Sunday, February 28, 2010

What Do You Think is Going On?!

Over the past couple of weeks since the start of Chinese New Year, I've been under attack. Literally. BUGS!! Viral Bugs!!

First it was a persistent hacking cough that was so bad it made me hack till I cried, the force of the hacks broke the blood vessels in my face so my face was spotty for awhile and I spat blood.. and I literally peed in my pants from the lack of urinary control due to the force of the hacking... *sighs* I had to cancel classes and meetings for more than half a week to recover from that...

Then last week, I fell into some kind of cold not cold, flu not flu bug.. I spent a good part of the day sneezing my head off, head was cottony, ran a fever and body was aching. Spent 2 days in bed with my laptop, bottle of water, flu & cold caplets and some candy... no classes cancellation necessary. Thank God.

Then today, I woke up and looked into my throat and saw my already usually enlarged Tonsils covered in a crazy amount of white specs. Immediately I knew, Oh Damn it!! Its either going to be a major case of strep throat or Tonsilitis.. either way, I USUALLY break out in a majorly high fever that would hit like 41.5 deg. and would be down for at least a week. And on a plus side usually lose 3-4kg...

BUT strange thing is.. other than having a little tenderness while swallowing...and that it was bleeding this afternoon... I can feel the swell and my throat looking like mangled roadkill... its strange that I'm otherwise feeling alright. No fever.. -strange again.. I almost ALWAYS have a fever when this breaks out. Body feeling tired.. but not strange there.. no other symptoms so we're just monitoring the situation.. I'm really hating all this half fucked kind of bugs that are getting me week on week. Its constantly breaking my carb cycle because I eat normally when I'm ill so I recover faster..

I just want one major bug to hit, throw me down for a week and then give me weeks and months of smooth sailing health and vitality.. Dear God.. can I just have that instead of these small annoying spurts? Thank you.. :( Are you up there?

UPDATE: I'm now supplemented with Colostrum from Dr. Ong.. wonderful to have a personal friend who is a Doctor huh... looking to clearing up this bug and whatever else is in me asap.. been procrastinating on getting it even though I know it really works.. looking forward to feeling a hell of alot better and getting back to my jogging and new choreography for new dance classes!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Apricot by Ben Briand - A Must Watch Short Film

My sister Alex linked this video up on Facebook and I thought it was pretty amazing. I have to share it here too. I love the cinematography, I love the acting. Theres something in his eyes that makes me feel some pain... I love how natural it seemed and how while I was watching, it made my heart beat that little bit faster... such a simple but touching storyline, I was enthralled... I was engaged like I was in the moment with them... I was thrilled.. maybe you will be too.. spend 10 minutes here.. and tell me what you think... I loved it... for this director, if he directs more. I will make it a point to watch his work.

Great eye.. highly impressive visual work and perception... this is a must watch.

More of Ben Briand can be found HERE.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Back to Philippines.. *Long Post*

Here it goes! I know this post has been long overdue but I've been busy! So those who've been requesting to see it, here it is! Finally! If you've been following my blog/FB/plurk/twitter, you would have known that my girls and I went to the Philippines for Christmas season last December. I didn't take alot of pictures or even everything or everywhere we went during the trip but what I took can be found here... the rest.. all in our memories.. :P

We left on the 15th of December, spent Christmas weeks and came back to Singpore on the 31st. Only the girls, Lauren and Eirian and me went. Daddy CJ was home here in Singapore.

So to start off, above is a shot of the park that is just opposite my mom's condotel. A condotel for those who are unfamiliar with the term is a combi. of a condo & a hotel. Its part residence for locals and part service hotel for travellers.

She stays right in the smack middle of Makati Manila so the malls are just opposite the apartment. Very lovely view and very convenient too.

Walking into the park you would enter the eatery areas, pond areas and major malls. The stretch of malls where we stay is called Greenbelt and it is a series of 5 or 6 interconnecting malls and hotels.

So obviously with the malls just downstairs, we did quite alot of window shopping. We spent time with Jackie, my 2nd sister (as pictured above) where she accompanied us on our shopping trips.

It was Christmas season and the shops were very gorgeously decorated in festive themes. This was Lauren's impersonation of the girl behind her.

One of the most favourite parts of the park was this ground vent which we had to pass by every day to get to the mall. Cool air blasted up from the vent and the girls looked forward to standing over it almost every day.

Heck! Even I had a try and the wind velocity was crazy! But so fun! and for those worried that it wasn't a safe vent, it was a really shallow vent with concrete flooring like only 1m deep and the blasts of air came from the sides so no chance that they would fall through the grills and turn into minced meat children with wild propellers inside.

