Social Spark

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Never Stop Making Us Proud

Our daughter finished her school year being on the top of her class.  She had been consistent with this ever since she entered school.  We are just proud of all her achievements and talents she developed along the way.  She performed her declamation nicely and with confidence.  She danced well in their presentation.  And with all pride, she received all her ribbons and medal.

Keep up the good work, "anak".  And do what you do best, we will always be here to support you.  Congratulations to the well deserved honors, and may you continue to do well in your studies.  It maybe a worn-out statement but it is for a fact that learning's one thing that can't be taken away from you and would definitely make a difference in your life.  Again, your mom and I are very proud of you, our Princess.  And we thank Yahweh for everything you had achieved and for everything that you will achieve.  To Him be the glory.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Foreigners In Singapore - Sixth And Final Day: Giving Thanks

We're going home.  But it seemed there's still a lot to do.  We'll definitely miss the fun, going back to reality (work and school).  It's Sunday, if there was one thing we wanted to do most for that day, was to go to church.  We also wanted to see their churches.  So Manong Titoy (brother-in-law) brought us to where he was attending mass every Sunday, St. Joseph's Church at Victoria Street.  What a coincidence, it was also the name of our parish church back in Davao.
It was a perfect time to thank our Lord for all the goodness we had received; for all the places we've been through, for keeping our family safe, for all the people who made our stay comfortable and convenient, for our family and friends who extended their kindness, for the wonderful and unforgettable experience and for everything I might not have mentioned.  I was humbled and honored that our Lord provided all that we needed the most... My heartfelt gratitude that he made everything possible.  Thank you.

After the mass, we dropped by Mustafa and bought few things we forgot and wrap up the things we needed to bring home.  We had our last lunch in a nearby restaurant and we headed to the apartment to get our things and off we went to the airport.

We were lucky we had Jenny and Titoy, my siblings-in-law, in Singapore.  They provided us a place in their apartment where we stayed, they arranged their schedules in order to give us a 6-day tour, they were responsible for planning and arranging our everyday itinerary and ticket reservations, and they took care of almost everything during our stay there.  We just can't thank them enough.

It was an overall wonderful stay in Singapore. In our 7 nights and 6 days there,  I couldn't think of a single thing I can criticize the country about, all praises to them.  From their beautiful architectural design, modern facilities, spick and span community, great transportation, nice weather, wonderful sights and attractions, shop-til-you-drop malls, marvelous underground and disciplined people, thus having a low crime rate, as far as what I've heard...  what more can a tourist ask for.  I definitely recommend it as one of the must see places in the world.

And had I already mentioned I would like to thank Yahweh for everything?  If I had, I would never get tired thanking Him for blessing my family such wonderful experience.  Again and again, thank You and may all the praises and glory be Yours and Yours alone.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Foreigners In Singapore - Fifth Day: Hunting for A Good Deal

We're almost done with our vacation in Singapore, so we maximized our remaining days to buy some "pasalubong" (giveaways) to family and friends and also some for ourselves.  We were told of a place where we could buy good stuff at very reasonable prices... Bugis Junction.  It was like the Divisoria in our place but there was just a lot of cool stuff there and some were really cheap.  My wife just couldn't help herself being faced with a lot of choices, bags, footwear, t-shirts, gadgets and accessories.  She even told me, she can do shopping there forever, the problem was we didn't have that luxury.  We still need cash to go back home. LOL.

After buying the things we needed, we took some rest and had our lunch in a nearby Burger King.  Then we went back to Vivo City to meet our friends and their kids.  Upon reaching the place, the kids played for a while in a play ground. After that we had a little chat in a coffee shop.  Then Ionne and Raul, our ever generous friends, asked us if we've already seen Sentosa's Songs of the Sea in Siloso beach.  We told them we haven't.  They said it was a must see, so they bought a ticket for us all and told us it's their treat.  Good thing also, since we didn't have plans for the rest of the night.
Together with their family, again we travelled  back to Sentosa Island.  Upon arrival to the place, we witnessed how crowded the place was.  The play was quite popular to the locals as well as the tourists.  It was just like Wonder Full of Marina Bay Sands.  There were also pyrotechnics, colorful laser show, sound effects and they used the fountain as screen to the video projections.  We enjoyed the show, especially the kids, since the story revolved around a princess, cartoon sea creatures, powerful elements and a group of teenagers singing their piece.

