Undecided for song of the year

Undecided for song of the year

I haven’t quite decided what my favourite song this past year is. Both Spotify and Apple Music said that Beyonce was my most played. I don’t know if Alien Superstar best captures the year. But it’s fun to listen to?

Korean and Japanese pop songs have been my favourite songs in the past few years (Chung Ha, Utada Hikaru). I’ll think about it and share it here.

Anyway, saw this really cute video of a dance cover to Chung Ha’s Play.

What song did you enjoy listening to the most in 2022?

My personal favourites I’ve called “song of the year”

  • 2021 – One Last Kiss – Utada Hikaru
  • 2020 – 3-way tie: Play (Chungha), Stay Tonight (Chungha), and On (BTS)
  • 2019 – LALALAY – SUNMI
  • 2018 – All the Stars – Kendrick Lamar ft. SZA
  • 2017 – Flame – Tinashe
  • 2016 – The Life – Fifth Harmony
  • 2015 – Talking Body – Tove Lo

I still love watching this.

I still love watching this.

Almost two years since NASA’s Perseverance Rover landed on Mars. I’ve been following the recent Artemis I mission. There is something about space that helps me when I’m feeling anxious. Space is scary but it’s also hopeful. It beats worrying about our “tiny” problems when you see Earth as a tiny blue marble in the vastness of space.

The video below always makes me feel happy.

It’s back! Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (10KM)

It’s back! Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (10KM)

The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) returned to full form over the weekend! The last time “things were normal” was the 2019 edition just weeks before the first cocoa cases hit the country.

I join the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon every year because it’s my “gratitude run”. It’s my celebration for having a work pass and being able to stay in this country. This year, I joined the 10KM run together with PJ.

Here’s the 10KM race route for 2022.

The start and finish of the 10KM is the same with all categories of this year’s race including the full marathon. The starting line is at the F1 Pit and the finish line is in front of the floating stadium. The floating stadium is due to be demolished soon so I think it might be the last time to be used for SCSM. The race village is at the F1 Pit.

The race kit collection

This year’s race entry pack collection (REPC) was at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre. We ran into our friend A and her hubby E (collecting his race kit for the full marathon!).

Race day

The 10KM race was on a Saturday (December 3) and our flag-off “rolling start” was at 6:30 AM. There was a rule that anyone joining the 10KM race must be at the starting pen before 7:00 AM. Afterwards, good luck!

We arrived at 6:55 AM and this is what the starting pen looked like:

I don’t remember how many times I’ve started a race from this location. Since we arrived at the tail-end of the 10KM category, it was empty. But look at how it was three years ago in 2019:

It was a VERY chill start since we were at the back of the pack. The music was blasting and people were taking selfies. It’s a happy feeling to experience this again. Like, the world did not end. (Or it hasn’t yet, I don’t know).

I wanted to run with PJ so I adjusted my pace and eventually walk-ran with him the rest of the route. I already knew this was not going to be a race for personal best. The past few months, the last two years… have taken a huge toll on my mental health. I’m simply happy for getting to the starting line of this race. I’m simply happy to put on a SCSM singlet again (even if the medium size made me feel like a sock puppet). I was also happy to see everyone back on the streets. And the runners? You can hear different languages. Truly, the Singapore Marathon that welcomed the world before, welcomes them back again now.

The experience at this year’s 10KM

The race route leads you towards the National Stadium after crossing Merdeka Bridge. Then it turns around and makes it way back towards Suntec Convention Centre, a U-turn back towards Nicoll Highway MRT, and then onwards to the finish line at the floating stadium. It’s not a new route, which is fine. The streets were also very clean and the hydration stations were plenty (almost every 2 to 3km?).

Because PJ is in the middle of his exams for his MBA, he wasn’t able to train for this run properly. But he still pushed anyway (it’s just a 10KM) and still proud he gave it a go. Yes, we did walk at some points of this race. He recommended we just meet at the finish line but I wasn’t aiming for personal best.

I clocked in my slowest 10KM SCSM run at 1 hr 41 mins (!) but I finished the race feeling happy… almost renewed. Like there’s something to aim for again next year. Like maybe… as what we’ve felt in 2022… life is returning to normal.

