Thursday, July 31, 2008

Singapore: Day 2

Another day here in Singapore. Another day of exploring.

I got my hands on the "must see" site brochure here at the hotel. I mentally ticked all the places that I've been to so far (from last year's vacation and this year), Chinatown? Check. Little India? Check. Merlion Park? Check. Snow City? Check. Clark Quay? Check. Boat Quay? What? It's not the same as Clark Quay?

My first agenda for the day is go to Boat Quay. It was ten a.m. hoping to have breakfast there. The shops are closed and won't be open 'till noon! No worries, I took pictures instead.

Boat Quay. Check!

My next stop was to see Lau Pa Sat, the last victorian filiglee building in Singapore. While at the MRT, a decided to get off a Dhoby Gaut instead and with the good intention of visiting Lau Pa sat later in the afternoon. The lure of shopping at Orchard road is much stronger. I am too weak to resist! I got some stuff for hubby and myself.

My shopping philosophy is simple... if I like a certain dress, shoe or whatever, I always ask myself, "Can I find something like that in SM, for the same price or cheaper?" If the answer is yes, I don't buy it. For extreme tightwads, the next question would be "Can I live without it?" If I answered that question, I wouldn't be able to travel or buy anything. So, I always leave that question out :-)

After wrestling with myself for what to buy and what not to buy, I was exhausted and proceeded to go back to the hotel and sleep it off! Hubby found me fast asleep at 6 in the evening.

We make out way to the Boat Quay again because I wasn't able to eat there earlier. Be sure to come early,if you want a riverside table, the places get full arond 7:30 p.m. If you come ealy, the "barkers" (people urging you to look at their menu) will offer you a 20-30% discount and a free drink. If they don't ask for it anyway. Most of the restaurants serve seafood, beer and Indian food. We decided to eat at the Heaven's seafood, wherea Filipina barker gave us a 20% discount and two free drinks. Everything that we ordered were really good.

The Green mango salad was fresh, soft yet crispy.

The scallops were huge and really good.

The Buttered Praws were juicy and fresh. Served with fried Thai basil and fried bell peppers.

The restaurants here are not cheap. You can easily spend US$100 per meal for two but the experience and the freshness of the meal can't be beat. The lobsters, crabs, fish and prawns are all alive before they are cooked.

Hubby and I walked back to our hotel. The night was hot but still breezy. Hubby stopped for some ice cream.

He took some photos of me too.

Singapore: Day 1

I took an early flight to Singapore. I was up at 4 a.m. and by 5 a.m., I was already at the airport. I flew via Philippine Airlines, PAL. I found myself crying on my flight. I already miss my nephew Tim and his sisters Daniele and Nica who are due to leave for Canada this Sunday. I won't be seeing them anymore to send them off since they would be at the airport when my flight lands on a different airport. The guy sitting beside me (an OFW) must have seen my distress and asked where I was going and probably assumed that I left a passel of kids in Manila while I slave away in a foreign land. Couldn't blame him, he was probably on the same boat, forced to work abroad to provide his family with a better life.

Anyway, my flight was uneventful except for some moments of crying. The airline food wasn't bad too.

I arrived in Singapore ten minutes ahead of time which allowed hubby and me to have a quick lunch together. We dined at the Central Mall, also walking distance from our hotel and AIG's offices here in singapore (Incidentally, our hotel is right around the corner from the Singapore office).

We chose to have Lunch at the manhattan Seafood Restaurant overlooking the river. Too bad it was too hot to sit outside. The view is so much better.

We ordered the Manhattan Seafood Platter of fried calamari, oysters, chiips, cream dory, rice and prawns flambed in front of us. I'm not sure if you can see the flames from the photo but there was flame. An added entertainment value. The meal comes with soup and peach iced tea.

Since hubby has to go back to work, I decided to proceed to Ikea and get most of my shopping done. I forgot which station to get off to get there so we ask the waiter to tell me, he told me it was in Tampines which is very very far. Fortunately, hubby researched when he got back to the office and set me straight. The nearer Ikea was in Queenstown. I had to get off the train and go back! When I reached Ikea, I discovered that they are renovating the place and they don't have the full stock! I managed to but a cute stailess steel fruit bowl though so my trip wasn't a total waste :-)

Taxis here in Singapore are very expensive, more than twice the cost compared to Manila. Taxis here also change rates the later it gets, so beware. Unless, you're extremely tired or unless you have a heavy package, take the MRT or the bus. I was forced to take a cab back to the hotel because I was dead tired.

Hubby informed that he couldn't join me for dinner due to a dinner invitation by his Singaporean hosts.

I decided to go to Arab street on my own, because I haven't been there yet. It was a bit late when I left the hotel plus the hundred mile walk to the MRT :-), by the time I got to Arab Street, most the shops are already closed. In a nutshell, Arab street is like Little India. They're almost the same. They sell the same stuff, the streets smell the same. So I felt that I didn't miss much.