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I took a video of them during the day.

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And a video of them at night at their favourite air vent spot.

We also spent some time at Church which was also conveniently situated just 5 minutes away inside the park. Plus we witness Christmas eve mass too.. complete with the "bringing of Baby Jesus to the manger" and its procession...

It was quite an eye opener for the girls as we do not put upon our girls a specific religion as we feel that they would be allowed the choice to believe what they want to later in their adolescent life. Eirian however, I felt loved it. She ernestly observed quietly and performed her sign of the cross which she did with all sincerity.

We also came across a little kitten at the bushes just outside the church. And since it was a park, there were ducks too! Theres supposedly 3 ducks waddling about but we only saw 1 and said that the other 2 were probably made into duck rice. Check out the video for that!

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My sister and mom lives with 4 dogs. Pomeranians to be exact. It started with 2. Lucky and Ginger and these 2 reproduced to have 2 more which they couldn't bear to give away. Missy and Blue.

Lucky is the smallest of them all but one of the sweetest. Ginger is the "Dr. Dog" who helps out with Jackie at hospitals where they visit patients and cheer them up. Both these two are the most lovable amongst the 4.

Missy is a little temperamental but has the nicest softest and longest fur but Blue is the most sensitive one. He doesn't like ANYONE except my mom and the girls were terrified of him. We even had to keep him inside the doggy stroller when we were in the hall as he growled and snapped at everything that went past him.

Picture of Ginger when she was out sitting by with us at Starbucks..

Here's a video of Eirian playing with Lucky.. Eirian really liked Lucky and carried him around as much as she could.. even tried to pack him into our lugguage. I made her take him out obviously... if not I don't think we would have passed the AVA customs here in Singapore when we returned! Hahah!

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And there was more shopping at the many shops at the malls ...

Lauren was intruiged by the shell shelf each time we passed it so she got to choose one of her own to bring back..

And she loved this furry jacket but WHERE would she wear it? Definitely not there in the Philippines or even in Singapore.. she'd pass out from heat stroke! So she tried it on and then put it back right after...

And whats Christmas without Santa! There was a "real life" Santa at the Toy store and we took pictures with him too... super tall american dude too! We at least they got it somewhat "true to character" instead of some dark phili. dude... at least this was believable. And he did a good "HO! HO! HO!" too.

I had to bribe the girls to take an individual picture with him though.. 500 pesos if you take a picture with Santa and they did it! .. I was already going to buy something for them with that amount anyway.. btw.. the exchange rate for Ph Pesos 30 to SGD $1.

And Eirian's princess dream.. she wore a princess outfit and got to sit on the princess chair at the store..

At the toy store, there was this freaky singing baby.. imagine this baby going off in the middle of the night. I'm so going to trash it if I had one.. FREAKY!

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There were alot of bazzars and stalls at the malls due to the Christmas season.. sure to find a bargain of something..

I loved walking at the supermarkets because they're usually as big as Carrefour here in Singapore and they have the widest array of products that you really cannot find in Singapore.
Their seafood spread was crazy big, long and full of variety.. how to choose! Theres really too much! Literally 4-5 ROWS of fish display.

I found yet even more coolers for Dairy products which are real big there.. + yogurt & cheese etc.. and there was this brand called Darigold which I laughed because it was so similar to our MariGold here in Singapore.

And there was a whole section for loose selection of deep frozen stuff like a whole chunka variety different flavour french fries! And just like the fish section, the meat & hotdog section was also crazy big.. with all the food available, it was really not so much of a surprise that I gained 7KG during the trip.. yeah.. 7kg!!! *faints*

Eirian's Birthday was also spent there in the Philippines with a family gathering at Max's Chicken Restaurant. We ordered a round of several dishes & desserts and had a cake too!

And in order for some fairness, the cake was made out to both girls as Lauren's birthday was in November and just passed not too long ago too. My mom has a nickname for Eirian since she was a baby and had called her "Ninja" for the longest time.. and she put that on the cake..

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Happy Birthday my little one! And I liked this shot of me taken from outside the window of the restaurant.

Eirian's birthday was also a good opportunity to see my grandmother too! I haven't seen her in almost 9 years and she still looks the same as ever.. :) Oh.. and she loved my blouse so much (which I wore for the first time that day only!!) that she asked for it and I passed it to her.

