Archive | November, 2010

I miss you

20 Nov

Yes, I miss you so much. And it hurts so bad now.

Singapore 2010

20 Nov

Singapore. Singapura. SG.

The 23rd item on my 1000 things to do before I kick the bucket is done. I’ve visited Singapore during the last week of July this year. Though I spent only 3 days there with my cousin LJ, I enjoyed my short stay. LJ, my cousin is there for her internship as a HRM student, so I just followed 3 months after she got there. It was good that I visited because she was home sick and it’s her first time to be away from her family. I could tell how much she misses having us around, but she still have to endure a few more months. Well good thing there is a JIL Church there she could attend to fellowship with them, keeps her busy too as she joined the church dance group 🙂

Anyway, SG. Such a beautiful place. Very cosmopolitan. Very urban.

It was my first overseas trip so I was really excited. My first overseas trip and my first plane ride, and I was alone. My first time for a lot of things… like going to airport, checking in, going through the immigration, custom, etc… almost everything was first time so I was pretty excited. But I have to admit I was nervous.

It was good the airline (Cebu Pacific) gave me the window seat so I could take a look at the scenery (mostly clouds….never ending clouds…lol and water…. ). It was good I booked an early flight, like 6am, just almost in time for the sunrise, a great way to appreciate God’s creation so I was really thankful for that experience. Makes me wonder how some people can claim that God does not exist. Who can make these awesome and magnificent creations? No man can ever do this.

Leaving Manila

The beautiful sunrise in Manila. Now who would claim that there is no God? See the beauty of his creation.

Even though I barely slept the night before I left not because I was too excited but because I packed my bags late…( yes, cramming!) I still survived the 3-hour flight. I think I slept only for an hour because I got bored looking at the clouds and the sea. So there, arriving at the beautiful Changi Airport with my cousin already waiting for me. So I am in a foreign soil already. We went to the foreign exchange for some Singaporean dollars. Then we stayed a bit roaming the Changi Airport, took a few pictures and had our lunch. My first SG meal? – Burger King! LOL. And it became my official restaurant for my SG trip, well almost. 🙂

Changi Airport

My typical meal in SG that made me miss the rice. Yes, no rice for 3 days.

We took the MRT ride to reach my hotel in Novena, which is quite far. I think it took us about an hour or so.  Getting off in Novena station, we were clueless how to go to Value Thomson Hotel so we asked a local, who was nice enough to tell us our way.  Most of the locals we encountered were nice I have to say. Since the vehicles are left-hand drive, the traffic flow was different from what I’m used to.  We had to walk  to get to my hotel because it will be a waste of time and money to get into a cab given that the hotel was just a few blocks away . Good thing though that  I only have one luggage but packed with clothes good for a week (I’m not a light traveler) but we didn’t have much trouble pulling my suitcase around 🙂

My cousin asked me, “So do you already feel the SG atmosphere?” I answered, “Not really. I kind of feel like I’m in a business district of Makati City,  Forbes Park and Global City combined.” Yes, that was the feeling.  Plus, there were lots of Filipinos around.

So we reached the hotel, which looks nice but the room is a bit small, well very small actually but nice looking. We didn’t waste anymore time so after I changed my clothes for the 2nd time  (I already changed while I was at the airport because I felt a lil uncomfortable with the top I was wearing), we hopped into the MRT again to go to the famous Marina Bay.

Me on our way to Marina Bay (yes the picture is blurred.)

Some random people in SG

The cosmopolitan area of Singapore.

Marina Bay was packed. There were lots of people that afternoon, first because Singaporean students were practicing for the National Day of Parade and because of the fireworks display. We took a few pictures of us then headed to The Flyer, the World’s biggest observation wheel to take a look at the whole SG from above.  I have fear of heights but who cares? I want to be on that wheel. It cost us SGD 30 each. It was cool that we also witnessed some military plane exhibition while we were up there.

The Flyer.

The Flyer.

Tube.

A view from the giant observation wheel – The Flyer.

A closer shot (view from The Flyer)

Singapore sunset as seen from the Flyer.