Then, we returned to Vivo City and had our late dinner at Marché (still part of our friends' treat).  There were a lot of customers, so we had to wait in line until a table to accommodate us would be available.  Upon entering, each one of us were provided a card by which we'll be using in purchasing food.  It's new to me, as one could see the chefs preparing and cooking the food of your choice. There were a lot of choices, from grilled to soups, pasta and pizza, salads, cakes and other desserts and beverages, etc.  Just pick your choice, hand them your card and they would give you a sort of claim stub, then they would ask you how would you want them done (like when grilled, rare or well-done), afterwhich, you will be asked to return in about 10-15 minutes for your order.  While waiting, the kids were provided some coloring materials and puzzles as not to be bored. Then, after the sumptuous meal, the cards will be given to the cashier for payment.  I loved their concept. It was like a buffet with a twist.

Thank yous and goodbyes were then exchanged as we headed  home.  Singapore just never stopped to amuse me.  It really had a lot to offer.  I'm just again and again humbled by the blessings and the experience Yahweh had provided my family.  To Him be the glory as always.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Foreigners In Singapore - Fourth Day: Ride Of Our Lives

I could name countless reasons why we visited Singapore, but visiting Sentosa's Universal Studios was one thing we made sure we wouldn't miss.   Months ago, we already booked for it, with the help of our sister, Jen.  Our thanks to her for making it possible for us to experience such magnificent place.  So, ready or not, here we go...

There are 4 ways to go to Sentosa (as far as I know), a bus ride (stops outside VivoCity), through the cable car ride, level 3 VivoCity Sentosa Express and  a walk over the bridge towards Sentosa... we took the express.  Upon arrival, we immediately took some pictures with the ever famous Universal Studios globe.  That alone was good enough for me, but didn't want the money we spent to go to waste, so I was  forced to go inside... you kidding me, I was dying to go inside.

First stop, Hollywood.  Just missed Poh, the Kung Fu Panda.  He must had been summoned by his master, hehehe.  Glad we still met other well-known characters like the speechless Frankenstein, the cutie Winnie Woodpecker and the ever sexy Betty Boop.  We enjoyed posing with them for a pic, especially the kids.  You just need a little patience in falling in line and wait for your turn.  They're quite popular, you know.

Help! hehehe...

We had our first ride in Madagascar: A Crate Adventure.  The line's kinda long, so we took some pics first with the replica of the four main characters: Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria.

Then we had our turn for the river boat ride.  It brought us inside through a hole in a huge ship.  Inside was the dark interior of the ship, we were entertained by the trail of adventure of our four heroes, with their lifelike moving figures (probably robotics) and special effects (light, sound and water sprays).

After, we visited Shrek's palace in Far Far Away.  Here we experienced our first roller coaster ride in the Enchanted Airways.  Though it was a junior size coaster, still it wasn't for the weak of hearts.  It also had sudden and heart-stopping twists, turns and drops that would surely weaken your knees and make your world turn around a little bit faster.  A piece of advice, shouting or crying can release the pressure... LOL.

For a breather, we watched the Shrek's 4-D adventure.  Here, with the seats moving, sound and mechanical effects and illusion made by the 3-D glasses, we had a greater perspective of the movie, especially the spiders and the sneezing part, just amazing.

We also had their Magic Potion Spin.  It was a ferris wheel for children, and its one of my kids favorite... something they would not miss, and they made sure of it.

Moving on to The Lost World.  I'm just fascinated with dinosaurs when I was young... and seeing their life-size figures just made me very excited.  We tried first their kiddie ride, Dino-Soarin.  Here we rode in a Pteranodon (flying reptile), which had a button where you can control to soar high or go down as you move around the place.
Then, we prepared ourselves to get wet with Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure.  We bought protective coverings for the kids while we took the risk of getting wet.  During our raft ride, my kids were really afraid especially my son who was already covering her face on the lap of her mom.  We passed by inside a containment facility where the dinosaurs escaped their cages.  The thrilling part was when we were lifted in an elevator, while there was a T-rex waiting at the opening above, then  we were suddenly flooded down in a steep slope.  Luckily, we were not on the part of the raft were the water splashed, otherwise we could have been soaked wet.  But just in case one gets wet, there was a cabin-like dryer in the area after the ride, wasn't free though.

