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Showing posts from 2012

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

When a former office mate, who's also a voracious book reader, first told me about Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love; I was a little skeptical.  The story didn't appeal to me and it sounded like one of those new age, self-help books; the "it" title of the moment as it was.

But on one particular trip to the Bras Basah Complex, the mecca of all second-hand book complexes here in Singapore, I found myself needing one more title to avail of a special 3 for S$10 bargain.  Having no other choice, I settle on Eat, Pray, Love.  But it's a good thing I did, too, 'cause I take back all the inane misgivings I've had about this novel.  Guess you really can't judge a book by its cover (even if it is Julia Roberts and I don't like her much too).  J


Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

I've finally succumbed to the craze!  For practical reasons, I now have joined the millions of ebook readers all over the world (Dang you, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1!)  And one of the first ebooks I've read was Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.


Merry Christmas from our Family to Yours...

Just a short post to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!!


Hope you and your family are happy, well, and content.  May the season bring more hope and good cheer to everyone!  J

A Singaporean Starbucks® Christmas

There's just no escaping Starbucks® even here in Singapore.  Not that I'm complaining, most especially since it's time once again for them to be offering their special annual Christmas beverages to the public.  Yey!

Macau Express @ Singapore EXPO

The Husband and I had our honeymoon at Hong Kong and Macau.  A first for us both to be at those 2 regions.  We were, however, so caught up with trying not to get lost and making the most of the attractions that we, unfortunately, failed to do some research on great places to dine in.
Most of our lunches and dinners in Hong Kong found us embarrassingly munching on McDonald's burgers and fries since it was the most convenient or occasionally at a food court where we'd still order our usual Chinese food favorites (breakfast was always c/o the hotel).
However, in Macau, fate seemed to have intervened and we soon found ourselves near the vicinity of an authentic local restaurant in Senado Square, right after our visit to the Ruins of St. Paul's.I, however, had the great misfortune of ordering a dish I simply hated and thus, spent majority of my meal frowning in between bites (I hate wasting food kasi so I forced myself to finish it.)
Fast forward to the year 2012, and we, once…

My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales From Various Contemporary Writers

Aside from a healthy book diet of children's comics and stories, I also grew up devouring fairy tales.  It's usually normal for kids to do so; but aside from that, in my case, nostalgia also played a role in my fascination with these stories.

We used to live in a small compound in Pasay City where I had my immediate relatives as neighbors.  Inside my lolo's (grandfather) home was a small library of sorts housing a modest collection of hard leather-bound titles, a remnant of my mom and her sibling's childhood days.  I was around 4 or 5 years old when I discovered these books and although I still had yet to learn to read, I'd visit the room again and again, just looking at the wonderful pictures and smelling their musty old scents.

Our old home was a wooden, post-war dwelling and as expected, eventually succumbed to the wrath of termites.  Among the casualties were my beloved books.  Alice in Wonderland was actually the first to go.  The others slowly, and painfully,…

Happy V: Singapore’s (Temporary) Alternative to Jollibee

It’s funny how, considering Singapore is home to thousands of working Filipinos, there is still no Jollibeebranch in sight here.We have home-grown hits such as Tapa King, Shakey’s Pizza and Gerry’s Grill(I am sure there are more); but the giant red bee?None so far (although we’ve heard that a branchwill be opening late this year.Hoping and wishing it will come soon enough…)


So where exactly do Filipinos get their sweet Pinoy spaghetti and fried chicken joy fix?Why atHappy V, of course.

Cheap Dim Sum Find in Singapore: AsterPau

I love me my cheap comfort foods.  And one of those I'd usually indulge in, especially after a bad day at the office or school, is a serving of Hen Lin's Hong Kong style asadosiopao.  Many a dinners have found me happily munching on my inexpensive treat while in transit on my merry way home.  It's a quick pick-me- upper and a great reward after a hard day's work.

Here in Singapore, there are the usual high-end (read: expensive) dim sum places.  But I've only recently discovered stalls that offer these tasty, delicious morsels at reasonable prices.  AsterPau is one of them.


Mulach®'s World Famous Homemade Ensaymada

In Singapore, there is no ensaymada(as far as I know).  And so it was with much delight that I found out some well-meaning guests of ours brought us a box of Mulach®'s World Famous Homemade Ensaymada straight from the Philippines (cheesy... yes.  But I do so enjoy the simple things in life.  J)


Kiddie Christmas Wish List: A Zillionz Savings Goal ATM Bank

Christmas is but a few days away; and while doing a little shopping over the weekend, I came across this nifty and very interesting item at POPULAR, a well-known bookstore here in Singapore.


