Places I have visited in 2010

Five countries, eight new places, three times in one place, in one whole year.

2010 is almost over, and at this time of the year we usually  review things that we have set to do the entire year  whatever task that we set and planned. In my case I would be like to look back the year on my travels. I set goal of traveling once in a month to any Asean destination. Thank you Jetstar and Agoda for being instrumental in achieving this goal.

A Wet Christmas 2010 in Orchard Road

The Christmas day celebration along Orchard Road was a wet one. It rained heavily when the show was about to begin. But as soon as the rain stopped, the show pushed through. Orchard Road was closed to traffic just like in previous years to give way for the celebration. Beautifully-decorated Christmas floats parked along the road and revelers had a grand time taking pictures.

Season's Greetings!

Whatever shape your star is, this holiday season, may we recalled the reason of it's existence : as a miraculous sign to mark the birth of the Messiah.

Merry Christmas!

The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2010

60,000 runners joined this year's annual Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore. The race has three categories such as the full marathon (42.195km), half-marathon (21.1km), and the 10K Men/ Women/ Wheelchair marathon. Unique to this year event, is the starting points of the three categories. The full marathon flag off at Orchard Road at 5:00am as the Christmas street lightings and malls were lighted up especially for the event. The half-marathon kicked off at Sentosa Island at 6:30 am, and then the 10K starting point is at Esplanade Drive at 7:45 am. All races ended at the Padang.

Of the 60,000 runners who participated, few stands out from the rest. Or so I think..

Chasing Sunrise at Punggol Beach

Doing sunrise photo-shoot is an interesting but can be frustrating sometimes because there is always no guarantee that it will turn out to be as you want at that particular day as the weather always factors in. With all the planning and effort of waking up early only to be robbed by cloud is a bit disappointing. This happened to me few times already and the one I can never forget is the sunrise photoshoot at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia months back. Arriving on site still dark on cold weather only to be great by darkened cloud and hid the sun until  midday.

Bintan Resorts Gateaway

This month travel happened last November 7, 2010 to Bintan Indonesia. While it is still not far from Singapore being just 55 minutes ferry ride, I still consider it travel. My second time to Bintan, I basically wants to explore the other side of the island. 

Orchard Road Singapore Christmas Light Up 2010

November 20, 2010 marks the beginning of Christmas celebration here in Singapore when the Christmas light up event on Orchard Road were switched on by no less than President S R Nathan.

Exploring Universal Studios Singapore

A friend from the Philippines visited me here in Singapore so I finally got the chance to explore the Universal Studios for the first time and maybe my last for now unless someone invited me for free. And why is that? I believe that to me as an adult the 72 sing dollars is over-charged because most of the exciting rides and attractions were either closed or under maintenance that day.  But it would be different experience for kids and young at hearts which the theme park is for them anyway. 

iLights at the Marina Bay

I felt exhausted upon completion of photo shooting the different installations as scattered around the Marina Bay. I commenced from the Floating platform climbed up the Helix Bridge down to the Marina Sands, then to the City Gallery at the Waterfront Promenade. Though it was a leisurely stroll but still exhausting one. 

There are 26 light artworks, each is accompanied by a signage explaining what the work is about, who the artist, and also what's smart about the work. The works were created by both local and international artists addressing the theme of people, place, and time.

The Fire Walking Festival

I was quite disappointed not to be able to watch the actual fire walking event held at the Sri Mariamman Temple two sundays ago, blame it on procrastination and limited information I have about the event. I came just in time when the ceremony is about to begin, little did I know that it will going to be held in a constrained area inside the temple. I was not able to squeeze inside the temple because it's full of devotees and also quite hesitant to come in as I am an outsider. I know that the fire walking will only commenced after 12 midnight so I roamed around at the Marina Bay area first photo shooting the I Light Marina Bay, a lighting installations scattered within the Marina Bay area. So when I arrived at the Sri Mariamman Temple the ceremony has already started and the temple and the surrounding streets is crowded.But thanks for the live coverage mounted just outside the temple I able able to glimpse the going on inside.

Saigon and Jakarta Cathedrals

Whenever I travel overseas and got a chance to visit a church, I always included it in my itinerary and took pictures of  the facade and sometimes of the interiors. Two of the cities I have visited have a very interesting Cathedrals though similar concept of design but totally two different kind of architecture.

In Saigon, the Notre Dame Basilica is one famous landmark you will hardly missed as a tourist. It is located at the Paris Square in downtown area. A magnificent twin-towered neo-romanesque cathedral built in the 1880s by the French during their colonial occupation of Saigon. It has two bell towers reaching a height of over 58 meters with  bronze bells. The construction materials including the red bricks used for the exterior walls were all brought in from France. The facade has three arches that gives an indication of the cathedral's internal structure.The interior decoration is relatively simple yet tranquil.

