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…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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exploring subic

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finally, the road trip materialized. akala namin hindi na mangyayari eh. it was supposed to be 3 new cars plying the roads of luzon but we just can’t seem to get everybody on the same page so instead of 3 cars, we settled for 2 new white cars. 🙂

we left calamba at half past 3 in the morning of august 23. we had to go to cavite pa to fetch selle’s family. we then met up with francis, kathleen and the kids at petron in alabang at around 5 am. then off we went to subic… with a planned breakfast stop at shell nlex. after being surprised by the an extremely long qeue at kfc (as in soooobrang haba), we settled for the almost empty kenny roger’s. hehe. after having a hearty breakfast, off we went… straight to subic – with francis leading the way. now, we weren’t sure if having francis as the lead car (and trying to stay with him) was a good idea 😀 but we had no choice cause he’s the better navigator. and i was able to stay with him naman along the way (ibang usapan yung pauwi na kami ha. hehe)… achieving a top speed of 180 kph at sctex along the way. heck, we even have this subaru impreza story which is better told in person. 😉

we had an itinerary planned – with the planning done at francis and kathleen’s house a week before the trip – and first stop was, ocean adventure. and the good thing with francis leading the way, you won’t be late. 😉 we were early for the shows so we explored the aquariums first.

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then it was time for the sea lion show.

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entertaining and educational. it was kinda humid though kaya lagkit na lagkit kami after the show.

we had lunch immediately after. buti na rin lang at dumiretso na kami sa resto dahil after namin mag-order tsaka nagdatingan ang mga tao. even the mascots dropped by. 🙂

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while waiting for the dolphin show, we went to the souvenir shop to pass the time. selle and her family shopped for some pasalubong. while i decided to give sarah, my inaanak, a small stuffed toy. 🙂 then it was there when i noticed that i didn’t have my steering wheel lock keys with me. then panic started to creep in. ngek, pag nawala yun eh pano ko pa mapapa-andar car ko? yes, i have my car keys pero nakahiwalay kasi yung steering wheel lock keys eh. nasa calamba pa yung duplicate nun. so i did a quick rewind on the things i did and kinda realized that i don’t remember having my keys in my pocket. so naiwan ko sa car? i rushed to the parking lot and opened our focus… whew! naiwan ko nga sa loob. 🙂 note to self: when going on a long trip, bring your duplicates with you. 🙂

relieved, we went to the dolphin show area and got a well-ventilated spot. 🙂

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then the dolphins started doing their thing. sayang kasi sam was asked by the organizers if she wanted to be part of the show. to be up-close and personal with the sea mammals. kaso sam declined (despite our pangungulit). anyway, she still had fun watching the show – and so did we. 🙂

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next up on our tight itinerary was zoobic safari.

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a multi-activity area, we started off with a walk around the zoo. yun nga lang the heat and humidity was getting to us kaya when it was time for some animal shows, we were kinda spent and didn’t watch it that much anymore. we just had ice cream, cold drinks and some rest instead.

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afterwards we went to the viewing of the tigers – both those in captivity… and those in the “wild.”

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then a couple more stops: a museum and a crocodile park – nothing compared to the one in thailand though. hehe.

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zoobic safari has promise but it needs to be managed better and have a couple of improvements here and there. pero it really has some promise.

tired, we then went to forrest hills to check-in our overnight residence. located inside a residential area, this was a budget find by kathleen. we unpacked and then rested a bit.

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actually, we rested too much and had to re-arrange our itinerary. instead of go-karting, we settled for a quick shopping spree – can you believe there’s a powdered gatorade? – and dinner instead. for dinner, we took the recommendation of rex, a zambales native, and dined at meat plus. if you love meat, this is the place for you. 🙂

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with still a couple of activities lined up the following day, we called it a night and rested. but not before a short pictorial session with our roommates. 😉

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we started day 2 of our vacation with a stop at tree top adventure. a relatively new attraction in subic, tree top adventure boasts the longest motorized canopy ride in the country – something we really wanted to try. but before we jumped in, there was a short briefing and then we had to be harnessed for safety. 🙂

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then off we went to the canopy rides. 🙂

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the canopy ride was a relaxing and enjoyable ride from tree top to tree top – with heights going as high as a hundred feet above the ground. the speed ain’t fast but is at a deliberately slow speed – enough for the guests to enjoy nature… and we did enjoy it. 🙂

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after an hour or so of going from tree to tree, we had a quick snack (nakakauhaw din kasi) then decided to go the the superman ride. as the name implies, guests are hanged horizontally ala superman and zipped – this time at a considerably fast speed – for a distance we forgot to ask. hehe. if the canopy ride was a relaxing ride, this one was a thrill ride.

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the tree top activites do not end there. there’s the tree drop, a 60 feet free fall – this one we had to pass on. but not francis and kathleen. tough dudes. 🙂

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after all the thrill brought about by the tree top adventure, we went back to forrest hills to pack. we then had lunch right across le mans go kart – our last activity in subic.

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masaya yung go kart, though we wanted our karts to go faster. heck, d nga namin maabutan ni francis si selle eh. later on we were told that selle had one of the fastest karts in lot. kaya naman pala. 🙂

disaster almost struck us while francis, selle and i were talking at the pit stop when this kid decided to not step on the brakes and just ram his kart unto selle’s kart. buti na lang wala na si selle sa kart.

