Merry Christmas

Does this is the way we should be doing when we travel? May the birth of our Savior continue to inspire us. Have a blessed Christmas!


The Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2011


On its ninth year, the annual Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore was held last sunday December 4, 2011. Just like in previous years, different categories have different starting points. The full-marathon begins at Orchard Road near Ngee Ann City, the half-marathon at Sentosa Bridge, and the 10km race starting point at the Esplanade. All routes end at the Padang.

Casa de Lou Kau in Macau

 One of the places of interest within the historic center of Macau and inscribed by UNESCO as a world heritage site is the Casa de Lou Kau. The Casa de Lou Kau or the Lou Kau Mansion is a traditional Chinese courtyard  house with western influence located on one of the alleys close to Largo de Senado.

This Chinese House was built in around 1889 was one of the residences of the wealthy merchant Lou Cheoc Chi who made a fortune operating gambling facilities in Macau.

Orchard Road Singapore Christmas Light Up 2011

 The Christmas season in Singapore  is officially on. Last saturday the annual Orchard road Christmas Light Up ceremony was held in front of Takashimaya Shopping Mall along the Orchard Road. No less than the president of Singapore graced this annual event. This year theme is "Christmas Blooms in Singapore" where the whole stretch of the famous road is adorned with glittering silver and blue lights. Flowers of blue colored heart-shape petals hanged on the trees transforming the shopping strip into a wonderland garden.

Haw Par Villa



Its been months that I have been eyeing to check out Haw Par Villa but since it is located in a place I am not familiar with, I did not take it seriously. Now that the new mrt circle line  had opened and one of the stations is at the theme park doorstep I went there  during the hari raya haji holiday. Feedback has it that the place is empty most of the days, but the day I was there its quite a bit crowded, maybe because it was holiday. 


Exploring Caramoan Islands, Philippines

This post is the highlight of my trip to Caramoan, which is the island hopping. Caramoan is a peninsula  with beautiful  rock formations and lush small islands with white sand beaches scattered around. 


Upon arrival at the Paniman beach and hired a boat for the island hopping, I bought food for lunch in a nearby small eatery while the boat is being readied. I was advised to have my lunch first since it was almost lunchtime, but I was not hungry yet so I opted to bring along the food and have lunch in the island.  Immediately after we left Paniman, the approaching scenery was captivating. The rock formation that first to appear, was a good welcome start and really made me excited for the rest of the place has to offer. There were still props used by the Survivors show challenge  hanging on the rock formation wall. Caramoan Islands is now popular location shoot of Survivor shows from European countries. But the last one who just left the island is Survivor India.

Exploring Kampong Buangkok, Singapore



There is a last rural village standing in Singapore up to now. And last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to explore the place and observed how is a rural village in Singapore look like then. As almost of Singapore land area has been  developed and transformed into a modern city state, this one spot of secret tropical eden has been left behind and kept into its original condition as in the early years of Singapore.

Though it is just a compact village with just over twenty houses, it still  provide a glimpse of how a traditional rural way of living in the early days in Singapore. All one-story houses were owned by a single owner and being rented at a nominal amount to mostly the owner family friends who where living there ever since.

This blog is on

So this blog is in hiatus once again for over a month now. And no one is asking why. It goes to show that nobody is really reading my blog and those who happens to drop by were only because google direct them to here.

Anyway i am busy with work, and in the past month i was not able to go out on a trip because again due to work. And this will go on until the project completion targeted to be on April next year. Unlike in my previous job assignment, I am on my own here on my present post so i cannot file a short leave even if i am intitled to. So my short holidays will be on hold for now.

My Trip to Caramoan Islands, Philippines

I took a short leave from work coinciding the 2 days holiday here in Singapore, and went home to the Philippines. I have to two reasons on going home, one is to settle some design issues of the on-going renovation of our house, and second to finally explore the Caramoan Islands. It would be my third attempt this time, so the excitement and determination to finally pushed it this time is there.

My Trip to Hanoi : Day 4

 My last day of my trip to Hanoi Vietnam was a tour to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and its nearby attractions. After breakfast at the hotel I took a taxi that brought me direct to the mausoleum. I have to deposit my bag before I can enter the mausoleum, that turned out to be inconvenient since coming out from the building I have to follow the route that passes all the attractions before I can get back my bag that contains the camera. So I have to retrieve back my camera, and return to where the exit point of the mausoleum by passing by Ba Dinh square front of the mausoleum.

