Saturday, September 29, 2007

Eating Singapore Part 2

It's official!! I gained at least 5 pounds!!!

Above: NASI GORENG at White Rose. The rice was crammed with shrimp and squid and it came with some pork satay. Just the right thing at 11pm. Deee-lish!

Above: TORI-Q. A take on Japanese Yakitori. The combo contains Chicken Balls (chicken meatballs, silly!), barbecued chicken and pork - all served on a stick on top of rice seasoned with seaweed and japanese spices.

Above: BREAD PITT!!! (Brad Pitt - get it?) Gimme them HOT BUNS!!! On the right is Korean Steaming Hot Spicy Beef Soup at Food Emporium, Raffles City.

Above: Breakfast at the Singapore Changi Airport and breakfast as served aboard Silk Air.

Singapore Quirks

Look! Choice of Squat or Western toilet!

Yes! Singapore is a society with highly advanced eyebrow aestheticians!

Eating Singapore Part 1

I remember visiting Singapore in 1979 and our host (Swee Ling, her name was) brought us to a parking lot where hawkers came in at night and sold food. The big thing were Satays. At first I thought, "How tacky to be taking me to a parking lot for dinner!" But the food (and the experience) was great.

Which brings us to Food Republic. Food Republic brings the hawkers market experience into the realm of the food court. You can get food at each stall for $5-$8 and there are 14 stalls and some restaurants as well. It's a great way to sample the cuisine of the region and I ended up sampling 2 to 3 stalls/restaurants at a time.

This is the Food Republic at Wisma Atria, Orchard Road. (There are other locations)

Above: On the left is the famous Hainanese Chicken Rice from Sergeants. Don't crucify me, but my reaction to this dish was "eh". Give me Zankou Chicken anytime! The second plate (right) is I think Indonesian from Sambal Chilli. They put some parchment on a wooden plate and spoon this gorgeous food on it. Yumm!

Above:On the left is OYSTER OMELLETE! Something about those pieces of Oyster bursting in your mouth and merging with the egg omelette just spells heaven! And of course I had to sample the DimSum (right).

Above:On the left is Indian Chicken Masala and on the right is what I took for "Relief of Wind and Indigestion"

This shows the unique group of nationalities and cultural influences that make up Singapore. So where's the Philippine food? Across the street at Lucky Plaza!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Singapore in the Rain

First day in Singapore and it rained. After procuring a trusty umbrella from GIORDANO (they sell it for $6 if it's raining and $12 if it's sunny), I walked from Orchard Road (Wisma Atria) to Chinatown.

Pictured below is Raffles Hotel. The last time I was here in 1979, this hotel was so dark, dreary and deteriorated. I'm glad they fixed it.

Pictured below are images of chinatown including some of the sculptures at Sri Mariamman Temple in Singapore.

Pictured below is the set-up for the lantern festival at Riverside Point. This is the first time they are doing this as part of the Mid-Autumn Festivities. The people were setting these lanterns up in the rain, exposed wiring and all. It's a scene ripe for an electrocution but no such luck.

Views from the river (Clark Quay):

Pictured below is a durian sculpture and an atrium:

Pictured below is the Singapore art museum which features some Philippine Art in their permanent collection including works from Botong Francisco and Nunelucio Alvarado. The red dot museum featured more commercial art and winners of the red dot design competition. It is housed in the old firehouse which was converted to a multi-use property which also houses the museum.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Elizabeth Hotel

Signs of a not-so-great hotel.

The signage:

When you see floral arrangements like these, it might not be a great hotel.

This was the height of clock radio cutting edge technology - in 1981.

When the lobby floor looks like the marble sampler at your local home depot, might not be a great hotel.

When the featured restaurant is a pizza joint, might not be a great hotel.

The art above the toilet tank looks like something one of the guests left behind.

The beds look ok.

Also, when the description is peppered with "charming", that's code for dated and rundown like your maiden aunt.

This was the third bedroom they gave me. At least it did not have that hideous floral bedspread like the other two rooms.
Here is the conversation between me and the front desk:

Me: Can you give me another room?
FD: What's wrong with that one?
Me: It's....just crappy.
FD: What exactly is wrong with it?
Me: It wasn't what I was expected. (In my head I'm screaming - LOOK AT ME!!! LOOK AT THIS ROOM!!! IT'S JUST WRONG!!!!)