And we rode another nerve-wrecking ride, the Canopy Flyer.  Here, we were suspended in a short coaster-like ride being thrown around Jurassic Park.  I asked my kids if they enjoyed it, and said they did... they weren't afraid.  Me and my wife, it took our breath away, literally.
We took a break here to eat some heavy snacks.  We had tried their spicy turkey drumstick and siopao, and boy, was it good.

Then, to the mysterious Ancient Egypt.  We haven't tried the rides here since we were so busy posing for shots at the relics and with some famous characters like Cleopatra and Egyptian warriors.  Personally, I thought that Revenge of the Mummy was another 4-D adventure, when in fact it was an indoor roller coaster ride... ha ha.  Well, my mind was lingering to somewhere else that time.

Finally, we arrived at the most challenging part where the most challenging rides were, Sci-Fi City.  I was dying to ride Battlestar Galactica, oh my, was I was dying. My heart was pounding hard just thinking at that moment that I would be riding that coaster.  My wife just talked me to it, that when will I go to try it, when I'm no longer capable?  Having said that, I told her that we'll do it.   And we did.   And guess what, there's no long line there, unlike our previous rides.  Come to think of it, just think of how uncomfortable it was convincing your body and mind that it must be done.  And before we knew it, we're zooming in their "Human" seated coaster (it was the red track).  It was mixed emotion of excitement, fear of the unknown, and this is it, can't turn back now.  The sudden twists, turns and drops were just mind made me stiffen with my blood rushing to my head.  We were shouting the whole time during the ride, at least we knew that we haven't passed out.  At last the torture, I mean the fun ended and like brave soldiers we were met by people clapping their hands (wondered why, but I was also clapping my hands too... I'm alive).  I didn't stand up right away since I was waiting for my spirit to catch up with me, I left him somewhere along the way LOL.  We hadn't tried the "Cylon" suspended coaster (blue track) since we didn't have enough time already (excuses? hehehe...).

Haven't got enough yet, we tried their newest attraction, Transformers The Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle.  It was a very, very long line.  Even heard someone murmuring, "hope this is worth the wait".  So we enjoyed ourselves looking at some of the Transformers paraphernalia and screen shows along the way.  Then, our turn came and we were secured inside a vehicle.  Inside, we were dragged in a battle between the Autobots and Decepticons, with the latter wanted badly to destroy us.  We were fired upon with missiles,  vacuumed towards a huge crushing robot, slammed in a building and thrown from the building to the ground.  Good thing were always  saved by autobots.  It was so realistic, that my son wasn't looking anymore. 

To relax our nerves, we then took some pics around with the famous robots of Transformers.  Too bad, we missed Optimus Prime, oh well, can't have them all.

After, we had snacks, again, but this time in classic 1950's diner Mel's Drive-In.  We also enjoyed the live show outside, a quartet, singing golden hits.  And had pics with their classic cars parked also outside the diner.

We then stopped and took some shots of the old New York.  It seemed like your in a different country and traveled back in time.  We didn't stay long and hadn't watched Lights, Camera, Action! since we were pulled by Hollywood's Monster Rock.  It was a live concert performed by classic monsters but with a modern touch in music and costumes.  Really enjoyed the light fun, whew.

Then as promised, we returned to Madagascar's King Julien's Beach Party-Go-Round.  If there was another thing that my kids enjoy more aside from the ferris wheel, it's a merry-go-round.  So, after a countless of spin around, we decided to call it a day (since they were already closing the part where the rides were).


And we had a relaxing walk and took some pics along Hollywood shops until we came by a shop named That's a Wrap, and indeed it was.  Thank You, Yahweh, for such a once in a lifetime experience.

The kids had fun... it's all that matters.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Foreigners In Singapore - Third Day: To The Jungle

Me and my wife woke up early because we wanted to cherish the remaining moment we had in the Sands, and we were eager to take a dip in their jacuzzi and to enjoy the moment by ourselves (since the kids were still asleep).  The cool morning breeze, with the solemn but magnificent view of the Singapore Port, and the warm bubbling water of the jacuzzi... felt so blessed, it's just my wife described it, "haah....this is life" and I totally agreed with her. We stayed there until the break of dawn.  Just how heavenly it was to see the light as it slowly engulped the sea and land.  How we wanted to stay there a little bit more but we had to get the kids, so they could enjoy a little bit more... and we knew that they wanted to have a swim at the pool before heading to our next destination... the Singapore Zoo!