Group shot with my girls and my cousin, King. Yep, his name is King. We're such a wacky group, the first time I've seen him after 9 years and when my aunty said, take a picture!! He hopped upand I grabbed him and tahdah!! Pose! ... and then a normal shot together.. Hilarious..

And some pictures of a sampling of a Filipino breakfast.. sausages aka Longganisa, fried eggs, fresh tomatoes and garlic rice... *yummy*... and a picture of some prawn dish we had for dinner one of the nights..

And some typical desserts, buko salad which is a coconut fruit cocktail with condensed milk dessert, leche flan which is akin to creme brulee and pandan sago coconut dessert...

The amount of sugar consumed in the Philippines is astounding. Everywhere you turn there would be some kind of pastry shop, confectionery, some cafe or snack bar filled with something sweet.

Stuff like dessert apples of all flavours.. forget about caramel apples.. now theres apples like THIS! See below! And brownies of all varieties and fudges... and cupcakes and cake balls..

My dad also flew in from Singapore to Manila for 2 days over Christmas and we had Japanese food for Christmas day dinner... mmm.. Sugi Japanese restaurant.. *drools*

The food there sometimes can be quite stunning.. why they have a TRIPLE burger there and Singapore doesn't makes me wonder.. I would buy a triple burger here if they had it! Looks good right?

But somethings they have there, I don't necessarily want... like.. grilled chicken ASS.. yeah.. chicken backside.. grilled on a stick.. with rice. Wahahaha! Lauren saw it and went "mommy! they are cooking ass!! Can say ass meh?"...

On another hand... even the McDonalds there have different stuff. They have rice balls with their fried chicken and they have spaghetti too! McDonalds there is called McDo.. pronounced as "Mak-doh".

This set is a serving of spaghetti bolognaise with a piece of fried chicken and a side of brown sauce, fries and a coke. It was like Lauren's dream fastfood.. all in one!

And of course.. standard issue McDonald breakfast... *picture taken by my sister, Alex*

We also took the opportunity to take a drive up to Tagaytay which is a place up in a mountain. Pictures below of the girls taken bymy sister, Alex and her DSLR camera...

On the way up to the mountain top, we drove by the many roadside businesses.. flower shops and fruit stalls setup by the villagers in that respective provincial area...

Many florists and many fruit vendors... full of succulent sweet local delights...

When we came to the top of the mountain, we were greeted by a panoramic view of one side of the province that we were in from a view at the top of a building... notice how the lowrise of the buildings there as compare to our highrise Singapore buildings...

We stopped for lunch at Josephines restaurant which served the most excellent filipino dishes.. it was such a grand restaurant too.. always loved that place.. and when we entered, they were serving "dirty icecream" which was their traditional local icecream in yam *ube* flavour and cheese flavour.. yeah.. CHEESE *queso* flavours and they're SO GOOD.. seriously.. Singapore MUST have cheese ice-cream sometime.. perhaps I'll pop by Lucky Plaza sometime soon to see if anyone had brought some in.. if not, I'll just make some at home..

One of my favourites at any filipino restaurant is the green mango shake and its something that I'd love anytime, all the time.. especially when its full of blended green mango pulp....

This is the view you would see when you look out of the restaurant windows and walk onto the little grassy area overlooking the mountainside.

and a closer shot of the houses that are situated on top of the mountain.. imagine their view each day when they wake up.. how fresh the air must be for them.. *sighs*... so nice...

and a macro shot of a spider in its web. We saw this as we walked past the flower bushes situated just outside and around the restaurant building... pretty eh? Click on it to see it in full!

and a picture of Lauren...

And a picture of Eirian with her little Morning Glory flower...

And a compilation of images of the flowers and plants that we took in the area... love how vibrant they are..

and more flowers..

My girls gathered a handful of flowers and we put them on a rock and took a picture of them so save them for all eternity.. now they're be "forever fresh" and preserved here on my blog.. :)

and a picture of me taken by the mini water fountain pond....

and guess who this is?! Its EY!! My friend, my dance student and my photographer.. if you don't remember what pictures he took.. check out these series of pictures.. HERE.
He flew to the Philippines too around Christmas period to spend a couple of days there exploring the place, meeting up with friends and did some shopping too!

and finally a group shot of my girls, my sisters and me.. other than this.. there was alot of shopping.. a visit to Enchanted Kingdom, which is Philippines mini equivalent to a mini Disneyland and alot of food, food, food and more food. :) So there you have it.. Philippines in an entry.. where the food and drinks are cheap, ambience second to none, service interesting.. people warmer and a culture an experience altogether...