Singapura

28 02 2008

This post is obviously long overdue ’cause the trip happened over two months ago, but in this case, it’s better late than never. I wrote snippets during the trip which I then glued together so they can be comprehensible.

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I’ve been wondering since I got here, what is Singapore’s tourism tag line? If Malaysia is “truly Asia” and Australia’s asking where the “bloody hell” everyone is, how is Singapore lurking tourists?

I’m very lucky Ate Joan is based here ’cause she’s one hell of a good lakwatsera (I think it runs in the family actually). And it only takes her a few days to get all street-smart when she’s in a new place, no learning curves at all hehe. So we’ve done the usual touristy things; went to Sentosa, Singapore Zoo (but only reached the gate and had a quick dinner, we decided to forego the night safari due to the rain), hopped on a river cruise along Robertson Quay and checked out Lucky Plaza (Haha, Pinoy e). They were all OK but they weren’t the highlights of the trip for me.

For me what made this 3day stay worthwhile were so off the tourist trail and invisible from the travel brochures. If I were to advise someone about to go to Singapore, I’d tell her/him to get up early, take the train or bus, go to the nearest kopi tiam and order kaya toast and the traditional Singaporean kopi, or go to the East Coast to have an orgasmic dinner of chili crabs and cereal prawns at Jumbo Seafood, or stroll through the Kampong Glam district, Kandahar and Arab streets to indulge and maybe recall your Sibika at Kultura lessons at the Malay Heritage Centre. Simply put, do what the locals do… albeit on a payday (sadly, chili crabs do not come cheap, but kaya toast and kopi do!), or heck discover what the locals themselves have yet to discover.

My favorite memory during this trip has got to be the time when I saw a woman wearing a hijab (if I’m not mistaken) getting off the bus be welcomed by her young kids by pagmamano. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t Pinoy but seeing that gesture made me think of how deeply connected we all are and that we can move away and forward but we can still find a reason to celebrate and be proud of our heritage.

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There you go, my travelogue for Singapore.

I’m leaving for Shanghai this Sunday. I’m more nervous than excited and this is the first time I’m feeling this way about a trip. Firstly, because I don’t speak the language, and secondly, because I don’t speak the language. Oh I already said that. Right. Sorry. Well I’m sure the experience won’t kill me and I know it will turn out to be a mind-blowing adventure. My colleagues say it’s like the modern Manila.

How can I find comfort in that when deep-down in my heart I’m a probinsyana? Lumuluwas pa nga ako para makipagkita sa mga kaibigan ko sa Manila eh, take note, lumuluwas. I bet you you’ve never used that word before in your life, unless you’re related to me. In that case you’d say mage-eeroplano ka or magb-bus ng bente-kwatro oras to get to Manila.

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Weekends to live for

18 02 2008

Today I was alternating between crying and laughing. The weekend was wonderful, romantic, sweet, fun, awesome and a bit sad in the end. It definitely made up for the six weeks away from D. Meeting more of his friends and bonding with them made us both realize that we made the right decision for him to come home for the wedding, even if it meant a longer separation and shorter alone time. As usual I felt so welcome and it seemed like I was surrounded by family and old friends again. It was touching to know him better through his friends’ eyes.

It was my first Aussie wedding.  The groom, Andre, is one of D’s best friends from school and he met Yun, while studying Mandarin in uni.  I found it very low-key but touching and intimate nonetheless. Only 50 (or less) people were invited so almost everyone knew each other and there was enough time and space to mingle.   The bride did her bouquet and her make-up herself and the boutonniere was handcrafted by the groom’s Mum.  D convinced me to bring Bogart and I’m glad he did, ’cause it turned out to be an awesome photography gig, especially as everyone was game to pose.

It was definitely a weekend worth living for, just like the weekend spent with Faye, Cherry, Eva, Melendres and Chie in Gold Coast on Australia Day weekend. I highly doubt it was the place which made it fantastic. I would say it was the company, getting drunk on the beach, singing to Eheads songs blasting from a mobile phone and dancing carefree while hiding a tequila bottle from the roving police. Was it tequila or vodka? I can’t remember. It was definitely our own version of Galera, complete with the Capri slims.

***

Now it feels that D’s homecoming was just a dream, I’m back, unpacked and “normal” again. The only proof that it actually happened is the Reese’s peanut butter cups in the fridge. Saying goodbye at the airport never gets easier. Oh well. Eight weeks to another weekend to live for.





In the end, you’re going to hoard in panic.

12 02 2008

News of an uncle’s death and of Polaroid shutting down factories and consequently making their films extinct brought me panic and sadness.

Predictably I wanted to contact every one of my friends in the US and the Philippines to hoard 600 films for me because they’re sold cheaper over there. But then reading at a forum that I’d have to keep them flat in the fridge for long-term storage made me realize how silly my plan was. I can’t stop a corporation from refusing to manufacture a product that was only making it bankrupt and I don’t really want the hassle of storing films in the fridge, especially since ours is being stocked normally again (’cause we’re sick of eating freaking lean cuisines! do you guys know how deeply lonely that experience is?).

But I digress.

And how weird would I appear to my future husband if the first thing I put in our conjugal fridge is a bunch of Polaroid films? So I just accepted the fact and used up the remaining 3 exposures inside Humphrey (that’s my Polaroid camera’s name btw) because I’ve got twin-pack coming this weekend on D Day.

And then there’s death. I always have a hard time reconciling the concept and my family. I have this illusion that every single member of my family is immune to it and that we’ll all live together forever. Half an hour after speaking to my Mum on the phone the tears came then a mental checklist ran through my mind. Did I say “I love you” to my parents today? Did I say goodnight to Melanie tonight? Have I thanked D for standing up to his manager so I can fly to the US for free? (Obviously the 143’s are delivered on a daily basis so no worries about that)

He wasn’t directly related to me as he was Mum’s sister’s brother-in-law but I always remember him as kind and warm. Growing up amongst rowdy boy cousins and a brother, he always took the girls’ side when fights ensue. I was personally excited and happy for him because I heard he had found a new love and was about to settle down.

His passing made me realize how fleeting time is and how important it is to always be in the moment and embrace every experience, even the ones which break your heart and weaken your spirit. I must admit I’ve been very ungrateful the past days and I know the attitude has to stop right away. I need to remind myself every single day how truly blessed I am.

Even with a permanent employee’s salary. Haha. I had to end this with a laugh. It’s hard to be in the moment if you’re too sad. Toodles.