The race medal is simpler this year and has a logo of what I think is a Merlion (not a 10-legged spider spitting on a flower).

After crossing the finish line, you get a 100Plus towel (drenched in ice), a banana, a bottle of water, a can of 100Plus, and a pack of Himalaya Salt mint candy. There is no finisher shirt for the 10KM race as that’s reserved for the full marathoners.

Overall the race was, for me, 5/5 stars with the only gripe being this year’s singlet which looks good on slim people but would be challenging for those of us who are skinny fat lol. I wore my boyfriend’s L sized singlet and he wore the free shirt he got from Puma’s booth at the REPC.

Notable is an attempt to lessen on waste (that could be disputable given the nature of these events). The race programme is in PDF format, the race maps are images saved on your phone or accessible by QR code.

There are also bins that encourage much more organisation on how to dispose of waste (like recyclables vs perishable items).

I can’t speak for the baggage drop section as we skipped that.

  • 10KM race route – 5/5 – nothing new, it’s a “classic”, hydration stations etc all there
  • REPC (race kit collection) – 4.5/5 – nothing new, very organised… I have to drop 0.5 from the score because of the Prudential booth at the exit of the REPC… there was absolutely no way to skip that booth, they placed it so you walk into it which made introverts like me feel very uneasy!!
  • Race kit – 5/5 – I prefer it like this, simple… singlet + an SCSM race belt + the plastic for the bag drop is now the same as the entire kit itself + barely any brochures… gosh, remember how it was in the early 2010s
  • Race singlets – 3/5 – good fabric, but not a good fit for skinny fat
  • Race village / fringe areas – 4/5 – booths were there, felt a bit scaled down but not bad (at least this all happened!), hospitality area, massages, fun activities still there… only gripe is that when exiting towards Promenade MRT there are some bottlenecks when navigating the exit route through Singapore Flyer… not a good thing if there’s a stampede or people crush event happening

Ten years ago


The past two editions of this race were entirely virtual (2020) or incredibly scaled back (2021). So for the 2022 edition to be “back to normal” is worth celebrating. Good job to the organisers and congratulations to everyone who showed up to run in any of the categories at this year’ SCSM.


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Trip Report and Itinerary: The family visits Singapore

Trip Report and Itinerary: The family visits Singapore

The family visited Singapore last week! It was their first overseas travel since the pandemic began almost three years ago. I took leave on all the days of their visit. This was the family’s third visit to Singapore in ten years.

When we planned the trip, it was more of an easy checklist of which area we’d be in per day. The monsoon weather is crazy these days so I always had a backup. I feel we achieved 90% of what we set out to do anyway.

Here’s what we did over five days. Some of my footnotes after.

