The Prudential Marina Bay Carnival 2019: Five More Fun Days To Go!

All good things come to an end so grab your thrill-seeking friends to  The Prudential Marina Bay Carnival. It has been around since Dec 2018 and its last day is on 24 Mar 2019. Five days left!!

IMG-20181230-WA0001 editedMy weekend in Singapore just got so much more excited since I walked passed by with my friends at this carnival last Jan 2019. Since then, I have been there for four times! It is usually when I have visitors to show around Singapore, then this is one of the exciting place that I’d like to bring them to. The weather has been fantastic. It is amazing how the whole carnival evolves as the sun sets – the neon lights truly brought the whole evening to life!

At our first visit, we just walked around the carnival site and I was glad to see various games, rides and instagram-friendly set-ups on site! I was jumping with joy to see all the cuddly soft toys for prizes and they were of high quality! On our next visits only then we started playing some games and shouting our lungs off on some rides. Most of my housemates won a bunch of plushies especially the guys from playing their fave basketball challenge.

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It was indeed a memorable time of the year for us and it truly made my first Singapore Carnival experience colourful and sparkling with joy! If you’ve never been there before, you better catch its last 5 days before it kisses you goodbye!

THE RIDES

Among all the 19 rides, I have only tried two:

  1. WAVE SWINGER
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    Photo by Prudential Marina Bay Carnival

    This is like the centrepiece of the entire carnival. Wave Swinger hails from Italy and is making its appearance for the first time in Southeast Asia. If you take a closer look at the many vividly coloured panels – you’ll spot painted murals of landmarks across the globe like the Eiffel Tower, Colosseum and even Singapore’s very own Gardens By The Bay and Marina Bay Sands. Once you’re done admiring its artsy side, dash on the single or double swing chairs. You’ll be whirled around in the air,  giving you a bird’s-eye view of the entire carnival. Thrill factor: 7/10. Despite its charming appearance, the ride is deceptively scary. It starts off leisurely but goes into top speed halfway, where you’ll be swung “out” at a steep angle.

  2. JUMPER JUMPERI so love this graffiti-themed Jumper Jumper. I’ve done this ride twice and I managed to take a video at the second time! One of the best memory for keeps! (Got some serious love hate relationship with my phone after this) .

    Thrill factor for me is 8/10. From the moment you’re strapped up, you’ll feel as if you’re riding a furious bull in a rodeo, in time with a catchy beat. The gravity-defying jumps will make your stomach lurch, so erm..try not to ride this on a full stomach.

THE FOOD

Photo by Marina Bay Carnival

You don’t have to worry if you come with an empty stomach as you can lounge at the food area and get serenaded with live-bands while cooling down with a pint or soda – which ever suits you best!

THE PRICES

Some people frankly made it seem like it’s an absolute rip-off and that no one should go or something but I thought my experience was rather pleasant. You just have to do your research and plan your money right.

For us, we walked around and ‘prioritised’ which rides we wanted to sit on or what games we wanted to play. Basically strategising how exactly we wanted to spend our money. FOOD WAS NOT CONSIDERED AT ALL (I don’t understand (and probably never will) people who go for carnivals and get food and complain about how it’s a rip-off. Of course it’s a rip-off. Go for the main attractions) .

I also heard that you can get early bird discounts online. Keep an eye on this when the carnival returns in its next edition. Here’s a reference for you on the pricelist:

Details on Prudential Marina Bay Carnival

  • Entry fee: FREE
  • Price of Credits: S$1 for 1 credit
  • Date: 22nd Dec 2018 to 24th March 2019
  • Operating hours: 4pm to 11pm daily (Last entry at 10:30pm)
  • Address: Bayfront Event Space, 12A Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018970
  • Nearest MRT: Bayfront, Downtown MRT (Downtown and Circle Line)
  • By Bus: 1, 97, 97E, 106, 133, 400, 402, 513, 653, 655, 657, 661, 662, 664, 666, 667, 668, 669, 670, 982E
  • Nearest Carparks: Marina Bay Sands, Red Dot Design Museum (Wilson carpark), Marina Bay Financial Centre, OUE Building

A ‘Perfect’ Valentines Gift ft. Vimer Montañez

TIS THE SEASON TO SPREAD LOVE

Valentines is always a special occasion for me – whether I am Single or in a relationship. Although it is true that every day is a hearts day, my teachers during grade school has successfully inculcated in my head the importance of making the people around me feel special on Valentine’s day – from my teachers, to classmates, family, friends, relatives and everyone else. And since I love art crafts, I always use it to express love. I am not fun of buying fancy stuff from the shop to give as a gift – for any special occasions. I always love making them on my own and sprinkle some personal touch.

Now that Valentines day is almost upon us, we have prepared something special for the 7, 825 (an counting) visitors in my 9-month-old blog.

