Looking back

In three days, another year will become into past year. No matter what was the outcome to us of the year that was, we always look back and review the events that shaped our life. I myself has never given it a thought in the past, its not my habit of assessing the things that I have done in my life in the year that past. But I make an exemption this time, but I have nothing interesting to share personally so instead I concentrate on the trips I have made the whole year.

It was this year that I become active traveling that I have been to different places some of them first time. I went back to thePhilippines in April as my birthday gift to myself and visited Guimaras and Iloilo in the visayas, and to Manila

Christmas Day in Orchard Road

The whole week leading to Christmas day, the stretch of Orchard road was literally filled with people. And on Christmas day it was closed to traffic. The center of Christmas celebration here in Singapore is concentrated on Orchard Road.

This year show is better than last year, it is a theatre act on Nativity story.

Enjoy the pictures.

Arriving Jakarta

This is my late post on my holiday to Jakarta Indonesia for the first time.

I managed to arrive at Changi terminal quite early as planned since I only took the mrt on the way there. Since it was my first time to take the train as I always took a cab to the airport. Arriving at the airport

My trip to Jakarta Indonesia

I went out of Singapore last weekend for a 4-day sightseeing trip to Jakarta. Friday was national holiday and Monday was my off-day so it was a four days of free time not to waste. I took the mid-afternoon flight and as I want to arrive in the capital before night time. Just like Vietnam, Indonesia timing is 1 hour behind Singapore. I stayed at Sparks Hotel in Mangga Besar Dua road, it is not an ideal location but the hotel itself is nice, clean and cozy, a value for money for a 51 dollars a night. I booked the room in advance thru agoda.

To sum up my four days trip, I was able to explore the old town, climbed up the national monument, visited the museum, shopping centers, and yes tried the night life too. And also I found out that the city has a Cathedral that dates back 1901 and has a distinctive spires and built in neo-gothic style architecture.

Allan K, Julia, Lougee, & Kim invades Plaza Singapura, Singapore

Yes the hosts of Eat Bulaga came here to perform infront of the Filipino community in Singapore. I have no idea what was the occasion why they were here.

I let the pictures speaks itself.

Tagaytay City Trip

I woke up late the following day since I slept around 4:00am the night before. So instead of going to Corregidor as planned, I travelled up south to Tagaytay City and the trip was my ninth time already. There was no particular reason why I chose Tagaytay except to accompany someone who has never been there before. I never get tired coming back to Tagaytay as I love the weather and the scenery especially the view on top the Palace in the Sky. 

View from the unfinished building terrace

A day tour in Manila, Manila Ocean Park

One of the good places to view the famous Manila bay sunset is at the Manila Ocean Park located behind the Quirino Granstand at the Luneta Park. But of course the main reason why to go there is because of the place itself. Other things to do are food tripping, bar lounging, and shopping. So there are so much time to kill in this place. Direct from Intramuros, I arrived the place just before the sun set. But before the sun touches the sea level clouds hides it so no spectacular view was captured.

A day tour in Manila, Fort Santiago

After four days in the province, I went back to Manila to spend the rest of the remaining days of my vacation before I go back to Singapore. While in Manila aside from the usual malling and bar hopping, I continue my list of places to visit while on vacation. Tagaytay and the Manila Ocean Park concludes the list. Originally my plan was to visit Corregidor since I have never been there, but due to bar hopping the night before, I woke up late so I opted for Tagaytay instead. It's been my nth times to Tagaytay since back in college some of my dorm mates where from within the area, so every time they went home on weekends we tag along and spend hours in Tagaytay before heading to their house.

First day in Manila was spent on touring Fort Santiago in Intramuros. From the hotel, I took the LRT and alighted at Central station. From there I passed by at the Liwasang Bonifacio, and took some pictures of the leader of Katipunan with the imposing Manila Central Post Office building on the background.

From Liwasang Bonifacio, I took a jeepney

Lounging in CamSur Watersports Complex

It was my first time to visit the place. Before, I did not pay much attention to the place since I am not into extreme sports. But the CWC become the in thing, and everybody was talking about, a must place to visit and experience so they say and I agree. I did not go there to try wakeboard nor stay longer, I don't need to as my house is just less than an hour away. But lounging there for few hours and watching the wakeboarders do their stuff was an entertainment. The place is picturesquely stunning.Though the wakeboarding is the main attraction, there are other watersports you can try at the complex.


Journey homeward

I took a week off from work and where else do I spend it, but to my Philippines specifically my hometown. Homeward is different from the usual holiday trip overseas. You just don't have to buy the plane ticket, you busied yourself days before your actual flight date buying things you bring with you to your trip. But going home specially if your away for months always bring excitement and goosebumps.

