5 Reasons I Love Dragon Boat Paddling

Earlier, I had a chance to be a guest paddler with FDS. Some of my colleagues are thinking of organising a corporate paddle and I wanted them to see how it’s like to paddle with Filipino Dragons (Singapore).

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With Daniel, Melissa, and Miriam.

It was nice of Daniel to mention (without me feeding it to him) that being with FDS feels like family. Yes, it’s very true with FDS. Having paddled with the team for four years, I learned many values like teamwork and relationship-building. We paddle as one. We have to be sync or we will fail. It’s something I apply in my career too.

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Daniel introduced me to two of his friends (one of which is also my colleague from a different business unit). Glad they had fun! They commented later that they were so impressed with our women’s captain’s paddling form.

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Definitely a beautiful day. I’m happy when I get to see my FDS family. They might not understand or see it from me much… but I miss them. ❤

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Here are five reasons why I love dragon boat paddling:

You build your endurance. Paddling on weekends and doing additional training on Tuesdays and Thursdays builds not only your strength but your endurance. I noticed it’s helped me run faster and at greater distances. It works both ways. Running regularly has built my endurance and it’s made me paddle longer on the boat.

You learn the importance of teamwork. There are no divas on a dragon boat team. At least, there shouldn’t be. Teamwork is CRUCIAL. Everyone needs to paddle together and as ONE. When you paddle at your own pace, you break that teamwork and it will cause the boat to jerk. Being on a dragon boat team means you have to collaborate, listen, and do your part.

Your network increases with the number of friends you gain in a team sport. In the process of paddling, you expose yourself to a team filled with various professions and backgrounds. I’ve met teachers, architects, interior designers, IT professionals, retailers, call centre agents, advertising executives. It’s amazing.

You get a nice skin tan. I really don’t like pale skin… it’s a personal preference. I love the skin tan I get from dragon boating. It’s probably what I miss the most.

You can enjoy some occasional eye-candy and learn from it. This is true lol. Women and men. Gay, straight, lesbian. You name it. Such diversity and such eye-candy you’ll encounter. There are two ways to go about it. Be intimidated by those biceps. Or work your damn way to developing and building your own. In dragon boating, you’re surrounded by people who are dedicated to sports and fitness.

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The rest in photos from today’s session… paddles up!

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Paddling with Daniel, Melissa, and Miriam.
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Leo… all tanned up!
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Nice to see you all again!

5 Places to get Filipino groceries in Singapore

I used to stuff half of my luggage with Filipino groceries before flying back to Singapore. I had no idea that most of the Filipino groceries I wanted were already available at several locations in Singapore. They are up to three times the price but it’s not like I’m able to fly to Manila every other week.

Several grocery store chains in Singapore carry Filipino products. It just takes a bit of patience and searching. Most stores feature them prominently in their international sections, while some you’ll find squeezed between non-Filipino products (like seeing Century Tuna next to Ayam Brand.)

Continue reading “5 Places to get Filipino groceries in Singapore”

SG Flashback Friday No. 7 – Valentine

Every Flashback Friday I’ll share photos that were taken at some point in the past two years during my blogging hiatus.

(Photos taken from Valentine’s Day in 2012.)

Valentine’s 2012 was a work day.

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Playing with the tapes at work.
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Unlike this year’s dry spell over Singapore… Valentine’s Day 2012 was WET. 😛

We headed to a Korean resto nearby. No wine and stuff. Just a good dinner.

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My boyfriend and I had Korean for Valentine’s dinner.
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At Auntie Kim’s Korean Resto
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We were seated outdoors.
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Auntie Kim’s Korean Resto is located at Upper Thomson.

After dinner at a Korean resto, we had a simple chocolate fondue back home in Yishun.

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We kept Valentine’s simple. I hate the commercialism. We know how to make it feel like Valentine’s Day everyday so okay na yun. Haha! Mashado madilim ang photos namin last Valentine’s (duh, it was night time)… so naghanap ako ng photo na last February din ang kuha…

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Happy Valentine’s Day, lovers!

Plans this year? We just got back from watching My Fair Lady (at the Mastercard Theatres of Marina Bay Sands) which were complimentary tickets I got from the office. Nagtitipid kami ngayon. For Valentine’s evening… siguro ilalabas ko uli ang fondue set. We will keep it simple again this year. 🙂

Throwback Thursday: Baguio with my classmates in 2004

To qualify for #ThrowbackThursday, photos or videos must be taken 10 or more years ago.

Before Baguio became a place my boyfriend and I frequented to escape work… it was a big destination for me. We didn’t travel much in college, so trips like these outside Cavite were fun-filled to say the least. It was a time that Baguio felt so large, much colder… the fog more mysterious… these days kasi, Baguio is like Manila (or so I hear).

We stayed at a resthouse at the outskirts of the city. This added to the adventure because the resthouse was a bit dated (which may add to its charm, if you’d look at it that way). We huddled together in the middle of the night when my classmate started to sense something unusual. The following morning Upper would cook hot dogs, we’d make rice… take turns in the frigid shower…

These days kung saan-saan na kami nakakarating… Upper just got back from her European trip. My friend Eric (the only other guy in the photos below) is visiting Singapore soon. Katz, one of the girls in the photos, migrated to Australia if I’m not mistaken. Apple, the other girl, has been working in Italy for several years. (Class Prophecy lang?)…

But in 2004 it was just a simple trip to Baguio which filled our little hearts with glee.

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CD player! Moonflower scent from Body Shop!
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The electric stove that was grounded.
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View of Baguio. Victory Liner bus stop.

MediaCorp Hong Bao Run 2014

I completed my fifth run in Singapore! I logged around 1:03:10 (an hour a 3 minutes+) for an 8 kilometer run. My 10km in December for Standard Chartered 2013 was about 1:40:00++. I think this is my personal best because I spent more time running than walking. My legs also didn’t go sore this time. I felt energised all throughout. Hopefully in the future I’ll be laughing at these puny statistics haha!

Mga takbo ko so far in my nearly 2 years in Singapore:

  • Jurong Lake Run 2012 (6km)… free slot courtesy my company
  • 2012 Standard Chartered Run Singapore (10km)… grabe ‘to, running downtown!
  • 2013 Sundown Marathon Singapore (10km)… mag-isa ako dito, no friends joined
  • 2013 Standard Chartered Run Singapore (10km)… no training at all, kaya naging 1:40:00++
  • MediaCorp Hong Bao Run 2014 (8km)… free slot again, kasama ang mga Pinoy sa company
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Look, I got 8600 as my number.
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Yours truly, with 10% shoulders. Arrrgh!
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My kababayan sa company. Creative producers din sila, different departments.
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The Wolf of Singapore (in compression tights!) + Little Red Riding Hood with oranges and ang paw in the basket. Cute! 🙂
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I’m usually not a “morning person”… so I rarely see views like this.
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The Finishers’ medal.
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People waiting for the announcement of the lucky draw winner. Prize money? SGD 88,888!!!!!

The run was relaxing. Not as crowded syempre as the Standard Chartered run which is the main marathon in Singapore which happens every December. Sasali uli ako this December but undecided pa ako kung kaya ko ang 21km. Hindi ko pipilitin ang 42km na full marathon… that’s for the serious runners! I’d like to try that after five years perhaps after I achieve personal goals with 10km and half marathon 21km.

And I ditched the Kylie Minogue playlist this time. The sounds of downtown Singapore on a slow Sunday morning was something new.

Eto pala yung route for this 8km run:

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The route is similar to the Standard Chartered 10km route, with konting adjustment lang. It is also similar to the Sundown Marathon 10km route.

Thanks MediaCorp for the slot. Nakatipid ako ng SGD 68.00. Isang pair of sneakers din yun. 🙂

SG Flashback Friday No. 2

Every Flashback Friday I'll share photos that were taken at some point in the past two years during my blogging hiatus.

This week we flashback to April 2012. I was living in a backpackers’ hostel in Lavender during my job hunting period. At the time these photos were taken, I had already accepted a job offer. 🙂

Since my future office was just a bus stop away from MacRitchie Reservoir, I invited my friend Bau, and three other friends I met at the hostel, to join me and my boyfriend on a little hike at the MacRitchie trails.

First, we needed to store up on some energy so we headed over to the Wendy’s near our hostel. At the time, I was unemployed for about six months already so eating at Wendy’s where a burger meal is SGD 12.00 (PHP 400.00+) was almost impractical. I ate like mixed veggie rice (yung parang turo-turo) so much that I feel like throwing up when I think about it now. Grabe ang tipid days namin when we were looking for a job.

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I love my boyfriend’s photo here.
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(L to R) Neil, Douglas and Eric (friends from the hostel), and Bau
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Buses that call at 51071 MacRitchie Reservoir.

MacRitchie Reservoir is almost at the center of the island of Singapore. It is an ideal place for jogging, hiking, and appreciating tropical nature. Honestly, it’s amazing that a highly urbanised island city-state like Singapore manages to maintain these beautiful nature reserves.

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Neil, Douglas, and Eric
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We shared bunks with seven other backpackers at a time. This happened for two months!
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Eric was also hunting for a job during those days.
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We still looked fresh here.
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Ate Marichu (the girl there) was the receptionist at the hostel. Super friendly. I miss her!
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Ate Marichu and Neil would have coffee sessions every night. While Mandy.com was on.

It was a gorgeous sunny day in Singapore. It was nice to see so much landscape in Singapore. At the time, all I had been exposed to was Singapore’s urban side. I had to take this sight in and breathe a little. Maybe even pinch myself… “I’m in Singapore!”

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The part of MacRitchie Reservoir that sits closest to the park and bus stop.
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Douglas and Ate Marichu.
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Dessie also joined us for our little hike.

From the bus stop you can enter the MacRitchie Reservoir park which has manicured lawns, running paths, benches and exercise equipment. There are various trails at MacRitchie that depend on how far or how much time you wish to spend there. We took one of the smaller trails.

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Here we go!
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We had just started our hike. Look at our enthusiasm!
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The trail was pretty laid out already.
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Occasionally a runner would pass by us.
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There were lots of monkeys!

After only a kilometre into the 8 or 9-km trail, we were already feeling beat by the tropical humidity. Grabe di ba! Kain agad.

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Pagod na agad?!
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Useful trail markers.
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Beware.

The weather started to change slightly as we went deeper into the MacRitchie trail. It started to become a bit cloudy.

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Douglas
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We were excited to visit the TreeTop Walk but didn’t realise how far inside it was.

We wanted to give up since we weren’t prepared for the heat and humidity. Most of us didn’t bring enough water and snacks. Eventually, with a little push, we made it to the TreeTop Walk. What a relief!

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TreeTop Walk at MacRitchie Reservoir.
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Is Dessie afraid? 😛
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Ate Marichu didn’t realise we were going on a long hike hahahaha.
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Letting my hair down ‘yo.
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Best. Pic. Everrrr.
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Ate don’t.
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I think dog’s weren’t allowed on the bridge. But madam managed to let it pass.

Afer the bridge we were worried it would start raining and we would get stuck in the middle of the MacRitchie trails. Worse, I was afraid of lightning because lightning is CRAZY in Singapore.

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Wooden paths. You get the idea that these trails are pretty much laid out. hehe
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Ayan basa na ang pathway
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The first two hours it was like a yellow brick road. Now I’m hungry but no food!
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I don’t want to be here at night.
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I’m getting hungrrrryyy

The following photos were taken about three hours into our 8 or 9 kilometre walk into the MacRitchie trails. We wanted to get out na by this point kasi gutom na kami lahat.

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Okay this is getting too real.
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Deep inside Singapore.
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No snakes. Bet they are watching football or something. (Gutom na ako!)
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Pagod na!
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Suddenly in the middle of nowhere a map… followed by a shed with bathrooms, a vending machine, water fountains… goodness how convenient. This is Singapore.

Yes we wanted out. Kasi ‘di kami prepared. If you flashback this Flashback Friday you’d notice again that we were wearing casual clothes! As if we were headed to City Square Mall instead of the jungle. LOL.

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What we wore in the jungle. Haha! Yung bag mo Ate Marichu. Jungle day.
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Yes let us out!
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You can get prosecuted for feeding the monkeys.
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But the monkeys have already found a way to help themselves. (Malamang.)

Looking back… we took the funniest exit ever. We walked towards the service road which brought us past a military facility (!!). Parang no one was walking around that area. Mala-Lost ang itsura namin.

Venus Road… where the hell is that?!

This service road snaked its way around a golf course before it spit us out along Upper Thomson Road. Having enjoyed the first two hours of the hike… followed by two agonising hours trying to find our way out of MacRitchie trails… we hopped onto a bus that took us to nearby Ang Mo Kio. Haha.

Nakakaloka ang ma-lost ka sa MacRitchie. With big maps and well-maintained trail paths… who the hell gets lost there haha. Parang tanga lang but it was real fun to bond with ze friends from the hostel.

If you’re wondering why I didn’t use GPS or something… this is the reason why:

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That’s my phone model when I started out in Singapore. OMG. But that’s also the phone model where I received a call from HR telling me about a job offer. Happy days!

Next week on Flashback Friday: The intrigues living inside a backpackers’ hostel.

MacRitchie Reservoir is a fun place for nature lovers. Learn more about it by visiting this website.