Saturday, July 30, 2011

Incubus Live in Manila!

Last Thursday, I had one of the best nights ever! Incubus came to Manila again for their world tour to promote their new album, If Not, When? I watched the concert with Erick, Ru, and Sweet who came all the way from Davao. 

It was Incubus' third time in Manila in the past 6 years or so..They just love Manila so much! Don't they? :D Watching them for the second time was exhilarating. Incubus is the best band I've watched who gives a great live performance. Woohoo! 

Here's their performance of In the Company of Wolves. I really dig Incubus. Brandon is hotness! <3 He doesn't only have the looks but a great voice as well which makes my knees weak.

In the Company of Wolves

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Food Adventure Tour at the Venice Piazza (Part 1)


Venice Piazza Food Adventure

We've been hearing about the Venice Piazza's Food Adventure Tour in McKinley Hill. Actually. we planned to try this two weeks ago but Erick and I were feeling lazy to go out at night because of the weather. But yesterday, we finally went to see what this Food Adventure Tour is all about.


The Food Adventure Tour provides a passport which entitles you to sample 12 featured bestsellers from 12 restaurants at the Venice Piazza. The food passport costs Php550 and it is good for one person only. Sharing is not allowed and drinks are not included. The Food Adventure Tour runs from all Saturdays beginning May and ending July, from 6pm-10pm.

Our passport to pigging out :)


First thing on our list is appetizer…For starters; we had Salmon Carpaccio from Old Vine Grille. The salmon was really flavorful considering its sampler size. I like how it was seasoned with basil and salt.

Salmon Carpaccio
Old Vine Grill
Our next stop was Blackwood Bistro. We sampled their Crab and Mango Salad. I’m not really a salad person but I what I liked most about the salad are the bits of mangoes and strawberries as well as the crabsticks although not plentiful.

Crab and Mango Salad 
Blackwood Bistro
I must say that the Baked Oysters from Pinchos was my favorite pick of the night. It tasted good even without putting salt on it.


Baked Oysters
Pinchos Bar and Restaurant
The quesadillas and buffalo wings from Sweat Pea is a comfort food for me. I liked the quesadillas better. The buffalo wings was just okay but there was barbecue sauce and sour cream dip which gave us option to flavor it the way we liked.

Quesadillas and Buffalo Wings
Sweat Pea
I was getting a bit full at this time so we’re off to the main dish…

For our main dish, we had Beef Ribs Adobado from Kuse. This was everyone’s favorite because of the big slices of beef back ribs. The serving on my plate consisted of thin meat wrapped around two big bones. Hehe. Or it was just my plate?! But in terms of flavor, I must say it’s one of the good adobos I’ve tasted next to our yaya’s cooking of course.
Beef Ribs Adobado

By this time, I’m on the verge of having a full stomach and it was almost 9pm. So we decided that we wouldn’t finish all the 12 dishes in one tour. We started a bit late like 730ish. It’s either we eat and run to the next resto and not savor the food just for the sake of finishing all the remaining dishes or we take our time in eating all the dishes.

We hopped to Little Asia for Minced Chicken with Lettuce cups and Vietnamese Spring rolls. Erick liked the minced chicken and I, on the other hand, went for their spring rolls.
Vietnamese spring rolls
Minced chicken and lettuce cups
Little Asia
And now, for my favorite part of the meal..desserts! This time, we tried Sol Gelato’s. There was a long line at the counter; their shop is really small. Food adventure holders are entitled to three scoops of gelato. I got Reese’s (which is my ultimate favorite), Wild Strawberry, and Mint Chocolate. Erick tried Double delight (very sinful chocolate), Stacciatella, and Choco Banana.

Gelato overload
Sol Gelato

We still have 5 remaining bestsellers to try next Saturday:

1) Baked Macaroni with Orange Summer Salad from Empire Deli & Restaurant

2) Fried Spring Rolls from Pho Hoa

3) Karaage and Kakuni Buns from Ramen Bar

4) Butter Ginger Crab Claws from The Red Crab

5) Mango or Vanilla Chocolate Yoghurt from Yoswirls

Overall, we loved the food adventure tour. It gave us the opportunity to try all the bestsellers from Venice Piazza’s restaurants. What is great is that you have to choice to finish it all off in one visit or you can come back next Saturday.

The only thing I didn’t like is that they have designated tables for the food adventure holders which is outside the resto. Good thing, the weather was cool last night. Or else we might be sweating like a pig while eating.

We’ll be back next week for the Part 2 of our food adventure tour. This is so fun!



Thursday, July 21, 2011

My two-day Singapore trip (day 2)

I woke up feeling energized for the day. We explored Universal Studios, Sentosa, and we watched Songs of the Sea which I missed the last time I was in SG.