The National Library Book Sale (2012) in Singapore

The Madir and I used to frequent the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) every year since the mid-90s.But since I am currently based in Singapore, I, as expected, wasn’t able to attend this year’s event.Huhuhu!L


Good thing the National Library Board of Singapore held its annual book sale last September 15 and 16, 2012; where I happily drowned my sorrows and homesickness with a few a lot of new books to add to my collection.

The Sealed Letter by Emma Donaghue

I so enjoyed Emma Donaghue's Room that to pass up her next novel, The Sealed Letter, was just simply unthinkable.




Things We Forget: Sticky Notes Left in Public Places

A Singapore-based blog whose posts I've been following for almost 2 years now, thingsweforget.blogspot.com is a simple site that shows inspirational quotes written and drawn on sticky pads which are then placed all over Singapore (and beyond).



Christmas in the (Lion) City

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... in the Lion City.


A Time Waster's Special: Listverse™

Listverse™, as their tagline states, is the ultimate, and the original, top 10 list site.


Warm Bodies: A Zombified Romantic Comedy

You've read it right.  A movie about a romantic love story between a zombie and a human being... uhhh... right...


Ode to IKEA Singapore -- The EATS Edition!

IKEA's well-known for their Swedish meatballs -- round pieces of meat, bread crumbs, and secret spices; usually served with gravy and boiled potatoes.  But, in my opinion, they have so much more to offer than just balls.


Ode to IKEA Singapore

IKEA -- that mecca of affordable, easy-to-assemble (relatively) furniture and home accessories store hailing originally from Sweden.  They've got almost everything you need to turn your house into a well-loved and personalized home with furnishings that simply screams you.

At IKEA our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people.  Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.  (Source: Ikea Singapore website)
That is IKEA's vision and business idea which reflects well on their products and services.  It's no wonder that it's one of the most visited stores here in Singapore!


An Efen Reyes Hair & Beauty Salon in Singapore?

No, it isn't a typo.And yes, there is an Efen Reyes Hair & Beauty Salon in Singapore.


Bundaberg Root Beer: The Taste of an Authentic Sarsaparilla (A Singapore Beverage Post)

I'm not much of a softdrink uhmm... drinker, but I do make the occasional exception for root beer.  I'm not sure why but I just seem to prefer it over any of the other carbonated drinks in the market.

Now, like most people, Sarsi is the very first thing that pops to my mind when I hear the word root beer (well, A&W also comes in at a close second, except it was not as commercially available as the former was before.)  But here in Singapore, there are no Sarsis (wonder if it's a local brand of ours.)  There are, however bottles of Bundaberg Root Beer, which I decided to try one time just to satisfy my sweet cravings.


How to Organize a Simple Birthday Party in Singapore

We celebrated the Little One's 1st birthday last July here in Singapore.  And although we found ourselves away from our loved ones in the Philippines, we decided that a simple celebration to commemorate her special day was in order.

But how exactly do you throw birthday parties at a ridiculously expensive city?  Simplify is the key, plus the use of a few DIY projects, of course!


Helpful Blogging Tips from Blogger Sentral

I've been an e-mail subscriber of the Blogger Sentral website for a while now.  It's a very useful site that provides useful information on how to fully utilize the features of your blog.  I, for one, make no claims in being an IT whiz.  In fact, there's a term I label myself as -- I am techno-ignorant, for want of a better term.

So you can just imagine how useful the tips at Blogger Sentral have been to me.

A Lesson on Love From Lola

NOTE: The Average Jane blog will be inactive for a while in order to pay respects to our beloved Lola who has passed away yesterday afternoon.  New entries to be posted next week.  Thank you for your kind understanding.

Two in a year when 1 was certainly more than enough.   =(

The one thing I remember about my Lola was her holding hands with my Lolo while they were sleeping.  That memory will forever be ingrained in my mind and serves as a reminder of faithfulness and everlasting love and devotion to one's partner in life.

Whatever your plans may be, Lord, we are heartened by the fact that Lola is in the best hands.  She is now finally reunited with Lolo, holding each other's hands again.


Be happy now, Lola.  You will be forever missed...