I was craving for some rice meal so I was looking for KFC or Mcdonalds thinking maybe they serve rice there, but there’s nothing around. I was actually afraid to try Singaporean food thinking it might ruin my short trip if in case I get some stomach problems, so I thought I’d stick to fast food even though it is very unhealthy, but at least I’m familiar with them.  But I tried their version of  ‘dirty ice cream’, that only cost a dollar. That’s the only Singaporean food I’ve ever tried I think while I was there. (I already have dinned in a Singaporean restaurant in Manila, and to be honest, I didn’t like it ).

Ice cream wrapped in a bread.

Then, we decided to take a few more walks around Marina Bay before dinner. Took a few more pics. Our feet hurts so bad for the walks but for the sake of the trip, we didn’t mind walking a few more.  Of course we took some pictures with the Merlion, Marina Bay Sands and the Esplanade. 🙂

Marina Bay Sands

Durian. (The Esplanade)

Merlion through my lens.

The Merlion.

Some more Merlion picture.

Then we decided to head home but before that, to some fast food first for dinner. It was already past 10pm, I think almost 11pm and most stores going to the MRT are starting to close.  We passed by BREAD TALK and decided to buy some bread for our breakfast the next day and then hopped into the MRT.  Upon reaching Novena, we hurried up to go to, guess what? Burger King! But to our disappointment, it was already closed. huhuhuhu…. We were so hungry and no stores were open anymore except for the 7/11 that sells ramen noodles and the hawkers that are not quite appealing to me really.  We just bought water, went back to our hotel and had the bread for dinner, watched some movies, planned for what were going to do the next day and slept.

2nd DAY

We woke up quite late than we planned so we got ready and left as quickly as we can. This day, we’re going to India! 🙂

Well, just a taste of India.

The Little India.

This is actually a must-visit place on my list for that SG trip. I will not go back to the Philippines unless I go to Little India . hahaha… Well, don’t blame me, India is one of my dream destinations and getting a  little of India in Little India was incredible. 🙂

The moment we got there, I told my cousin, “Now I feel I’m in a foreign land.” LOL. I didn’t feel like I was in Singapore anymore. I felt really like I’m in a different country. The smell of the curry, the Indian music (I think it was in Tamil) being played in some stores we passed, the people, it’s just very foreign! And I’m enjoying it.  However we got a lot of stares from people, particularly from men. I don’t know maybe we have dirt in our faces? LOL. But really, they look as if it was their first time to see such creatures. (I’m sure we’re not ugly. lol) So I took the stares as compliments, as long as they won’t harm us. Others would even say hello and ask for our names. We didn’t answer back for the fear of sending them wrong signals. It’s actually not the first time, at the airport we got some stares from men too (some were even Filipinos trying to make pa-cute, hindi naman cute. lol. ), then in the MRT  and in Marina Bay, but mostly from Indian-looking men and mind you, they are good looking Indian men, well most are… hahaha… But I didn’t bother.

So there, walk walk walk around Little India. Took a few pictures of the architectural designs in the establishments. Then headed to the Mustafa shopping center. And it was a chaos there! Well not really. But I’m just not used to that kind of shopping center. I bought a few things as my take home present/souvenir for family and some friends back home. And found the “After Eight” chocolate there too! Cool! I even bought a tea for our Indian senior officer in my company, as he asked me if I could buy him a box or two after he learned I’m flying to SG. Apparently, that tea (the brand name is Dilmah and that is his favorite tea) can only be bought in India, Sri Lanka and SG (I am not sure where else but it’s not available in Manila that’s why.)

A street in Little India

Some street in Little India.

British school in Little India

Prince of Wales, Singapore Backpackers Pub

The Little India Arcade building.

Some nice building.

Hinduism.

Bombay Cafe.

Then we roamed a bit more to find some temples and mosques. We thought the famous “Sri Mariammam Temple” was there but not. Though we found another temple called “Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple“.  We didn’t have much time to go to China Town where “”Sri Mariammam Temple” is located, so we settled for this.

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple.

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple.

Little India 🙂

Masjid Angullia

So we headed back to Novena, ate lunch, went back to our hotel to change and off to JIL Church in Orchard to attend the Sunday afternoon service. We were late but still went there to fellowship.  We passed by the busy Orchard Road and noticed a lot of Filipinos. My cousin said there’s a place there where most Filipinos gather to spend their rest day from work.

