Saturday, July 29, 2006

There and Back Again Part One

So here I am, back in my foster home, the Lion City. Since then, I've jotted down some blog topics that I might someday post. I intend to write all bout them down here. Prepare for information overload! Just refer to my flickr pictures for visual aid.

Flight Back

I didn't use to fly this often. Now, I'm starting to hate it. The cramped seats. The aching ears and butt. The cold airconditioning. The bad movies. The awful food. Most especially, the fact that it just takes too darn long.

Then again, I've found out (once again) that listening to Sitti on the in-flight radio makes flying much better. My favorite from her debut album is "Hey Look At The Sun". Enchanting voice.

Astoria Park

After the flight, I headed for the baggage collection belt, picked up what's mine, walked casually through the "nothing to declare" customs lane and headed for my new home in Astoria Park condominium. Changi Airport Terminal 2 has the MRT station right below. Four stops from Changi Airport is Kembangan, which in Malay means "expansion". Right outside the MRT station is where our flat sits. Pool. Gym. Thirteen levels up. Great view of the city. Breezy. All worth the extra cash we chip in every month for a year. When I arrived, it was just my IKEA Aneboda bed set, the ref, washer, and iron inside. In the next few weeks, we'll slowly complete the furnishings. and then some.

MRT vs Bus

Being in Treetops in June, I got used to the 10 minute bus ride to the office. In Astoria Park, it's a three minute walk to the MRT platform, then an estimated 25-minute train ride to the office. The trains are quite packed during rush hour. Saka, alam niyo na, marami DIYAN mga may putok. Lalaki, babae, matanda, bata, maganda, pangit, matangkad, maliit. You can probably guess what sort of experience that's like.

The train ride home takes roughly the same time, and the rush hour crowds are still heading home East. I once tried taking the bus. I saved 1-cent, and spent 20 more minutes. But I at least got to sit down and read the newspaper. Every once in a while, I might try taking the bus home, just for kicks.

The Sovereign

Went to Joey's cousin in Meyer Rd. in an apartment called The Sovereign. Wow. Now THAT is an apartment. Very luxurious, and comes with its own elevator. Nonetheless, it's not so commuter-friendly but that's understandable as most of its residents drive cars or take the cab.

Had salad, spinach lasagne and various kinds of pizza. Stuffed myself, as usual.

Move to 4th Floor

When I got back to work, I spent around thirty minutes reading backlog e-mail before I got to the email which said that our team moved to the fourth floor from the eighth. I got my mail anyway, including my very own ATM and credit card.

The fourth floor in The Atrium@Orchard, where I work isn't as good as the eighth, as we all found out. First of all, there's less space, ther's no TV, the vending machine doesn't give out Milo and softdrinks, the chairs are less ergonomic AND, get this, the rest rooms have access codes(!) As to why we need to key-in the four-digit pass every time we want to take leak, who knows, really. I learned that we might need to move somewhere else as our team is growing and growing by the month.

But for now, our office sits opposite MTV Asia/Singapore studios. So every once in a while, we see Denise Keller smoking outside the ground floor lobby, going to the restroom, and such. Go Google her up, if you don't know who she is.

Credit card

Of course, one of the best "welcome back gifts" I received is my very own credit card (this time with ample credit limit). So since I got it, I charge almost everything I buy. Rewards Points galore. Also helped me purchase my laptop at 0% for 12-months.


The thing with banking with Citibank is that they LOOOVE to send out letters. New PIN. Letter. Logged in for the first time. Letter. Activated this. Letter. Used our ATM for the first time. Letter. Walked in front of the branch. Letter. Hehe, kidding on the last one.

I conclude that they hate trees.

Dell XPS M1210

As I mentioned, I got myself a slick Dell laptop with 12.1" screen, 2.0 Ghz Core Duo, 1GB RAM. 12 months to pay at zero interest. Sweet. We also got ourselves Starhub broadband and Cable TV. I'll be online almost every night, and sometimes in the morning when i'm working shifts. We set up the wireless network here at home and secured it, of course.


We managed to catch Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest (with Chinese subtitles) at Suntec City. It's fairly entertaining in some parts, and bits of comedy here and there. I felt that it was quite long, which means that they spent too much screen time on useless things. While it's nice to see the old cast back, the movie is still no match for the quality of its predecessor. After the first time I watched Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, I thought that it was truly a value-for-money movie, funny and engaging all the way and in the end, you wanted to be a pirate.


My drinks of choice when I eat at the Hawker centres or Kopitiams are cold soya milk, White Grape soda called Qoo, or good old Horlick's. When you guys visit, have a taste of some of these.

Of course, there's the old Iced Lemon Tea, Iced Peach Tea, Iced Green Tea and other Iced Tea.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


"We have attempted to deliver your Dell items to you but unfortunately you are not around, please contact our customer service at XXXXXXXX during office hour to make reappointment for delivery.

Thank you very much!"

Ten minutes later, I finally arrived home to get this message.

Sucks, man.


So I was so annoyed, I just decided to vent my frustration by ironing my clothes.


See you some other time

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Tomorrow: The Long Story

We got our Starhub Cable TV and MaxOnline broadband today. Tomorrow, when I get the laptop that I bought. Expect a long post (or lots of small chunks of which) about what's been happening since I came back from Manila. Which you probably care to some degree if you're reading this space.

Also, pictures I took since then will get uploaded to flickr.

Oh, and sneak a peek on my webcam tomorrow. Shall we say, around 8PM-ish?

