Friday, June 30, 2006

Born to Fly

Hey, I'm here at the boarding gate already, E22. Flight PR504 to Manila, arriving at around 4-something PM. I get free 15 minutes internet access. Maybe I'll hog it :P We'll be boarding in a few minutes. Did some last-minute shopping at the airport, small stuff.

See you around!

% I'm goin' back to the Philippines %

Flyin' home, baby!

Had an undeniably terrific time. Craving for more. A new life is ahead of me. For now, it'd be nice to be back home (and not do laundry).

See you in Manila!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Pre-departure Preparations

Nes and I did a lot of walking over the weekend. Showed him around Orchard Road in Lucky Plaza, Wisma Atria, Tang's, Ngee Ann City and Plaza Singapura. At night, I got invited by his friend Stephan, to watch the Germany-Sweden game near Capital Square. Can you believe it, I missed the only two goals of the game, and I was just late about ten minutes!

Sunday, we went to IKEA to pick out initial things to put in our apartment. I chose a nice bed with lots of space underneath so that the storage boxes I had shipped here can fit. Mattress, mattress pad, quilt cover set w/ pillowcases, pillows, and probably the matching bedside table. I'll probably go back there and buy it so that they can deliver and assemble it next week, before I get back. So at least on July 10, I have a bed to sleep on.

So I flipped through catalogs and wondered: What kind of dining set defines me as a person? (Fight Club reference). But then I really did just that. I'm looking at some shelves also. First, I have to measure some spaces in the apartment. Really interesting experience.


Got my Employment Pass and disembarkation/embarkation card today. Sweet!


Today I opened an account in Citibank and all I got was this lousy card that has my name, account type, and account number scribbled by the bank officer. After doing a lot of waiting, and a cup of coffee, two sugars, and two coffemates, he promised me the debit/ATM card in a few weeks(!) time. I hope my credit card application also gets approved.


McDonald's for lunch. Chicken Fold-over Meal for $6.95. Pretty good. Tastes like chicken shawarma. I really think I'm getting fat by insisting on always finishing my food (with slightly large servings here). That's cause it's relatively expensive when I convert to pesos (a habit I should stop soon). Take that meal for example, $6.95 = P233.00. You better believe I should finish it after spending that much for lunch.


After work, passed by some malls. In one particular mall, Midpoint Orchard, I think, there's a DVD place selling pretty rare Criterion Collection which the owner probably ordered off Amazon. Akira Kurosawa boxed set. Masculin Et Feminin. In The Mood For Love. I even told him, "You have a pretty good selection(-lah)". "Well, we try", he answered proudly. I told him that I would come back next week with money even though I had some in my wallet. What I did was that I scribbled the prices on my XDA to compare it with Amazon prices online. Lo and behold, they were rip-off prices, waaaay above Amazon's listed prices, not to mention the standard discount. So that's the end of that idea. Pity.

Ate a Pepperoni hotdog and Orange Julius original orange smoothie combo for dinner. It's turning out to be a bad idea, as I am getting hungry now. I'm still up savoring the rest of my stay in Treetops. I checkout on Thursday. Fly to Manila on Friday. PR504, ETA 4:40PM at NAIA Terminal 2.

Nes gets my shipment stuff on Saturday, probably the IKEA ones too. Swish. Getting adjusted fine at work. Swish. Everything falling into place now.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

I'll Be Here A While; Ain't Going Nowhere

You guys know how I'm such a worry-er, right? Always trying to prepare for the worst, taking into heart Murphy's Law, always jumpy and anxious? I know, it's a bad thing to be always worrying about things all the time. I'm learning to set aside some problems and face the music when they happen.

Yesterday, 23rd of June, 2006, and my father's 57th birthday, it was a day that I can conclusively describe to be one of my best days in recent memory. It's for the simple reason that a lot of the weight I'm putting on myself (figuratively), a lot of the thorns on my side, vanished in one fell swoop.