I have a meeting with the tour operator tomorrow.

Silk Air

Cebu to Singapore via Silk Air.

Silk Air is the regional airline operated by Singapore Airlines. Their Cebu ground staff was very nice and kindly informed me that the flight would be delayed by about 2 1/2 hours. By the way, do these queens know we can see them lip-synching Beyonce through the glass doors (complete with hand gestures).

And for those of you who raised their eyebrows at the sight of ECONOMY CLASS - and you know who you are - please! I'm not Malu Fernandez.

Anyway, it's never a good sign when the first announcement from the Captain is "For those of you who were complaining of the OIL SMELL, earlier......."

When we finally arrived, whatever it was that was giving off that smell finally "crapped out" (direct quote from da Captain) and we had to wait a few minutes before the doors could finally be opened. But the staff was really nice and patient and the seats were better than PAL.

Just a few first impressions of Singapore (which I haven't visited since 1979 - when I was but 4 years of age -ha!):
It's not small.
They drive on the left side.

Sugba at Maribago

Sugba is Cebuano for "inihaw" or grilled.

It was Sugba night at Maribago with all you can eat grilled food and Philippine delicacies. Can you recognize some of the dishes on my plate?

Steamed Prawns
Mango Rice
Bagoong (Shrimp Paste)
Lengua Pastel (Beef tongue en croute)
Teppanyaki Veggies
Pickled Cucumbers
Fish Kabobs
Pork Sugba (yuuuuum!)

This was the first of many plates......

Friday, September 7, 2007


As you can see - 50% OFF! 50% OFF! 50% OFF!

So, being the devout disciple of the shopping gods that I am, I dutifully rummaged, shoved, clawed my way into the bargains at SM Makati*.

So what do you do when at 12 noon, they start reciting the Oracion (Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be etc. etc.)??? People actually stopped dead in their tracks and prayed along. I'm surprised no one dropped to their knees with outstretched arms praying for bargains. I actually stopped and bowed my head. (OK, I was actually texting my brother, but still!)

*That's ShoeMart to all you "foreigners" out there. ShoeMart, as you may have guessed, started out selling shoes. They used to have a unique way of shoe retailing which involved the shopper picking up a style and taking it to a "caller" who called out the style number and shoe size on a loudspeaker to a mysterious warehouse-in-the-sky, where your selected pair magically drops for you to try on. I'm sure this used to be a leisurely endeavour, especially for the caller, but as the popularity of the store and shoppers increased, the caller evolved into a Motormouth Mary and it was quite amazing to hear her incantate all those numbers.

MyLogo Part 1

I designed this logo about two years ago. It was nice seeing it in person and executed well.

Good To Go is a fastfood chain (a la Famima!) that has prepared food for busy office workers. This particular branch is located in Greenbelt 4 (?).

Sunday, September 2, 2007

70's Philippine Architecture Part 2

Details. Details. Details.

BELOW: The bold geometric elements rendered in concrete on some of the buildings.

Left-Linear geometric detail.
Center-Note the craftsman style "joint" detail.
Right-Linear canopy style reminiscent of Locsin's Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Left-What looks like wood paneling is actually concrete.
Center-Sculptural elements of a foyer.
Right-tilework on a driveway.

70's Philippine Architecture Part 1

Due in part to Imelda Marcos' "edifice complex", there was a building boom in Metropolitan Manila in the 70's and early 80's.

An early morning stroll in Legazpi Village in Makati yielded several examples of Philippine 70's architecture. Immediately visible is the influence of Imelda's favorite architect, Leandro "Lindy" Locsin.

This take on 70's Moderne is distinguished by a sharp bold geometric style with heavy use of gray concrete. I'm sad to report that the grey concrete did not age well. A lot of the buildings have deteriorated in the tropical weather and has taken the qualities of a modern day Angkor Wat. There are those who tried to merge the 70's Moderne aesthetic with the traditional Spanish Colonial with curious results.

I found it endlessly fascinating. Some buildings were abandoned and I found myself wishing I could buy it and restore it.

BELOW: The building on the right is the Asian Institute of Management. Note the wood paneled trim.

BELOW: On the left is a building on Pasay Road showing the deterioration and lack of maintenance.