I had dinner at Fish Head Curry Restaurant, just across the Mosque. I had Chicken Murtabak.

Half of the fun is watching this guy beat the dough, hit the dought against the table many times and spin it around like a pizza dough, crack an egg in the middle of the dough, spread it around, add the chciken, onions and other ongredients, fold it like a package and toast it in a massive heated thingy.

The Murtabak had chicken bits, onions, spices and a curry dipping sauce.

Singapore...I'm baaaaccckkk!

Hubby's been on a business trip here in Singapore since Monady and I flew in yesterday to keep him company. Ok, maybe I came for a bit of shopping too :-)

I'm having a great time here so far. Hubby and I are booked at The Gallery Hotel along Robertson Quay (pronounced as Kee), walking distance from Clarke Quay and Boat Quay and about a hundred miles' walk from the nearest subway station. (Well, it seems like a hundred miles under the humid weather!) Overall, our hotel has a nice scenic location. It is specially interesting to walk back to the hotel at night hand in hand with hubby.

I'll be posting a lot of my adventures when I get back.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Indian Food!

I was intimidated by Indian food before. I always had the pre-conceived notion that Indian food is nothing but curry and spice. I learned that I love it when hubby and I attended a dinner party hosted by one hubby's expatriate co-worker. From that moment on, I declared Indian food, one of my favorite dishes :-)

Two nights ago, my aunt, my mom, hubby and myself had dinner at Swagat Indian Cuisine, just walking distance from my mom's condo. The place doesn't look much but the food is good.

We had Cucumber Raita. Whipped yoghurt with cucumbers and light spices. We dipped our Naan (flat Indian bread) on it. It's so good, I wanted to drink it up, he he he :-)

Vegetable Birayani, Indian fried rice with vegetables.

Chicken Tikka Masala, a mild chicken curry dish in a tomato-based sauce.

Dal Palak, lentils with spinach. It's like the indian version of gininang munggo :-) very good also.

Shrimp curry.

The best combination is shrimp curry and chicken tikka masala sauce, it's kinda "kanin-baboy" looking but it's really good :-)


Dinner Date with Hubby

Hubby and I had a date last weekend. WE wanted to try the new Mediterrenean joint in West gate. It's Called Sophia's. It's the brainchild of Chef Mervin (formerly of Piccolo Mondo in BF). We've always loved his pastas and we were eager to try his newest restaurant venture.

The place is small and intimate. Hubby and I both love Greek cuisine and we were eager to try some.

For starters we had the Tsatsiki. A traditional Greek dip made with Greek youghurt and cucumbers. Their version wasn't up to par and we didn't enjoy it. It was way too watery. I don't recommend this.

Hubby ordered the beef gyro. He seemed to love it, since the beef is very juicy and tender. They don't get any points for presentation though :-)

I ordered the Beef Kebab, served with salad and three dips of Greek youghurt, pesto and chili sauce. I ordered this because I saw Chef Mervin personally manning the grill, and I was glad that I ordered it, the beef was melt-in-your-mouth tender. I highly recommend this. I just wish their portions are bigger :-)

After dinner, hubby and I felt "bitin" from our meal since the servings at Sophia's were small. We decided to have dessert at Cafe Breton, a crepe place also within Westgate.

Hubby and I shared The Chicken Run. Four pieces of whole wheat toast topped with grilled chicken, mushrooms, asparagus and bechamel sauce. Yummy! Best shared with a loved one.

After the chicken run, hubby still felt hungry! He ordered La pInay, a dessert crepe with mangoes, topped with Mantecado ice cream and chocolate sauce. Hubby must have felt so ravenous, he asked the waiter to double up the crepe AND the ice cream. Yikes! Talk about double trouble.

I had one of my favorite comfort food, crepe with condensed milk. Yummeee!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Our Family Pic

Check out family picture last Sunday. Part one of despedida party for my cousin Annie and her family. They're moving to Canada in two weeks. I will miss the kids :-(

Seated L-R: Tim, Daniele, Tita Zeny, Tita Socky, Mom, Me, Annie, Nica
Standing L-R: Ralph, Hubby, Margie, Patricia, Dennis, Jacob, Ashley, Angel, JJ, Patrick, Ate Gigi

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


There's a restaurant in BF that we consider as the old standby whenever we need eat something homey, delicious and reasonably priced. Conti's has been in BF for as long as I remember. They are famous for their desserts and asado roll, which my mom used to line up for (when she still lived in BF). My mom would go there very early in the morning and line up.

Hubby and I go there for their delicious food and reasonable prices. The head waiter already knows us so we always get good service. It's been a while since we dined there.

We tried the Symphony Salad which is a new entry on their menu. It's basically salad greens with slivered almonds, tomatoes in a sweet and tangy tomato dressing. The dressing is similar to Pancake house's Taco Salad.

