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Filipino American Expat in Singapore

Waiting for my coffee at Blue Bottle Coffee, San Francisco

I’d like to get my health checked.

Lately I’ve been feeling more exhausted than usual. Climbing up a flight of stairs feels heavy. I don’t know if it’s because my fitness levels have been stagnant the last few weeks. Or that I eat too much (or not).

I feel like I’m constantly in a need of catching up.

I miss old comforts. I was in Tanjong Pagar earlier and it made me smile. It felt familiar, obviously. I worked there for almost five years.

I don’t know. Maybe I need to chill more. Or maybe I do it too much.

I was out for almost two weeks for a business trip to San Francisco. I’ve loads of experiences I’m excited to write about here on my blog. For now I’ll start with the Bay to Breakers Run which is marketed as the oldest consecutively run footrace in the world (since 1912).

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My cousin booked us a one-night stay at Hilton (we haven’t seen each other in five years). He told me it’s a race where people dress up. Luckily I borrowed a Power Rangers-LOOKING suit from a colleague (thanks Shawn!).

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Several firsts:

  • First race in San Francisco (also: first in California, first in the USA)
  • First time to race while wearing a costume
  • First time to race in sub-18 degree C weather. All my races to date are in Southeast Asia with temps above 27-degrees C.

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I picked out Corral C which is a more conservative time. I was thinking I wouldn’t be finishing the race at a competitive pace since I wanted to take this opportunity to use the race as a way to experience San Francisco by foot.

 

The route

The route passes by the company’s San Francisco office. This was the first time I was seeing the office so YES… i did stop right in front of it.

 

True enough people were in costumes. There were all sorts of traditions like throwing tortillas. Some people were running naked. In this weather? The route took you through neighbourhoods where people were outside their homes having picnics and watching the racers pass by. I spotted people in windows looking out. It had a strong community vibe. Some racers were doing it backwards (it’s also a tradition, apparently).

 

Oh, and I added a few more dollars to race an additional stretch for an additional medal.

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It was a great first day in San Francisco. We were blessed (yes I’ll use that word) to have great weather that morning. Because the previous days were dark and stormy.

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Can’t thank my cousin enough for telling me about this race and for being such an amazing host during my first weekend in SF.

The company I work for is big on learning and development. It’s also big on diversity. Together with other Filipinos in the office, we put together a “Filipino Day” where we can showcase the warm hospitality our people are known for.

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There was Pera o Bayong (Philippines’ version of Deal or No Deal), a tinikling dance (traditional folk dance involving bamboo sticks), food and drinks to share. We had lumpia, puto, pork barbecue, Chippy (those bags of chips)… and of course, since it was a Friday, we had a budget for San Miguel Beer.

Everyone looked like they were having a good time. ❤

We moved into a new office space this past week. Our company took over a new floor inside Marina Bay Financial Tower 2. We’re now on three levels in the building. Our team joins a few other teams in moving to the new floor.

There’s more spaces for collaborations and meetings. There’s a library, games room, training rooms, new “drop-ins” and a barista. I’ve heard multiple describe it as “it feels like Facebook” (but I wouldn’t know… because I haven’t worked there).

Without a doubt this is a hidden gem! Located in Basement 2 of Westgate Mall in Jurong East, it’s a simple “basement level” eatery that blends in with all the others. But I am consistently impressed by the fresh grilled taste of their pork belly served over rice. PJ also ordered the kimchi beef which is equally delightful.

What I love is that it’s rarely ever crowded. I’m surprised we always chance upon it as being almost empty. For a good price, you get a good lunch of freshly grilled meat (and the sauce is pretty good that it makes you want to eat more rice). They also have other meats and mushrooms on skewers which you can add onto your dish.

Definitely, a favourite when I’m in Jurong.

Location: Inside Westgate Jurong East, Basement 2, Kiosk 4 “B2K4” – 3 Gateway Drive

For our third week of cooking something every Wednesday Monday (because of Game of Thrones), we went with Tuna Pesto Pasta. This is not going to be some recipe post. You can find loads of tuna pasta recipes on the internet.

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A group picture of the ingredients

I’m going to describe to you my life-changing experience cooking it.