The first good news I received signalled what was to follow. June 23 would be a great day. The messenger brought me an envelope containing my first paycheck and a complimentary certificate of employment from human resources. It was the first also after a month off between jobs. After lunch, I would scoot over to Citibank, in the building right next to the office, the MacDonald House, and watch the teller bring out the big bills. Literally, that is. Singapore has crazy-sized currency, not unlike Hong Kong.

Yung susunod naman tatagalugin ko na muna kasi baka mabasa nung bosing ko na ka-bonding ko kahapon sa isang sikat na kapihan (hehe, ang cheap tuloy ng dating). Bale, yung mga kasama ko talaga, nasa London, at ako lang sa team yung nagde-develop dito sa Asia-Pacific (i.e. Singapore). Nandito yung team leader ng mga isa't-kalahating linggo para magbigay ng presentation at para na rin i-train ako tungkol sa trabaho. Hindi naman ako masyadong mahilig mag-kape, puro Milo nga ako eh. Kaso gusto ko na rin siya i-libre dahil nga natanggap ko yung unang sweldo ko. Doon, nag-usap kami tungkol sa trabaho, at sa buhay-buhay. Pinaringgan ko pa na gusto ko rin minsan makapunta sa London. At ayun, sabihin na natin mayroon na akong maaasahang isang biyahe papunta roon sa hinaharap kahit sinabi niyang nag-aayos pa lang sila ng ganung klaseng posibilidad. Masaya rin mangarap, lalo na kung malaki ang pagkakataon na magkatotoo. Sa wakas, makikita ko na rin si Mr. Bean at si Danger Mouse.

The third good news is that I'm getting a PC with 2GB of RAM, and add in an extra monitor for good measure. "What?!", you exclaim, "you can have more than one monitor?!" Apparently, I can, and I will. I promise to take a snap of my workspace once the request is done. Pretty exciting for a developer.

The fourth good news brought a ton of relief (I'm a Ton of relief! :P) . My employment pass, which I was worrying about for the longest time, finally got approved. I got this letter of approval-in-principle giving me the standard 24 months to legally work here under this fine company. An approval-in-principle, in effect, is like saying "if anybody asks, you can work here for two years". Anyway, this letter won't be useful for long. I'm getting the real pass on Monday stamped on my lovely Pinoy passport so I can show it to immigrations officers, bank officers, and whoever cares to see it for whatever reason. In Singapore, it's almost impossible to do banking without an employment pass if you're a foreigner. So as early as Monday, I can finally open a bank account in Citibank, and hopefully apply for a credit card too. That way, I won't be holding this lumpsum paycheck in my bag. So why didn't I just hold on to the check until I opened an account. Because it's weekend, and I'm going to do what Singaporeans do! (% Why don't you shop a-round, with your friends %)

The fifth good news also put an end to a long-term project. Nes and I finally found an apartment to stay in for at least a year with tenant option to renew. This wonderful place is in Astoria Park right beside Kembangan MRT (Green Line). It's around 20-30 mins to the office which itself sits on top of Dhoby Ghaut MRT station. This is in rush hour of course, when the trains travel more frequently. It's probably takes around the same time for Nes who'll work in Capital Square. I have to transfer to the red line to get to my destination. So this is a 3-bedroom unit with only a slightly new refrigerator and washer-dryer inside it. It's well-maintained, has a great view of the city, has excellent facilities, and as mentioned, sits right beside an MRT station. So this weekend, we expect to be looking around IKEA, Park Mall, and wherever else they sell house furnishings and bring out the interior designer and feng shui consultant within us. Crazy discounts on furniture also plaster the newspapers, we just have to look for them.

Why three bedroom, when there's only two of us? Because you (yes, YOU!) are welcome to come visit and stay with us. But, just don't drop in unexpected.

With the apartment available on Thursday night, I can move in the stuff I had shipped from Manila and also the clothes I'm planning on leaving here.

