pasalubong

My uncle who came home from OZ said that my chocolates pasalubong was unloaded at the SG airport for excess baggage. So he brought me Argao Torta instead from his trip down south of Cebu yesterday.

Torta is one of my biggest favorites, the ones made with “tuba” (coconut wine) as the “dough grower.” The taste is just more rich. Argao Torta is known for it. Though, the taste is now more commercialized.

Anyhoo, it was just perfect with the morning coffee!

Thank you, uncle!

on my own: coffee and conversation

Weekend afternoons at home are spent having coffee and conversations of me and Mark. It can be about his biking, our run, a product, an article, design, work, life, people, country, and whatever he recently came across with.

But for now, I have to contend with having myself to only to talk to. Mark is in Camiguin now, then next week to another place. It can be schizophrenic but Best conversations can happen in my mind. πŸ™‚

As I wrote before, while others flaunt their bags or hair or body or legs or pretty face, I flaunt my thoughts. That’s why I have 101 blogs.

Anyhoo, I should be getting used to having alone weekend conversation with myself and coffee. It kinda looks Mark will be doing a few OFW stint this year. πŸ™

Day 7: SG

Yesterday was like having a glimpse of 2 sides of SG.

In the morning, we went to an island in SG, Pulau Ubin. I kind think of it as the poor man’s Sentosa. But in fairness to Pulau Ubin, the experience is probably nothing lesser than in Sentosa. Though, I have not been to Sentosa so Don’t trust what I’d be saying.

So the whole island was preserved, even the people there look like preserved rural version of SG, just so the city people will have an idea how the “not-modern” SG looks like.

But though it’s rural with all the trees, plants, and mangroves, everything is still well-arranged / paved and organized just like the rest of SG. Half-day was not enough to go around the whole small island.

In the afternoon, we went to the “tech start-up” scene of SG. So it was a bit of a contrast to the morning scene. I would have love to chat with the people but I was already drained from the past days’ roaming around. With my limited social skills, Tech start-up and running communities are probably the 2 communities I can easily mingle in.

So we went to the Hub SG, Which was in Somerset. It was a cool chic place which have their own coffee shop exclusive to members.

Then we went to RJ’s office. It was nice to see Pinoys in a different work setting, not the customer service industry.

Then the last we went to was JFDI (joyful frog digital incubator). It’s like YCombinator, where you could get initial funding for your tech start-up idea. It was also nice to see Indians from a different work sector, We also met one a Cebuano whose team is one of the incubatees there. Their product is a plug-in or something to integrate email client ti a CRM app.

So somehow it was a day where I felt I can relate.

Day 6: SG

Happy Valentines, SG!

It was raining the whole day yesterday. I woke up early to finish some write-up, then went back to sleep until like 3pm when Mark could no longer take the hunger. We were supposed to go to the highest mountain of SG yesterday but rain was just unfriendly.

Anyhoo, while we got lost because of the rain, in between bus stops, staring at the rain, i came to conclusion that SG is a nice place after all.

It’s Flor Contemplacion that the 1st thing that popped in my mind when thinking about SG. Blame it on the essays we had to make back in high school about Flor Contemplacion and Women’s Day. It never got unstuck of my mind because I remember I could not put anything to write about Flor and women.

So anyhoo, despite all the stories about their being strict and their scary punishment, SG is actually quite a generous and very open country. Looking at the different nationalities going in and out of the bus and trains, Singaporeans, after all, are very accommodating people. Looking at the instructions interpreted in different languages, they actually are thinking of the welfare of the different nationalities living in their little country, and not only about the Singaporeans.

So I don’t think they’re the type of people who give major punishment without a thought.

Of course, I really do not know how it is with those who are living here, but as a “tourist,” they’re very good people, though they just not look like friendly. Well, to each his own. Of course, there are instances that you got those stares especially in the train on rush hours. But I guess it’s just natural for them to get annoyed at times of how they became inconveniet because of the influx of too many foreigners. It’s like they’re the rich neighbor, and somehow everyone just want to get a share from them.

Anyhoo, we just ended up yesterday at the Suntec mall. And, I like it because almost all shops have Filipinos, which means, it’s easier to converse. At restos, I can now have someone to at least explain about the food, and ask recommendation.

It was a bit weird though to be served by Pinoys here in SG. I guess for one because somehow I assumed that they are really here to work. It probably is not that at all easy being away from family. And, I could feel a certain longing-ness in their voice when we talked about Philippines; and their usual question would always be if we’re looking for work in SG.

(According to RJ, bus drivers are Singaporeans. They have some sort of union that bus and taxi drivers should only be given to Singaporeans.)

Day 5: SG

Yesterday was uneventful. I felt that the stereotype of the place you’re going to somehow dictates what you should do in that place though it’s something you don’t really do on a regular basis.

So since SG is about shopping, then we also have to do shopping. So yesterday was the day dedicated to shopping of mark john. Between the 2 of us, he is the girl when it comes to shopping. While I’m the listening board while he justifies the item he’d be buying.

We went to Queensway Shopping Center as a friend advised, it’s the haven for running stuff. True enough, it got all the nike, adidas, reebok, and puma brands. The stores are like copy-and-paste with each other. They somehow have the same stuff. But we did not get nothing as I felt we can just find them all in Cebu, Philippines, and at almost the same price (check Sports depot). Maybe buying there would get me a savings of p500 but maybe I’d rather spend it on Cebu, and contribute a little in the local economy.