JIL Church in SG. It was nice to fellowship with them.

After that, we decided to visit my friend in her work who is a manager in one of the pizza companies in Bedok. So we had some free dinner courtesy of my friend. 🙂 It was great seeing her after a long time. Then we went back to Orchard to spend the rest of the night before going home. It was a bit late so most stores were closed and we can’t shop anymore. So we just took some pictures of the famous Orchard Road and had coffee at Starbucks.  It was great to end the night with some coffee. 🙂

At Wheelock Place

Orchard Road.

Orchard Road.

Fashionista in Orchard Road (my cousin LJ)

I’m not crazy about shoes, but I love this ad. LOL

I saw Wayne Rooney in SG! LOL (I still have the world cup fever that time.)

Starbucks in Orchard Rd.

3rd DAY

Time to go home. My cousin needs to go to her work and I have to prepare also for my flight in the afternoon.  It was sad that I’m leaving her but we had no choice. So since I am like her older sister, I talked to her and gave her a few advices and instructions to keep herself safe there. She got no family there but at least the JIL family is there so I told her to stick with them and always pray. It grips my heart leaving her.  She told me she won’t just take me to the airport because she would just cry, plus she also have a work that day.  So she left the hotel and I packed my things to get ready. But then I went to Orchard Road again by myself to some last minute shopping. Well luckily, The Great Singapore Sale was still on that time I was there.  So who can say no to shopping? LOL.

And while having breakfast at Mc Donalds, I decided to go online through my mobile phone. Then I saw his offline message on  yahoo that he sent a few hours back.  Whew! (Anyway, that’s another story.)

Went back to my hotel,  grabbed my luggage, checked out, hopped into the bus (btw, I like most of their buses) then  to the MRT and to the airport.  I don’t know but that time I really wanted to go home. I know it was a very short stay but that moment I felt so alone. My cousin is at work and I have no one to talk to except for the cab driver that took me back to the hotel from Novena station.

At the airport, I checked in my luggage just in time and decided to just kill my time there, reading the book and writing on my journal. I felt sad that afternoon and I knew the reason.

My cousin kept on sending me text messages telling she would miss me and that she feels like crying.  I told her to always remember what I said to her and she’ll be alright.

I roamed around the airport while waiting to board the plane when they called the passengers for the last time. I thought I still have time, so I hurried up and boarded the plane. However after a few minutes, the captain announced that the flight will be delayed as there is some fixing they need to do in the plane and he can’t fly us back home unless everything is fixed. So we were back to the airport lounge, good thing there are few computers that were set up there to let delayed passengers like us surf the net while waiting. I stayed in one of the seats, pondering about my whole trip,  the beautiful SG, my cousin being alone in a foreign land, my family back home, my friends, my delayed flight and him. I was exhausted, both my body and mind. I fell asleep for about an hour in that chair. Then at around 7pm, we were called to board the plane again to go home.

“Finally” , I said to myself. I can’t wait to be home.

I missed my family so much. Even though I live alone in Manila (I have my own place) I still go to my family’s house most of the time which is just a 10-20 minute drive. And since I was  in SG for only 3 days, it should just feel like I’m at my place, however it was still different, I didn’t feel at home and I felt so alone. I wonder what my cousin must be feeling.

I took out my journal to write some thoughts about my trip like I did on my flight going there.  And as I write, I cried.  Good thing I was in window seat again and the passengers beside me (a mom and her grade school daughter) were already sleeping.  I need to be home I know.

I cried not because I was missing my family. It’s for a different reason that has nothing to do with Singapore really.  So I  thought, ‘what a way to end my first international trip’. *sigh*

Oh well …

SG is a fine place. It’s beautiful. It’s an icon of economic power in the Far East. It was a pleasure being there really. To sum it up,  I will say it again, although there are still a lot of differences, Singapore is just like a huge business district of Makati City combined with the posh Forbes Park Village and Global City in Taguig. One major difference though is that, people are more disciplined.

But still like they said, “there’s no place like home.”