We already purchased our USS tickets online to avoid the long lines in the counter. We realized we were a bit early for the opening of the park so we had first our traditional Singaporean breakfast at Toast Box in Vivo City.

my peanut butter kaya toast and coffee <3
We bought our tram tickets going to Sentosa and then headed directly to Universal Studios.

While at Universal Studios, here are some of the things we did..

Seriously, it was a challenge getting a solo pic at the globe

Our first stop was Hollywood Boulevard..

Hanging out by the bench

Still kids at heart, we were delighted to see the Shrek's ogre house and Princess Fiona's castle at Far Far Away. 

Knock knock
outside someone else's castle

Who likes to move it, move it? We do at Madagascar!

with friends from Madagascar

Welcome to Waterworld for an action-filled time. This was a definitely sensational show - with the great sound effects, explosions, and stunts, we felt that we are on an action movie.

Waterworld

Who would forget the movie Jurassic Park? If you're a Steven Spielberg loyal or an 80 or 90's baby, you must have watch this hit movie.

Dinosaurs run amok

And oh by the way, can I just say that we had a really delicious laksa for lunch at the Discovery Food Center. Ansarap!

Laksa for lunch. yummy!

After our lunch, we headed to Ancient Egypt where we rode the Revenge of the Mummy - a psychological roller coaster thriller ride. Two thumbs up for this ride for scaring the hell out of me.

Revenge of the Mummy

By afternoon, we’ve gone to most attractions and tried all the available rides. Too bad (or good -- because I'd wet my pants if I rode it hehe) Battlestar Galactica was still closed.

Galactica

I haven't been to New York so walking in these NY sidewalks was the next best thing. And yeah being up close and personal with Beetle Juice!

Beetle Juicin'

We also met Frankenstein on the way who strangled me.. hehe

HELP.......

My most favorite part of any tour is shopping for souvenirs :)

Can I just get this for free?

And how could I forget the Hershey’s Store in USS waiting for meeeee.
I so love Reese's. HEAVEN!

We headed to Sentosa afterwards to stroll around while waiting for the Songs of the Sea show. We rode the tram and dropped by Palawan Beach.

In Palawan Beach, you can find the suspension bridge to the southernmost point of Continental Asia.

Here!

We returned to the tram station by 7pm for the show. We managed to get good seats. I can't believe that I actually missed Songs of the Sea the last time I was there.

It was indeed a great and entertaining show. Coolness.


Seriously, don't miss it!

Really feeling dead tired, we got to the hotel around 9pm. We met some SG friends at Bugis to give them the liquors we bought at Duty Free. We were supposed to go to Mustafa Center to do some more pasalubong shopping since it’s open 24 hours but my feet couldn't walk anymore..boooo.

So we just stayed at the hotel and watched TV while nursing my tired feet.

In a few hours, I said goodbye to SG again. Whew, the weekend passed too quickly. Well, two days for a vacay is actually short. Time flies when you’re having fun!

See you soon SG, for good.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My two-day Singapore trip (days 0 and 1)



Because I love seat sale and traveling, I didn’t hesitate to book a promo SG-MNL ticket for nth time around. I originally planned on spending four whole days in Singapore for a short vacay. But because of work, I had to cut it down to two days. With a heavy heart, I re-booked my one way ticket to SG a day later than the original. Erick, my boyfriend, went to SG two days ahead of me and then we agreed that he would just meet me there. If there is any consolation, that would be the fact that it is actually my 3rd time in SG so I’ve gone to touristy places already.

It has been in the rumor mill that it was a bit of a challenge to go through Philippine immigration nowadays for SG-bound passengers because of the influx of Filipino job seekers posing as tourists heading to Singapore. I, myself, also was questioned at the immigration but I came prepared with my return ticket, hotel booking confirmation, and it wasn’t my first to go to SG. The supposedly 9:30pm flight was delayed and our plane arrived at the Budget Terminal of Changi Airport almost 1am. I dropped by the Duty Free to buy some liquor as requested by SG friends because it is tax-free and thus cheaper. Erick was already there to fetch me up at the airport.
Erick's first time in SG and on a solo travel
We arrived almost 2am in our hotel in Bugis. We had to pay a bit extra because of the night rate. We finally settled around 2am hoping to catch some zzzzzzs to recharge for my first real day in SG.             
                                
On my first real day, we had Kampong Glam and Haji Lane on the morning itinerary. Good thing it was just a short walk from where we stayed. In no time, we were in Kampong Glam. I entered the Sultan Mosque wearing a robe because I was wearing tight and really short shorts.  
Sultan Mosque
We spent a few minutes inside and then went out to take some pictures of the mosque. Along Bussorah St., there are souvenir shops and the Children Little Museum which was still closed.
One of the many shops along Bussorah St.
We stopped by Haji Lane – which is a small lane of boutiques and clothing stores of independent designers in Singapore. I like the vibe of this quirky lane. Shops open around noon so if you’re planning to go, the best time would be after lunch.