My Trip to Hanoi : Cruising Halong Bay







Day 1 in Hanoi

The next day of my trip to Hanoi Vietnam, was a cruise to Halong Bay on board  Elizabeth Sails Junk. I booked a two days one night cruise arranged for me by the hotel tour desk manager. The cruise cost me USD109, inclusive of 2 lunches, dinner, and a breakfast. The tour guide will pick me up at the hotel supposedly by eight in the morning, but arrived in the hotel almost an hour later because of the traffic and being I was the last to be picked up.

My Trip to Hanoi Vietnam, Day 1


This month travel happened last weekend for four days to Hanoi, Vietnam. I filed a two days annual leave to coincide with the National day holiday here in Singapore. This is another last minute trip since I really can't decide where to go in the first place. I have been wanting to go to Hanoi to visit the Halong Bay, but due to inability to find a cheap airline fare the plan has never been materialize until only last week when I chance upon a cheaper one coinciding the holiday. And I have a blast in Hanoi.

Weekend in Malaysia


 Last month I crossed over to Malaysia for a two days one night short trip because I have to accompany a blogger friend who wanted to visit Malaysia before he goes back to the Philippines. The trip was done by land, as we had to pass by Malacca before heading to Kuala Lumpur for a night stay. Instead of taking bus from Singapore, we crossed the border and took a bus at the Johor Bahru's Larkin bus terminal as it is cheaper. We arrived Malacca by lunch time and leave for Kuala Lumpur at 3:00pm. For three hours we managed to cover famous landmarks in downtown Malacca, being my friend's first time visit I knew he had the same experience I had when I visited the place for the first time.

Booking a hotel room


In every travel that I made, I am particular with the hotel room I will be staying. Midrange hotel is always a good choice, not only that it is within the budget but you can be assure of comfortable stay. 

I maximized my time exploring the place, and visited more if not all the attractions in the place I went to. So at the end of the day I will be tired and exhausted. So the need to have a hot dipped at the bath tub is always a welcome respite, and especially if I still have to explore the night life after that. Choosing a nice bed and room comes handy online, and hotel bookings online is reliable and always deliver. I always rely on agoda for my hotel bookings, not only the hotels on their selection is true, but they offer discounts that hard to resists.

Emperor Qin's Terracotta Warriors


I finally got to see the terra-cotta warriors or some of them and  was overwhelmed seeing them up-close. Now on exhibition until 16 October 2011at the Asian Civilization Museum here in Singapore, the collection on display were just a fraction of actual numbers of 7,000 life-size sculpted clay terra-cotta soldiers, chariots, and horses.

Macau Trip: Macau Museum


The Macau Museum is located in Mount Fortress, which is adjacent to the Ruins of St. Paul’s. The three-level museum is dedicated to the history and culture of Macau, and contains vast objects of historical and cultural values. Formerly the barracks of the Fortress that converted into a weather observatory, and become a museum and was inaugurated on April 18, 1998.

Macau Trip: Mount Fortress


After the Ruins of St. Paul's, and visiting the Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt, the next to explore is the Mount Fortress which is just adjacent to it.  I traversed a green path that lead me a winding steps to a spacious platform at the top.

Macau Trip: Ruins of St Paul’s


My little adventure in the inner streets of Macau ended at the steps of Ruins of St Paul's. I settled there for awhile and intently people watch while sitting at the ledge of the steps. It was a delight and entertaining watching tourist antics on the steps. Right after I settled in, I do the same thing: taking and having photograph in front and on the steps of the famous landmark. 

Exploring the Streets of Macau


I fell in love the moment  I have a glimpse of the old streets of Macau while riding in a bus. Despite the aging walls, the old cobblestones street alleys, there is something that I find the place unique. You just have to be there to truly fell the rich history of the city. The blending of the Chinese and Portuguese culture is so evident in every corner of its streets.

Hong Kong Trip: Fooling Around Madam Tussaud Wax Museum




One of the attractions at The Peak is the Madam Tussaud Wax Museum, It is located at the second level of the The Peak Tower. Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeow, and Pierce Brosnan awaits you at the entrance lobby where the ticket booth is located. Entrance to the museum costs HKD 160.

Ryan Cayabyab at the Esplanade Concert Hall

I finally set foot inside the Esplanade Concert Hall. In my list of task for this year,  I included on my list that I want to see what is inside the Esplanade because I am intrigued of how the interior be look like every time I passed by the building. 