I sincerely thank you for your support even if I am new and still trying to get around.  So, we have made a simple music video to brighten up my reader’s hearts this Valentines day. But first things first: Before you continue scrolling down, please don’t expect too much. While the casts in this video were all great, I am just worried about the fact that don’t have a professional camera nor professional skills to create an awesome music video for you guys.  But then again, I always like to challenge myself and this is one of the things I would like to push myself beyond my limits. Rest assured, this music video is made by our passionate hearts. And don’t worry! I know I have a bad voice so I am not the one singing. Singing is one of my biggest frustrations especially when people from other nationalities tell me,” you are the only Filipino who cannot sing”. Well, although I know I am not the only one but I am still quite unfortunate to be one of the few. -.-

REFUELING PASSION

I have tapped a very good friend of mine to serenade you guys with the most requested love songs by Ed Sheeran, ‘Perfect’.  I am very glad that he said ‘yes’ to this invitation because it’s a perfect way to refuel his passion in singing.

             Photo by: Mhar Villaester Studio

He is Vimer Montañez. I met him from the Model search that I have joined in Singapore last 2017 – Dream Top Model Season 3. He was the big winner of the most ‘Captivating Smile’ award. It paved way for him to rise to prominence even until now as one of the handsome faces in OFW-SG community. This was also thanks to his supportive friend-photographer Mhar Anthony Villaester, as his handler and where he also had his back-to-back photoshoots last year that resulted to a great hit for Morpheus’ clients and kababayan supporters.

Aside from modelling, the Filipino community in Singapore also discovered his singing prowess. His first performance was through the 1st Charity Activity of Dream Top Model last 23 December 2016 at Bahay ni Ate, an event under the Philippine Embassy Singapore. The success of his first singing stint has brought attention to his second appearance at Bayanihan Walk 2017 last May 2017 and it was where I learned about his passion in Singing. I was covering for a blog back then. Right there, I knew that he is the perfect person to work with in making my Dream Music Video come alive. Well, for me, as the producer/director/cameraman  perhaps. 😀

Enjoy our ‘Perfect‘ Valentines gift for you. Our dream music video made by our passionate hearts! Special thanks to Princes Catherine Reña for her special appearance in this video.

Perfect – Ed Sheeran – Vimer Montañez Cover ft. Princess Reña

Produced/Directed by: Aby

Sound Editing by: Allen Vincent Santiago

Let’s get to know more about Vimer. I did a quick interview with him especially in raiding his passion. Here’s a quick share for you:

  1. Where did you grew up? Biñan, Laguna
  2. When and why did you started singing? When I joined the choir during my High Schools days
  3. Do you play any musical instruments? No
  4. Which instruments do you want to learn? Piano
  5. What was the first song you liked singing to? Later by Fra Lippo Lippi
  6. How often do you sing? Almost everyday in the shower.
  7. Is your family musical? Nope
  8. Were you influenced by old records? Which ones? Yes, casette tapes
  9. Who are your favorite musicians? Neyo, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith
  10. If I was to turn on your play list right now, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list? Mostly are praise & worship songs, Neyo, Bruno Mars, Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran songs
  11. Have you performed in public? At the church as a choir and once in an event
  12. My mission is to encourage individuals to go beyond their limit. Thank you for saying yes in swooping down for your passion. You turned out really great. Too good for a first-timer! How do you feel about your first music video? I’m really happy with the outcome. It’s dream come true for me to have my own music video.
  13. What have you discovered more about yourself from the experience? I discovered that I can act (a bit). 😀
  14. Are you Single? Yes
  15. Are you seeing someone now? No
  16. If there is any song that would tell about your love life now, what would it be? Love yourself. 😀
  17. Do you also write songs? Yes.
  18. Is it a love song? Are we going to hear about compositions soon? Yes, it’s a love song. A love song for the Lord. We are still working on it but I’m excited to share it soon.I hope you enjoyed this article! Thanks for reading and have a lovely Valentines day everyone! Spread love! 🙂 ❤

 

Arthur Jake Villanueva as the OFW-SG ‘Natatanging Indibidwal’ for Events Management Category in 2017

Mr. Arthur Jake Villanueva, or Mr. AJV, is indeed the best pick in the OFW-SG community events and entertainment industry as he recently won the Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore 2017’s Natatanginging Indibidwal in Event Management Category held at York Hotel (29 October).

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Mr. AJV and Ms. Jenny Fajardo of Morpheus Hub Events and Productions (MHEP) was welcomed by ka-link, Kelly G, upon their arrival during his Facebook live session with OFW SG Connect. (Photo by Babito Garez)
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Mr. AJV received his plaque trophy as Natatanginging Indibidwal in Event Management Category presented by Ms. Zeny Leong (Gawad Sulo Ambassador). (Photo by Babito Garez)

Mr. AJV’s success does not only end there for this year as Morpheus Hub Events and Productions (MHEP) was also awarded as Natatanging Organisasyon in the Event and Management category. He dedicated the success to all the people who supported the organization and its projects especially to his two partners Mr. Dhave Dela Cruz and Ms. Maria Antonethe Fadallan.

