30 September 2009
Google has set-up a page in cyberspace which outlined the ways in order for us to help in the victims of this typhoon. Click on any of the photos below to be redirected to that page.
Last September 26, 2009, Typhoon Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) brought a month’s worth of rainfall to Metro Manila and nearby areas in just a span of six hours. This has caused massive flooding that resulted in the loss of many lives and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos. Our house in Brgy Kapitolyo, Pasig was spared from the destruction and all my siblings and relatives are safe. However I know a lot of people close to me that were affected. Luckily though, they are all safe.
Below are some of the widely circulated photos in the web; this was taken probably sometime last Sunday morning.
It is heart warming to note that the Bayanihan Spirit has been ignited during this difficult time in my country. People here and there has been helping in their own little ways. International aid has also brought relief to our affected brothers and sisters. Even the smallest things when added up can make a very huge difference…
27 September 2009
Each year here in Singapore, the cultural enclaves of Kampong Glam, Chinatown and Little India come alive in a festive mood to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri, the Mid-Autumn Festival, and Deepavali. Along with it are various performances, bright lights, street bazaars, free walking tours and culinary delights.
The Singapore Tourism Board has been promoting the One City Three Festival Event for the past two years already. This festival aimed to showcase the unique heritage of this small nation to both tourist and foreigners (such as me) who are living in Singapore.
As mentioned, free-guided walking tours in the three ethnic precincts have been prepared for everyone interested. This 45 minute tour is available daily from 18 Sep – 11 Oct (except 19 Sep and 3 Oct). All you have to do is show up and register at the meeting place 10 minutes before the tour starts.
5:00pm 6:00pm 6:30pm 7:00pm
Meeting place: Malay Heritage Center
4:30pm 5:00pm 6:30pm 7:00pm 7:30pm 8:00pm
Meeting point: Chinatown Heritage Center
6:00pm 6:30pm 7:00pm 7:30pm
Meeting point: The Verge (formerly Tekka Mall)
If you are not available on the various schedules above, you can be able to do some exploration at your own pace by downloading the self-guided walking map HERE.
If walking in not your cup of tea, the breezy open-top light-up bus ride is available for you to enjoy the festive lights and sounds in three places mentioned above. This hour long bus tour is available at just 5 SGD. Just like the walking tour above, this is available also from 18 Sep – 11 Oct (except 19 Sep and 3 Oct). The bus departs half-hourly at the Chinatown Heritage Center beginning from 7:30pm until 10:00pm.
I recommend these festive deals to all those tourists who will be coming over to Singapore and even those working here. It is fun, and most of all it doesn’t cost too much. Definitely in the next few week, I will be donning my tourist hat and will be taking advantage of these offers while they are still available.
25 September 2009
I have always been a fan of the Formula One Racing. I can still remember during my high school and college days, my dad and I would often save selected Sundays to watch an F1 Race live on television. During those days, as far as I can remember, the races rotated mainly on the rivalry between Michael Schumacher and Mika Häkkinen.
The first Singapore Grand Prix to be part of the Formula One Championship happened in 2008, it was well received by fans around the world, as it was the only race to be held at night. The venue for this event was the Marina Bay Street Circuit. Sadly, I was not able to join the inaugural race last year.
Moving forward to the event this year, at first I did not have any interest at all in watching the race live as it was a bit costly to get good tickets. However, I said to myself, why not just experience watching even just the Friday night practice session with a walkabout ticket?
I got our tickets just some days ago at around four in the morning while I was on my way to the apartment from work. The driver of the Mercedes taxi and I were having small chats about the upcoming race and I briefly mentioned that I wanted to watch the event on Friday but I did not have the tickets yet. He offered me two single day walkabout tickets for 100 SGD (retails at 38 SGD per piece but as of that time, it was already sold out), I didn’t accept it at first and offered a much lower price. My haggling didn’t do wonder here as I only managed to shave 5% off his offer. Nonetheless, I got my ticket and decided to call an early weekend in order to watch the event.
The 2009 version of this event promised to be even bigger from the first one with huge foreign acts such as Beyonce, The Black Eyed Peas, No Doubt, and among others taking part in the inaugural F1 Rocks concert taking place on September 24 to 26 at the Fort Canning Park. Inside the venue, there are several performances as well by notable names such as The Backstreet Boys, Chaka Khan and the Philippine’s very own Rivermaya Band.