Pinoy Sunday


This is my second time to have watched an indie film with pinoy theme here in Singapore, the first one is Serbis

Pinoy Sunday is a film made in Taiwan by a Malaysian writer and director, with Filipino actors that plays out primarily in Tagalog. How's that? The theme of the movie is universal, it tackles the story of the migrant workers. In this particular movie it evolves around the two characters of two Filipino working in Taiwan, on their off day.

Singapore Flyer


 I finally got the chance to experience being inside the capsule of the world's tallest observation wheel, the Singapore Flyer. Since the day I arrived here I made a mental note to visit and experience the flyer only because it was designed by my former office Arup. For me there is nothing exciting riding in a ferris wheel when I was a kid, so I never have tried one ever since. So because I was not too eager to try  and just waiting for the right timing, it takes me 3 years to finally be in there. 

Weekend Indulgence : Overnight in Johor Bahru, Malaysia


 It came out as a last minute decision. Though I was looking for a diversion to break the restlessness of the monotonous week days, going out of Singapore did not cross my mind at first. I was thinking of visiting a local place that I was aiming to visit but none appeals to me and my body was longing for a change environment. So I thought I have to go out somewhere that is just a short travel and just chill out and do nothing to clear out and be freed of my present state of restlessness. Beach bumming was the option but I don't want to travel far since it will just be an overnight option.  So I decided to stay in a hotel in Johor Bahru with a pool and a health club and within the city center. Although the room rate is much cheaper compared to Singapore hotels, the rate of the hotel I intend to stay is out of my budget. So I explore other areas outside  of the city center, and boy I was lucky to find one. It has jacuzzi right inside the room! 

Hong Kong Trip: Disneyland Resort


Choosing which place to visit between the Ocean Park or Disneyland when after you visiting Ngong Ping is easy. Disneyland is just a station away from Tung Chung station, then a disney train awaits you at the station. 

Another reason I choose Disneyland is that I want to find out how it differ to Universal Studios. The entrance fee is HKD 350. 

The resort is divided into four themed areas. Upon entering the gate, the Main street USA will be the first. Attractions included the City Hall that serves as the information and I guess the admin offices. Several restaurants and refreshments, and shop buildings completes the buildings lined along the main street. The buildings decor where identical to small town America in the late 1800s. An excursion-style steam train that encircle the resort has a station at the Main street and at Fantasyland.

Hong Kong Trip: Exploring Ngong Ping 360

 Just as I planned before coming to Hong Kong, exploring Ngong Ping 360 is the first on the itinerary. From the hotel where I billeted, I took an mtr from Chai Wan station of the Island (blue) line to Central station then transferred to Tung Chung (orange) line and alighted at the end of the line station Tung Chung. The Cable car terminal is adjacent to the mtr station but about a two minute walk from exit B of the station. The bus station is at the foot of the terminal too. I took the cable car, and the ride cost HKD275 two way.

Ngong Ping 360 is a main tourist attraction in Lantua Island. It consists of Ngong Ping Cable car ride experience, Ngong Ping Cultural Village, and home to Po Lin Monestery, and the Tian Tan Buddha.

My Trip to Hong Kong and Macau

Victoria Harbour
Like what I said in the preceding post, I treated myself for four days vacation trip to Hong Kong and Macau. I left Singapore in the afternoon of Saturday and supposed to arrived Hong Kong at around 8 in the evening but because of the airline re-timing, I arrived way past 10 in the evening at the Y-Loft Hotel where I was billeted for the duration of my trip. Because of that I decided to stay in the hotel for the night instead of the initial plan of a night tour at the Central district that include the famous Temple Street night market.

A Birthday Trip to Hong Kong

I have never been out of the country for months now, three months to be exact. So I decided to treat myself a birthday trip. I'll be going to Hong Kong, Macau, and hopefully Shenzhen this weekend. It sounds like a long vacation, but it's not since will cover only four days more or less. I'll be arriving Hong Kong in the evening of Saturday until late afternoon of Wednesday. I am not sure how much I can cover the number of places I want to see and check during these four days but I am pretty sure I can maximize my time. 