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Mr. AJV as he made his way back to the stage to receive the award of  MHEP as Natatanging Organisasyon in Event Management category. (Photo by Babito Garez)
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MHEP award was presented by Ms. Zeny Leong (Ambassador) and Mr. Rexonne Nebre  (Secretary-General) of Gawad Sulo Singapore.  (Photo by Babito Garez)

“Morpheus Hub Events and Productions would like to express our sincere appreciation to the Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore, Madam Zeny Leong and Sir Rex Nebre, for recognizing our family with 2 prestigious awards. In a larger sense, however, this award is more appropriately deserved by the men and women of Morpheus’ stars with over 130 models from the pioneer 12 models in 2013. The Morpheus Hub Events and Productions (MHEP) along with our many partners who have collaborated in achieving our Vision for more than 4 years in this field: “A community where all communities especially KABABAYAN community unite, flourish and thrive.” said Mr. AJV.

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Mr. AJV as he thanked Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore  for such recognition. Obviously, he was overwhelmed for receiving this prestigious award. (Photo by Babito Garez)

He also invited the rest of MHEP’s team, who were present to host in the event, to join him on stage as he received the organizations’ award.

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OFW Singapore Connect’s Ka-link, Aby (left) and ka-chika, Kelly G (right), hosted  the first part of the program: Award Presentation of the Sports Category. (Photo by Babito Garez)
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Morpheus Stars, Karina Bacsain (left) and Janina Espinoza (right) hosted the second part of the program: Award Presentation of Natatanging Indibidwal , Natatanging Negosyo, and Natatanging Organisasyon. (Photo by Babito Garez)
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MHEP team. From left: Janina Espinosa, Aby Armenton, Karina Bacsain, Mr. AJV, Kelly G, Jenny Fajardo, and Ms. Lucy Tagle(Photo by Babito Garez)

Other Filipino persona who were praised and recognized on the 2nd edition of Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore were: Rico Hizon of BBC News (Media and Journalism), Mayo Martin of Channel News Asia (Media and Journalism), Luzviminda Matchimura Baraquel and Josefina Hosena (Outstanding Service), Ninalyn Cacanta of Happy Family School (Education Category), Laarni Gandaroza of Philippine Embassy (Outstanding Government Official), Ramon Pastrana of Philippine Embassy DOLE (Outstanding Government Labour Attaché), Ancheta Cataran of Philippine Embassy OWWA (Outstanding Government Official) and Manuel Mersole Mellejor of Philippine Embassy (Outstanding Government Secretary), all of the other kababayan who won the award were veteran personalities. Read more at: OFW-SG SULO NG OVERSEAS FILIPINO 2017 AWARDING CEREMONY


THE ‘MR. M’ OF SINGAPORE

Through the years, Mr. AJV has already gained a lot of recognition for his leadership in the field of entertainment events and charity activities— his people management, marketing management and event management skills rolled into one, that’s pure talent indeed! All of his recognition and awards since 2013 are evidences that he is indeed the ‘Mr. M’ of Singapore and one of the most admired OFW-SG leaders in the OFW-SG community. Despite that Mr. AJV doesn’t always talk about his great acts, undeniably, his awards and recognition are the ones that are speaking for his never ending achievements.

I, Into The Abys, and Kelly G are also living proofs  about Mr. AJV’s great acts and humility behind the scenes. We were both one of the hopefuls from the previous year’s Dream Top Model competitions which is one of the biggest projects of MHEP. Kelly G was from Season 1 and I was from Season 3. Even though we did not make it to the top in the model search, Mr. AJV has given us a chance to prove ourselves and find a spot in the industry by inviting us to join his projects not just to upsurge our blogs but also to boost our self-confidence. The recent Star Magic Presscon in Singapore (Oct 2017) was one of the many projects that we have collaborated.

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A look back from the top 50 hopefuls of Dream Top Model Season 3 (2017).
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Mr. AJV, Kelly G. and Aby during the recent Star Magic Presscon in Singapore. (Photo by TFC Singapore)

Meanwhile, Mr. AJV is currently supporting OFW-SG community events by leading the program flow, providing manpower and talents, and promoting the said events in the OFW-SG social media. He recently finished 3 charity activities for 2017 under his management arm Morpheus Hub Events and Productions alongside Dream Top Model family and Miss Petite family. Aside from that, he is also busy with his partners for the comeback of the biggest and grandest OFW-SG event Dream Top Model Season 4 which people can’t wait to see.

Congratulations Mr. AJV! Mabuhay po ang mga Pilipino at Mabuhay ang OFW-SG community!

More at:https://www.facebook.com/Gawad-Sulo-Foundation-Singapore-1309226379101106/

A Rekindled Love for Photography

Mhar Villaester is a Filipino photographer who’s dedication in his craft is admirable. He is currently living in Singapore for 5 years now. He believes that each of us tells a unique story and photography is one of best medium to share this story. Photographs emulates a way our mind freezes a significant moment.

Click here to read about the project that we have done together: Curated Secrets: ‘What It Means To Be With You’

One look at Mhar’s portfolio is like a step into a colorful and imaginative story-telling. Often dreamy, playful, cinematic, and rarely static. His photographs lean towards to tell story of human experience both in an imaginative and documentary parlance. He is a self-taught photographer who has been shooting for almost more than a year. Driven by curiosity and the incessant need to create and tell a story, it gave birth to ARCHETYPE IMAGES by Mhar Villaester.

Growing up, he excelled in academics, music, and other extra-curricular activities. He is a graduate of Psychology, Religious Studies and Law. He views photography primarily as a process, an exploration and a story telling. For Mhar, the act of curation as more important than the individual photographs. His process involves deconstructing and reconstructing photographs, combining different crops, colors and angular vantage points.