Day 1, Thursday
Arrival Day
✈️ Pick-up the family at Changi Airport T3 (11am, SQ915)
⭐️ Activity: Jewel Changi Airport (HSBC Rain Vortex)
🍱 Lunch: Kho Kho Nara, Jewel Changi Airport
⭐️ Activity: Visit Pokémon Center
🍱 Snack: Birds of Paradise (recommend: Mint Choco)
🚕 Taxi to Carlton City Hotel Singapore (Grab 6-Seater)
🏨 Family checks into Carlton City Hotel Singapore
❤️ Free time to chill at the hotel
🍱 Dinner: Ma Maison, 100AM (recommend: Beef Stroganoff)
⭐️ Activity: Visit Don Don Donki and FairPrice Finest (showing my parents where I do my groceries, since I live nearby)
❤️ Return to hotel to rest
Day 2, Friday
🍱 Breakfast: Plate, Carlton City Hotel Singapore
❤️ Easy morning at the hotel
🚕 Taxi to Madame Tussauds Singapore
⭐️ Activity: Madame Tussauds Singapore (SGD 35/adult) – includes Images of Singapore, and the only boat ride within a Madame Tussauds in the world
🚶🏻 Walk to Imbiah Station / Tram to Beach Station
🍱 Lunch: Coastes (recommend: Grilled Ham & Cheese, Shades of Summer mocktail)
🛍️ Mom shops at Sentosa Fun Shop
🚕 Taxi to Hotel
❤️ Free time to chill at the hotel
🚕 Taxi to The Three Peacocks
🍱 Dinner: The Three Peacocks, Seafood and BBQ Buffet (reservations made, but it was still a free-for-all at arrival, worth it if you enjoy seafood)
🚕 Taxi to Hotel
❤️ Hotel to rest
Day 3, Saturday
City and Orchard
🍱 Breakfast: Plate, Carlton City Hotel Singapore
❤️ Easy morning at the hotel
🚶🏻 Walk around Tanjong Pagar (Show the family International Plaza, Guoco Tower, Maxwell Chambers)
⭐️ Activity: Singapore City Gallery (Free)
🚕 Taxi to The Centrepoint
🍱 Lunch: Song Fa Bak Kut Teh, The Centrepoint (chef’s kiss, the broth is perfect for the monsoon season)
🛍️ Family shops at The Paragon (Marks & Spencer), Ngee Ann City (Sephora, Takashimaya Department Store, Books Kinokuniya)
🚕 Taxi to Hotel
🍱 Snack: Yomie’s Rice X Yogurt (behind the hotel, recommend their signature Purple Rice yogurt drink)
❤️ Free time to chill at the hotel
⭐️ Activity: Family time at George’s apartment (we watched Downton Abbey: A New Era on the projector screen)
🍱 Dinner Delivery: Alt. Pizza + Housemates’ snack box 😍
🚶🏻 Walk back to the hotel
Day 4, Sunday
Boat Quay and Suntec
🍱 Breakfast: Plate, Carlton City Hotel Singapore
❤️ Easy morning at the hotel
🚕 Taxi to Circular Road, Boat Quay
🍱 Lunch: Co Chung Vietnamese Restaurant (recommend: the Vermicelli with Grilled Pork and Crispy Spring Roll)
🚶🏻 Walk along Boat Quay towards Fullerton Hotel
🍱 Snack: Ice Cream Sandwich from Uncle / Auntie
⭐️ Activity: Asian Civilisations Museum (SGD 45/family of 5)
🚶🏻Walk to Merlion Park and Esplanade
📚 Dad and brother head to National Library Singapore (it’s closed, they ended up at Popeyes instead 🍗)
🛍️ PJ and I take mom to Suntec City for shopping at Cotton On, H&M (mom enjoyed herself visiting H&M again after 3 years)
🍱 Dinner: Paradise Dynasty (recommend: Xiao Long Bao, and the yang chao fried rice – perhaps the best in its category)
🚕 Taxi to Hotel
❤️ Hotel to rest
Day 5, Monday
Marina Bay Sands and Chinatown
🍱 Breakfast: Plate, Carlton City Hotel Singapore
❤️ Easy morning at the hotel
🚕 Taxi to Marina Bay Sands, Tower 1
🍱 Lunch: LAVO Italian Restaurant (Reservations made, I’m reserving some comments on the service we experienced; recommend “The Meatball” and their pizzas)
⭐️ Activity: Enjoy a panoramic view of the city from LAVO
🛍️ Window shopping at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands (we’re not the kind to really shop at Coach or Burberry)
⭐️ Activity: ArtScience Museum: Future World Where Art Meets Science (SGD 12/adult, this exhibition is not complete at the moment due to renovations, Crystal Universe remains open)
🛍️ Mom and brother shop at the Apple Store Marina Bay
🚕 Taxi to Hotel
❤️ Free time to chill at the hotel
🚶🏻 Evening walk at Duxton Plain Park towards Chinatown (great cross-section of Singapore on a weekday early evening: HDBs, people walking their dogs, jogging, playing basketball, etc.)
🛍️ Family buys souvenirs at Chinatown’s bazaar area
🍱 Dinner: Noodle Man (recommend: almost everything)
⭐️ Activity: Visit a brand new MRT station (Maxwell MRT)
🚶🏻 Walk back to the hotel
❤️ Hotel to rest

Some footnotes:

  • We never took the MRT during the five days. I told my parents it wouldn’t be too hard since our hotel was in the city centre and getting to our destinations would be 2-3 stops at most. But I was mindful of mom’s hearing sensitivity and the roar of the train when it’s in the tunnels. Crowdedness was less a concern since our commute times were off-peak.
  • On transportation, we booked the Grab 6-Seaters which were a pleasant surprise. They’re only a few dollars more than the regular Grab taxis, but far more comfortable. It meant my parents didn’t have to lower themselves to get into a regular taxi. Most of the 6-seater taxis also have automatic doors. Highly-recommend these types of taxis when traveling with elderly loved ones.
  • Our hotel was city centre and intentionally at Carlton City Hotel Singapore since it’s a 3-minute walk from my apartment in Tanjong Pagar. I stayed at my apartment in the evenings.
  • I dedicated mornings for the family to get extra rest. But I hadn’t realised that this was probably their most active time of the day. My brother normally starts work early morning.
  • Where the pandemic is concerned, as of my family’s visit in November 2022, most restrictions had already been lifted. Though the four of us masked up, masks are only required in hospitals, clinics, and public transport excluding cabs.
  • We skipped Gardens by the Bay, Satay Street, National Gallery Singapore, Haji Lane, Little India, Bugis, Universal Studios, etc. since we did these before.
  • Go cashless if you can.

The family flew back to Manila on Tuesday from Changi Airport’s T2. ❤️

Any tips for travelling with elderly loved ones? I think we did a good job lol – but I’d love to hear your thoughts too.

Are you flying to Singapore for holiday? Let me know what you’re looking for so I can make some recommendations for you.

Before the coffee gets cold

Before the coffee gets cold

The waiter pours hot coffee into my cup. The steam dissipates into the air. I feel dizzy as my surroundings shimmer and blur. There are colours and shapes all around me. It’s like the gaussian blur on Photoshop, except there’s some movement. Suddenly the surroundings come back into focus. I’m exactly in the same seat and the coffee in front of me is hot.

I know that I have to drink the coffee before it gets cold. If not, I’ll be stuck in this time away from the present. I know I can’t leave this seat or I’ll be zapped back to the present. I also know that no matter what I do from where I’m sitting, it won’t change the present. Ever.

So what day and time did I choose to revisit?


Actually, I don’t know. The fantasy ends there. I just finished the book “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi and that’s the premise. I think it’s about learning to see our current situations in a completely different light. What’s interesting about this time travelling story is that no matter what the person does, it can never change the present. It’s not Back to the Future and Star Trek. It’s replaying to a time you have to learn something very important about yourself.

After finishing the book, I came across a trailer to a film called Cafe Funiculi Funicula which is based on the book.


Which moment in your past would you like to revisit? Would you be at peace knowing that you can’t do anything to change the present?

Riding the SkyHelix Sentosa

Riding the SkyHelix Sentosa

A new ride opened at Sentosa last year called the SkyHelix Sentosa. It’s a gondola ride that takes you 79 meters above sea level to give you a panoramic view of Sentosa. The gondola also rotates slowly so you can sit in any of the 16 seats and catch a view of everything. You can spot downtown Singapore, the nearby shipping container yards, the cargo ships themselves… and on a clear day, you can also see Indonesia on the horizon.

Watch the video of my visit to SkyHelix Sentosa.

The ride opened in December last year. But I only got to visit the SkyHelix Sentosa when my friend stopped by Singapore last week on his way to the Philippines. I took him to the SkyHelix since we also enjoyed the flying fiesta (chair swing ride) at the Marina Bay Carnival a few years ago.

The SkyHelix Sentosa is located at Imbiah Lookout. There’s construction the vicinity for the Sentosa Sensoryscape so for people walking to this attraction (as well as nearby Madam Tussauds, etc), they’ll have to follow marked paths.

I bought the tickets online on the same day and I noticed it’s cheaper at SGD 16.20 per adult online, compared to buying it over the ticket counter at SGD 18.00. Each ticket includes either a soft drink or a souvenir. My friend and I both got a soft drink so we could take it up with us.

The ride itself lasts at least ten minutes long. A guide from the attraction will also point out what’s interesting nearby. They will also help take your photo. The guide stays in the middle of the gondola. Almost like Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation but of course with more gusto.