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to end the subic stay, we had a quick shopping stop (again). 🙂

it was getting late so uwi na kami. again, francis took the lead pero this time i couldn’t quite stay with him. hehe. iwan sa sctex… iwan sa nlex… iwan kahit sa manila. hehehe.

it was a tiring ride home but the trip was well worth it. ’til our next road trip, guys. we definitely had fun. 🙂

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april 9, 2009

we usually spend holy week in lucena… where we can truly relax. this year, it was also the first extended road trip for our focus so at least we didn’t have to commute (and stand inside the bus) going there. yun nga lang, since we decided to go to lucena mid-morning of thursday, we ran right smack in the middle of the holy week exodus… in other words, slow-moving traffic. slow talaga. 🙂

we eventually arrived and surprised mama with our new car. yup, we didn’t tell her about it yet. 🙂 later on the day… we surprised our sister as well (yes, d din nya alam. 😆).

since bago nga sasakyan, we drove around the city… eventually settling at the city’s park. eh ano pa nga ba, eh d picture-an galore… with my pamangkin, miggy, as the prime subject. 🙂

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of course, lots of picture-taking were done at the house din syempre. 🙂

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on the way back… we stopped by the roadside a couple of times for a few more photo sessions. 🙂

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march 7, 2009

we started the search by attending a car show at the world trade center and then at the fort. soon, it was followed by getting a student’s license and learning how to drive. then after a few inquiries here and there… one saturday morning, we finally got what we’ve set out to get since late last year. 🙂

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with almost no experience driving (heck, i only took 4 hours out of my 7-hour driving course), we immediately took our ride for a spin by inviting friends for a surprise meet-up at paseo de sta rosa. a couple of our friends showed up and had an inkling that we had some news to tell. 🙂 soon enough, we showed them our new ford focus and then we went straight to tagaytay (actually, papunta na kami dun when we were looking for the mitsubishi showroom (andun yung friends namin eh)… but that’s another story. 😉). after dinner, korean stuff shopping and fruit market picking, we went down tagaytay – this time with francis driving.

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our focus have logged a few thousand kilometers since then and we’re more than satisfied with our purchase. funny cause we seem to have started a trend here at the office as new cars have been popping up since we had ours. 🙂

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february 14, 2009.

selle and i frequently go out on dates. usually we just dine out, watch a movie and walk around the mall. but valentine’s (and other sentimental dates) is different… should be different. the date must deviate from the usual… it must be extra special (not that the others dates are not special… because they all are. 🙂). so when these sentimental dates are nearing, i think hard and plan ahead on how to celebrate the day with my lovely wife.

flashback to december 26 – jc and angel’s wedding. before the start of the reception, we had a quick chat with our favorite caterer – the uber-friendly (and always stylish) kaye. during our chat she mentioned… and invited us to her valentine’s thanksgiving dinner that she was planning. we excitedly agreed. who wouldn’t be? it’s a k by cunanan event! 🙂 then, amidst our excitement, kaye turned to me and kiddingly said, “pero dapat may gift ka sa kanya(selle) ha. libre na dinner nyo eh.” sure thing, kaye. 🙂

valentine’s day arrived and i started off our date by giving selle my valentine’s gift… 😉

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rest and relaxation through the pampering of a spa… that’s the gift i came up with. 🙂

the ambiance… the facilities… and, most importantly, the services were top-notch – justifying the spa 6750’s reputation of being one of the best in the metro.

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fully relaxed, we proceeded to the blue leaf for our dinner. 🙂

and guess who greeted us at the reception table? no other than kaye herself. 🙂 onting chika and then she ushered us into the dining area – giving us specific instructions, “you can stay as long as you want.”

and the dining area was made up like it was real wedding reception. nakakatuwa. 🙂 at lalong nakakatuwa dahil so many of kaye’s former clients came. it was kaye’s thanksgiving dinner for her former clients but i guess our presence was our way of thanking her as well. 🙂

soon we were joined by jc and angel and we spent the rest of the night enjoying kaye’s food and each other’s company.

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january 1, 2009.

every year during the Christmas season, we go home to lucena to relax and unwind. for this year, instead of going home during Christmas, we decided to go home for the new year… and it was a family reunion of sorts as my sister (along with john and miggy) went home also at the same time as we did. if only my brother (and geri and toni, of course) was there too and we would’ve been complete.

like always, i spent a considerable time walking around our house snapping off pictures. sayang lang kasi it was raining most of the time we were there so we didn’t get to walk around the village to take more pictures. here’s some of the photos i got during our short stint at our house in lucena.

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you know it’s new year if there’s a bunch of fruits on the kitchen table… 13 fruits all-in-all. 🙂

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images from the living room. we got the vases from our former colleague, radz.

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images from one of the bedrooms. since we migrated to the city, our house has turned into a boarding house with eight rooms for rent.

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papa used to place this proudly on his office table. i would want to have one of these someday…

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yup, that’s a real deer. 🙂

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i have a similar version of this shot before… but i seem to never grow tired of clothespins. 😀

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some shots around the garden.

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huge black dog making “ligaw” to our dog. 🙂

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we gave miggy a lego set for Christmas and he immediately assembled it. 🙂

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more pictures of miggy and his toys.

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family pictures. 🙂

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plenty of food to welcome the new year. 😀

all-in-all it was an enjoyable and refreshing stay at lucena… like always. with our impending car purchase (ang tagal naman! 😆), we’ll most probably visit more often. 🙂

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Christmas shopping

we weren’t supposed to go out today but decided last minute to do because selle wanted to buy gifts for her officemates. after about two hours of shopping, we ended up buying much more. 🙂

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it’s our 23rd month of being happily married so it’s justifiable to go shopping. besides, like i always say, anything to make my wife happy. 🙂

i didn’t get a haircut like before… but i did get a 290 peso sd card though. 😀

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