One of his models, Ian De Guzman, finds Mhar as a great photographer. He is gentle & encouraging in directing his models. At first, he would ask what is the models’ mood and what are their ideas for the poses. They would brainstorm from there, igniting an exhilarating model-photographer tandem. Ian also added that his post-processing skills is very fast and with great quality. He would get the models’ opinion about the photos before publishing.   

 

Here is a quick interview with this gentleman about his love for photography:

How did you develop an interest in photography?

Mhar: Photography is my first love, I fell in love with photography when I was in High School as photojournalist. As a cliché you always forsake your first love, thus I pursue Psychology, Religious Studies, and Law. It is only when I relocated here in Singapore when I rekindled my love and hate relationship with photography.

Why love and hate?

Mhar: Photography is savoring life at 100 frames per second, intently. It a risky passion as it fuels your creative imagination. And it’s an endeavor that is worth pursuing with determination and force. Because getting better at photography can further your creative output and growth in your work and personal life. In other words, the better photographs you capture, the more you thrive. But on the other side of the pendulum there is a risk of burning out.

What was your career path? How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it? Is it full time/part-time?

Mhar: I think there is no such thing as a part or full time when you talk about your passion; Photography for me is one of them. Photography for me is more a teacher and not a career; it teaches the pain and joy of each story.

How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?

Mhar: I am privileged to meet a lot of great photographers, I listen when they share and their ways-of-working. I was also blessed to build friendship along the way with fellow photographers. I think most of what I know about photography especially the technical aspect and concept, I learnt from a good friend of mine, Urico Mondelo. I considered him as may mentor and needless to say he is my number one critique. I do research on the project or portfolio I like to create. From the make up, styling, location, mood, and story I want to tell; a mood board.

Do you have any formal training?

Mhar: I am a self-thought photographer when I started. But I did enrolled for Diploma Courses in Photography both here in Singapore and distance learning courses.

Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?

Mhar: I am really drawn to portrait and documentary photography. There is an enigmatic sense in each portrait and frame

Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?

Mhar: Each photographers has their own approach and style, thus I give brevity and value to each published or unpublished pictures. I personally like Annie Lievobitz and Sebastiao Salgado.

What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?

Mhar: To use sunblock when doing outdoor photography..LOL. Seriously, the appropriate use of shutter speed, ISO and aperture.

Do you collaborate well with second shooters or assistants?

Mhar: Categorically, Yes I am.. LOL I am hard to work with. I have my own demons to appeased. I can really be demanding. My approach in everything I do is ; Patience and spiritual fortitude. But if it fails physical violence may find it salutary (Lol)

How do you get the person, place or thing that is in front of the camera onto the film, chip or paper in just the way you want?

Mhar: As a photographer you should now what you want, you need to be decisive on what image you envisioned to produce and what story you want to tell.

What technology/software/camera gear do you use to keep focused on what you do best, as you photograph?

Mhar: My armory is very basic; a notebook to draw the story-line I want ; a Canon 60D; my lenses are 85mm f1.8; 35mm f1.4; 24-70 f2.8; 50mm f1.8. I used Lightroom CC to make some adjustment.

What motivates you to continue taking pictures economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?

I am driven by curiosity and the incessant need to create. I try to draw my subjects into my world, and creates an intimate and singular point of view from both in front of, and behind the camera. The best photography starts where you are and emanates out

Graphika Manila 2019: Beyond Expectations

I attended the 14th year of Graphika Manila 2019 conference last 2nd & 3rd February 2019. I went to help out Michael in taking some video footage of his interview with some of the conference speakers. To be honest, I was expecting a conference with all the technical talks that I know nothing about. But it blew my mind more than I ever imagined that it gave me a whole new perspective, ignited my creative thoughts, giving my blog a sense of direction (working on it!). 

WHAT IS GRAPHIKA MANILA

It is a Philippine-based Conference on Creativity. Every year, the event showcases talented artists of multidisciplinary creative approaches in identity, art direction, animation, web, and even designed environments. The conference focuses on the creative side of design rather than technology.

This article is entirely all about my personal experience. For some reasons (which I will share later), I am not the best person to write about what exactly happened at the conference. So, before you waste your time on me, I have actually browsed this best article you can read about the details in Graphika Manila 2019. Check this link out: http://statusmagonline.com/in-focus-the-best-takeaways-and-highlights-from-graphika-manila-2019/

TAKEAWAYS

Although having to help out with the interview is fun, I kinda felt sad realizing that I wont be able to listen to all the speakers. I’m supposedly fine with that. I came without expecting myself to just sit down and listen to the talks. But when we had to get into the function halls to take some video footage, I was able to witness some speakers on stage. They were like rock stars sharing their humble beginnings, art stories and creative processes that brought them to where they are today. 

I have actually nothing to fret about. I may have not catch all speakers talks but I got a chance for closer encounters with them during the interview. With that, I was able to bring home some very insightful takeaways. The experience left me with a brighter outlook, armed with igniting words. From here, I look forward to push myself even more. 🙂

So, I can unfortunately only share with you 5 out of 12 speakers. Enjoy!

