before another food post, about today

Won’t post my entry on Laksa until I get a picture of the famous Laksa stall in NUS’s The Deck πŸ™‚

Today was unbelievably normal, started off with the usual Ateneo hell week ritual of sleeping at 5AM and waking up at 8:30AM. NM3215 Midterm Exam ensues, can’t believe I finished reading 247 pages or so from my ridiculously expensive textbook. Kailangan sulitin :)) Exam time note: their test papers are like entrance exam answer sheets, you answer by shading dots πŸ™‚ It was quite cold inside LT8, but I wore my beloved Ateneo jacket for warmth and luck ❀

Shared lunch with Choupi and walked to the library, we parted ways, so I went back to the dorm and had a nice nap before my class at 4:00PM. After that class, had dinner with Avis at the dorm cafeteria and dropped by her room to get some plastic wrap for my poor, uncovered textbook.

Spent some time talking about random things like hairstyles and weight and academics and whatnot, then proceeded to talk about a perennial dorm issue: room status. Seeing how spotless Avis' and Moe's rooms were, (Avis is nitpicky about cleaning-up) I decided to let Avis visit my room for a check-up.

See, I'm not a very particular person when it comes to room cleanliness. Before I cleaned my room tonight, it looked like a pig sty. Books on the bed, towels on the chair, paper everywhere, dust bunnies accumulating in the corners, bed severely unmade. Avis literally feel silent for a few seconds after seeing the mess that was my room. Maybe it was that bad. But I had to study for the past few days, so I kind of have a legitimate excuse (yes, I know it is not a legit excuse, kunwari nalang πŸ™‚ )

So here are pictures of my room πŸ™‚ And while I'm at it, I'll do a room tour, after a month or so of life here in Singapore. Here it is fresh from minor cleaning:

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Pretty much the same, but this time, I moved the rolling table to the bedside πŸ™‚ Trust me on this, a few hours ago, this looked very very very very different.

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Table area, where my laptop, books and photos area. Before cleaning, this area looked completely different as well. Hahaha, no I did not take any “before” shots :)) I’m unfair like that 8D

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The things in my bedside, wallet, cellphones, my alarm clock, pictures, miscellaneous toiletries, some light reading, brushes and all that random jazz. I don’t want to post the insides of my wallet for security reasons, but I’m so proud to have an adult wallet-content wise 8D Back home, I don’t really bother much with wallets since I only put small amounts of cash in them. Now my wallet is my life, it has my credit card, a debit card, my Singapore Student Pass (for identification, instead of lugging around the passport), my NUS Matriculation Card, my EZ Link Card, a NETS Cash Card I use for printing, ICAAA Alumnae Card, Ateneo ID, receipts and SGD$10 πŸ™‚ Too many cards all of a sudden :))

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Laptop and mouse on the main table πŸ™‚ Notice that I’m on Twitter πŸ™‚ follow me @tatayap ❀

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Pen holder, notice that my pencil case is Rilakkuma <3! my 2010 planner (I chose a small one instead of the big ones I always use years back). I recycle Cafe Mocha cups that I get from the vendo machine and put stuff in them after washing. I don't like throwing things away πŸ™‚ Especially if they're in nice packaging.

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My Queen Latifah-esque bathrobe. Pink in all its splendour. My constant companion to the bathroom and back πŸ™‚ Bought it at Cotton On Wisma Atria. Fun fact: I called up my mom asking her if I could buy this 8D Why? Because it was freaking expensive even on sale: SGD$29 :’

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My basket of bath items. Not that it’s interesting 8D OHOHOH. I’m no skin care expert, but I swear Biore Facial Wash in Cool is like the best facial wash ever! Leaves your skin squeaky clean, but you know, undry? And I swear, it dries up zits too (I think?). It’s that small mint green/white bottle to the left πŸ™‚

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This is a lucky plant Moe, Avis and I got at Chinatown πŸ™‚ It’s actually a bag of soil shaped into a mouse. I had to soak it in water for an hour for the first wash and 5 minutes every 2 days. Quite proud of how long the plant’s growing πŸ™‚

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Books: Most of them I borrow from the library πŸ™‚ Art history and Neoclassicism books for my art history class. PR, Social Entrepreneurship ones for my publication references, my huge-ass Ad and Promotions textbook for advertising class, various design books for me to look at when I’m bored πŸ™‚

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My pillow, iPod and headphones πŸ™‚ I love my headphones. Strangely enough, I swear pink is not my favorite color. I only tend to buy pink stuff for reasons unknown to me (EH KASI PRETTY!) Mish, if you want, there’s a teal green version of this available πŸ™‚ I can get one for you! πŸ™‚ Note: Bad Boy (my hedgehog) is hanging out in a solitary corner ❀