I made a list of to do things for the trip. On the list are a visit to Malacanang Palace Museum. I got a chance to visit the place way back months after the Marcoses fled the Palace and the new government turned part of the palace into a Museum and opened it to the public. I was young then so my only recollection was I got to see Imelda's thousands shoes and gowns. I thought now is my chance to really appreciates our own especially that I just recently been to two countries own, the Negara Istana of Singapore and the Reunification Palace of Vietnam. But alas the Malacanang is closed to public for the whole November for general cleaning because part of the Museum was used as the relief operation center during the Ondoy onslaught.

More on the list are the ones in my home province which where I'll be spending more of my vacation days. These two are the Caramoan Islands and the CamSur Watersports Complex. Caramoan Islands became famous because of the Survivor shows. The islands was the place where the tv show contestants outwit, outlast, and outplay each other for a million bucks. The two days since I arrived, the rain continuously to pour so the plan to go to Caramoan Islands has been crossed out on the list. Caramoan is just a two hour trip from our house, the one and half hours by sea so I was not allowed to the trip and reduced to just staying home.

These completes the places I have visited while i'm on vacation.


Fort Santiago

People's Park, Tagaytay

Picnic Groove, Tagaytay

Inside the Reunification Palace, Saigon

One of the places of interest in Ho Chi Minh City I have visited was the Reunification Palace. Formerly the presidential palace of South Vietnam which turned into a museum. The museum has been kept largely as it was. It was also here where the official handover of power during the fall of Saigon was held. The museum is open for a fee, I cant recall how much did I pay for the entry ticket.

Actually I had difficulty locating the place, because I was coming from behind the complex so I really can't pinpoint the building itself though I am within the vicinity. When I noticed

My trip to Tioman Island, Malaysia

As mentioned on the post preceding, I spent overnight at Tioman Island in Malaysia. As Malaysia is just a causeway away from Singapore, it is easy to take a short trip to Malaysia from Singapore, and this time I decided to finally push my long overdue plan to explore the island.

For my trip plan, I will leave Singapore early in the morning, catch a bus at Larkin bus terminal in Johor Bharu to Mersing, and from there I take a ferry to Tioman Island. My initial travel time input were: travel time from Singapore to Johor Bahru to Mersing is about three hours and Mersing to Tioman by boat is two hours, so its going to be at least 5 hours travel time from my place for me to be in Tioman.

I woke up late that day so I arrived Larkin bus terminal almost just in time for the 9:30 bus to Mersing. If I was not able to catch the bus, the next trip will be at 2:30 in the afternoon. Luck was with me as I was on the right spot where the dispatcher was standing and giving last minute instruction to the bus driver. I paid directly to him and did not give me the ticket, it was only when I already seated and the bus started to leave that I realized I don't have ticket. I got scared when the bus conductor started taking the passengers ticket. But then he did not ask for it so it turned okay. I arrived Mersing bus terminal 12:15 in the afternoon. Upon arrival I asked for direction to jetty port, I have no idea that the jetty port was quite far from the bus terminal and it takes around 10 minutes by walk. And the bad thing the boat is scheduled to leave 12noon, but the ticket seller at the terminal booth told me to run as I might just be able to catch the boat. I have no idea where it is located, she gave me direction vaguely : go straight, cross rotunda, corner money changer and white building. Like what I said luck was with me so I was able to catch the boat!

I arrived Tioman Island past three in the afternoon because the boat has to stop 20 minutes after it leave the jetty to wait for two lady passengers, they must be VIP i guess.

I did not book a resort beforehand since I thought it would be best option just to check the place first so I can choose a good place to stay. Initially I made a booking for Paya beach resort in Paya Lebar, but was fully booked for the weekend as the resort is a favorite of Singaporeans. So instead I opted a resort in Ayer Batang village. From the internet, Ayer Batang is one of the most popular villages on Tioman. having a wide choice of accommodation and restaurants. I set my mind to Nazri Place because it claims to have one of the best stretches of beach on Tioman.
The Village jetty port

Long weekend

I still have not blog the things i have done on the trip I made to Vietnam. I am supposed to do that as a third entry but I cant find time to really make one. Lately I find it hard to compose a detailed entry, the reason maybe is that my mind is not there and was pretty occupied with work. Though the building upgrading job is not demanding technically but more so on physical aspect that keep me distracted from blogging. As our work is concentrated on residential flats where there are residents in it. The job while requires you to supervise thoroughly the ongoing construction but more so on the safety and convenience of the residents occupying the building undergoing construction. Mind you its a challenging work, whoever might say it is an easy job compared to a normal construction site must experience it firsthand, as the responsibility is more like to hell freezes over thing heheh.

Anyway last saturday is Deepavali and it's a national holiday, so it was busy weekend for me. And since Monday is my off day too, I have three days to spend last weekend.