During an interview of Anthony Francisco
Interview with Anthony Francisco, Marvel Studios’ Senior Visual Development Artist,

Anthony Francisco, a Fil-AM illustrator and concept artist currently working at Marvel Studios as Senior Visual Development Artist. 

Other than passion and creativity, Anthony taught me that commitment, resilience, and organization are as important, even for artists. He reminded of how being patient in the process can help your hard work pay off. For him, it took 20 years. He also added that,“humility is good but if someone is recognizing your work out there, go for it and claim it! You worked for it, you deserve it! It is yours!”. I have asked him if it is something like the concept of “too much of something is not good”“too much goodness is bad”, “too much love will kill you” and all sorts. He does not agree to this because it only adds a bad connotation to what is already good.

“A ‘good’ should only be good, and love is always good. It is a matter of right amount, right time, right place, or right person. I’d like to believe that  too much of right love is good. Too much of right humility is always good.  – Anthony Francisco

Anthony’s work includes feature films such as Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Chronicles of Riddick just to name a few. He designed Loki Ragnarok, the Dora Milaje and the Visual Father of Baby Groot.


Yeo Kaa, a Filipino Artist/Painter. We were not able to interview her because she was not feeling well. But I was able to listen to her entire talk.  My ears were all on her as she shared how she started her concept in art. They were all wild stories behind. She was criticized for being bad at drawing. She even failed in her art classes but it did not stop her from achieving her place in the art scene.

“Back in college, meroon kaming plate na ‘trapunto’ na Picasso style, tapos dun ko na realise na hindi naman pala kailangan na ‘realism’ para maconsider na magaling ka”-Yeo Kaa

I love how she transformed her ‘socially unacceptable’ impulses to her art. Her explicit themes of killing her prof who failed her thrice, and talking to her own panties can seem strange for some but this quirkiness is what kept and made her a unique and relatable artist. She has mounted a handful of solo shows in Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia and Germany.

Yeo Kaa is a the mad, quirky girl and that’s what the art world needs today. Below is my favorite painting that she shared during her talk.


Claus' Art and Creative Director, Justin Harder
Claus Studios’ Art and Creative Director, Justin Harder

Justine Harder, Art & Creative Director of Claus Studios. He was able to shed light to one of my confidence issues which is low-self-esteem. I always worry about not being so good at something compared to the others. But Justin stretched that the world is a competitive place and your creative ideas are valuable assets. Rejection is always around the corner. Learn from it, enjoy the process and grow.

“You have to be you and do not try to be somebody else. Do what you can do. Nobody else can do what you do” – Justine Harder

Justin has illustrated and designed numerous title sequences for film and television including Deadpool, Thor: The Dark World, My Little Pony: The Movie and Saturday Night Live’s ‘Weekend Update.’ Justin also is an officially licensed Marvel ‘Artist.


Next is Laundry’s Managing Director, James Sweigert. He is one of my favorites. His energy and passion to create more and inspire is burning like mad and it’s basking all on me and to the rest of the attendees! He’s got an incredible team where James never fail to highlight that  their individual backgrounds and experiences were never really a factor for their success. But instead, it was their fun and creativity to make things different and extraordinary that proved their place in the industry.

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with Michael (center) and Laundry’s Managing Director, James Sweigert (right)
“The longest journey an artist could make is from their heads to their heart.” James Sweigert

James Sweigert is an award winning creative executive in advertising and entertainment marketing over the past twenty years. He loves spending time with his dog, Duke Kahanamoku. He surfs in LA and around the world. James has also published a book entitled,“If You Say So”. I just wish I get a chance to read it.


with Aaron Draplin, founder of Draplin Design Co.
with Aaron Draplin, founder of Draplin Design Co.

Aaron Draplin made a lasting impression on  me. He is a graphic designer, author and founder of Draplin Design Co. (DDC). It has rolled up its sleeves on a number of projects related to print, identity, web development, and illustration. Priding itself on craftsmanship and quality, the DDC has made stuff for Nike, Esquire, Ford Motor Company and the Obama Administration. 

I was ecstatic to hear Draplin as he talk about his life as a designer and how he honed his craft through the years. For him, he used his skills to pay his bills, build his house, design for his family and nephew, working for friends, and most specially as tribute for his dad.

“You got to pay your bills, you got to make your money and do all that that adults do. But leave some room for some weird stuff.” – Aaron Draplin.

There’s something comfortingly sturdy about Aaron’s works. It’s simple by design, but doesn’t look cheap and made to leave a mark to the audiences.

He received a standing ovation from some of the attendees; a well-deserved feat for someone who’s made a mark in his career and published a book for himself, Pretty Much Everything’.

Watch this space for the Full Video of our interview with seven of the speakers: 3Dsense Media School 

 

 

 

 

 

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Astons: Value for Money SteakHouse in Singapore

Last Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019, we had dinner with the entire Sales Team at work. It is to celebrate the team’s success for hitting our sales target for the year 2018.

LOCATION

We dined at Astons Specialties at Kallang Wave Mall along Stadium place. I initially dont have any background about this place. It was our Boss who suggested. And according to him, they offer some of the best Western cuisine in Singapore, serving a tantalising collection of dishes that are suitable for casual dining and group gatherings. Hmm.. interesting!