Ah, leaving Treetops already? You've been so good to me. Somehow, you make me feel welcome every time I go home to you. Then it turns out the maid cleans the mess I make everyday, so that explains that :P

Finally, I am 100% sure to go home on Friday afternoon, June 30. My boss was considerate enough to make an exception to the rule which says that I can't take holiday leave while on probation. Again, I have an employment pass already which gives me less problem going in and out of the city-state. What's left to do is to go to the Philippine embassy and apply for an exit pass and an application for Overseas Worker Welfare Administration (OWWA). Once I finish with that, they can waive the terminal fees and the departure taxes for me, which, obviously, saves me a lot of money and grief. I'll go back here, hopefully to our new apartment, on July 10, new furniture and all. Rackin' up the Mabuhay Miles...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Mi-a-mi, screeeeeeeeeeeam!

For me this NBA season felt anti-climactic, or at least had a muted NBA finals. Almost literally, that is. I only knew what happened in the finals because of the muted CNN recap showing in our office. Basically, everything else in Singapore has World Cup 2006 fever.

Anyway, from the muted newsbits that I saw, it seems like D-Wade almost willed them to the championship, after being down 0-2. He deserves it. He really is a superstar. It's a good thing also that he got it this early. The beating he takes everytime he drives hard to the basket will probably take its toll in 2 or 3 years time. So good for him. And Shaq too. I think he better go before he embarrasses himself in the next season. Well, maybe one more season for him. After he's the self-proclaimed "most dominant player ever". True enough, he's still a presence in the middle. Also good for Zo Mourning, who came out of kidney surgery to give it another go in Miami. And also, Gary Payton, who's been selling his soul everywhere just to get a championship ring. Bold predictions? I don't think Miami will repeat next season.

I had Dallas picked to win the series. How could have I gone wrong? For starters, Dirk Nowitzki shoots the lights out everytime he shows up. A seven-foot guy who shoots like Larry Bird? Wow, gotta have one of those in your team. A pretty solid bench. Anyway, it resulted into a great regular season. But then that doesn't get you the ring.

It's been a great season with lots of drama and highlights. And like every year, I can't wait for next season.


As for me, I'm still finding a more permanent place to live in. I've been doing a lot of apartment viewings as you may know and will continue to do more until I've found "the right one".

Yesterday, we had a viewing in Simsville. Funny name, for obvious reasons (or just let that reference pass by over your head).

The apartment was OK except for the common/guest room which had this monstrous playhouse thing going on. So no go for this one. Blech. Probably had soiled mattresses too.


If everything goes well, I''ll be flying home on June 30 and will be there until July 10. Hope I'm still welcome here in Singapore. It's a nice little place they got here.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Online! Boo-yah!

Thanks to Debby for letting me "break-in" her brand new Dell Inspiron 640m laptop.


So I paid for a month's subscription for broadband access here in the apartment. And let me tell you, I'm gonna make the most of it.

In fact I'm gonna....uhm...I'm gonna...

Ok, I'll think of what to do. Until then, I'll always be online when I'm here at home. Now there's no reason to go out and spend more than I need to. Fan-tast-tic!

See ya online! :D

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Oh boy, Milo makes my Day

This blogging by email works great!


So I cooked my first breakfast today, after a trial run the other day.
Bacon, eggs and rice, with fresh orange juice. I don't have a rice
cooker in the apartment, so I bought one of those rice in a bag
things. Put the bag in boiling water for 10-12 minutes, drain and you
have instant rice.

Good thing housekeeping will be cleaning up the mess.


I haven't exercised since Sunday (and that was just 15 minutes on the
treadmill). Before that, not since I left for Singapore. I need to get
back on track. I'm still in my weight range of 145-150. I'm up to
147.5 the last time I weighed myself.

At least I'm back to non-fat yoghurt and fruits.

But Milo, makes my day!


Got to taste Kaya Toast yesterday. Quite good. It's just normal
toasted brown bread with butter and some sort of marmalade
combination. That and more hot Milo.


The Orchard Road novelty is wearing off a bit, because I'm trying to
save up until payday, which comes next week. And even then, I
shouldn't be spending it here, but instead, I'll go crazy when I go
back home in July. Cheaper everything. So why shop here? Because of
the variety and the availability and the crazy sales if you're lucky
enough. But maybe the solution may be as simple as going out of
Singapore central, and try the shopping centres in the far off towns.