Just perfect...
Mr. & Mrs. Infinity Pool 2012... (LMAO)
So the kids had their last dip in the pool, while we watched them on a couch nearby.  Then we had our breakfast while packing our things and off we went.  Lucky for us, Manong Floro, the ever generous, shared his tickets with us, so we just had to buy a few more for the family.  More, he joined the tour with us and gave us a free ride on his car.  Great help, it saved us time, effort and money.

When we got there, the kids were so eager to see the elephants... but there was more to it especially if one just follows the trail in the map which was provided during admission.  It was quite a walk around the place, good thing our friends, Ionne and Raul, lend us their stroller so I won't have to carry my boy during his tantrum times.
Borrowing Dora's explorer map...
Orangutans freely roaming above the trees.
So we started our journey to the jungle.  We first saw the cotton-top tamarins and looking closely to them, you'll see their tiny babies clinging on them, really cute.  And then we passed by the false ghavials (from the crocodile family), through the Treetops Trail, known for their slender and elongated snouts.  The kids were really afraid just looking on how big they were but they were not known to be a threat to humans because they're on a fish diet, and I wasn't kidding. And then there were the otters, tapirs and babirusas.  We then proceeded to the primate kingdom, where you''ll find different kinds of monkeys, macaques, langurs and baboons. Orangutans, chimpanzees, mandrills and gibbons were segregated.

Tiger, your yellow stripes, where art thou?
Then, we had a site of the famous (or should I say renowned) white tigers. Personally, I was delighted to saw them,  never seen one before.  From there, we passed by the orangutans going to the "Wild Africa " portion where the white rhinos, zebra, warthogs, lions, giraffes, and jaguars, to name a few, was located.  Then we decided to ride the tram... at last.  Though there was a stroller, it was still a tiring walk under the heat of the sun and a humid atmosphere.

Nyalas or South African antelopes
I also felt sleepy upon looking at this lazying jaguar.

Passed by white rhinoceros during tram ride...
The tram ride was just to relax and rest our feet, but if one really want to enjoy the sites and animals, walking would be better.  So that you can stay and watch the animals as much as you like.  After the ride, we went to the nice places we passed by during the tour like the kangaroos in their Australian Outback.

Then we proceeded to their Rainforest Fights Back Show where they showcased their trained animals like elephants, lemurs, otters, peacocks, apes and monkeys.  Showing and teaching little kids to save the forest and animals and how important they are to our ecosystem.  They also had other shows that features great animal talents, just don't had the leisure of time to see them all.

Spider monkey, my son's favorite Ben 10 alien.
A quick pose right after the show.

And by the way, the Night Safari was just a few walks away.  We haven't tried it though, it just wasn't included in our plan.  Maybe if we'll have a chance to come back, why not.  Their tour starts at 7:30 pm till midnight, daily.  And I heard it's thrilling one, hehehe.  

Then we took a leisure walk towards the marine mammals.  We got a close encounter with the humongous  Manatees and cute and very vigorous penguins.  After that, we went to KFC, to have our merienda.  Even their regular meals had some distinct tastes that differs with that in our country.  Oh well, it still tasted good and I was hungry...

When we returned home, the kids were fast asleep so we went to Mustafa in Little India.  The prices there were just fine, but you'll also find really cheap selected items and brands, and take note, you'll never find imitations, it's forbidden in Singapore especially in their known malls.  It's amazing how they just file their foot wears (Adidas, Nike, Puma, Ipanema and etc.) as that of our sidewalks and with no boxes, and the prices were almost the same as that of other department stores.  It's just that you'll find all the brands, sizes and style stocked in one place, thus making it very convenient.

And again, I just don't know how to thank Yahweh for all this blessings me and my family had received... and for surrounding us with wonderful people  that made our tour for that day possible...

For my next post, I'll be sharing with you our Sentosa's Universal Studio daring rides.  Thanks for visiting my blog.  Yahweh bless.