So that's it πŸ™‚ Give my room a week and I can be sure that it'll be pretty messy again :8D

Oh before I end:

Tonight, there was a fire drill for the residents in my dorm πŸ™‚ They had a fire extinguishing trial afterwards, this is me extinguishing a fire πŸ™‚

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mini-reviews: tidbits

Haven’t posted for the longest time πŸ˜€ But I will right now, so far Singapore has been gastronomically satisfying, I’ve been to Lau Pa Sat and Newton Circus, famous hawker centers around here. Personally, I think hawker centers are overrated, but that’s for another entry. I want to visit those obscure places I’ve seen featured on Makan King in AFC, but sadly the show isn’t Google-able, and TV channels here are very limited 😦

But I’m loving NUS’s range of canteens, there’s bound to be one anywhere you are on campus, there’s The Deck for the AS kids, Techno Edge for the people at Engineering, Foodgle, KGourmet for those in PGP, the Science Canteen and I believe there’s also one in the Business School which I haven’t gone to yet.

Here goes πŸ™‚

Sting Ray at Newton Circus

Sting Ray

Enjoyed this with Choupi and her cousin during our first week in Singapore. At first knowledge, sting ray seems quite exotic, but like most seafood, it also has the distinct brine-y flavor fish, shrimps, clams, etc. have. What sets sting ray apart is its stringy texture, like the meat has a texture almost similar to crabsticks (you know, when you separate them into strings). But of course, sting ray has a milder, milkier flavor. Explains why it’s perfectly paired with the strong flavor of chili paste. I’d recommend eating this with coconut rice πŸ™‚

Sting Ray with Rice
See? It is stringy! ❀ Will have this again with my family when they come visit πŸ™‚

Tom Yum Soup

Tom Yum
One dish that I love, but doesn’t love me back. Drinking Tom Yum is always an experience to be reckoned with. It’s unbelievably spicy, but you can’t help but enjoy the lingering tomato-based soup underneath all that spice :)) Thai friends will disagree with me on this, but they’ve been eating spicy food all their lives :)) I ordered this from Newton Circus as well, price was a hefty S$10, but it was well worth the experience. The serving was quite big, and there was a lot of seafood inside, shrimps, clams, fish, leafy vegetables. The broth could be a little less spicy for a weakling like me, but the sourness was perfect, reminds me of sinigang, but with tomato and a whole lot of spice.

PS. ONE THING TO REMEMBER WHEN EATING TOM YUM: RATIONING YOUR WATER SUPPLY. Trust me on this

me and tom yum D:
Me and my Tom Yum. See my slightly red face? Holding back the tears 8D

Ma Po Tofu
Ma Po Tofu

I miss home. A LOT. So when I saw the menu for this at the Deck, I pointed out to Choupi that Ma Po Tofu was good, and after seeing the hefty, hefty serving, we succumbed :)) My mom makes this all the time at home, so eating this was like some kind of withdrawal symptom. I remember the tofu being exquisitely soft (not bad for cafeteria food) and it wasn’t too spicy. The meat, however, could use a little bit more taste, I felt that most of the savoriness came from the sauce itself. Otherwise, for the price and value (S$2.50) this was a great deal. Nostalgia on a plate ❀ Nothing like home-cooked food πŸ™‚

from Beijing Cuisine
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I was feeling quite homesick one day and I was too lazy to venture out for something different. I enjoyed this meal alone at the dorm cafeteria, like the previous Ma Po Tofu dish, this reminded me of my mom’s cooking. No frills whatsoever, just point out what you like, and they serve it up on a good plate of rice. Tofu, rice, brocolli, and pork with some nice soy-based sauce: what meals at home usually are like. Not amazingly good but it’s great comfort food (at least for me). Price: S$3.10, Not bad πŸ™‚ Finished it all up to the last grain of rice. Best enjoyed with tons of sauce on rice ❀

and about the sucky lighting on this picture, the cafeteria had this sort of UV film on their windows, so the light filtered through was kinda weird :))

Next entry: On Laksa and the best chicken barbeque ever.

Ten years later: Jan 25, 2010

before the food post, this one first πŸ™‚

&lt;3

January 25, 2010

Ten years after my sister’s passing. It would’ve been very different if you were still with us. I miss you so much. Back then I would be scared of you since you always got mad at me for touching your stuff, taking sheets from your enormous stationery collection, getting your special decorated band-aids with the cute prints on them. But hey, that’s the way big sisters and little sisters are. I miss your neat handwriting, your striped shirts, your love for CDs, the nail buffer you used to use a lot on your nails, and then lovingly put your nail on my lip so I could feel how smooth it was, the way I would run to Ahia when I got in trouble with you and vice versa. The way you so meticulously wrapped your school books perfectly, the way you would wake up at 10am everyday, your love for anything blue.