Aaah, but who has time?


Very quick weather changes here, could be sunny in the morning, and
rainy before lunch, and clear in the evenings. I haven't gotten sick
yet. Must be the Milo.


Anyway, in the office, I'm usually online on Googletalk. Yahoo
Messenger usually needs a bit more of setting up, which I can't do yet
in the forseeable future.


More Milo!

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Originally uploaded by ton2fig.
Check out my first househunting trip. I need to select by July when my term with Treetops expires. They're actually pretty good places. A bit on the (relatively) high-end. I mean, it is, given the budget that we've given.

So have a look. Mind the tags.

Note: That last one at Warner Court is f*ckin' huge!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Singapore: The First Week in Pictures

Originally uploaded by ton2fig.

Good stuff! Have a look!

Uhm, ignore the last photo. Yeah, the (apparently) green tea bath tub.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Well, I didn't plan to go online today and chat or blog or whatever it is I do. I thought I would only blog whenever something interesting happens. At least, interesting to me. One week in Singapore, and there's still some places I haven't gone to. Not that I have all the time to tour and sightsee.


In the office, I just keep abusing the vending machine that dispenses free drinks (although, it does have a coin slot for some reason. My drink of choice is hot Milo. Mmm-mm! There's also that interesting Lemon Barley soda that I drink occasionally. It tastes like watered-down lemon tonic water, with some fizz removed. Also free.


Lunchtime, I ate at KFC. I miss pinoy KFC, if anything. The chicken doesn't look fat enough with flour and there's automatically no gravy to go with it. But there's some in the mashed potato, so there you go. I did like the cheese fries (cheese flies, hehehe). It's just the normal fries (not the KFC fries that we know of) with cheese sauce, some sort of sour cream, and spring onion leaves. Costs around $6, about P180.00. Pwede na!


I also discovered this hawker centre, a few hundred meters from work. A hawker centre is essentially a food court. Chicken cutlet rice, $4.00, iced kemon tea, $1.95. Pretty affordable.


Well, the legends are true. they do have free wi-fi inside McDonald's. And speaking of, their Chicken nuggets Barbecue sauce tastes different. I swear the counter guy also asked me If I wanted curry instead.

That brings me to the worst part of commuting: the smell. I really, really don't get it. I mean, we all have noses. Do they find the smell relaxing? energizing? Well, honestly, I find it revolting. Hong Kong MRTs didn't smell anything like this.


Anyway, I had to endure that smell on the way to and from Queensway Shopping Centre. That place is famous for discount sports gear. I bought myself a pair of Nike sandals for $84, marked down from around $120. I don't know if I saved a lot. But they have some pretty good stuff on discount over there. It's just that it's far away from where I'm staying and I had to take an MRT and a bus for that little trek.


I thought I'd be able to go around a lot more this weekend. It turns out that I'll be doing just that, except in a different way. Someone from the real estate agency is going to show me around to look at some long-term housing. I hope I get a good deal.

The place I'm going to live in for a couple of months, maybe years, is probably going to be less desirable than the place I'm staying in right now.

On the way to Queensway, I've seen the HDB (government housing) flats that people stay in. Man, they look lonely. True enough, that's Singapore's version of a depressed area. I'd hate to stay in one of those.


Next week, I should get down to business and start budgeting. Daily expenses on meals, commute and travel time also. I can't wait til payday.


World Cup 2006 starts tomorrow. People here are crazy about it.

I'm a minority of course. I'm rooting for the Mavs to win the NBA Finals.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Work-a-day World

I just started work today. It's very exciting (I mean, after a month off) and I can't say enough good things about it. So let me start listing them down.

First of all, the commute to work is great (for a month at least, until they kick me off the apartment). About five minutes walk to the bus stop, and the bus isn't crowded. Did I mention my work hours are 9-to-5? No, I did not stutter (not in a written sense, of course). So I take one of around 4 or 5 buses that stop there and then I hop on and then around 10-15 minutes later, I'm right in front of the office. Sweet! Pretty soon, when I move out and find my own place. I just need to get to an MRT station and I can ride my way to the station right in front of the office (Dhoby Ghaut Station).

