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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Last weekend my itchy feet brought me to Malacca for an overnight of cultural sightseeing, though I have been there before it was nice to come back since the place is just awesome. Visiting Malacca is like transporting to distant past with the remnants of once prosperous town with the evident of the old buildings still intact at present time.
It was unintentional to be at the Botanic Garden that day I have visited the place. What happened was that after I picked up a document at an institution at the Bukit Tinggi Road, the bus that I had taken going to Orchard Road happened to pass at the Botanic Garden, without second thought I immediately alighted at the bus stop few meters from the main gate. Since I have photography class in the evening I had my camera with me. I did not explore the whole of the complex and was just walking on a slow pace for say an hour as it was mid afternoon
This is another part of the Chinese New Year festivities in Singapore. River Hongbao is a lantern installations at the floating platform at the Marina Bay that runs for nine days. The lanterns depicted were the god of fortune, the chinese zodiacs, panda playground, tiger mountain and more.There were stage performances nightly at the central stage. There is also a foodcourt in one section, a small bazaar, and the carnival rides! I was able to visit the place on the last night.
This year is my second time to witnessed the Chingay Parade, dubbed as Asia's grandest annual street parade. Unlike last year where it can be viewed at three grandstands distanced apart, this time it was held at the Formula 1 Pit building, next to Singapore Flyer.
Chingay Parade is an annual event held in Singapore as part of Chinese New Year festivities. This event was introduced the next year after the government banned firecrackers as a substitute for a different kind of noise.
I was able to catch only the tail end of the parade as I have anticipated not to be able to watch it due to no free area along the parade ground. Yes it's not a free affair, you have to have a ticket to enjoy the whole parade.
Another event that took place last Saturday was Thaipusam festival where Singaporean Hindus in the street procession emanates from one temple to another temple four kilometers away traversing major streets of Singapore. I caught the procession along Tank Road while I was on my way to the Singapore Art Museum. This is my second time to witnessed such event.
Thaipusam is a Hindu thanksgiving celebration in honor of Lord Murugan who represents virtue, youth and power and is the destroyer of evil. Devotees carry milk-pot offerings and others attach kavadis (large metal frames) to their bodies using hooks and spikes! The kavadi bearers were joined by supporters maybe relatives who