Because the SkyHelix Sentosa sits on top of Imbiah Lookout, which itself is a hilltop… it feels like you’re twice or three times as high once the gondola is at its highest. The rotation is slow and comfortable… so it isn’t a thrill ride (but wait, unless you have a slight fear of heights… then it’ll be quite thrilling!). The guide also explained that SkyHelix Sentosa is best to experience day and/or night… so you get to see all the lights.

Definitely recommend this as a quick and harmless attraction to enjoy probably one of the best views of Sentosa.

SkyHelix Sentosa – https://skyhelixsentosa.com/

Nearest MRT: Harbourfront (Take the tram from VivoCity to Imbiah Lookout)

It was also great to catch up with my friend M who (as I shared in an Instagram post) really helped me through a very delicate time in my life a few years ago. He was always very nice… I enjoy having conversations with him haha. Thanks for making the time to meet.

Safe and sound

Safe and sound

A few things this past month.

  • I got Covid for the first time. Symptoms included fever, cough, and a slight cold (stuffy nose). But not as severe as what I’d imagine. I’m sure I’ve had worse before. I’m thankful for the vaccines and a booster. I suppose it’s what made it feel like a storm was passing through instead of something fatal. My friends and former colleagues have lost their loved ones to Covid. It’s not something any of us should take lightly, no matter how mild the symptoms are for us. I think about Dr. Li Wenliang, the doctor who was about my age, who tried to tell the world about the virus… but was allegedly silenced. He died of Covid.
  • I went to the emergency room for rib pain. Earlier this month I went to the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) accidents and emergency (A&E) department to get an x-ray for my chest and ribs after I heard a loud “crack” sound while doing the leg press at the gym two days prior. I started to feel soreness and I also developed a fever… which was very odd. The pain wasn’t severe but I wanted to have it checked just in case it was serious. The results came out and I was cleared any severe injuries. Perhaps it’s my muscles waking up again after maybe months of inactivity. I wasn’t even pushing so hard at the gym. It was the 40kg on the leg press (2x 20kg plates, one on each side)… I’ve done much heavier before. I am listening to my body.
  • PJ injured himself at spin class. He’s currently bed-ridden after he (may have) busted himself doing a beginners’ spin class. I’ve always felt iffy about spin class… I’ve heard stories about people injuring themselves in it if they’re not prepared. I haven’t experienced it myself. Poor thing. He’s struggling to walk and it’s been like that for 2-3 days already. He already had a teleconsult and the doctor suggested he hydrate and rest… to let his muscles recover. We were thinking of going to the SGH A&E (uhm hello, going there twice in one month?) but the teledoctor said they’ll likely suggest the same thing which is hydration and rest. Plus, based on my experience at the A&E a few weeks ago… the waiting time will be about four to five hours. We’ve decided to observe for now.
  • Work stress. I can’t imagine saying that my current work could be as stressful as having 10 meetings squeezed over two days like in previous roles. But this past month I was put off by a work-related database assessment I felt was unfair. It hit different this time. I love to encourage my newer teammates to strive and give their best, and when they make mistakes… I’m always there to tell them to learn and move on. But it’s hard to take my own advice, when it happens to me. I’m fortunate to have a fantastic line manager and it took only one chat with him for me to slowly get back into it. Where I’m at right now is do I speak up with the heart to improve how database assessments are? Or do I keep silent, and not rock the boat? I’m leaning towards the former, that’s how much I love the company I’m in. But there are days in this Covid-world where keeping silent is such a sweet temptation.
  • All settled in Tanjong Pagar. We are two months into our new apartment in Tanjong Pagar. I unpacked and assembled the two floor lamps to complete the cozy look I want for our dated apartment. The living room looks gorgeous in the warm light. I’m so happy with it that I want to invite guests over now for board games and movie nights. We haven’t used the projector yet so maybe we can take it out this week for a Halloween movie night. Two months here, I’ve already run into familiar faces at the coffee stall downstairs. The two aunties remember me… even if I last visited them in 2016. The Filipino lady who used to run the “Dampa” food stall at nearby Tanjong Pagar Market is also downstairs running a new nasi padang stall. I’m in awe of the aunties at Miki who prepare sandwiches to perfection. But every time I pass by their stall… which looks like it’s been there for decades… I can’t help but think about the building’s en bloc situation. What will happen to them eventually?
  • Good friend from Melbourne was in town. The last time I saw him, he was passing to me a box of masks in March 2020 right before circuit breaker. He’s since moved to Australia to finish up his studies and take up permanent residency. He is special to me because I met him at a time in my life that I felt like it was over. I specifically planned to take him to the new SkyHelix at Sentosa because we did the Marina Bay carnival together back in December 2017… we took that flying carnival ride where the swing chairs are lifted up into the air. Those moments helped me get by. He’s on his way to the Philippines for a two-week holiday.
  • A new house. We did the groundbreaking for our new house in Cavite, which is actually tearing down the bodega (and gym, which my brother assembled)… and putting up a new house. It’s actually called a “tiny house” but after looking at the renders and the thought behind it… it’s not a small house. It’s actually a house in itself. The idea behind it was to have a separate structure on our lot in case one needed to isolate during this pandemic. But it’s now become a family project with my brother leading the way together with his architect-friend. We’re excited about it… except that there was a tropical storm literally the 2nd day of construction / removal of the existing bodega structure.
  • Family is visiting Singapore. Good thing that the recorded cases are dropping in Singapore after the XBB variant was peaking a few weeks ago. My family will be visiting and it’ll be their first overseas travel during this pandemic. My brother and I have already prepared an itinerary which involves mostly food and outdoor things to do. I think it’s important to also plan contingencies. I’m putting together a snack kit for their hotel stay and it includes a care kit as well.
  • Fitness on hold. After my gym injury and Covid experience, I haven’t been able to work out or even do yoga. But right after this blog entry, I’ll resume my 30-day yoga practice (I was on Day 26 out of 30, when I got Covid). I’ll also be back at the gym and I’m skipping the leg press for the time being. I think it’s okay to resume and start out slow. Better slow than sorry… when you’re returning to fitness after a break.