So thank you SG for the experience.  I will be back for sure. 🙂

Thank you SG. Until next time. I will be back for sure. 🙂

Out Of My Hands

19 Nov

“Out Of My Hands is a frightening song to sing because it acknowledges the truth that scares me that I don’t have anything to do with God’s love for me. And I can’t make Him love me more. I want to be responsible for some of that someday. And the truth is, the gifts God has given us, the gifts God has given me, the gifts God has given us, the community, His church are just that, they’re gifts. We haven’t done anything to earn it. “- Steve Mason of Jars of Clay.

Indeed. Well said.

Out Of My Hands is one my favorite songs out of Jars of Clay‘s newest record, The Shelter. I already fell in love with the song the first time I heard it because it just reminded me of God’s love and how things are really ‘out of my hands’ since the start. It’s humbling. I thank God for Jars of Clay’s gift of writing beautiful music since 1995.

Out of My Hands – Jars of Clay

I wasted the rescue,
abandoned the mission.
I’ve failed by my own hand
and watched it all go wrong

You said you could save me
that I couldn’t save myself
You said that you loved me
no matter what I’ve done

When the light is gone
and life is just a day we take
Still the fight goes on
to give my heart away

And It’s out of my hands
It was from the start
In light of what you’ve done for me x2

You lifted my head
Set me apart

In light of what you’ve done for me
This is what you’ve done for me
It’s out of my hands

You grow where the light is
Like trees in the highlands
We’re bent by our own plans
to keep us in the dark

And I act like an orphan
Forget that you found me
but you came like a whisper
and saved me with a spark

When the light is gone
and life is just a dare we take
Still the fight goes on and on
to give my heart away

And it’s out of my hands
it was from the start
in light of what you’ve done for me x2

You lifted my head
Set me apart

In light of what you’ve done for me
this is what you’ve done for me

It’s out of my hands
It’s out of my hands

There’s nothing in the world that I can offer
nothing in the world that I can stand apart

Apart from you, apart from you

There’s nothing in my life,
nothing in my life that you haven’t given to me

It’s out of my hands
It was from the start

In light of what you’ve done x2

You lifted my head
You set me apart
In light of what you’ve done
In light of what you’ve done for me

Ohhh It’s out of my hand x2
In light of what you’ve done for me x2

You lifted my head,
set me apart
In light of what you’ve done for me
This is what you’ve done for me

It’s out of my hands x2
Everything I have Lord
Everything I gave
It’s out of my hands x2

Oh it’s out of my hands




Congratulations Manny Pacquiao!

16 Nov

Pinoy Pride once again!

Just want to congratulate Manny for bagging his 8th title in his boxing career! You are a legend Pacman !You deserve this 8th win because of your humility and for not forgetting to bring the honor and glory back to our God. You made us, the Filipinos proud. Again, congratulations!

English – Which accent is better? (And the Korean actress who made fun of the Filipino English.)

5 Nov

There has been a recent commotion online (at least among Filipinos, particularly Filipino English teachers) due to a video clip circulating in cyberspace about how this certain Korean actress, Lee Da Hae, apparently insulted the English skills of Filipinos in one of the shows of KBS. (KBS already pulled out all the videos in youtube, claiming copyrights although we all know that they just want to save Lee Da Hae’s ass.)

I was able to watch it and even though the show was in Korean, they flashed the flags of USA, UK and the Philippines, enough for non-Korean speaking viewers to understand that they were talking about these 3 countries. Lee Da Hae, who as claimed speaks English well as she stayed in Australia for 5 years to study, tried talking or mimicking English teachers from the different countries mentioned above as requested by the hosts. She was asked to say “Excuse me. I’m a little bit thirsty. Can I have a glass of water please?”  First was the American, which to me, (I am not American though) doesn’t sound American, but the pronunciation was okay… the accent was neutral. Second, apparently was a British accent, and again, it doesn’t sound too British to me (I know this because I have a British friend who I talk to almost everyday since 2006), except on how she pronounced the word “water”, omitting the ‘r’ in the end. Then finally, the Filipino way, which turned out to be, yes I have to say, insulting because we don’t speak English that way. I think she intends to be funny, but some Filipinos didn’t find it amusing at all.

