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!

My 2010s.

2010. Seeing the beauty of the Philippines.

I got to travel to various parts of the Philippines. It was filled with domestic travels. I was enchanted. The Philippines IS beautiful. I’m proud to call it my home.

2011. Making new friends from different countries.

I studied in Malaysia for a month. It was my first opportunity to meet people with different nationalities and backgrounds. It got me excited about moving to Singapore to try out a regional TV broadcast network.

2012. Moving to Singapore.

Fortune favours the bold. I left behind my permanent job at ABS-CBN to live in a hostel in Lavender for three months… in search of a job in the city-state. I had a diet of chicken rice and mixed veg rice (Singapore’s turo-turo). It pays off. I get a job at MediaCorp!

2013. Coming out to my parents.

Celebrating my employment in Singapore meant I could finally afford to take the family out to see some neighbouring countries. We meet up in Siem Reap, Cambodia. After a freak thunderstorm leaves us stranded at the Angkor Wat, I find an ‘ancient’ window and know it’s time to tell my parents that I’m gay and I’m partnered. Mom and dad hug me and say that they love me as long as I’m happy.

2014. Joining a dragon boat team.

One of my favourites in the past decade. I found myself paddling as part of an AWESOME dragon boat team. They’re Filipino Dragons (Singapore)… one big competitive family. Dragon boating changes me physically. I slouch less. I now skew towards sports.

2015. Leaving a stale relationship.

I won’t sugarcoat it. Things weren’t working for a long time. It felt like the band-aids were falling off. The year ended on a very sad note with the passing of my partner’s mom. Absolutely heartbroken during those days. We tried to keep the relationship going into early 2016, but it fails. There was no fixing it.

2016. Becoming independent.

For the first time in over 12 years, I was now living independently without a partner. I moved to Geylang and continued my dragon boating. I also started dating again.

2017. Making mistakes.

I was in love with someone who didn’t feel the same way. I made the mistake of letting it go on, aimlessly. Until it blew up in my face. It affected me so hard that I had to quit my dragon boat team and, a year later, I quit my job too. This was the toughest year in the past decade because I had to deal with not very good thoughts, quitting my dragon boat team (it was on my own accord), paralysing anxiety, and heartbreak.

2018. Learning from them.

I started the year by putting myself out there again. I met quite a few interesting people. Until it reached a point that I was dating to learn more about myself. I was worried about becoming a 33-year-old jaded gay man. Until Tinder connected me to PJ who I would meet in front of a Tori-Q stall in Bugis. He’s a kind, genuine soul. I’m happy I’ve met him at a time that I now love myself more and more. ❤

2019. Seeing the beauty when you ‘press continue’.

I end the decade with a new job in an entirely new industry. The job has sent me to Dublin, San Francisco, and Sydney. With stopovers in cities like London and Tokyo. I thought it was over for me in the preceding years. But I started to see the beauty of putting one foot in front of the other. It’s changed my outlook. I can do anything as long as I pour my heart into it. It’s not a permanent role… but even a permanent role is not permanent. So make the most of what you get.

***

A new year, a new ‘decade’ 2020s… we are ALL getting older, YES. But I don’t want to count the years. I’d rather count the life we get to live in each year. That means doing less of the same things. Doing the same thing = not growing.

Sobrang thankful ako sa mga friends, colleagues, family… through the years. You know who you are. Thank you. I really appreciate all the goodness you bring. And to my partner PJ, who I am closing 2019 with… you add joy to my life.

A Christmas in Tampines.

Happy Christmas! I spent it at PJ’s in Tampines. He and his flatmates invited some of their workmates. We had a nice Noche Buena spread which was purely home-cooked… MMMM! I made my own charcuterie board and we played Switch, jenga, and some classic party games.

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Spending Christmas Eve with PJ, his flatmates, and friends.

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Our noche buena made by Dell, Gel, Jan, and Ace.

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I made my own charcuterie board!

I feel grateful that my eighth Christmas in Singapore was spent with some good people. I feel safe in this house, in this group, and with the people I choose to surround myself with.

Have a wonderful holiday season! ❤

 

Underneath the trees.

Traditionally, putting up a Christmas tree is done with family. But when you’re one of 2.3 million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), putting up a Christmas tree takes on a new meaning.

Let’s face it, paying rent abroad is pretty expensive. Practicality encourages many OFWs to share living spaces. Often that means we end up seeking houses with strangers. People we meet along the way who post an online ad “room for rent”. If we’re lucky, we get referrals “my schoolmate wants to view the room”.

Eventually, strangers become housemates. Housemates over time can become friends. And friends can become makeshift family when abroad. Lalo na pag Pasko.

Putting up a Christmas tree is our way of bringing home to where we live.

Cue lightsaber sound.

Midnight cravings

You’re binging on Netflix. You suddenly get hungry. You grab some garlic and olive oil. Fry bacon slices. Boil pasta. So you can fulfil a craving.

Nothing fancy about the recipe as it’s pretty straightforward. ❤

I’m on Instagram: bekpackr.sg 😀

In Photos: A day trip to Jieufen, Taiwan

About an hour bus ride from Ximending is the mountainside town of Jieufen. It used to be an old mining town. Today, it’s a collection of old streets and tiny alleys with food and souvenir shops. I loved the weather. It was windy and cool.

Before anything else… I’m on Instagram! Follow me at bekpackr.sg. 🙂

This is part of a series of Taiwan-related posts culminating with the 2019 Pride March. I write about the hostel I stayed at (Ximen WOW Hostel), Ximen Pedestrian Street (Day and Night Version), Raohe Street Night Market, Longshan Temple, Bopiliao Historical Block, and National Taiwan Museum.

Jieufen is a lovely day trip from Taipei. I’ll share the rest in photos. 🙂

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