I had to drop off my passport and embarkation card (they gave me 30 days on social visit pass/visa at immigrations) for the guy who takes care of my employment pass to pick up. Later today, I found out that my temporary employment pass got approved, and that I'm legally part of the work force. The pass is valid for a month. If anything, that means I get paid for this month. Wahoo! The real employment pass, should it pass without a hitch, should be ready in late June.

I attended the induction for new employees, also known as corporate orientation. Lots of
very strict policies, especially regarding the business we're in. In fact, the guy that gave the lecture segment, looked dead serious. Kind of what I thought people were like here.

I get my access cards and handbooks, got to know a few people (who works for other teams, unfortunately) get introduced to my line manager and some team members (very diverse, uhm, looking, and [one other of the five senses]). I also got introduced to the one that referred me here. Turns out we have a referral program. I wonder if this could work out for me.


Anyway, lunch was up and we ate Fish and Chips (fish fillet and fries) in one of the restaurants at the mall beside the office, the Plaza Singapura. I found out that the weather gets hotter than this (which I initially thought wasn't so bad). Yikes. Also, I have to say Singapore is far from being a garrison state. Jaywalkers abound. There's still litter in the streets. And such.


The office is this room with glass windows from floor to ceiling (maybe not floor, but pretty tall). And, get this: LCD TVs up on the ceiling, 4 corners, and 4 walls (eight per floor). Muted, of course. The TV nearest me, is tuned in to CNN, which is good enough for employees not to get distracted. I got my HP PC, with a 17-something inch LCD monitor, and my very own phone right at my wide desk.

Unfortunately, somebody's been using the drawers assigned to me and it's a real mess inside. Please don't make me describe what's in it. But I'm trying to figure out how to get rid of the mess there. Euww.

For my first day, I went home at around seven o' clock for two reasons: One, nobody told me I can go home already, and my team and my line manager are still working. And two, I had to talk to someone in London (-7 hours difference). Coño!


Plaza Singapura mall was really cool, and had a grocery too, in case I need to buy something from there. One thing I can't seem to find is a tabo! Naknampucha! Anyway, other than that, it's pretty complete. I wanted to stop looking around the shops because the list of things I want to buy, keep adding up. I ate at MOS Burger, which I think, is this Japanese fastfood burger chain. So-so burger, nothing special for me.


So here I am on the way home, going online at some Internet cafe, which I may be doing for a while. It's at least until I buy myself a laptop (on my first paycheck, thank you, thank you). But then again, maybe the second paycheck. Old buddy, Nestor, is coming in and guess what his new toy is. Maybe I'll hold off buying. Instead, once my employment pass is finalized, I can get a ticket back home for my trip in July. Yeah, and get myself a tabo.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

More Lessons

Lesson #3: In bizarro world, look right then left before crossing the street.

Lesson #4: By its nature, distances seem smaller on a map.

Lesson #5: Any place is walking distance if you have the time

Lesson #6: Nike Free shoes have the potential to destroy your feet after hours of walking.

Wish me luck on my first day of work tomorrow!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

First Day Funk

So. I'm finally here!

Lesson #1: Whether you're flying economy, business or first class, you cannot prevent your butt and ears from hurting after any flight.

Lesson #2: I don't know how to iron

Lots of walking. Lots of spending. Lots of pictures taken. But I can't upload them yet, as I have no PC of my own (I'm in an Internet cafe).

Anyway, this'll be all for now until I get access to a PC that doesn't go by the half-hour. Catch me later!

Friday, June 02, 2006

End of Story

Goodbye friends. See you soon!

I'll be bringing my phone (+63917xxxxxxx) to Singapore. I hope it works. I don't know If I'll be able to log-in to YM often but I'll leave it on SMS mode for a while. Text me or email me ( if you need anything.

See you in July!

See you in December!

See you anytime in between!