Although this was only a 2-day trip, I was in no rush to see all the new places in Singapore. We toured on our own pace which made me appreciate the sights more.

From Bugis MRT. we rode the train to City Hall.  We were not yet hungry so we decided to go to Funan IT Mall to check the latest gadgets released. Passing along some restos made my stomach growl, so I gave in and had my first real meal of the day.

After our meal, we headed to Chijmes to look for a coffee shop when the rain started pouring. Dang! Good thing I have an umbrella.

We caught the bus going to Orchard or so I thought. I realized that it wasn’t heading to Orchard when it made its turn in the outskirts of the city..We went as far as Tiong Bahru and Redhill. We were lost but it was all part of this trip. Finally, the bus went back to the city. The 10-minute bus ride to Orchard Road became an hour bus ride.
Joyride
While in Orchard, we checked Ion Orchard, Wisma Atria, and yes even Lucky Plaza to exchange pesos to SGD and buy Singapore perfumes. We lost track of time and before I know it was almost 5pm. Time to go back my hotel to freshen up for the night.
At Ion Orchard

Our agenda for the night is Merlion Park which I’ve seen a number of times already but I don’t mind seeing again. And yes, I wanna see Marina Bay Sands and Esplanade at night.

Rode the train again from Bugis to City Hall and changed to red line to Marina Bay.
Merlion and MBS at night
We had dinner at Makansutra just at the back of Esplanade.
Tiger beer and sorry I forgot the name of the noodles hehe
We decided to walk again to Merlion Park and then we rode the river taxi going to Clarke Quay. We were the only ones in the boat which was great :)
Water taxi ride to CQ
We spent a few minutes in Clarke Quay and just went around. We aren't in the mood to drink since I was already tired from our walking spree.
Eh mas magaling pa ako dito sumayaw eh! chos

We are Cinderellas and taxis are darn expensive in SG. So we rode the last train from Clarke Quay going to Bugis.

Goodnight Sing!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Saving sucks!

Okay, this is just a quick post. I just want to rant.... By the way, good morning!

Saving money sucks big time! Who invented it anyway? And why do we have to save?! And why on earth, I didn't have the skills of saving!!! There are always temptations whenever I try to save like the urge to travel, buy a new dress or bag, eat at a fancy resto... and the list goes on.

I've read in self-help finance books that you try to save at least 10% of your monthly salary. Well, I am trying to religiously save that amount but it really is a big challenge for me. Maybe I just don't have that fat paycheck which makes it extra harder to save that tiny-bity 10% of my salary. haha. Or I'm just not born to scrimp.

I need saving from SAVING!

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Singapore top 15

I think it’s about high-time that I write my Singapore travel experience. Having traveled thrice to Singapore or SG as it is fondly called makes me no expert about this quaint city but I always have a grand time whenever I’m in SG.  I’ve developed my own list of favorites and must-go’s when visiting the Lion City. 

1) Universal Studios Singapore
. The movie-themed park just opened last year 2010 and is probably the most visited tourist spot in Singapore right now. Movie fanatics will be delighted to try all the movie-themed rides and attractions.  I personally liked Revenge of the Mummy. It’s an indoor roller coaster ride on a high-speed with unexpected drops and turns in the dark. The sound effects sounded real and you could feel the wind blowing or sometimes heat warming you.

This ride scared me the most – that’s why I had my eyes closed throughout the 4-minute ride. Three thumbs up!

Revenge of the Mummy!

Explosions everywhere at Waterworld

Madagascar at USS
Visitor Info
How to get there

2) Merlion Park. You haven’t been to Singapore, if you haven’t been to Merlion. The merlion is actually a head of lion and a tail of a fish. It is Singapore’s national symbol.

Merlion at night

3) The Esplanade (Theaters on the Bay). Famous for its durian-shaped dome, the Esplanade is Singapore’s performing arts venue featuring local and international performances.

the half-lit Esplanade
Inside, you’ll find out that this theatre offers not only performing arts but  shopping and dining experience as well. 

I wanted to try Orgo Bar and Lab at Esplanade's roof terrace for their organic mixed drinks. But due to exhaustion from our day tour, we didn't get to.


4) Marina Bay Sands (MBS). The Marina Bay Sands is an iconic structure on the Marina Bay Waterfront with a skypark which actually looks like a ship on top of three buildings. It houses the ArtScience Museum, luxury hotel, mall, theaters, celebrity chef restaurants, ice skating rink and the most expensive casino property.

Meanwhile, the Sands SkyPark Observation Deck
is open to the public.

Hello Marina Bay Sands!

5) Singapore Flyer. Nope, it is not a ferris wheel as commonly mistaken but an observation wheel standing at 165m just surpassing the London Eye. This makes Singapore flyer the tallest observation wheel. If you’re up in the flyer, don’t miss the great views of the city and neighboring Indonesian islands, Batam and Bintan.