Riri’s Wakanda Forever song is beautiful. Wherever you are, take care of yourself.

Behind-the-scenes: Day trip to the Southern Islands

Behind-the-scenes: Day trip to the Southern Islands

It’s been almost six years since I last created a “silent vlog” (a video where there’s no talking, only capturing the natural sights and sounds of our surroundings). I want to experiment with this approach since I enjoy consuming these types of videos anyway. Here’s the result… enjoy!

Video synopsis: Let’s visit St. John’s Island and Lazarus Island, part of the Southern Islands in Singapore. Plus, a peek at Marina South Pier MRT station.


Behind-the-scenes (not in the vlog above)

It’s great to be back outside since I got Covid last week. I’m feeling much better. I love the outdoors… and I love having picnics too. When we arrived at St. John Island, we managed to chope a small covered shelter.

Our friends prepared a nice breakfast too.

The island is still a great escape from the city… even if you could see downtown in the background. I still recommend this island for people who want to “disconnect” from the city. Starting this month, you can start renting bikes and scooters not from from the ferry pier.

We had a picnic at two spots. The first was at St. John’s Island (first photo) and the second spot was at the cove on Lazarus Island.

I made the mistake of forgetting to apply sunblock.

Some tips before going to St. John’s / Lazarus Islands:

  • Bring sunblock, and apply generously. I underestimated the sun since it was partly cloudy when we left the mainland.
  • Bring a picnic mat.
  • Everything you bring to the island (food, water, etc), consider taking the trash back with you to the mainland.
  • Bring a poncho / umbrella in case the weather changes. It’s happened before! One moment it’s sunny, and the next there’s a thunderstorm.
  • You can bring a foldable bike on the ferry. I asked the operator and they said that it’s free.
  • There are no food stalls on the island… so bring food and snacks!
  • Yes, you can do light swimming off the shores. It’s nice.

Since the ferry terminal is only two MRT stations away from our house, I wouldn’t mind repeating this trip a few times. I’d love to go back to the island and enjoy a book.

Where is St. John’s Island / Lazarus Island? Take a look on this map!