper.

Could it be a future SM Tanza?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Don’t forget to follow or subscribe to my page!

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This is 2020.

First… take notice of my EPIC table setting skills! A FIRST. We bought the decorations at Robinson’s Place General Trias and Ayala Malls Manila Bay. Yeeeeaaaah, the green napkins with polka dots don’t match the floral plates. I also wanted the fairy lights to be in a single colour (like virginal white). But we can’t have everything.

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What we CAN have though are some happy memories.

Like welcoming 2020 and a new decade with the family. I laugh at those who are so righteous ‘it’s not a new decade yet!’ – shut up, it’s the 2020s – use your technicality on Yuzuru Hanyu.

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We had a spread that was catered by relatives. Mom ordered and added macaroni salad. Dad cooked some barbecue using the new grill that my brother and I got him. I enjoyed the lumpia of course. (Lightbulb moment: Barbecued lumpia. Has anyone heard or tried?)

Our backyard did not get renovated in time for the new decade. But after eight months, I finally replied to our architect and it looks like we’ll be getting a revised rendering and a quotation soon. I’m excited because we’re talking about transforming the back of our home into a comfortable space instead of something that looks like the demilitarized zone.

Oh, before I forget, the top nine from 2019 according to Instagram. Nevermind we grant access to our photos to a third party LOL. These are based on likes. They obviously don’t give justice to all the other good stuff that happened in 2019. But I’ll share anyway:

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There’s myself with PJ in about three of the top nine (Manila Pride and at two different Spartan races). The ‘Focus on what matters’ was taken from the office in San Francisco. The Pacman and pink shirts are events from the office. You’ll spot me cooking, with my mom beaming at me. That was taken in Bangkok when we learned how to cook Thai curry. The dragon boat photo is actually a flashback to an earlier time in a galaxy far, far away. The last photo was after I completed a half marathon.

One of my favorite memories from 2019 is introducing my family to PJ. It’s also documented (slightly) in the video episode below:

Other great memories from 2019? Visiting Europe and Australia for the first time. That’s Dublin, London, Frankfurt, Sydney…. also seeing the U.S. and Japan after decades. Visiting relatives there too. I enjoyed Taiwan Pride. Loved going to Thailand with the family. Attending a wedding in Ipoh and Alfonso. Celebrating my birthday in Malacca. A staycation at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport during an anniversary with PJ… a staycation in Tampines too… and other weekends in Bukit Merah.

You know what? I think I got back on track in 2019. I feel good. Look at me here in these short shorts:

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At Taiwan Pride in October 2019

HIGHLIGHT. I continue to TRY and improve each day. I’m in a job that is very challenging because it’s NEW territory for me. It’s easy to fall off balance. But I’m proud of myself for trying each time I get a chance. I am thankful for it. And thankful for all the rich experiences of the past year. ❤

***

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The family welcomes 2020. The tropical jungle is real.

Happy New Year, everyone!