When we arrived at the Kallang Wave Mall’s parking area, we were having trouble finding the place which is at #02-04. The mall is just so damn huge and it is like a maze!

ORDERING

I took charge of taking the team’s orders so it will be easier and faster fo us to give to the counter. With ordering done at the counter instead of the usual wait service, Astons is able to pass on that “labour cost” savings to the diner.

MENU 

Looking at the menu, it presents a variety of steaks, chicken, spaghetti, burgers, and many more, so there is something for everyone on the menu.

For me, I made sure to order my best choice since Boss is paying (haha!). I ordered the New York Steak under their Legendary Steak Menu beautifully cooked to Medium perfection with 2 side dishes , BBQ Beans & Mashed Potato. I honestly dont have idea what to expect. I just saw the price is above average. (Haha)

My order it turned out really great! I love it so muc that I really cleared my plate. I find their prices are true value for money. Yes, without sacrificing quality. Astons Specialities makes one of the most enjoyable and tasty dishes at affordable prices. In addition their steak options, they also offer items for the non-beef lovers such as the Crispy Fried Fish , a large piece of fried white fish with breaded crumbs as well as the Chicken and Sausage Combo.

I am definitely coming back to try out one of their Spaghetti Fiesta Menu.

Here’s to share Astons Menu. They have a couple of outlets here in Singapore. Feel free to visit their website for more info.

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When Death Comes, How Will He Take You?

“Give me 5 names of people close to you. Who are you going to delete first if you are forced to delete them from your life one by one? I bet you will be in tears”.

This was the question my Boss asked me today. I just looked at him and uttered no words. He insisted for a response. But for me, I don’t really have to answer that because in reality, we cannot choose who we are going to kick out from our life and who we want to keep. That was a rhetorical question that’s meant to make you realize who and how important are the people around you.

But people come and go as they say;
….it could be your new neighbor who just moved-in and sings so horrible with his karaoke overnight and makes you drag yourself to work the next day with your panda eyes.
…..it could be your best friend who loves you so much yet decided not to join you with your so-called ‘overseas-career-choice’ because she’s very much stable and happy with her life at your homeland.
…..a boyfriend who had to go home because of his dad’s passing and you cant even accompany and console him much because of work.
……your womanizer father whom you’ve been wanting to crash off from your life but all you can do is just to hang-on and pray he’ll be better one day (he is still your father anyway).
…..or it could be your mother who was suspected as thief by the filthy company she’s been working with for six years, she suddenly has to leave to protect herself and pray for justice to prevail (And when it finally does, it’s as if nothing terrible had happened! No life and reputation was ruined! How cruel people can be?)

Oh! Those were my life experiences by the way! But I’m pretty sure you have your own similar stories to tell. 😉

But see? We cant control who and how people are gonna come in and out of our lives. But when talking about deleting people from our lives, the first word that pops in my mind is D-E-A-T-H.

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Ray of Sunshine Artwork by Mark Nable

Yes, we are all going to die! You and me. Your brother, sister, mom and dad, your neighbor, your dog, your lovely plant and everyone else or everything else are gonna fade away one day! Nothing lasts forever as they say! Isn’t that a sad story? Knowing that time will just come when that fateful moment will just call us and dragging us all away from this universe?

But when are we going to die? Who knows?! But this isn’t the interesting question anyway! How are we going to die? How are your loved ones gonna die? Ah! This is something! Will it be cancer? Plane crash? Falling from a fathomless cliff? Suicide? Choking on a hazel nut? Ahh! Good question! Because I don’t know. Nobody really knows!

For me, when I am on my way to work, I usually daydream about running, crossing on the road, trying to beat the green man (because I am such a shameless late comer and I usually like to rush). Then a huge SMRT bus would hit me so badly and drag me all the way to the side, get my joints dislocated and there’d be blood everywhere. Then a total stranger would run up to help and try to save me. He would hold my hand in a final dramatic gesture as I wait for my inevitable last breath. The earth would sweep upon me and I’d be slammed into eternity on someone’s lap whom I don’t even freakin’ know!

But luckily, that hasn’t happened yet! But it’s exciting to think about death. Don’t you think so?

I remember one of my ‘Christian Living Formation’ teacher during high school once asked us,“What is life’s greatest gift?”. One of my classmates answered,“Love”. Our teacher said,“No”. Someone else said,“Our Saviour, Jesus Christ”. Teacher still said,“No”. Until she finally revealed,“Life’s greatest gift is Death”.

I was honestly puzzled on why the hell would death be a Gift? It’s even the worst and dreadful thing that everyone’s been avoiding! But yeah! Life is precious, yet temporary anyway. You never know when is the exact moment you will die.  So you need to live as if you are to die tomorrow.

But when we think about our own deaths, we typically think about our final moments; the hospital beds, our crying family, the ambulances and stuff like that. We don’t think about our long string of choices and habits which lead to those final moments.

Have you ever even taken time to ask yourself that when you die, which type of person will you be? Will you be the one who looks at your life with displeasure and discontent? Or are you going to be the one who nears death with a smile because you are incredibly grateful for the life you chose to live?