  1. Pour olive oil into a wok until satisfied.
  2. Add two tablespoons of ‘instant’ chopped garlic.
  3. Stir the chopped garlic before it gets burnt.
  4. Add in a slab of butter and watch it melt while thinking about our life choices.
  5. Pour in a cup of evaporated creamer (it’s supposed to be heavy cream). I google’d and it says it’s the same. But the evaporated creamer I got is used in ice kacang apparently so let’s see what happens.
  6. Once it’s all incorporated, add in a can of tuna chunks. It’s supposed to be tuna flakes LOL but PJ got the chunks instead because I forgot to tell him to look for the flakes one. I smashed the chunks into pieces using a wooden spoon.
  7. Add in the pasta. And then mix it all.
  8. While it would’ve been nice to smash basil and nut and create the pesto from scratch, I didn’t have time coming from work. Instead, add a jar of pesto sauce (which you can buy at the groceries) into the pasta and tuna. Mix everything.
  9. Add in parmesan, cheddar, and sprinkle with pepper and salt to taste.
  10.  Eat with your favourite protein. I picked roasted chicken. The store-bought one.

Made with ❤

Verdict: This pasta definitely tasted better than Game of Thrones S8 EP4.

PJ loved it but I think I could definitely put a little more love into making tuna pesto pasta. Investing in the ingredients would definitely pay off. Especially the part of getting the heavy cream done correctly and using a different type of pasta to scoop up the pesto sauce and tuna bits. I want to make pasta my go-to dish.

Here’s a photo:

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Tuna Pesto Pasta

Here’s a bonus video of me cooking it.

“Previously on PJ and George’s Kitchen”

We’re kinda in the middle of summer already. Can you believe that? Labour Day breezed by and we spent it at my friend Paul’s condo in Kallang. It has this gorgeous view of the Kallang River Basin, Stadium, Tanjong Rhu, and the area surrounding Golden Mile.

The video above is like a cutout of what a typical weekend (or public holiday) is like since I moved to Singapore. I enjoy spending it at a friend’s house having some drinks or singing videoke.

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Bonus: What am I thinking about lately?

  • Job security and fulfilling my goal of securing a sufficient emergency fund
  • Getting good work done no matter how steep the learning curve is
  • A new sport or physical activity to try (outrigger canoeing, dancing, cross-fit)
  • Looking for an opportunity for solo travel
  • Finishing the third book in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy ‘Rich People Problems’
  • Reducing my belongings by half (donate, recycle, trash, digitize, etc.)
  • Shopping for new things as a treat to myself
  • A business trip to San Francisco
  • A holiday trip to Manila

I don’t think I’m anywhere near to being a true Spartan athlete. The truth behind these photos is that I failed at various obstacles. I hold myself accountable to a higher fitness level. Especially after being part of a dragon boat team. These photos are fabulous to look at. But they don’t represent where I want to be physically and mentally.

I am proud that I signed up for it and that my partner did too. I did the penalty burpees where and when required. I noticed I was less scared about heights and weights. I crossed the finish line acknowledging where I can improve. I only have to set realistic goals that can be measured. I’m turning 34 this year and I don’t want to turn into an MF skinny-fat Filipino gay guy.

I’m being cheeky.

I’ll sign up for the next Spartan, the next Standard Chartered race, or the next Metasprint. Until I get it done right. Because the only person I’m disappointing is myself.

My current living arrangement with my partner is simple. We take turns. Every weekend we alternate between his flat in Tampines and my place in Bukit Merah.

We plan to move in together eventually. But for now, we’re enjoying this arrangement of being able to enjoy two sides of the city.

Somewhere in Tampines West (okay, the address is at the end of this post) is a casual Thai restaurant called Soi Thai Kitchen. We both didn’t know it existed until we were walking and exploring the stores near his HDB block. There are two Thai restaurants at the location but we were intrigued with this one which had a larger crowd.

We ordered the Thai minced meat omelette (told you I’m obsessed with it based off a previous post). Added a large plate of Olive fried rice (I think we’d try Pineapple Fried Rice or Thai fried rice on the next trip). But the highlight for me was the dry tom yum. WOW. Every bit of that tom yum flavour… but imagine it as a sauce you could pour over your steamed rice. It was so good I might have it again next week.

I’ll update this post again when we try the other items on the menu.

Soi Thai Kitchen is located at Tampines Street 81, #01-28 Block 824, Singapore