Mr Whattaworld started very early for this event; I was already inside the Marina Bay Street Circuit at around 4:30 PM, very early considering the 1st round of practice starts at 6:00 PM. At this time, they were holding a practice session as well for the Aston Martin Asia Cup. I just stayed for a few minutes within the racetrack and after that I roamed around and take a look at the various stalls inside the venue.
There were various activities awaiting patrons inside; for those that are interested in purchasing F1 memorabilia, there are various booths all over the place selling original goods. I myself got a Felipe Massa Puma Ferrari T-Shirt. A bit pricey at 70 SGD but I liked the design and the color.
The various sponsors such as LG and SingTel had their very own booth inside. All of them had different tactics to lure the possible customers inside their booth. Singapore Tourism Board had its own booth their as well, a good move since there were a huge number of tourists coming in just for the night race who might be needing some assistance.
Food were also available inside (albeit a very inflated price); a whole variety of cuisine can be ordered within with a portion of the street very near the Padang Field converted into an open air hawker like eatery.
The two-practice session started on schedule and lasted 90 minutes each; we were very lucky enough to get good spot wherein we were really very close to the racetrack. The only drawback though was we were standing the whole time. It started out dull at first with cars appearing one at a time. Good thing though that after a while, it became more interesting with several cars popping in successively. The sound of the car engine and gearbox was both very loud and very different. A friend of mine said that the joy of watching the race in more on being able to hear the deafening sound and from this experience, I could say that he was partially true.
Although we got an excellent view of cars passing by, there was no way we could know what was happening from the other side of the racetrack apart from the two race announcers talking on the PA system. The roars of the car engine though always overpower their live narration. This was the reason why we were not aware that Romain Grosjean and Mark Webber crashed out of the practice session.
I tried to get some photos of the cars passing; unfortunately my camera has no match for the speed of drivers.
Overall, it was an evening well spent. I went back to the apartment partially deaf from the engine noise but was very satisfied. Finally, I was able to watch a Formula One Grand Prix Session live, such a truly marvelous experience. I am looking forward to the 2010 version in which I hope to get some grandstand tickets by then.
22 September 2009
A lot of my friends and relatives from all over the world have been raving about the delicious taste of the Swedish Meatballs served in the restaurant of IKEA stores. One Sunday afternoon, I decided to give this a try.
There are two IKEA outlets here in Singapore; there is one in Tampines, more than an hour away from my apartment, and the store in Alexandra Road, which was just approximately less than 10 minutes away by bus. I decided to go to the outlet in Alexandra for obvious reasons as it was more convenient for me.
It was already lunchtime when I woke up that Sunday; I initially thought that my timing would be perfect, I would be arriving there at around 2 in the afternoon and the lunch crowd would have dispersed by then. Damn, I was wrong!! When we arrived, this is what I saw…
I decided to queue with the crowd, as we were already very hungry at that time. It took me 20 minutes before I was able to get my orders and another 5 minutes before I was able to pay for it. The set-up in this restaurant is like a cafeteria; you queue up, get your food and pay for it.
The waiting was comparable to that time I tried eating Tian Tian Chicken Rice some weeks back. We ordered the 15-pcs Swedish Meatball (SGD 8.00) , 6-pcs Chicken Wings (SGD 7.50), a cup of Java Rice (SGD 2.00) and a refillable cup of cold drinks (SGD 1.50).
The meatballs were topped with gravy and were paired with French fries. It was supposed to be mashed potatoes but I asked the person serving if I can have fries instead as we are not fond of mashed potatoes. The dish also came with a small serving of lingonberry jam (honestly though, I don’t know how this would compliment with meatballs and mashed potatoes). It was a simple meal but it was a good one especially when paired with the java rice I ordered.
The chicken wings were still as good as how I have tasted it last year when I was still visiting as a tourist here in Singapore. Actually it tasted more or less the same as the ones they sell in Lau Pa Sat but the clincher for this dish is the size of the chicken wing – it was really Scandinavian size I should say. Despite its size, the chicken wing still remains juicy and tender. I paired this with ketchup mixed with Tabasco sauce.
We were very full when we finished our food. As a result, in order to melt down what we have just eaten, we decided to stroll around and look at the wonderful displays inside IKEA.
An hour later, we decided to head out and go back to the city. I got a surprise that day when I saw that there was still a long queue in the restaurant counter, this time it was much longer than the one I queued in 90 minutes earlier. It probably just goes to show that the people here in Singapore do really love the food in IKEA.
IKEA Alexandra 317 Alexandra Road Singapore 159965