Well, having the knowledge that we are going to die someday is one of the greatest gifts that we have been given. Thinking about our imminent death forces us to reflect on our life and the way that we’ve been living. By doing so, we gain clarity and become empowered to shape your life in the way we choose.

For me, I could say that my death is a work-in-progress — each breath that i take, each bite for my meal, each swallow for my favorite sweets, each late night that I spent with my computer, each green man from traffic light that I try to beat, each of my laugh and scream and cry and crashing fist and lonely sigh — they each bring me one step closer to my own dramatic denouement from this world.

Like I know people always complain about my super late sleeping time. It is so unhealthy and probably the reason why I am always late for work. But just so you know, I cant sleep if the clock dont strike at 2AM or sometimes 4AM! I dont know why but maybe my body clock is just so wild and nocturnal like that! But what am I supposed to do? Punish myself by pressing my eyes so hard ’til it comes out? Hell no! Im am struggling but instead of just staring at the wall and counting sheeps, I’d rather make use of my time and energy finding the things I love to try. And this was how modeling, blogging, dancing and painting came about. I may not be great at it but they make me discover more about what are the things I’d really like to do for the rest of my life.

And you see, I am trying out many things. Too many that I sometimes dont even know how to handle. But if TRYING is gonna kill me one day, Id be very much happy to embrace death that way!

The thing is, finding the love, passion and purpose in your life is a trial-by-fire process. You don’t simply wake up one day and become happy doing one thing forever and ever. Like death, it’s a constant work-in-progress. You must try something, pay attention to how it feels, adjust and then try again. Nobody gets it right on the first try, or the tenth or sometimes even the five-hundreth!

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Find what you love artwork by Mark Nable

Doing what you love is not always loving what you do. It is always accompanied with sacrifices, struggles, failures or pain. Just like choosing a wife or husband. It’s not choosing someone who makes you happy all the time.  It is choosing somebody whom you want to be with even when they’re pissing you off or vice versa. It is like you have no choice because this is simply who you guys are, dysfunctional and all. But you accept and enjoy each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s your chosen vehicle towards death and you’re happy to let it take you there no matter how bumpy the ride is gonna be.

So going back, the better question isn’t when you’re going to die. It’s what are you choosing as your vehicle to get there? If everything you do each day brings you closer to death in its own unique and subtleway, then what are you choosing kill you? When Death does come, how would you like him to take you?


All artworks done by my brother, Mark Nable

Cebu’s New: MACTAN International Airport Terminal 2!

The New Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) Terminal 2 which was recently inaugurated last June 7, 2018 has began its commercial operations on July 1, 2018. I am pleasured to be one of its departing passengers on its second day, July 2, 2018.

From my almost 1 week holiday in Manila, I had a quick unexpected trip in Cebu to visit my family. Yes, I am a true-bloom Cebuana by the way.

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Upon my departure from Cebu back to Singapore, my mom and Michael sent me to Mactan Airport Terminal 1, as usual. It was to our surprise when one of the staff told us that if we are off for an international flight, there is a shuttle bus to terminal 2. She then gave us directions. Instead of looking exhausted and sleepy from our holiday, we were wide awake hoping that the shuttle bus will take us to the new terminal. And yes, it did!

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Merry-walking at MCIA  – Terminal 2’s Entrance

Home to a number of natural, historic, and cultural tourist draws, Cebu City is a top destination for both local and foreign visitors. The resort-themed Terminal 2 is for international flights, while the older Terminal 1 is for domestic flights. The new terminal 2 has a floor area of 65,000 square meters. Below is one of Michael’s stunning photos which he shared in his Instagram while we were waiting for my flight.

 

It was said that they have chosen a wood theme because wood is something synonymous to Cebu. Wooden Furniture is a big business in the province. The roof  has timber arches that look like an inverted boat hull, and a wave-like roof that evokes a tropical and resort-like feel.

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Cebu Pacific’s Check-In Counters

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MCIA’s  Boarding Gates

So far, the experience was really great! There were lots of surprises. But I must say that the entire process is yet not perfect, though. Here are some few points that you need to take note if you are taking off from the new terminal 2:

  1. No Food Shops Outside The Terminal 2
    While we were on our way to Terminal 2, I realized that I was so hungry and was hoping to have some great food with my loved ones before I fly off. Unfortunately, you can only find food shops inside the terminal 2. And only those who are with flight tickets can go inside. It was 4: 00 PM and my flight was still at 7:55 PM. I still have almost 2 hours to spent with my loved ones and I just cant let it pass. So, we went to catch the shuttle bus again back to terminal 1 just to hunt for food.
  2. No Weighing Machine Outside Terminal
    You can only weight your luggage/s at the check-in counter. In the event that you have excess luggage weight, you need to fix your stuff right there at the counter. Quite a hassle not just for yourself  but also for everyone else in the queue. It’s always better to have a weighting scale outside (just like Singapore’s Changi Airport).