I have a hard time finding a hotel to stay in Hong Kong. It was only last night that I finally find one. I didn't realize that hotels in Hong Kong is quite expensive even those nice few budget hotels. Should I have known beforehand that this would be the case, I have had booked a room on the same day I booked the flight. Though I have already found two hotels with reasonable rates, I waited until a week before the departure that I decided  to book a room, so the result was that the rooms that I have selected were no longer available. So I have no recourse but to book an expensive hotel since I don't want to stay in the infamous hostels at Tsim Sha Tsui area. Though the hotel room is pricey but it is located beside a mtr station somewhere in Kowloon area. This is the most expensive hotel so far that i'll be staying. I hope that the room and the service will be proportionate to their rate.

During the trip I want the see the following attractions in Hong Kong; The Peak, Giant Buddha, Noah's Ark, either Ocean Park or DisneyLand, the Avenue of Stars for the Symphony of Lights, temple night market, all in two days! A day in Macau and another day in Shenzhen but it is only I still have time.

This trip is not on my task list this year, but what the heck :).

Exploring Palau Ubin Singapore


Last monday was a national holiday here in Singapore being Labor day falls on a sunday. So I took the opportunity to finally explore Palau Ubin located off the north eastern end part of Singapore. For a background, Palau Ubin is an interesting place to visit and explore since its present condition reflects a typical village in Singapore way back in the 1960's. 

The journey begins at the Changi Ferry Terminal where I took a bumboat for 2.50 sgd. The bumboat is allowed to carry 12 passengers only, if someone carry a bicycle that included in counting for the number of passengers. The boat ride is about 15 minutes. Upon alighting from the boat at the Ubin jetty and walk through towards the island, you will be directed to the island main center. Within the vicinity are shophouses, mostly bicycle rental shops and eating establishments. 

The Royal Wedding Live Stream Links

Source


There are a lot of channels and live broadcasts you can choose on for the wedding of Prince William and his fiancee Catherine Middleton. For those who are planning to watch it online, I am pretty sure by now you have already chosen which live streaming site you will going to watch and just waiting for the time to start.

But for those who are still clueless or still searching for the link to a live streaming site, here are some. 

Enjoy  commoners! :)






Just Birthday...


I cant recall when was the last time I got excited when this day is coming. As far as I can remember there is nothing a year that I really can say I had a memorable one. Every year it is always an ordinary day for me. I have never experienced to have a celebration that I can categorize as grand.  This day always come without fanfare. 

Even now. I am not complaining. In fact I am thankful.  I give thanks to the Lord every year for continued support and guidance. Thanking and asking to continue to provide me things I need to survive in His world. 

But just like any mortal, I have some grievances that I felt I have to deserve. I may sound ungrateful but I guess it is human nature.


…Happy not included. Don't bother to ask why.




Red Bull Street Speed Singapore


The Orchard Road became a play ground of former Formula One driver David Coulthard last sunday!  Part of Orchard Road was closed to traffic and shoppers-by and spectators were treated to high pumping  stunts, as the former Red Bull F1 driver  raced the Renault Red Bull F1 race car for an hour along Orchard Road. He also performed burnouts, engine brakes, short sprints, and donuts stunts.

I was stationed far from the action and was frustrated not to be able to take close up shots. Even my panning shots were lousy. But at least I enjoyed the show which is more important heheh. I realized that I have never touched my camera for quite sometime now. 

This is how I spent Easter Sunday. 

The Passion Of Jesus Christ

source

Mark 15:16-47

"The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, "Hail, king of the Jews!" Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. 

A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get. It was the third hour when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS.

They crucified two robbers with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, "So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!" In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe." Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him. 

At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama "--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" 

When some of those standing near heard this, they said, "Listen, he's calling Elijah." One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down," he said. With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!" 

Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there. It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). 

So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid."

Source : http://www.cptryon.org/xpipassio/passio/mark/6cruc.html

Gunung Kawi Temple, Bali Indonesia



Another Bali's ancient temple complex is the Gunung Kawi temple situated in a hidden deep valley surrounded by rice fields. The complex uniqueness from the other temples is its carved shrines and royal tombs on a solid rock hill. It is believed that the shrines were dedicated to a king ruler, his queen and sons, and his concubines. 

Goa Gajah Temple in Bali, Indonesia

One of the places I have visited in Bali Indonesia is the Goa Gajah Temple in Bedulu Village in Blahbatuh District about 27 km from Kuta. This is  included  in the itinerary of  the Bali full day tour package I availed while on holiday in Bali Indonesia. Goa Gajah is an archaeological site  but still an active worship place. It is located on a steep valley beside the main road. You have to descend from the stone steps to reach the complex. 