My favorite is the Grilled Pork Chop with Mushroom Risotto. I love their mushroom gravy and the risotto. A true blue risotto, I learned, spread around the plate when you give it a little jiggle. Technically, Conti's risotto is not really risotto but a creamy rice dish since it does not resemble a "lugaw-like" consistency when you give it a little jiggle. But I love it anyway. There was a time when I ate this at least once a week :-)

Hubby likes the Beef Salpicao. He said that their recipe improved since the last time he had it.

Our super duper favorite dessert there is the Frozen Mango Tart. Sweet pie crust with mango cream and fresh mangoes on top. Yummy!

OLP Blessing

Check out our pics last Sunday:

My mom prepared two of her specialties:
Amish-style Beef Stew made with her own secret sauce and Molo soup. Both crowd pleasers.

We also had Frozen Bazo de Mercedes. Graham cracker crust layered with vanilla ice cream, yellow creamy filling and the soft meringue on top. Yummy!

We had the 3 essential F's...Food...Fun...and Family!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Bangkok, Day 3 (Part 2) - Siam Ocean World

Siam Ocean World, Bangkok is located at the basement of Siam Paragon Mall. It's a famous day trip tourist attraction. Very convenient and comfortable to visit. Entrance fee is BHT750 for adults. The fee already includes the 4D Theatre and a Glass Bottom Boat Ride.

For BHT5,000 more, you can even go swimming with the fishes :-)

A must-see when you're in Bangkok. I will definitely go back here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bangkok, Day 3 (Part 1)- Temple Tour

For our first Saturday adventure, hubby and I went on a Temple Tour. We hired a tour guide and car for BHT2,000 each to take us through three of the most famous temples in Bangkok:

Wat Traimit, Temple of the Golden Buddha

Thailand's Golden Buddha is largest golden Buddha Image in the world, made of pure gold. The image is unrivalled in beauty, measuring 12 feet 5 inches in diametre and has a height of 15 feet 9 inches from the base to the crown and it weighs approximately 5 tons. Now more than 700 years old, it is a valuable treasure of Thailand and one of the most famous tourist attractions in the country. The Buddha image is originally covered in plaster to conceal its real value from Thailand's enemies. They only discovered the treasure underneath in 1955 where the temple was renovated and the plaster was accidentally damaged, thus revealing the 5-ton solid gold image of the Buddha.

Here at the Golden Buddha Temple, you can be blessed by one of the monks with holy water and a symbolic string is tied to your wrist for good luck.

Our guide told us that for every corresponding day, there's a particular color that is considered as your lucky color. The king was born on a Friday, hence the abundant yellow colors around Thailand. There's also different Buddha position or "attitudes". Depending on the day that you were born, you pray to that Buddha. In the case of our guide, he was born on a Tuesday and he prays to the reclining Buddha. His lucky color is pink :-)

Wat Po, Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Wat Pho is the one of the largest and oldest wat in Bangkok (with an area of 50 rai, 80,000 square metres), and is home to more than one thousand Buddha images, as well as one of the largest single Buddha images: the Reclining Buddha. Made as part of Rama III's restoration, the Reclining Buddha is forty-six metres long and fifteen metres high, decorated with gold plating on his body and mother of pearl on his eyes and the soles of his feet. The latter display 108 auspicious scenes in Chinese and Indian styles.
The Wat Pho complex consists of two walled compounds bisected by Soi Chetuphon running east-west. The northern walled compound is where the reclining Buddha and massage school are found. The southern walled compound, Tukgawee, is a working Buddhist monastery with monks in residence and a school.
(From Wikepedia)

Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn

The famous Wat Arun, perhaps better known as the Temple of the Dawn, is one of the best known landmarks and one of the most published images of Bangkok. It consists of a massive elongated prang (Khmer-style tower), and is surrounded by four smaller prangs. The prang is described by the Tourism Authority of Thailand as 104m high, while most other sources quote figures around 80-85m. It is decorated by bits of porcelain which had previously been used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China, a hallmark of the reign of King Rama III. The Wat had a brief period as host of the celebrated Emerald Buddha, which now resides in nearby Wat Phra Kaew.


The Temple Tour certainly is interesting and entertaining. Be sure to wear socks and easy to remove shoes since you'll be taking them off every time you enter the temples. I particularly like the elaborate decorations found on the temples themselves. I advice everyone who take this tour to always bring cold water with you. Daytime temperatures can reach up to 40 degrees centigrade. I almost fainted! Can you tell how tired we were by the pictures :-) he he he

By the time we reached Siam Paragon Mall, hubby and I were so famished, we ended up eating Mexican food at the food hall.
We had some make your own tacos (you choose the fillings) actually all three tacos were consumed by hubby, he he he, nachos with cheese, jalapenos and guacamole, chicken quesadillas and cake!