That is, of course, if we get to buy a wireless router. Aaaand, if I decide not to iron my clothes.

Hey that would be a sight to see. View My Webcam to see me iron my clothes. Hehe.

See ya! No, wait. Make that "see me" :)

Monday, July 10, 2006


Bye! I'm leaving again. It's raining again.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

This is the Last Time (again)

I really didn't want to go back here in the motherland this soon. At least not until I've gotten homesick. One month in, I was still having the time of my life. It was a vacation plus a new opportunity, not only on work, but in life. I had to learn to be self-reliant, independent, and be more mature.


I did get to meet and catch up with old friends, which is always refreshing. I played a game of basketball with (my dad's) Greenhills quality shoes (absolutely not to be used for anything other than standing around in). I got to eat food I used to enjoy eating. I was able to visit places that I used to bum around in and window shop. I managed to buy (relatively) inexpensive clothes and items. And again, I got to experience weather I've decided that I love: cool and wet. And the fresh air that comes after. And the wacky sensationalist news. And the awesome cable TV shows. And the farce that was the Pacquiao versus [opponent]. And the lovely sights1.

Aaaand, again, I'm leaving them all behind to face the life I've chosen.

And so, fare thee well. Au revoir. Sa muling pagkikita.



1 The conversion rate between pretty ladies in Manila as compared to Singapore is: 1 sale night in Power Plant Mall is roughly equal to 1 month worth of people shopping around Orchard Road. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. and Mrs. Hernandez - July 8, 2006

Congratulations to you two! It was a fun wedding! The rain just made everything more exciting.

Come take a look.

Aaaand, it's always nice to be in the company of friends. I will miss you guys! Visit me in Singapore!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Loose Ends

Just cancelled all of my credit cards here (both of them). It gives me fewer things to pay for here (just the monthlies/annual) . So now, I'm just paying for my car, which is halfway into the term already, my camera, and my Globeline, which I might hold on to for a while.

Gotta hold on to something.


One of my favorite movies is on HBO right now. Groundhog Day.


Wow, wow, wow! Sketchup is a cooool app! If you want to dabble into novice 3D modeling, that is.


Still have to do more errands.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Voyage Home

I've been back home in Manila for four days already. A lot of people I've talked to in Singapore before I left kept saying how lucky I am to be on vacation for a week, back home even. I must tell you, the feeling is weird for me, but not really hard to explain.

Going back here is like going home from a vacation. Fun's over. Get back to work. Earn your wages. Look forward to the next vacation. Whenever I take a trip away from Manila, the trip back has always been a journey back to the "real world", whether school or work.

There's a scene in the (really pilit) movie Star Trek: Generations that could maybe parallel the feeling I have. It was the maiden voyage of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701B (the second generation starship) and they receive a distress call. There was this ship that was being ripped apart by some galactic ribbon of sorts that we'll know of as The Nexus. When the Enterprise was able to beam most of the survivors, the general feeling of the rescued lot wasn't of relief, but rather of longing, and a desire to go back. Then it turns out this Nexus brings you to some sort of paradise where everything works out for you, and you can do most anything you want. So the general plot of that movie was this bad guy, Dr. Soran (played by the excellent actor Malcolm McDowell) wanting to go back to the Nexus even if it means the destruction of an entire star system.

While I have no desire to destroy star systems myself, Singapore is my Nexus, and I want to go back.

"No, you don't understand! I have to go back! I have to go bac...." - Dr. Soran, right before he was sedated.


Nonetheless, I've been able to accomplish a lot so far. Preparing for Noel's wedding on Saturday. Watched Superman Returns. Played basketball in Ateneo. Ate at KFC. Ate at Wendy's. Had a (stupid) haircut. Bought undershirts and underwear. Bought office pants and had them altered. I just need to buy some more stuff like a tabo, more shirts, more shorts, Goldilock's Polvoron, Pan de Pugon Wheat Pandesal. Obviously, the last two are bilins. Such is the lot of a Pinoy balikbayan.


Oh yeah, and I AM a certified balikbayan. Before I left for Manila, I had to go to the Philippine Embassy at Nassim Rd. to apply for membership in Overseas Worker Welfare Association (OWWA, bi-annual fee of $43, around P1440.00) so that I can get an exit pass. What this exit pass does is that they waive the departure tax (which I have never really encountered even when I was travelling as tourist) and the terminal fee of P550.00 in NAIA. It costs $6 (around P200.00) for an exit pass so it really saves me some money for a couple of extra airport steps.


Speaking of Superman Returns, I've quite a few things to say about it. Brandon Routh can pull off the Superman/Clark Kent bit, which is excellent and makes for a good (re-)start to a franchise. The effects were a bit over-the-top and sometimes unnecessary. The story was god-awful. I mean with the budget they have for this, they could have thrown in a few creative minds in there. Did anyone really feel suspense on the first rescue that he did? Was there any doubt that he will save them? After all, he's Superman! Now, in Superman II, he was up against three(!) superbeings who were also from Krypton. In that movie, you'd wonder if he'd ever come out alive. At least, you'd wonder how he'll ever beat them. See, now that's suspense.

That's in terms of the movie. In terms of the character himself, Superman is capable of being much, much more interesting. Unfortunately, before this movie came along, my idea of Superman was the guy in Kingdom Come (one of the best graphic novels for me), a being beyond mere mortals, and gods themselves.

But I guess that story is way too advanced for Hollywood. Anyway, they just scored with Batman Begins, and now this one. At least they know how to make box-office hits. That's a start.