Regardless of the above mentioned hiccups, I am very impressed and very proud  of the preparations at the departure area. It’s really of international standards! I am sure the arrival is just as fantastic too! Here are some impressive points from our new terminal 2:

  1. Free Shuttle Bus
    It is very convenient moving from one airport to another. I’m not sure how many seaters or how is the capacity but it is quite big. I also hope the cleanliness will be maintained in the long run.
  2.  High-Tech X-ray Machine
    The terminal is highly innovative featuring modern aesthetics. One of it is the technology called Automated Tray Retrieval System. Something new in the Philippines. There is an automatic conveyor that brings the tray below. Some areas need further improvement especially the unfamiliarity of passengers. Some were not able to properly use it. It’s a learning experience, though.
  3. Great & Wide Selection of Shops!
    I may have been pulling my hair when I learned that there is no food shop outside the Terminal 2. But when I checked in and as I searching for my Gate No., I was in awe with all the mouth-watering cuisines inside. They got Ritazza, Bonchon, Asian Kitchen, Ramen, and Burger King. There’s even Coffee bean too!

    I also enjoyed walking through all the fancy shops like Victoria’s Secret, Plug + PLay, WHSmith, Momento and of course this cant be missing, Duty Freeee!

     

     

     

     

     

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  4. Warm and Friendly Staffs

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    With its unique design of undulating wooden roofs, Terminal 2 was envisioned to demonstrate the “warmth and friendliness” of local culture, place and people. Having these lovely ladies all dressed-up with Cebu’s Iconic Sinulog Festival costume is just so smart and captivating! All the staffs were very polite; from the cleaners, securities, counter staffs and all. They will really take time to greet you with their sweetest smiles even when they are doing something. Something I did not experience from other terminals. They were also very helpful in giving directions. I hope they are doing this for both international and domestic flights.

4. Gifts
I am always fascinated with gifts (that’s why I have started a gift shop). Upon departure at the New Terminal 2, the ladies dressed-up with a Sinulog Costume gave each passengers a gift as they bid farewell when boarding on the plane. Not sure how long they will be doing this but here’s what I got. Cebu’s famous delicacy, Dried Magoes!
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The entire terminal is not yet 100 percent finished. Some areas have yet to be furnished. Passengers should expect more improvements, especially aesthetically, in the coming weeks and months. According to my research, it was designed by Hong-Kong based architectural firm Integrated Design Associates Ltd. with Filipino designers.

Considered the central gateway to the Visayas and Mindanao, the MCIA is the second largest airport facility in the country. No doubt. It is indeed the best airport in the country, by far!

Enjoy more photos below! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Café Talk Library: Cebu’s Bookworm Paradise

When I came home in Cebu for a short holiday last February 2018, Mike brought me to this cozy Cafe Talk Library at the heart of Cebu City, Philippines. It is located at the bustling Escario St. (near Capitol). If your are visiting somewhere around this area, this is a must place to visit where you can dine as you unwind or get work done. Or even when you are feeling anti-social at some point, this is my number one recommended place to get some lone time! It’s fine not to bring any of your gadgets because there are hundreds of books to enjoy with! It’s totally a bookworm paradise at the heart of  Cebu City!

When we went inside, I was grinning from ear-to-ear because it is my first time to visit such kind of Cafe (not sure if Singapore has). It did not disappoint me! Wish I had longer time to chill though. Mike has been sharing how much her dear sister loves the place. When we reached and ’til we were seated, only then I figured that for some reasons, it was Mike’s first time to go in one of those cubicles too! What a great memory together! Yay! And what do I mean by ‘cubicles’? Read on! 🙂

THE CONCEPT

I was amazed of the exceptional concept of this cafe that it was able to meet the ideal learning and studying avenue of this generation’s learners. The so-called ‘Millenials’! Café Talk foregoes the usual chairs-and-tables set up for quaint sections with small tables, pillows, and even stuffed toys, making it conducive for either relaxation or work. Im not sure when did this opened but I wish we had this when I was still studying. Cebu Doctors University’s old campus is just around this area. But I also thank God that I did not know about this. It will terribly tear down my pocket every time! I’ll share with you about their pricing later in this article.

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Anyways, it has booth or cubicles which creates atmosphere that is conducive for studying or learning. They have a really cute interior with two stories and the cubicles were numbered. Some have televisions and outlet if you are planning to bring your laptop and other devices. Some have balconies and a lot of pillows for a more chill vibe. It is good for couples and friends or just for a person who wants to be alone with a book.

THE FOOD

The meal was good though it’s a bit pricey for me. I think the food and drinks are priced the same as international coffee chains, and very limited choices for meals. You may take your pick from pastries, rice meals, hot or iced coffee, frappes, smoothies, and milkshakes. There were only two staffs when we went so we had to wait for a while for our food to be served. For me, although I am thin, I am a big eater. This is not a secret! I always run out of cash because of food. So if you are someone like me, just grab dinner outside where it’s cheaper and head to Cafe Talk for a chill with frappes or whichever you like. 😉

As the Café is open from mid-morning until late at night, you can drop by for a nightcap when you’re done touring the city, or stay for a few hours to finish your work (or TV series!).

Sooo, visiting Café Talk soon? Here’s their address:

Café Talk
N Escario St., Cebu City
Operating hours: 9 AM – 3 AM!

Enjoy more photos below 🙂