Archive for the ‘Leisure’ Category

…but we didn’t miss out on meeting dear friends. 🙂

last week, along with regular weekend r&r-mates francis and kathleen (and the kids), we flew to singapore – our first out-of-the-country gimik together… and my birthday gift to my lovely wife. 😉 since this was our first time in the lion city (except for francis who’d been there a number of times already), we took time in planning our vacay. we both had excel spreadsheets for our itinerary detailing when to go… to where… with whom… and what to expect. but we all know what happens with detailed plans… hindi sya nasusunod. 😀

like what the blog title of this post reads, we didn’t get to go the zoo nor the science center… but in exchange, we got to spend a lot more time with friends. we’ll take that exchange in ANY vacation. 😉

so this post (our first in what seems like a gazillion years) is for our friends. friends who welcomed us… took time off their busy singapore-life just to tour us around (at nilibre pa kami… ka-bait naman talaga. :-D). this experience of warmth and kindness (and plenty of stories and laughter) is what makes us want to go back to singapore. for us, you guys are our tourist spots… 😉

tourist guide #1: anna
anna’s a close college and pisay friend (although naging close lang kami during our up eng’g days na) who’s been working in singapore for years already. muntik na kami d magkita ni anna kasi she had to fly to malaysia the night of our first day in sg. to complicate things further, she had a presentation to finish pa. but friends will always find a way and she did as she escaped from her office and met us at ikea during her lunch break. the food was great… the time together was even greater. too bad there wasn’t enough time (kahit na extended lunch break pa. hehe).

a cultural lesson from anna – the lo hei ritual. 🙂

tourist guide #2: ems
ems, a former samsung colleague (and a regular co-host of mine during our emcee-ing days :-D), was our designated sentosa tour guide. take note: they were about to move house the day after we went to sentosa… and yet she still toured us around and stayed with us until late, late into the night. o dba? how can one not appreciate that? 🙂

just about to board the sentosa express from vivo city

goofing under a trellis in sentosa. 😀

tourist guide #3: the severa’s (arthur and tita)
ahhh… our dear church brother and sister. the guys who whole-heartedly volunteered na ampunin kami during our whole stay in singapore. stayed up way, way past midnight just to wait for our arrival… and stayed up even more para mag-kwentuhan (kahit na may pasok pa sila in a few hours time). took us for an authentic singaporean breakfast experience, joined us on our hunt for that netbook (my other gift for my wife ;-)) and prepared a home-cooked dinner before we flew back to pinas. while they were at work, nanay (and fonsy :-D) entertained us. 😀 we love, love these guys… and next time we go back, we’ll be spending even more time with them. 🙂

awaiting the train going to city hall (on our way to funan). had to sneak in a photo with me in it just to prove na kasama ako sa trip. 😀

inside the not-crowded mrt.

tourist guide #4: chel
our wedding-on-the-day coordinator. one of my most loyal cell group member. my reccom secretary. definitely, one of our dearest friends. 🙂 if she was the only one we knew in singapore, we’d still go. 🙂 she was at the airport… awaiting our arrival. then she (and her roommate) was the one who helped us locate the severa’s residence. 😀 then on our second day, chel gave us a taste of the various ethnicities of singapore… from little india to bugis street to mustafa… and lest we forget, the warehouse sale experience – where all pinoys seem to converge. 😀 always a wonderful time w/ her… be it in singapore or here sa pinas.

it’s past midnight and there was chel waiting for us at the airport.

authentic arabian food. lamb never tasted better. yum!

sabi nga ni chel, “pang-facebook.” 😉

tourist guide #5: johnjay, dred, jeng and kenneth
johnjay and dred are selle’s former long-time samsung colleagues. they were excited to know that my wife (sabit na din ako. hehe) was coming to singapore so we made sure we meet them. jeng and kenneth, another singapore-based couple, is a former reccom colleague of mine (jeng) and department-mate of selle (kenneth). they were the ones who managed to scoop up casper, another samsung alumnus and fellow-tourist, to join us for dinner. it was a big group so we met up in clark quay – the ultimate dining/gimik place. plenty of catching up – what’s-new-in-samsung and how’s-singapore-life questions – throughout the night… and if only starbucks singapore does not close so early… we could’ve continued on ’til who knows. maybe on our next visit… and maybe that time eh magpa-reserve na in advance sa jumbo seafood. 😉

with the galanteng-galanteng johnjay and dred… plus on-his-way-to-the-airport fellow tourist, casper.