Singapore Flyer at dusk

Visitor Info
How to get there

6) Sentosa . They say Sentosa stands for So Expensive Nothing To See Actually. Haha. Funny but I don’t agree. Back then, when Universal Studios isn’t built yet Sentosa was probably the place tourists flocked for rides and attractions. Sentosa is still a good place to go for the rides, dining, beach, or simply a stroll.

For beachcombers, Sentosa has three beaches you can go. Well, their beaches are not exactly for swimming and never mind if the sand actually came from Boracay and Palawan.

Siloso, the fun and hip beach, is the place for beach activities like volleyball, kayaking, skimboarding, etc. It has also the most restaurants in the whole Sentosa.

Siloso Beach

Palawan Beach, on the other hand, is known as the family beach. Also, you can find here the bridge linking to the Southernmost Point of Continental Asia. Cool lah?

Palawan Beach and the suspension bridge to the southernmost point of Continental Asia
Tanjong Beach is probably the most tranquil beach of all.

Songs of the Sea is a water and light show that you really shouldn’t miss. 

Spectacular Songs of the Sea show


7) Orchard Road. Stretched along the Orchard Road are a number of shopping malls to choose from high to low end shopping.

If you can afford all the signature clothes and bags, then you’re only problem will be choosing what to buy. But if not, you are free to take a souvenir picture outside the stores hehe

At Ion Orchard

8) Nightlife. In the mood for some party and booze? Head to Clarke Quay and dance and drink the night away in the city’s trendiest night spot. If you’re looking for action-filled night, try the GMAX Reverse Bungy or Extreme Swing while there.

CQ

Not for the faint heart

If you’re looking for ambiance, I suggest you try Chijmes (pronounced as chimes) for a more intimate and sophisticated night. Chijmes itself is a visual treat, with its impressive architecture. It was actually a Catholic convent school converted into a commercial center. 

Night out at the church errrrr Chijmes

9) Kampong Glam. With Bugis station as the nearest MRT station, Kampong Glam is a Malay quarters with mosques and old shophouses selling textiles, and Muslim religious items.  Muslim presence is still predominant in the area particularly in Bussorah St and Arab St where you can see  art galleries, souvenir shops, camera houses, and other businesses.

Sultan Mosque

While there, we took advantage of entering the Sultan Mosque. It was my first time to enter a mosque by the way and I was required to wear a robe since I was in shorts. We also had a chance to witness a Malay wedding.

Inside the mosque
10) Haji Lane. Don’t miss Haji Lane, which is just a few steps away from Bussorah and Arab Streets.  Haji Lane is tiny lane where you can find dresshops and boutiques of emerging and independent fashion designers in Singapore. It is a fashionista’s paradise indeed!

11) Hawker food courts. Singaporean food trip, anyone? You can never go wrong eating in hawkers. For around SGD 3 you can buy a decent meal.


To start your day, have a Singaporean traditional breakfast of kaya toast and kopi. For a real treat, try laksa, Hainanese chicken, beef hor fun, satay, chili crab, bak kuh teh..whew the list could go on :)

Start your day right by eating a good breakfast :)

Famous hawker centers include Lau Pa Sat, Makansutra Gluttons Bay, and Newton Food Center.

12) Train rides. Transportation is Singapore is extremely efficient; it makes me wanna curse our LRT/MRT here in Manila. I simply enjoy traveling by train in SG.  Switching lines and transferring interchanges easy breezy as  1-2-3. SG’s MRT ride is an experience in itself.

I love train rides in SG

13) Street shopping at Bugis. I love good bargains, who doesn’t? Being cheapskate that I am, it’s no wonder I enjoyed shopping in Bugis. You can also find here some malls like Bugis Junction, Bugis Point, and Iluma.
 

Bugis Village

Read my full entry on Bugis Street Shopping.

14) Changi Airport.  Changi Airport has been consistently voted as the best airport in Asia. It was also voted in Time Magazine for airport’s biggest surprise – a swimming pool complete with changing rooms and gym amenities.

Check out 10 Ways to Pass Time at Changi Airport.

15) Gadgets. Gadgets are cheaper in SG : ) Funan DigitalLife Mall or simply known as the IT Mall tops the destination for IT, electronics, and gaming needs.

Sim Lim Square is a shopping haven for bargain hunters and tech addicts. Practice your haggling skills here.

If there’s one thing I learned about shuttling to- and from- SG, it’d be to never to underestimate this small city. You think three days are enough for a tour? Nah. SG constantly changes; new attractions being developed, tallest of the tall buildings on the rise. Yet, it remains a very livable and clean city. It was dubbed by Discovery Channel as the New York of Asia in the next 20 years or so.

How about you? What's on your Singapore list?