With the strong influence of the West to the Philippines, particularly the USA, which can be traced almost 100 years back, Filipinos speak English either the same as the native speakers or at least in a neutral accent. While I won’t deny that some Filipinos have regional accent due to their dialects spoken in their hometowns, I would say, a majority of Filipinos do speak English well.

But which accent really is better? The argument on which English accent is better is never ending. I heard some claiming American English is better as it is easier to understand. To others, it is the British English. And more than once, I even heard some people from the UK sarcastically asked, “What American English? Is there such a thing?” For most Filipinos who (even though I hate to say this, but this is the truth) have this ‘Everything American’ attitude (thanks to the Western influence and the ever growing call center industry that killed the patriotism of the present generation), being able to speak English like the Americans is essential as it is considered (at least in our society) as a status symbol. They feel as though speaking like the Americans somehow put them in the (imaginary) pedestals. It is as if they are superior to those who know little or can’t speak the language.

Filipinos are also known as the English grammar Nazis, particularly those who are living in the major cities. (I have to admit, I am sometimes, okay most of the time, a grammar Nazi myself, however I make sure that I don’t offend others when I try to correct them.) Yet, despite of that, Filipinos still have flaws in their English skills, often in pronunciation and grammar and so are the native speakers of English. I mean, who doesn’t commit grammar mistakes? All of us do. Who hasn’t mispronounced words? We all have.

This actually reminds me of a conversation I had with my friend’s wife after I posted a hot picture of Cristiano Ronaldo in my facebook account (Yes, that one you can see above! :P) during the height of World Cup 2010. She asked me if I have seen the Castrol ad of him. That time, I haven’t and asked her jokingly, ‘Why? Is he also looking hot in that ad?” She answered, “Actually, it’s not about that. It’s when he talked. It was the worst English accent that I have ever heard.” And I was like, ‘Duh?! He is Portuguese. What do you expect? It’s not his native language.’ I found her comment so annoying. Of course for a person whose first language isn’t English, would you expect him to speak so well and with all that phony accent? Come on! I actually like the way he speaks English in his accent and I think it makes him sexier. 😀

Seriously, why are people so crazy about the accent? And going back to my question, so “Which English accent is better?” Or is there such a thing as a “better English accent?” I don’t think so. Accent is influenced by geographical location of the person. An Italian can speak English with that distinct accent because it is influenced by their native language, which is Italian and it is spoken differently. A Filipino, whose first language is Filipino (the prestige register of the Tagalog language according to Wiki and is influenced by the Spanish language) also pronounces some English words different from the American English. I, for one, usually mispronounces the word ‘comfortable’, putting the stress in the wrong syllable, thus resulting to my bf M (well ex now) always correcting me. It’s because in Filipino, the word is pronounced differently.

They said American English is good and the accent is somehow easier to understand. The trainers in the call center industry aim to have the trainees speak the American way (or at least that was the scenario a few years ago, because I think gone are the days when you have to speak in their twang in order to land a job in a call center.) Others said, British English is better because that is the ‘REAL English’ and it is sophisticated. Well, as my British friend would say, POSH! 😀  I think the reason most of us give high regards to the American and British English is because of our “everything-foreign-attitude.” Most of us, Filipinos and others from non-English speaking countries desperately want to sound like the natives, with all that accent.  But it’s their language. We have our own too and we should speak better in our own languages than the foreign ones. I think what really matter is that we are able understand them and that we can be understood.

Going back to Lee Da Hae. She already released a statement denying that she made fun of Filipino English Teachers and even apologized through her twitter account. Some Filipinos (teachers or not) didn’t find her statement convincing. Unfortunately for her, some Filipinos do speak and understand Korean, enough for them to tell that she indeed made fun of us. That’s too sad because she also claimed to have studied English over the phone with a Filipino teacher.

I don’t really want to get serious about this whole “Lee Da Hae insulting Filipinos” issue.  Because well, I do know that it’s not true. Filipinos speak English well and not in that accent. (Come on, why would thousands and thousands of Koreans go to the Philippines every year to study English  if they don’t think we speak English well?) However, I reacted via this blog post because it made me think why people are so crazy about acquiring American or British accent. Please tell me, why?

* * *

(To the grammar Nazis, pardon my English. =P)

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