Istana Open to public

Being Deepavali, the Istana, the official residence of the president of Singapore, was open to the public for the whole day. So I spend the late morning around the palace grounds and toured inside the palace, though not all but portions of the ground floor only. These were the Banquet Hall, the room where the president receives state visitors, and the main lobby. At the banquet hall, instead of foods on the dining tables, the items the presidents receives from other head of states are the ones on display. Its quite interesting to see the items as it is labeled by the giver country and groups according to items received. The gifts were really reflects the identity of the country were it came from. Too bad taking pictures were not allowed inside the palace.

But outside you can free to do anything that pleases you, I mean you can take pictures as what I did, picnicking, kidsplay, things like that. I have the grand time taking pictures.

Arriving Ho Chi Minh City

It's my first time to travel to Vietnam yet I have no apprehension whatsoever for the travel. I booked the flight 3 months ago so though I have to wait that long, it didn't cross to my mind to feel fear for the trip.

My flight was scheduled 7:35 in the morning, so I was at Changi terminal 1 at 5:45 and waiting for boarding at gate C15 by 6:30. My ticket says I will arrive Ho Chi Minh at 8:25am, which means the travel time will be less than an hour. Considering how far apart the two countries are, I thought it's a mistake, but was confirmed by the check in counter personnel that Vietnam is one hour behind Singapore.

By 6:55am, the line for boarding started. My assigned seat is 3A so I belonged to the last batch to be boarded.

theJetstar plane that will bring me to Saigon

My Ho Chi Minh Escapade

I just came back from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. A holiday trip to this southeast asian city. To sum up the trip, it was an exhausting yet educational trip indeed. Upon arriving home, it was the Ho Chi Minh City leg of the amazing race show currently playing. Nice, it was exactly what I did, sort of.

Enjoy the photos.

Binh Tay Market

The Reunification Palace

The Central Post Office

Notre Dame Cathedral

The Saigon Opera House

Saigon City Hall

Chinatown lights up

Last night was the Mid-Autumn Festival street light-up and marked the official opening of the Chinatown Mid-Autumn Festival 2009. The street lights are mix of flowers, butterflies, lanterns. The festivities will be month-long which will end on October 18, 2009.

What a superb occasion to baptize my new gadget. Since its my first time and have no time to study the features, I rely mostly on the camera's scene modes. I hope i labeled the pictures below correctly as I kept constantly rotating the mode dial.

The show is about to begin. This was captured using dusk/dawn mode.

This shot using high key.

Before the lights on, using blossom mode I guess :)

Lights switched on. Captured using food mode

This one I think is night landscape mode

This one using high key. The Higantes :)

The after-show

One of the floats

After that I took the opportunity to walk around Chinatown to captured new and old buildings. The pictures can be found in iBen on the loose

COMEX 2009

I went to SUNTEC last Saturday for the COMEX 2009, the IT and Consumer Technology Exhibition. Actually it is more like a tiangge of electronic products :). I was aiming for an Olympus PEN E-P1. I read a lot about how good the product is. And I was ready to spend my hard earned money and even convinced myself it's going to be a worth investment. I went straight to the Olympus booth and got hold of the camera. The moment I saw and touched it my excitement turned into disappointment. It looked nice and beautiful in pictures but in actual it is different. So i ended up not buying it. Besides a friend advises me to consider Nikon instead, being a satisfied owner himself.

I still have to decide on what Nikon model do I have to buy. At their booth I got the chance to try few models and I was hooked to Nikon D5000. I hoped before F1 Singapore Grand Prix I finally have my own DLSR.

I posted the pictures on tumbler since blogger has tantrums again.

Working overseas

This was taken from the forum section of The Straits Times.

An afternoon spent in Johor Bahru, Malaysia

I spent my tuesday off in Johor Bahru, Malaysia with no particular reason. My place is just a stone throw away from the causeway which link Singapore to southern gateway of Malaysia. Traveling time to Johor is shorter than say going to Orchard Road. As what I mentioned here, I just want to escape and maybe to break the monotonous life I have been in weeks. True enough the feeling of traveling to another country is quite ahh say overwhelming heheh. Though no flying involved, in fact I just took a regular bus and travelled two bus stop and then I was there already at the border gate, but the fact that you have to pass immigration and present the passport really have a different feeling.

Traversing the Causeway

It was raining that day so I spent most of the afternoon inside the City Square mall located adjacent to the Malaysian Customs building. I opted for late lunch inside the mall as combing the streets for local food is just not possible.

After that I explore the mall. There is nothing much choices actually. I was looking forward for some cheap but nice shirts. As the rain stopped I got some time to check the streets.

Some interesting buildings

Sultan Ibrahim building- the state government house

Rows of stalls selling jasmine flowers for Hindu worshippers

Indian temple

City streets

After that I went back inside the mall, have my haircut, buy a new headset, phone case and few shirts plus my month toiletries to take advantage of the 100 singapore dollars = 242 malaysian ringgits.

Definitely this will become a habit :)