In school, you were the most amazing big sister, 6 years older, in high school, being in the volleyball varsity and the student council all at the same time. Slaving over piles of paper and illustration board just so you could complete the name tags for the annual Acquaintance Party. I didn’t know it was that serious, my last few days with you were spent playing Street Fighter and Crash Bandicoot kart racing and I didn’t know. I wish there were more pictures and more videos. Because it’s been so long, I don’t know if I still remember the sound of your voice.

I wish you were still here. Then we’d eat Indian mangoes together, study Chinese together (and I watching you trace your mopit homeworks all the time), drink Nestea (You, me and Ahia’s favorite juice). I still drink Nestea up to now. And I will never stop doing so. Can’t explain why it’s my favorite thing to drink up to now, maybe it’s because it subconsciously reminds me of us.

Love you Achi, wherever you are, I bet you’re doing awesome.

Street shopping in Singapore: Bugis Village

A few weeks before I left the Philippines to go to Singapore, I googled the places where I could go street shopping, or at the very least, do it tiangge-style, knowing that the rest of Singapore was teeming with malls of all sorts. Came upon this Bugis Village and immediately listed it down, I’ve also heard of Amoy St. (but that’s for hawker food).

Bugis Village is a 3-5 minute walk from the Bugis MRT, Exit to Bugis Junction and pass through the mall to get to the street and just cross. You know you’re there when you see a stall selling buko juice and right next to it, the strong smell of durian from a stall that’s selling it. (of course, there’s a big sign as well)

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Crowds crossing, mostly teenagers who want to shop 8D

Generally the prices are much lower than what you can get in the malls (but there are good shops in some malls that sell really good stuff for a good price). But there’s sort of a bigger selection here. Florals and lace are very trendy right now, and zippers. Much like in Manila. The biker chic look is pretty well sold in Singapore, stalls donning shiny faux leather jackets on their mannequins. The pastel lace-y look that’s big in Japan, Korea and Hong Kong’s has some shops here as well.

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Lace and pastel, could never pull this off 8D

And they love bags, bags of all kinds. From leather backpacks to vintage-inspired brown bags in my favorite shade. There’s a lot of interesting shoes at a stall called Alice too. Boat shoes for girls, lace-ups, whatnot. Gladiators are pretty big here (but somehow I prefer the ones being sold in Manila) Oh and some brands of make-up, and whatnot for the eyes (a lot of fake lashes, half-lashes, eye tape, etc.)

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Now that’s a sea of shoes!

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Studs are in, came with the rise of the biker chic

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Clothes, this stall had this sort of country feel to it.

Oh and the selection for jewelry was pretty nice too, all sorts of pendants, earrings, those hairclips with 20s-inspired feathers, some with a few chains, etc. There were also a lot of earrings, made from wood, shaped in things like roses, G-clefs, horses, etc. I got a dork spectacle, which I plan to put frames in 8D and two earrings I’ll give away πŸ™‚

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These were the beady tribal-inspired ones.

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Hair-extensions! Also a big thing here, along with mani and pedi stalls πŸ™‚

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Also sex shops! Selling stuff like this!

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Boob stress balls, what manly fun! 8D

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Discontinued bank notes, we had fun leafing through all the different types of currency

And generally, an interesting bunch of people. Bugis is great to visit, for teenagers and moms. Brothers and dads who aren’t really interested in clothes can always go to the nearby Sim Lim Square for the cameras, computers and electronic parts.

My endnote: Bugis is major awesome but Divisoria still sells the cheaper stuff πŸ™‚Β 

People shots in Bugis

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A guy waiting for someone

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the girl selling buko juice

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a girl who looks really, really familiar

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Angkong! Donning a supercool polo shirt

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one of my favorite shots: a stall supervisor on food break

Next up: ON FOOD, FINALLY!

essay: on the singaporean commute

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everyday starts with the rumbling and tumbling of steel and concrete.
the sounds of industry commence a new day.

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and while most of us start on the same footing,

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we eventually go on our separate ways.

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people get lost in the maddening crowd, new ones trying to barge in,

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but for some,it is the quiet respite of what was a long day.