Queensway reminded of Gaisano South. Anyhoo, Mark was not giving up after not pick anything from Queensway. So we went from one mall to another — to some concept store in some artsy fartsy place to high-end mall to something like an Ayala-kind of mall where finally. I was faking my “happiness” the whole time so as not dampen Mark’s spirits. Anyhoo, no gloominess that cannot be treated with “Kopi C” (coffee with milk. actually,it’s condense milk if i’m not mistaken) — it’s Singapoeran’s way of making coffee which I did not like at first but Is now liking it, after almost consuming our day just hopping from one mall to another,

I probably had ridden on all train routes for yesterday. But still I have not fully grasp the train system. As I was busy trying to figure out the different nationalities that would get into the train, busy categorizing which were real deal Singaporeans and the foreigners. I was also busy trying to imagine how it is to live their lives here.

Aside from the language, I did not really feel a foreigner as it seems everyone looks one. Somehow I understand why SG’s a bit strict with migrants. While riding, sitting on a train, I cannot help but feel guilty that a Singaporean has to stand as all seats were taken mostly by foreigners. Anyhoo, that’s a totally different long story,

Anyhoo, Mark got a bit lucky with his “shopping” while I was not. The Filipina sales staff explained that they’re having sales promo after sales promo because of the successive holidays — Christmas to Chinese New Year thus their female stocks run out. So I guess it’s just the same back home where every pay day is a sale day. Though, they say there’s that biggest sales in a year.

day 4: SG

Again, I felt the pang of homesickness last night. And, it’s not because SG is not beautiful or what. It’s really just more of myself.

I kind of get how to make some decent conversation with the people here, and the secret is to pronounce it without a twang, and make it short. And, so it’s hard to learn more about them or something as I could not have some longer talk with them. So there’s always that having to watch out for my actions/words as I don’t really know how they go around here.

It’s just, SG is not my party. Of course, it takes time to adjust. But yesterday / today, I just want to go home.

Probably because I realized the things and activities I want to do and can afford to do are all in Philippines. To experience the real SG (which is not in Philippines), it’s expensive. Anyhoo, long story, My point is, there’s no need for me to stay long here. I identified the things I want and can afford to do in SG, and i don’t need a weeklong to do them here.

So I guess, I’m now bored! And, I’m not blaming SG for that. I’m really more suited to the 3rd world country. πŸ™‚

Day 3: SG

Happy pill. I was not happy when I woke up yesterday. But all things change when we finally we’re able to go out and run.

Is SG’s ubran planner a runner or cyclist or an outdoor person? While running thru their park connector to East Coast Park, it’s the question that kept going in my mind. People here definitely have no excuse that they cannot run because they don’t have a place to. They have this “park connector” that goes thru from the different SG areas to their parks. And, it’s exclusive for people on foot or bike. So you can just follow that path, and you’ll end up in their park. It’s like a train’s railway, which can bring you to and from your place to the business district.

So figuring out how to run around SG is quite easy! And, that I’m happy now! I could not care about the other stuff.

But the food is still a struggle. Though a big part of the food problem is the language. For one, they don’t understand me and vice versa. And, second, SG people are just not the wordy kind of people like Pinoys who are fond of short talks. I realized we, Pinoy, can talk a great length about a dish with all the drama to someone. SG peeps are straight to the point. Somehow, out of being polite, I won’t bother to let them waste their time just to explain to me the difference of mutton and beef, roti and pratha.

Anyhoo, it’s Chinese new year here now – big holiday for the Chinese. Thus, no Chinese resto open. Hopefully, when the Chinese will be back, food will not be that hard to figure out.

HIGHLight of the day. Light and water show. If not for RJ and Aiza, mark and i would probably not bother with it.

There was some festival ongoing at Marina Bay yesterday, where the light and water show is held. So it was like ‘Sinulog’ when we were there.

It was an added bonus to see the different side of SG when I got to see the different nationalities – from the LV buyers to the Bangladesh men working for construction all in one place.

Witnessing the water and light show with the stunning buildings at the back was when I felt how rich SG is. It’s like visiting a very distant relative in some high-end residential area. It’s SG way of saying, I’m the boss.

And, I could not disagree with that!

No more gloominess now. As long as the park connectors are there, I’m fine having to play a guessing game with my food. But, if he’s a man, I don’t think he’s someone i’ll have a crush on. πŸ™‚ SG is probably that nerdy classmate I would be happy to have as a groupmate in class projects.

Day 2: SG

I woke up, and it was still dark. And, I could no longer go back to sleep. Annoying!

Mark said that maybe I’m very excited. I checked the phone, and to my surprise it was already 630am.

Funny, before going to sleep at around 130 am, I felt crying. That was probably what they call “homesick.” After the thrill of experiencing a fast internet connection, and riding a train, I already wanted to go home.

I was thinking that I’m just being OA. But when I woke up today, it’s still the first thing that popped in my mind — I want to go back to my dirty smelly hot chaotic Cebu. I don’t think I’m being patriotic or something. I guess it’s because I probably had not planned in adbance, and now I really don’t know what to do here.

At the train last night, I saw this guy wearing some statement shirt: “Resorts World, free the dolphins. They’re the saddest dolphins.” Thing is I’m not fond of “resorts” or made-up attractions, which I think what is the major attraction of SG (or maybe I might be proven wrong). It’s a long story but it goes back to that “island hopping incident” of Caresharing years ago. From then on, I just hate any thing that looks so bling and “made-up comfort to entertain people” like that beanbag of the banca cruise. With Mark being the leader when that incident happened, it scared the hell out of me of how he was responsible if any thing really went wrong. The crew who was hit by the 2 colliding boats was traumatic to me. Anyhoo, it’s a long story. And, it can be so holier-thou-art kind of story.

So while taking a bath earlier, I really feel like strangling Mark for bringing me here and more of all having to stay here for 7 days.

But as they say, I can always change my reaction. So yes, I’m soooo looking forward to what SG will bring to me today and the coming days.

(Pic is view from the place where we stay. We’re kind of “couchsurfing” so we’re actually living in someone’s house.)