I am a Wedding Photographer for a day

I volunteered myself to be one of the wedding photographers for a wedding event held on 10.10.10.

October 10, 2010, a rare coincidence of date being 10.10.10, is an auspicious day in Chinese almanac for couple to get married. On that day there were 800+ couples in Singapore took advantage of this rare opportunity, of whom 118 couples were solemnized at 19 venues scattered in different locations within the Sentosa Island. This is the event I took part to be a wedding photographer.

There were 100 of us photographers who covered the 19 venues of the event. 15 of us were assigned to cover one of the venues. The assigned location was very conducive as it is surrounded by greenery and within the hundred year old ficus tree. And the golf course serves as backdrop of the 4 gazebos set up for the solemnization.

National Art Gallery, Singapore Open House

For two weekends starting last Saturday, the Old Supreme Court and City Hall along St Andrews Rd. fronting the Padang, is opened for the last time to the public to see, appreciate and experience both buildings as they are before it will go major renovation and will be transformed into National Art Gallery, Singapore.

Curiosity was my main motivation why I was there last Saturday. The first time I came to visit Singapore years ago, it was these two buildings while standing in the middle of the Padang were I have myself photographed. Back then I was wondering why it was closed on a weekday. Last Saturday was my chance to see the interiors of these grand buildings.

Lunch at Bonifacio

Last June I got the chance to have lunch at Bonifacio. Right after we've done with the photo shoot at Mandai Orchid Garden, Kath's Eye and I agreed to have lunch at Bonifacio in Kreta Ayer Road in Chinatown area. It was a Sunday and surprisingly when we arrived only one table has been occupied by a family of 4. When I inquired to the staff if it is always the case he replied not at all and added that the day before it was full due to Independence day celebration being held nearby. It was my first time so I was excited to be there.

I heard about Bonifacio from Filipino friends and colleagues here in Singapore saying only good things about the food and even recommending a must try dish. When we were seated and looking around the place I said to myself that the restaurant is just like an upscale version of typical restaurant found inside Lucky Plaza, but the moment I opened the menu I was in for a new experience.

My Singapore Grand Prix Expérience

I finally succumbed to F1 fever for the first time since the Formula 1 race comes to Singapore. The inaugural race three years ago here I was just an outsider and contented to just experience it on the big screen at Clarke Quay open area. The next year I almost convinced to buy a ticket but decided to just be on the sidelined, so I just roamed around the Asian Civilzation Museum grounds just outside the Gate 5.

Why my blog is inactive lately?

Its been awhile since this blog has been updated. In the past I made it a point to at least write an entry one in a week and I always have time to do so. But these past days I had a hard time to update not because I have nothing to say but because its just that I don't have the urge anymore to make one. Sorry but its just that the interest in me to blog was no longer there. This kind of situation happened to me before. If you will backtrack my entries there are long gaps of in between entries, and this is happening to me again. Lately I have been trying hard to gain back the interest in blogging and slowly conditioning my mind to once again become active to blogging.

The Istana Open House

The Istana is the official residence of the President of Singapore. Istana is a malay word for Palace. Just like any presidential palace it is where the setting president receives and entertains state guests. The building was completed in 1869 and gone major renovation in 1996 and was completed in 1998.

The Istana is sited on top of a hill in a100 acres land along Orchard Road. During national holidays, the Istana grounds is opened to the public from 8:30 to 6:00 pm and admission is free for Singaporeans and for others including tourists are required to pay an entrance fee of $1 per person. There are a variety of performances on the grounds at certain time during the day. Visitors can have photos taken with the President when he come by to greet visitors.

Esplanade Roof Garden

Two Saturdays ago I spent an afternoon at the roof garden of the Esplanade for a photo shoot. Because it was that afternoon were the full rehearsal of the National Day Parade was held. Though the parade ground is at The Padang, this year's venue for the annual National Day Parade, but some of the activities can be viewed from the roof garden.

July missed out

I have no single entry the whole month of July. Procrastination and busy work are the reasons for no update. I went back home second week of July for a week short vacation. The week before that I was rushing out some office work need to complete before I go for work off. Add to that I was rushing up shopping for presents to bring home, not that I bought more but what consumed more time was deciding and picking what to bring home.

'AIR' - A Spectacular by the River

One of the highlights of the Singapore River Festival this year is the aerial aquatic show named 'Air- A spectacular by the river'. Air which is malay word for water features a combination of theater, acrobatics, and dance on and above the river.