Meiji Low Fat Fruit Yogurt (A Singapore Food Post)

Before I gave birth to the Little One, I actually listed down some habits/traits that I wanted to instill in her as she grows up.  One of those is to ensure that she follows a healthy diet.

Having undergone the exact opposite as a kid, I learned through the years that all it takes for one to live healthy is to simply start doing it and pretty soon, it becomes a habit.  Don't get me wrong, she still enjoys the occasional fast food and chocolates (although I put my foot down on hard candies.  I am strictly against them.), but for most of the time, I make sure that the food she eats is enough to give her the nutrients she needs everyday.

At this early stage (she's now 14 months old), it's really a wonder how fast she picks up on good food.  Great thing she also developed a taste for these -- Meiji low fat fruit yogurts.


PR: Easy Pha-max Wheatgrass Products Now Available at Select Robinsons Supermarkets

Rejoice, my fellow wheatgrass consumers!

PicaPic's Retro Game & Watch Electronic Handheld Games

Children of the 80s, and perhaps the early 90s, would be all too well aware of Game & Watch electronic handheld games.  In a time when the internet was still in its early stages and computers were big, heavy boxes of equipment you use at home only, these small handheld consoles served as the unofficial time wasters of our youth.


Yummy Recipe Books are Lifesavers

I was never much of a cook.  Oh sure, I know how to prepare the local staples like tinolaand chicken afritada, but other than that, I find my culinary skills to be sadly lacking.

Now that I am married, I suddenly realized that I was in-charge of the meals at home.  No more dad to cook for us and we sure can't be having fast food everyday.  So one fateful day at Robinson's Imus, I was quite lucky enough to have come across a Yummy recipe book.  And boy!  Was it ever a lifesaver.

Hawker Food Centre Dining at Makansutra Gluttons Bay, Singapore

I've always believed that one of the best ways of truly trying to understand a certain culture is by having a taste of the local dishes.  As much as it is tempting to stay true to familiar fast food favorites when traveling (you can't be having McDonald's every time, you know), going local and eating the same stuff they do is all part of the experience of being in new places, in different surroundings

And here in Singapore, one of the best places where we usually bring in out-of-town guests for a night of good food is at Makansutra Gluttons Bay.


Crime Alert Signs: A Way of Combatting Misdemeanors in Singapore

Singapore is a relatively safe country to live in.  In fact, it has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.  In a 2009 Strait Times newspaper article, author Kishore Mahbubani attributes this astounding statistic to the fact that, among other things, there is trust among the public and the police, there is the creation and enforcement good strong laws, and there is the presence of strong government support for its people.

Low crime rate does not, however, mean that misdemeanors are not being committed in Singapore.  In fact, you'll see these Crime Alert signs around the country from time to time.


Blast From the Past: Harvey Comics

I love books!  They're my heroes, warding away the evils of boredom.  Through the years, I learned not to be so picky when it comes to authors or titles.  As long as it sounds (reads?  looks?) interesting to me, then I'd definitely buy a copy.

My love for reading, I guess, stems from the fact that my mom is a lover of books too.  That being said, it's no wonder that she used to buy the Bro and me tons of titles to read.  And although we were not as showered with toys much, I could clearly remember our childhood never being left for want of a good book.

Like most kids, we, too, started out reading story books and of course, comics -- specifically Archie comics and these pretty little wonders...


We Call for a Review of the Cybercrime Prevention Act (Republic Act No. 10175)

We call for a review of the Cybercrime Prevention Act (Republic Act No. 10175).  
I'm not saying to junk it all out entirely.  There are definitely some really good points that we need in effect now.  But please review the harmful ones and ensure that it is for the betterment of our society.

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

My name is Towner Whitney.  No, that's not exactly true.  My real first name is Sophya.   Never believe me.  I lie all the time...
- Brunonia Barry, The Lace Reader (2008)
You know the feeling when the first few sentences of a novel get to you that you realize the next chapters are worth reading too?  Well, that's exactly what I felt after going through the first few lines at the start of Brunonia Barry's The Lace Reader.


The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason

More often than not, you know you've got a good book in your hands when, after going through the first few paragraphs, it's got you hooked.  Well, that's exactly what happened to me when I started to read Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason's The Rule of Four.


Facecrooks.com: Fighting FB Scammers One Post at a Time

Their tagline says it all -- Facecrooks is THE social media watchdog.