A photo essay on the analogy of the Sinagporean commute and their psyche. Taken at various MRT stations and bus stops. These are fun to make πŸ™‚

singapore: on meeting people

Last week, Β Friday was the first time (or the second time, for some) that I got to meet the rest of the students who were sponsored in the TF-NUS Learn Program. The funniest and most awesome part: finally seeing OYS in person, OYS (abbreviated full name) is the guy we’d wait to get an email from these past few months, he’s the guy who helped us with out application, answered our questions, sent us our letters, etc. When he was introduced, we were all like *AHHHHHHHH, So that’s him, the godsend 8D*Β 

Oriented us on a few things, reminded us that we needed to study hard, complete the required number of hours, make friends, do stuff, etc πŸ™‚ So after the orientation, some left, but most of us stayed for a half hour or so taking pictures, getting emails and numbers and making introductions. All of us are pretty nice and we get along well (just had dinner together a few nights ago, we were a noisy, hyperactive group, but nonetheless, awesome all the same).

Serious talk is serious. (Hello Moe 8D)

the guys from Indonesia (I swear Mirah looks so familiar πŸ™‚ )

Can’t get anymore Asian than this πŸ˜€ Japan, Phils. Hong Kong, Thailand, representing πŸ˜€

I would’ve liked to use flash during the talk, but it was mucho awkward 8D There was the usual, hotseat-inducing part of standing up and making an introduction. Some friends will know that I have a slight slight bit of xenophobia. Like when I was a kid, when I’d see a foreigner on the same aisle (in the supermarket) or proximity, I’d move to another aisle. Haha, now I have to get used to it. Already trying to brush up on my Chinese, saying Nai Cha instead of Milk Tea, ‘ze ke’ instead of this, “xie xie’ instead of thank you and ‘tuo xiao qian instead of how much. Notice how all of these are involved somehow in buying food πŸ™‚

But thinking about it, language barrier et all, we’re all pretty much similar people. We like food, we like going out, shopping, taking sticker pictures, camwhoring, studying hard, talking about modules, classes, teachers. It’s nice how a little small talk can make eventual friends out of different people from varying schools, backgrounds and such. Sometimes, small talk is challenging, especially when you think you absolutely have nothing in common with the person you’re with, but I find that if you keep going at it, you’ll eventually connect. Scholars are a fun, smart bunch of people ❀ I can only imagine how insanely smart the people around me are. Especially in NUS where the next person is smarter than the last.Β 

Good luck to us and I’m pretty sure we’ll have a great 4 months πŸ™‚

Tamang United Nations lang :))

Β 

Singapore Sling!

The very first thing I will say is that Singapore, I think, will be the only country in the world where in you hop in the MRT and once the doors open, you’ll get a glance at people of several different Β or ethnicities, Chinese, Indian, Malay, African, American, European, etc. All under 10 seconds. Many countries say they’re a melting pot, well, I think Singapore just out melting-pot-ed everyone else πŸ™‚ Β 

That’s a lot of foreigners, well hahaha, it should be, it’s an International Students’ Orientation

The first few days were spent with my mom and brother, who both accompanied me here in Singapore to help me settle down (THANK YOU!). Impressions: 1) It can be quite peaceful in Singapore, too peaceful I guess, contrasting it from the local scene back in the Philippines. No elections, no murder, no dirty politics, OH THE FILIPINO DRAMA, I MISS YOU. 2) Singaporeans, like me, love food. And they’re damn lucky to have gigantic food courts and hawker centers everywhere. Β 3) I’ve been warned before I left home by people who’ve been here. One thing: S’PORE IS ONE BIG MALL. And it’s kind of true I guess, not only in Orchard, where people usually go, even on our daily trail back home outside Buona Vista Station, there are a few shops and a sign that indicates the coming of a new mall.

+ Choupi and I haven’t gotten majorly lost yet (the worst was a wrong turn near PGP, which lead us to a road full of pharmaceutical buildings), so that’s a good sign I guess πŸ™‚Β 

So after countless meals, 2 hawker visits, 2 trips to Bugis, one trip to Funan and Sim Lim, a trip to the skyline near the Esplanade, and countless rides on the NUS Internal Shuttle. I can say that I’ve adjusted pretty well here, the MRT’s well-labeled and the SBS Transit buses are helluva convenient, albeit it might take some time for a bus to arrive, if you’re riding at night.Β 

FREE BUS IS WIN! I rarely ride buses, so the NUS Internal Shuttle is a refreshing experience.

AND ALSO. THE EZ LINK CARD IS AMAZING! I am easily amused by things like this, I like how the purple and orange contraption beeps everytime I tap my card on it.

Budget: That’s one word Choupi and I use everyday. Grocery shopping πŸ™‚ The life of an exchange student 8D

One of my classes, lectures here are big, this lecture hall is probably holds more than Escaler Hall back in Ateneo πŸ˜€

More updates to come soon.Β 

And if you’re wondering why the entry is named as it is, haha don’t worry I haven’t tried Singapore Sling yet, but I will πŸ™‚Β 

AND on a random note, Singaporeans like to abbreviate and put everything into acronyms πŸ˜€ Must learn to catch up with the shortcuts πŸ™‚