The show starts at Read Bridge which serves as a performing stage and in between an aerial acrobatics above the river with steel wire rigging.

Galungan Festival of Bali

The time I was on holiday to Bali, I got the opportunity to observed first hand Bali's most important festival which is the Galungan Festival. The festival is a holiday period throughout the island and the most important as it symbolizes the victory of Dharma ( virtue) over Adharma (all that is evil). It is believed that during the festival period all Balinese gods descended to earth for the festivities.

The festivities are made evident by the fitting of penjor (brightly decorated very tall bamboo poles with woven young coconut leaves, cakes, fruits, and flowers) on the right side of the entrance to every house which arch over the roads. It was a delight to watched these nicely decorated bamboo poles bending over along the villages roads.

Mandai Orchid Garden

Situated along the Mandai Lake road, the Mandai Orchid garden is one of the orchid farms in Singapore that houses a wide selection of hybrid orchids on a hillside of a forested area. The garden is just a stone throw away from the serene Mandai Lake. One of the country's tourist attractions, it's main highlight is showcasing a wide variety of orchids planted and arranged in massed beds in exposed environment.

Summer Saya in Singapore

On the same day of my model photo shoot was also the day the Summer Saya was held at Dhoby Ghaut Green Open Park. The Summer Saya was an entertainment tribute of GMA PinoyTV for the Filipino community here in Singapore. The Kapuso stars who provided the entertainment were Jolina Magdangal, Marvin Agustin, Drew Arellano, and Bentong.

Model Shoot at HortPark

Last Sunday I joined my photography classmates for a Model Shoot organized by Steven Yee, our instructor specifically for us beginners as well as serious amateur photographers.

My Trip to Bali Indonesia

I went out of Singapore again last weekend for four days this time to Bali, Indonesia. I booked this trip 2 months ago after a good deal from Jetstar came out and matches to my long weekend off. I filed one day leave to make the most of my trip to Bali as I was looking forward for this trip. I did enjoy the trip and I have to admit that indeed it was one of the planned trips I got the chance to experience a different culture, but there are some disappointments actually and could be avoided should I not rely much on the internet.

Singapore Arts Fest 2010 Opening Act

Last friday night, I was at the Esplanade Park and Empress Place to witness the opening act of the Singapore Arts Festival 2010, the An Invitation to Dream - A Fire Garden Installation.

The fire garden installation features thousands of firepots scattered, attached, hanged, curtained in the Esplanade park, outside Victoria Theatre, and the Empress Place grounds with accompanying live music in three mock up stages, and two radio installations.

The Kranji Memorials

Yesterday I finally got to check the Kranji Memorials in Old Woodlands Road and if not for the visit I was not able to learn more the place. You see I have known the place only as a war memorial honoring the thousands of men and women who died during World War 2. Little did I know that it's more that that. After the visit I learned that the whole complex is made up actually of three cemeteries

Henderson Waves Bridge

Another pedestrian bridge with a distinctive architecture and touted as the highest of its kind in Singapore is the Henderson Wave Pedestrian Bridge. At 36m above Henderson Road, it connect two nature areas, Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park. What is unique about this pedestrian bridge and worth visiting is its distinctive wave-like structure.

"The Helix" Bridge

The pedestrian bridge which serves as a direct connection between the Marina Center to the Bayfront area where the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort is located was officially named "The Helix" last Saturday night against a backdrop of pyrotechnic show.

Fatahillah Square Jakarta

One of the places I have visited when I went to Jakarta is the Fatahillah Square in Old Batavia, formerly the center of trade and business activities during the Dutch colonial era. The Kota district as known today has significant number of grand colonial buildings, many are abandoned or dilapidated but still standing.

My Trip to Batam, Indonesia

I was pretty much occupied by my work after Easter so I don't have time to compose an entry for the blog. Though its not physically draining work but more on the mental aspect. There are a lot to attend to like answering all the complaints received that requires immediate attention and do follow ups so as it will not appear to be that we were not doing our job at all.

While you guys, you who are in pinas enjoys long break during Holy Week, we pinoys here, the less mortal, enjoys only Good Friday as holiday. As I have work the following day but off on Monday, I got Sunday and Monday for holiday trip. As I have only two days to spare, I went to Batam, Indonesia.

The Greatest Sacrifice


HE was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; by HIS wounds we are hailed.

---Isaiah 53

Earth Hour Singapore 2010

Earth hour, Every hour was observed here in Singapore just like in any major cities around the world.