My Personal Tips for Making DIY Wedding Invitations

I would like to think of myself as a creative person (naks!)  It serves as a good stress reliever and outlet whenever life and all it's craziness just seems too much to bear.

So when I got engaged (sorry, folks, just continuing the wedding mood set by my 2 previous posts J), I decided early on to make our ownwedding invitations (DIY) to distract myself from the stress of preparing for the other items needed for the big day.



WEDDING SUPPLIERS REVIEW: Photobot Manila

NOTE:  How time quickly flies!  Yes, folks, I've been married for more than 2 years now, and silly me, after doing a quick back track of all my previous wedding suppliers review posts, I noticed that I had yet to do one for our strings trio from Libante Stringsand photobooth provider, Photobot Manila.  
And since we've been such satisfied customers of both, I've decided to go ahead and prepare a review, albeit a tad (?!) late.  But as they say, "better late than never;"  so please bear with me as I post a few backlogged posts to show our gratitude to these 2 businesses.  J
I have been waging a continuous, never-ending battle with dirt and dust for decades.  And as such, I try to keep small trinkets I've accumulated over the years inside glass cases where they'll be sure to still be displayed, but without collecting too much dust.

However, I find that the older I get, the more weddings I get to attend, hence, the more souvenir trinkets I tend to bring home…

WEDDING SUPPLIERS REVIEW: Libante Strings

NOTE:  How time quickly flies!  Yes, folks, I've been married for more than 2 years now, and silly me, after doing a quick back track of all my previous wedding suppliers review posts, I noticed that I had yet to do one for our strings trio from Libante Stringsand photobooth provider, Photobot.  

And since we've been such satisfied customers of both, I've decided to go ahead and prepare a review, albeit a tad (?!) late.  But as they say, "better late than never;"  so please bear with me as I post a few backlogged posts to show our gratitude to these 2 businesses.  J

I've mentioned in my original Wedding Expenses post that the then-fiancee (now the Husband) and I were quite particular with the wedding budget.  We didn't want to start our married life with debts so we decided early on that we would make a list of our wedding "necessities" and "wants."  Once we've met all the necessaries, then we'd determine if there was still room…

Cybercrime Prevention Act (Republic Act No. 10175)

Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act was just signed into law last September 12, 2012. 

What is the the Cybercrime Prevention Act?  Well, in a nutshell, it aims to prevent and crack down on cyber crimes in the Philippines.

Here are some useful links regarding Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act:

Full transcript of RA 10175 found at the Official Gazette of the Philippine government website.News story from Philstar.com, includes a very brief introduction of the bill.Yugatech.com provides a brief list of what we can and can't do under RA 10175A take on the law's libel clause by Raissa Robles.  Should all of us be worried?
Please be informed.

DIY Fresh Water Pearl Bracelets

I first started buying fresh water pearl jewelry during a vacation to Puerto Princesa, Palawan where venders would sell stud earrings made of these beauties for only Php20.  Since working for an auditing firm required me to dress in corporate attire for most of the work days, fresh water pearl stud earrings, and other pearl jewelry piece for that matter, were the best accessories I could ever have since they're such versatile pieces. 

Aside from the office, I'd wear them during special, more formal affairs; and even when wanting to add a little class to a casual shirt and jeans look.  I'd been buying fresh water pearl jewelry ever since.

So when we had the Little One's baptismal rites last December 2011, I just knew I wanted a pair of matching fresh water pearl bracelets to complete our outfits.  Knowing I'd have a hard time locating one that would fit her tiny wrist, I DIY-ed and made these!

Contest Alert: Easy Pha-max Wheatgrass' Name Our Mascot Contest

Win cool prizes by joining Easy Pha-max Wheatgrass' Name Our Mascot contest!


Visit the Wheatgrass C.A.N. facebook page for more details.

The Kampong Life at Bottle Tree Park, Singapore

We used to frequent this small, simple eatery in Bacoor, Cavite called Kainan sa Balsa.  Roughly translated to "eating on rafts", dining there is such a thrill where meals are served to you inside small huts, equipped with a table and chairs, situated on top of floating bamboo rafts over a small lake. 

You can fish for your meal or simply order from the menu.  During the weekends, this place is always so full of families having great bonding sessions over good, simple, home cooked food.

I sure do miss those days in the Philippines.  Good thing we were able to discover a place here in Singapore that almost comes close -- Bottle Tree Park.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Imagine being able to help millions of people but you weren't even aware of it.  Well, that's just what happened to Henrietta, as detailed in Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

PIN SI Kitchen (A Singapore Food Post)

As the saying goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.  Well put, if I do say so myself.