Happiness Truck Philippines



In less than a month, another year…

I wish to have a truck that is converted into like this.

Happiness!

Colmar Tropicale in Bukit Tinggi Malaysia


My first foray of working overseas was in Malaysia. I was hired by an international civil and structural consulting firm based in the US with a local office in Kuala Lumpur. My job description is to oversee the site development and eventually the construction of a resort hotel at the heart of a virgin forest 45 minutes from the city of Kuala Lumpur. The project followed the next phase of development where a golf course and clubhouse and residential development has already been in placed.  

Kek Lok Si - The Temple of Supreme Bliss


One of the main tourist attractions in Penang Malaysia is the Temple of Supreme Bliss that sits majestically at the hill of Ayer Itam about 6 kilometers from downtown Georgetown.

Entrance to the temple is a bit complex  as the path that is leading up to the temple is actually alleys of stores selling dry goods and souvenir items. It is quite frustrating because aside from you don't know if you are traversing the right path, the hawkers were quite persistent and noisy offering their goods. You will know that you are on the right track when you reach a murky pond full of turtles, named liberation pond. The Chinese believes that turtles set free in the pond is an act of spiritual liberation.

One afternoon along Manila Bay

Walking along the Manila Bay in the afternoon just before the sun set, will reward you a fascinating view of the famous Manila bay sunset. It never disappoint. 

Right after I arrived Manila from the Corregidor tour, I have my afternoon food intake in one of the restaurant at Harbor Square that have an overlooking view of the Manila bay. Right after  that I walk along  Baywalk  with my Nikon in hand.

I can never get tired spending afternoon here whenever I am in Manila.

Exploring Corregidor Island, Philippines (Part 2)

Gen. McArthur Park and the Lorcha Dock

After the hefty lunch our tour guide brought us to the Bottomside, the lower part of the island. The island has an interesting outline that shaped into a tadpole.  The head rises prominently to a large flat area which coined Topside, the center of activities of the island. The plateau that interrupts the upward slope from Bottomside to Topside is the Middleside.

The Bottomside part of the island was our first stop after having lunch. Gen. Douglas McArthur Park, South Dock, Lorcha Dock, North Dock, Barrio San Jose, Administration building, San Jose Chapel, and the Gen. Wainwright Memorial are all can be found here. At the Lorcha Dock is where Gen McArthur boarded a ship leaving the island to Australia and made a promised "I shall return".  A statue has been erected at the spot where he bid his goodbye and turned into a park named after him. His famous remark is inscribed at the foot of the statue. Another park nearby is the Gen Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial. Constructed in honor of his determined leadership, courage, and resolution to the very end during the war.

Exploring Corregidor Island, Philippines (Part 1)


 One of the under rated tourist attraction in the Philippines is the Corregidor Island tour. According to our tour guide, there are only over a hundred thousand local and foreign tourists who visits the island. This is very minimal I think so because the Corregidor Island has so much to offer to tourist. But I guess because of the monopoly of just one company who provide tour to the island makes it less popular and less accessible to tourists.

Coming back home



I was in the Philippines for two weeks. I took the opportunity of spending the chinese new year holiday back home, and by availing the remaining 5 days vacation leave for the year, and applied 3 days of no pay leave, it sum up to 14 days of extended vacation. Most of the days were spent supervising my unscheduled house renovation. The simple plan of just adding two rooms turned into a major house renovation in which I am afraid its completion will took sometime. So my planned Caramoan Islands trip again did not push through, and  just hope it will be a reality on my next vacation, third attempt. I'll make sure.

Exploring Georgetown


The main attraction in Penang is the old town district of Georgetown. The colonial era straits architecture is evident here. Other than the Georgian buildings and shophouses scattered around town, there are chinese mansions, Indian temples, mosques, and churches  to due many ethnic groups who settled in Georgetown.

My Trip to Penang Malaysia


My first travel this year happened last weekend to Penang Island, Malaysia. For four days I got to explore and experience the island's unique cultural, historical, and natural scenery. Penang has plenty of sightseeing opportunities scattered around the island. Aside from the attractions they have their on unique food not to be miss while in Penang.

This year's list of task








Last year, I skip this habit of making a list of task to do for the whole year. But this time I decided to have one, but unlike in previous years, this year's list of task will be concentrating on places I want to visit, things related to travel, and photography. As my resources is limited, I can travel only as far as the neighboring countries or just within the southeast asian countries where I don't need to secure a visit visa to enter one's country.