casper with two singapore-based couples. so kelan ang mga kasal? 😉

sa labas ng napaka-agang magsara na starbucks. bummer.

tourist guide #6: tere and michelle
last day was shopping day… so syempre reserved for the uber-rich, tere. 😉 michelle was supposed to be with us the night before (clark quay) but something came up so she joined forces with tere for the singapore shopping experience. went mall-hopping… from high-end ones to the farmer’s/divisoria-like ones… wala kami pinatawad. hehe. then we went to the famed-merlion and esplanade to wrap up the afternoon (turistang-turista lang. :-D). for dinner (w/c michelle had to skip na kasi she had to go to church)… tere brought us to newton hawker for a taste of chili crab and sting ray. YUMMY! it was shopping-day but we weren’t able to buy much. sabi nga ni tere, next time… more time for shopping. surely. 😉

on the way to orchard

just about to start mall-hopping

group shot at the merlion


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two months ago, we posted a similar sounding blog entry talking about a day out with friends. this past weekend, we found another excuse to hangout. before it was cars… this time it was consumer electronics. before it was our “plan” to buy a car… this time it was vena and neriz’s plan to buy an lcd tv. 🙂

unlike our gimik two months ago, this one was a bit less planned and bit more impromptu. we actually just talked about it just the day before our actual gimik. 😀 consumer electronics live was touted as a gathering of all consumer electronics manufacturers showcasing their latest products and technologies. this sounded interesting especially to vena and neriz as they have been searching for a two-tuner lcd tv for the longest time.

since this was really a vena and neriz gimik, we assumed they’ll be bringing their d60. so we decided to wear our matching l-o-v-e shirts, wanting to put their d60 into good use (post-nup pictorial. 😀). what we did not expect though was our shirts would grab so much attention as mall-ers kept on reacting to our shirts as we walked through mall of asia. selle can vividly recall one specific couple smiling from ear-to-ear and reading our shirts aloud… love. 🙂


yun nga lang hindi naman dinala nina vena ang dslr nila. hehehe. tapos point-and-shoot lang ang dala naman namin. hehehe uli.

consumer electronics live was held at the new smx besides mall of asia. we don’t frequent this area much so we were not really familiar about the place. actually, it was only our second time to visit mall of asia and our first to see smx. francis even commented that once we saw smx, we will be proud that the philippines has such a convention center. with its structure and sprawling space, he was not kiddin’. maganda nga sya. 🙂

unfortunately, the event was a disappointment. the organizers failed to fill the hall and some notable electronics manufacturers (such as panasonic, philips, nikon… etc.) were not even present. mas marami pa atang participants pag nag-a-appliance fair sa mga mall eh. 😀we still enjoyed walking through the booths though. (no pics to show though as the sd card on our point-and-shoot got corrupted while we were there 😦then we fixed it afterwards. 🙂). we spent an extended period of time at the samsung booth, amazed (and salivating) at the new plasma and lcd tv’s. truly, samsung continues to lead the industry in lcd/plasma tv’s. 🙂

we then…

  • walked to the sony booth and laughed at the marketing trickery they’re doing in promoting high definition 🙂
  • marveled at the crispness of the 25k bose laptop speakers (ang mahal!)
  • was amused by the nintendo wii being played on a humungous projection tv
  • was intrigued by the adobe training platform being demo’ed

afterwards, we walked towards the bay…


…and ate dinner (lunch + dinner for francis and kathleen) at trinity ihaw-ihaw. this whole row of restaurants had a “dampa” feel to it so the prices were cheap and the servings were aplenty. sobrang dami nga eh at sumuko na kami in the end. 🙂 pero masarap talaga. nakauwi na nga kami eh sobrang satisfied pa rin si selle sa pagkain dun. great restaurant choice, kathleen. 🙂

we gotta have dessert after. we strolled along the bay looking for dessert (and, in the process, steph lost her slipper 😦). sa sobrang haba na ng nilakad namin… we ended up at cheesecake etc… again. 🙂 and, as usual, kwentuhan galore. 🙂


after dessert, francis, kathleen and steph went ahead as it was getting late. kami naman eh sumama kina vena and neriz as they went center table hunting and shopping. 😉

before going home, we witnessed an actual pick-pocketing incident at bread talk. galing nga ni vena at neriz dahil na-block nila yung way noong pickpocket. yun nga lang, yung security guard at the area eh andun lang at pinanood all the commotion at hinayaan lang makaalis yung perpetrator. makes us wonder if the guard was into the whole operation or not. hmmmm…

ayan tuloy, d na kami bumili sa bread talk. 😀

we had another enjoyable time with these guys. we’re done with cars and consumer electronics… what could be next?

…at kelan ang viewing party, vena and neriz? 😉

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a couple of weeks ago, after numerous postponements, i finally flew to thailand on a three-day business trip. besides work, i had two goals on this brief trip:

1) to experience the famed-bangkok shopping experience (and buy gifts for my wife syempre 😉)
2) shoot, shoot and shoot with our d40

i focused my free time on accomplishing these goals. kahit saglit lang ako sa thailand, i wouldn’t pass out the opportunity to experience and photograph amazing thailand.

(note: the photos embedded here are downsized for web usage. to see the full resolution photos, visit our multiply site here.)

upon arrival in bangkok, the thing (or things) that really struck me were the cars and the roads. para kasing bago lahat ng sasakyan nila dun. kung sa pinas eh ang mga taxi eh vios, sa thailand, ang mga taxi nila eh altis. 🙂 so kung ang altis eh taxi lang sa kanila, ang parang common sedan sa thailand eh camry. lupit no? 😉 but what was more impressive was their roads… or should i say, their road. man, they have this looooooong skyway that seemed like it had no end. sobrang haba talaga. we asked the thais how long it was and they said it was about 100 kilometers long. imagine 4-5 times the length of south superhighway… lahat yun skyway. ganun kahaba. impressive indeed.


from the airport, we proceeded to the hotel which was located just outside of bangkok. check-in lang tapos dinala kami ng aming host sa mall na katabi lang ng hotel. seacon square is megamall-esque in size but lianas-like inside. 😆 actually, some parts lang naman ang parang lianas… the rest is more like… waltermart. 😀


anyway, we planned in spending the afternoon searching for the perfect pasalubong for our loved ones. pero bago yun, we wanted to try some thai food and the easiest place to get one is… at the food court. 😀


soup ang gusto ng mga kasama ko. so inikot namin ang food court… the problem is, most of the menus were written in thai. buti na lang meron kaming nakita na may english menu so syempre, dun na kami bumili. 🙂 tom yang soup ang ni-target naman. it sounded good… and it looked good din sa picture. we ordered one each but soon realized there was a different payment system in there (thanks to a friendly thai girl na tinulungan si jhay with this 😉). sfter going through the payment process, we then proceeded to taste our tom yang. i love spicy food but this one was freakin’ spicy hot!!! kuha-kuha pa ako ng chili powder ha eh d ko naman pala kakailanganin. 😆 grabe ang anghang. todo tulo pawis namin. i ate only half of mine. darwin managed to eat it all (at sobrang pinagpawisan nga lang 😀). vena ate about 1/4th of his while jhay almost didn’t touch his. mahina pala sa maanghang tong si jhay. 🙂

they have system similar to time zone. bili ka ng card then swipe away. 🙂

eagerly awaiting their tom yang… 🙂

the menu, the condiments and the soup.

after the tom yang experience, nag-ikot na kami to do some shopping. pero, since this was like lianas/waltermart, medyo nahirapan kami maghanap. it’s a good thing there was this korean crafts area where we got a few stuff. kaso we weren’t that satisfied (at least kami ni vena). we continued going around the mall until bumigay na sina jhay at darwin and they went back to the hotel. kami naman ni vena were like energizer bunnies and kept going… and going… and going. yun nga lang, wala pa rin kami nabili. *sigh*


we went back to the hotel and waited for our semthai hosts at the lobby as they were gonna treat us dinner. while waiting… surprise, surprise… we saw a familiar face…


it was duane… a former colleague at samsung. he’s now working for cigi (and mighty successful i should add) and has been to thailand numerous times already. like a blessing from God, he volunteered to take us to the bangkok night market. woohooOoOo! pasalubong problem solved. 😉

we ate dinner at a blue wave-esque place. authentic thai cuisine minus the spices. kasi naman si jhay eh binanggit nya sa mga thais na ayaw daw nya noong tom yang kasi maanghang daw… so d tuloy um-order ng maanghang yung mga taga-semthai. boooo! 😆 nevertheless, masarap pa din… especially the lapu-lapu in garlic and pepper. yum. 🙂


the following day was all work. i’ll just skip this part of my thai trip. 🙂

dinner plus tokens from the semthai president himself.

a couple of after dinner shots. (photos courtesy of vena)

after dinner, vena and i met up with duane at the hotel and immediately proceeded to bangkok night market. we took a cab, the railway and then the subway to get there. here we further realized how efficient public transportation was here in thailand. meron na silang sobrang mahabang skyway, meron pa silang mrt at tapos… meron pa silang 2-level subway. thumbs up to the thais.


bangkok night market at lumpini park is, simply put, 1 gigantic tiangge. 🙂 duane told us that the market will be open until 2 am so vena and i were confident that we will find the perfect pasalubong here. ikot-ikot kami and saw the usual stuff… until we came into this stall that was selling contemporary wall clocks. perfect! tagal na namin naghahanap ni selle ng wall clock eh. pumasok ako at nagtingin-tingin hanggat may nakita akong magandang design. then dumating si vena at may na-gusto-han din sya. ang problema eh parehas kami ng gusto. 😀 we were still hours away from 2 am so instead of arguing who gets to buy the clock eh we decided to continue looking around and just come back later kung wala nang makitang iba. so naglakad uli kami at si duane eh mas marami pang nabibili kaysa amin. 😀 we then reached a sampaloc stand at syempre nagsi-bilihan kami. while doing so, we noticed that some of the stalls were closing shop already. teka, teka… baka magsara na din yung nagbebenta ng wall clocks ah. nagmadali kaming bumalik and guess what? sarado na sya. 😦 sabi nga ni duane, “sabi ko sa inyo, eh… binili nyo na dapat, eh.” 😀

somewhat defeated, nag-ikot na naman kami but this time, pag may na-type-an na kami, eh automatic, bili na. we’re quick learners naman. 🙂 wala kaming tigil kaka-ikot hanggang halos maubos na ang mga bukas na stall so we called it a night. we decided to take a cab back to the hotel and experienced something so pinoy… ang na-ngo-ngontratang taxi driver. uso din pala sa kanila yun. 🙂

the following day, we were scheduled to go the “king’s palace.” that’s what we heard. d namin sure kung ano tawag sa place eh. bad trip nga ako kasi comfy na ako in my shorts and sandals tapos bawal daw pala ganoong attire dun. grrrr… hindi sinabi agad eh. nagpalit pa tuloy ako. byahe na naman kami past bangkok and to another province hanggang nakarating din kami sa palace. eto naman parang nayong filipino. 😀 akala namin we will be riding golf carts around the place pero we remained in the van at umikot. medyo bad trip nga kami kasi d naman na-hinto yung van so we could take some pictures. we just had to shoot through the van’s windows.

finally, the van stopped and we strolled around this mini-floating market… and even beyond.


i was shooting pictures like crazy as seen here. (photos courtesy of vena)

a few images around the floating market.

i found this footbridge interesting especially in black and white.

the guys striking a pose. the one disadvantage of having dslr is you don’t get to be in the pictures.

here’s one of the few photos that i get to be in. i’ve been practicing my post-processing skills and tried to recover this photo. check the before and after comparison. (photo courtesy of darwin)

there was a part in the market where you can feed these tilapia-sized fishes. i took this sequence of shots and turned it into somewhat of an abstract art.

afterwards, we were off to view a crocodile show at samutprakan crododile farm…


…home of over 100,000 crocodiles. that’s a loooot of crocs.


we can’t even imagine how they manage to feed all of them. sobrang dami talaga. we strolled around the place and after a while, went back to the van because, one of the korean expats told us, “dyoks, after 5 minutes… we have to go.” yun pala, what he meant was, after 5 minutes, we have to go to the crocodile show. 😆 it’s a good thing we realized this or else we would’ve missed the show.


the show was amazing but, at times, nerve-wracking. sabi ko nga kina vena, ako yung kinakabahan para dun sa mga crocodile wrestlers. watch these and you’ll understand 🙂

(videos courtesy of vena)

after the show (actually d na namin tinapos 😀), we went straight to the airport. checking-in was a breeze… so unlike in the philippines. 🙂 we had time to do some duty-free shopping so that means more pasalubong for my wife. 😉 we boarded the plane and, thanks to vena and jhay, we got window seats… and was able to get off these shots.


darwin even took these takeoff and landing videos for kicks. 😀

overall, it was a nice experience but a short one. we didn’t get to go around much (nor ride an elephant which i wanted to experience 😀). but it was just a 3 day trip so we didn’t expect much really.

is thailand worth visiting? definitely. but i’d rather visit the many more wonders of the philippines first. 🙂

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…but ended up getting these…


with a smile like that, who needs a light bulb? 🙂

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we blogged about this a couple of weeks ago and, as planned, we, along with our dear friend, cel, dropped by the siytangco’s to say hi, visit and support their event. 🙂

as expected, we were greeted with the same warmth we’ve always experienced from the siytangco’s. actually, at first, we were kinda hesitant to approach either deedee or sandee as they were both busy entertaining guests. but, sandee approached us and maybe feeling our hesitation, flashed a smile and simply said, “of course i remember you…” that easily broke the ice and again, they made us feel like family. 🙂

soon after, we were in the living room, exchanging stories and enjoying k by cunanan’s sumptuous food. 🙂

speaking of kaye, we just missed her when we arrived at bella vista. sayang nga, eh. it’s been a while since we last spent time with our favorite caterer. we did get to spend a few moments with ann (hope we get her name right) while we were going around the garden. like kaye, she’s a nice girl too. 🙂


it was a highly relaxing afternoon and a time well spent at bella vista. as if the warmth and hospitality was not enough, sandee and deedee even gave us a gift for our visit… our very own bella vista bird house. 🙂


thanks to sandee and deedee, bella vista is really more than just our wedding venue to us. it will remain to have a special place in our hearts. 🙂


afterwards, we decided to stay in tagaytay to relax some more. we went to cliffhouse to check out the restaurants there. but before dining, we marveled first at the view tagaytay is famous for.


and we’re not the only ones enjoying the view. 😉


after checking out the resto’s, we decided to eat at platito simply because it offered a breakfast menu at this late in the day. 🙂


it’s here we spent a couple of hours chatting away. ganyan talaga pag matagal nang hindi nakakasama ang kaibigan… especially one as talkative and bubbly as cel. 😆 we would go on to other stops after this (domicillo home gallery, razon’s, all flip-flops). kung wala lang pasok kinabukasan, we could go on much later into the night.


warm hospitality of hosts. cool tagaytay climate. relaxing view. chatting with friends. overall, we say it was a great day spent. 😀

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our blog has been inactive lately mainly because of waaaay too much work. we’ve had this strenuous work-home routine for quite a while now. 😦

so what happens when we get this rare opportunity to break out of this routine?


what else but my wife going on a shopping spree! 😀

being the fashionista that she is, i got her a couple of new jeans, a new top, new slippers… and of course, her favorite magazines. needless to say, she had a great time. 😉 anything to make my wife happy. 🙂

not to be outdone, i got something also…


…a new haircut. 😀

looks like a fair deal to me. 😉

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the temperature has been scorching for the past month or so. sa sobrang init, our electricity bill almost doubled compared to last month’s. 😦 summer time is officially here and what could be more pinoy than to enjoy halo-halo with friends. 🙂

razon’s halo-halo is composed of three ingredients only. yup, tatlo lang. leche flan + macapuno + saging. yum, yum, yum! 😀

just last week, vena mentioned a new razon’s branch here in sta. rosa. razon’s was a familiar topic of ours (reccom) a few years back as we were discussing about the best halo-halo in the country. since, back then, the nearest razon’s branch was in taguig (market market), we (reccom) weren’t able to try it together. then came this welcome news from vena and we agreed to troop to sta. rosa just to partake of the famous razon’s halo-halo. 😀 sobra kasi kaming nag-cra-crave ni selle for halo-halo lately eh so this was a perfect excuse to go to sta. rosa. 🙂


we had dinner and, of course, the famous halo-halo. more importantly, we got to spend time together with friends. two newlywed (sort of 😀) couples exchanging stories and doing some catching up. a night filled with laughter, stories and good food. a wonderful way to cap a day. 🙂

jan 2007 couple and sept 2007 couple chillin’ 🙂

btw, two years back, we did try another famous halo-halo joint. that time it was in cavite and a local tv show dubbed it as having the best halo-halo in the country. intrigued, we went out of our company outing venue just to try it out. all we can say is it was worth the trip. 🙂

reccom 2005 escaping from the 2006 company outing to grab some of digman halo-halo.

o, ano, halo-halo tayo… 🙂

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