So when in Singapore, you'd more or less be eating like a Singaporean when dining out.  And what's more in tune to the local fare than by having a meal at PIN SI Kitchen.

Tatty Teddy Bears are ♥

Almost every little girl I knew grew up with at least one teddy bear in their toy collection.  They're soft, cuddly, and such a comfort for little ones.  They come in all shapes, sizes and colors but by far, the one that remains closest to my heart are Tatty Teddy bears



Song to Barbie by Bevlyn Khoo

Just discovered this song quite recently, sung by a Singaporean singer named Bevlyn Khoo.  Aside from its catchy rhythm and smooth tune, I love the message that she's trying to imply -- that looks aren't everything. 

Don't just aspire to be eye-candy because having a mind of your own is a valuable asset that will never fade.



Magnum Temptation's Fruit and Bonbons (A Singapore Food Post)

Just want to share photos of another fairly new Magnum variant here in Singapore -- the Magnum Temptation's Fruit and Bon Bon bar!

Macro Photography Using a Konica Close Up Ring

Photography is a relatively new hobby of mine.  I mean, I enjoyed taking photos before but I've only truly appreciated it when I got my very first DSLR camera (story of how I got it detailed in this post.) 

Attending workshops (I've so far been able to attend Nathaniel Salang's 3-day Basic Photography Seminar and DCF's 1st Photography Food Workshop with Mark Floro and Lori Baltazar) only fueled my interest and before I knew it, I've been lugging this heavy camera around even on short mall trips, just in case I find a good subject to take.

People say that photography is an expensive hobby, what with the lenses and extension tubes and the other stuff die hard photographers buy and/or lust over.  I, for one, am quite happy with my kit lens that came with my camera (thank you very much), but I have to admit, I do would love to try my hand at some macro photography.  You know those really close up shots of various objects.  I'm simply fascinated by it.

But with spec…

Meiji Chocolate and Strawberry Milk Drinks (A Singapore Beverage Post)

Just a short post on another well-known meiji product here in Singapore -- their low fat chocolate and strawberry milk drinks.

Bras Basah Complex: The Books and Arts Lover's Haven in Singapore

Singapore is one heck of an expensive city to live in.  Everything costs so much money!  And that includes almost every necessity and luxury item available, which yes, also counts books.  I guess it's the price you have to pay for being such a cosmopolitan city.

So yes, I do miss our very own National Booktore and Fully Booked a lot since brand new paperback fiction novels here cost S$15 (Php490*) on average, compared to just about Php300 in the above mentioned stores in the Philippines (imagine how much I pine for Booksale and other similar stores like them.  Drama, much?  J)

Good thing there's the Bras Basah Complex here in Singapore to cheer me up.



Allswell's Plum Juice (A Singapore Beverage Post)

One of my weirdest childhood memories was of an older cousin who used to mix kiamoy (preserved dried plum) with his orange juice, of which he drank with gusto and actually enjoyed wholeheartedly.  This would normally elicit waves of "yuck" and "gross" from all around the table but he stuck to it because apparently, it made his OJ taste so much better.  To each his own, I guess.

Fast forward to my very first trip to Singapore last 2007.  The ex-BF (now the Husband) brought me to this quaint little Swedish market restaurant called Marché® (read my full post about it here) where he introduced me to their delicious calamansi with sour plum drink.  And now I completely understand where the Cousin was coming from.  It's a great mix of sweet, sour, and salty that makes this one truly addicting drink.

I've gotten so hooked on this that not a month passes without me asking for a cup.  Marché®, unfortunately, is quite a ways from our place.  So whenever my carving fo…

Marché® Swiss Market Restaurant (A Singapore Food Post)

Fresh is definitely best and one of my favorite restaurants here in Singapore follows and delivers this exact adage to a T -- Marché® Swiss Market Restaurant.

RIP Sec. Jesse Robredo

I usually veer away from posting anything political in nature, in respect to my readers who may or may not share the same views that I have; but this, I feel, is a different matter altogether. 

We have lost another great public servant.  May you rest in peace Sec. Jesse Robredo.  The Philippines was extremely lucky for have you, even for just a short while...

May we be lucky enough to find more like him in public service.

Who Moved my Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson

For anyone who's ever been so scared of change, here's a good book for you -- Who Moved my Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson.