Arrivederci, Kiddo!

28 04 2012

I WAS once a young, impressionable new hire myself, just fresh out of college.  It’s been eons, but up to this day, I vividly remember all of those who made me feel so welcome, and those who have helped me become who I am.  So whenever I meet someone new at work, I try to pay forward all that I have been so blessed with all these years.

eNTeNG, Kia Leh, Kwang Fook, and Kuya Mike

Kia Leh, who I fondly call as “Kiddo”, is off to her first assignment abroad, where the canned San Marzano tomatoes originate and are so good, any mislabeling or misbranding of lesser variants could get you into serious trouble with the Carabinieri.

While I know that her inquisitive and persevering nature will see her through this assignment, the fact that soccer – no, make that “calcio” – is this country’s most popular sport, will help take care of keeping her entertained and less homesick.  Fresh from her team’s victory in last week’s soccer carnival, she couldn’t be in any better, more fitting place, than there where the national football team has won the FIFA World Cup four times.

We can only be too happy she’s off to this place.  She promised to take photos of soccer games from a vantage point so close that beads of perspiration from the star players would put her camera’s – or, iPhone’s – water resistance to the test.

Kiddo, you already know that Yong Run, Kwang Fook, and Kuya Mike will miss you, but I think it bears repeating here.  Haha!  And of course, I will miss you.  I mean, who am I kidding?  Haha!  I will be so sad.

Dear Kiddo...

 

I've always believed that travel affords us the chance to experience all this creation in a new place.

 

We will miss you, Kiddo!

 

Just a little something...

 

I know Kuya Mike's sendoff present is in the other paper bag. I hope you liked our little gifts.

 

Kuya Mike, Kia Leh, Kwang Fook, and eNTeNG

 

Let's try that one more time: Kuya Mike, Kia Leh, Kwang Fook, and eNTeNG. Kuya Mike, thanks for the Starbucks!

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





AquaTecK 3+1

22 04 2012

Amazing Maritime Challenge, Singapore Maritime Week, Resorts World Sentosa, Sunday, 22 April 2012

AT THE rate I’m exposing myself to the elements, most especially the sun, it seems  that – even to me – I’m working against a deadline to achieve a tan three shades darker than my natural skin tone.

But it’s not like I’m in Alaska, where there may be only four weeks of summer a year.  For crying out loud, I’m in Singapore where there is sun the whole year round.

So what’s the rush?

Actually, there is no rush.  It just so happens that most of the activities I signed up for to either support or participate in are spaced quite near apart.  Case in point?  Only three hours of sleep separated my cheering for Team WHATEVER at the Soccer Carnival and my participation in today’s Amazing Maritime Challenge, the opening salvo of the festivities of the Singapore Maritime Week 2012.

The event kicked off at the Bull Ring near the Universal Studios globe.

The challenge was open to teams of four members each.  I was invited by three Singaporean colleagues and friendsChiang, Kim, and Tze Yoke – to be the fourth member of their group.  These people have been very good to me at work so I was just too happy to say yes.

The first order of business on challenge day – today – was to come up with a team name, and around it create and make a design incorporating the “five maritime elements” (say what?!).

They asked me if I had a team name in mind.  It just occurred to me, “3+1.”  We’re Team 3+1 – three Singaporeans and one Filipino!  And then I played with the initials of our names and thought that given the industry where we come from, the resulting acronym sounded apropos – TeCK.  So we became Team “TeCK 3+1.”

But besides committing to our blank canvass of bibs the images of very-primary school-artwork-caliber fish, seaweed, jellyfish and starfish, Tze Yoke suddenly floated the idea of prefixing the decided team name with the word “Aqua.”  My immediate reaction was that he was going for an explicit expression of affinity to water, probably the only maritime element we’re certain of (out of the possible five).  Then I wrote the name down on the bib and it made so much more sense to me.

AquaTeCK 3+1.  Now I get it.  Haha!

My Team and I, waiting for the Resorts World Sentosa bus.

 

Let's try that group photo one more time. Here I am with Kim, Chiang, and Tze Yoke.

 

The shoes!

 

Starting to work on our challenge bibs

 

Our challenge bibs are done! Team "AquaTeCK 3+1" is now raring to go!

 

(To be continued…)

 

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Whatever

21 04 2012

"Will the rain stop?"... My colleague and friend, Heng Yie, on the sidelines, Team WHATEVER vs. Team SYNERGY League Match, Soccer Carnival, St. Wilfrid Sports Complex, St. George's Road, Singapore, 21 April 2012

IT IS not my nature to commit in halves.  It is either I commit, or I don’t.  So when I pledged my support to my colleagues and friends that I would be there to see them bend it like Beckham, I meant to be there for all of them – for the guys last Sunday and for the girls earlier today.

Though I don’t think I’d hear the end of it from Kiddo.  She pointed out how shamelessly late I was.  I blamed it on the rain.  I don’t remember her actual reaction.  But from the looks of it, she could have very well just told me, “WHATEVER!”

Soccer has never been my spectator sport of choice.  Track and field is my favorite, having toyed with the illusion of becoming a world-famous sprinter.  But a couple of weekends spent watching these brainy individuals – I’ve already declared how much I look up to most of them – morph into goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, and strikers, gave me a deeper appreciation of the sport.

Not to mention a higher level of respect for colleagues and friends who clearly are so much more than computer programs, data analysis, resource allocation, and fault isolation that, in the nature of their jobs, often goes to dimensions in the order of tens of thousandths of the thickness of human hair.

The fact that soccer is quite a physically demanding sport; these girls – much like their Head Coach Kelvin and the rest of the guys in Sunday’s matches – were willing to risk limb and flawless skin in the name of the game.  Pulling a muscle the wrong way, tumbling several times on the green artificial turf, and sustaining cuts and bruises were all just part of their end goal in mind – to win this year’s championship crown.

It was no easy feat.  It took all of seven matches – five league, one semi-final, and the final – and a lot of goal-creating opportunities, actual shots taken, passes, interceptions, and quite a number of tackles before the Team clinched victory.  And the defending champions, who clearly came in to the field with targets on their back from just about every other participating team, didn’t make it easy either.  Every match always turned out to be one good fight.

Each was so good that not even the rain that came pouring down very early in the morning – which for hours didn’t show any signs of letting up – was enough to put a dent on the day.  Sure, it drenched the field and soaked the players in their jerseys.  But that was all that it dampened – definitely not the spirits.

I went to the soccer carnival excited to see my friends play, and by the time the program was through, I took away with me a truth so clear, it was in sharp contrast to the overcast sky.

Whatever your language, whatever your nationality, whatever you do, when you work with your team and you put your heart into it, together you can all win.  Remember, WHATEVER.

Congratulations to Team WHATEVER for winning this year’s Soccer Carnival!  I’m so proud of all of you!

"We Are The Champions"... Mitch, Shan Shan, Kia Leh, Marge, Bee Lian, Evone, Joyce, Cheng Cheng, Suk Li, and Team Captain, Kwai Han.

Getting ready for one big fight!

One... Two... Three... WHATEVER!!!

"Of course, we can win this next one!"

A smile to the camera from Shan Shan. Her delicate frame and sweet smile belie how much of an aggressive striker she could be on the field!

Shan Shan in action

Shan Shan dribbles.

Maneuvering some more

Shan Shan kicks the ball in.

"The ball is mine!"

Shan Shan sees an opening and scores!

Cheng Cheng rejoices!

 

One Ball to rule them all, One Ball to fight over. One Ball to bring them all, and in the pouring rain on the field, bind them.

Kiddo, patiently waiting in the wings.

Kia Leh and Kwai Han. I saw them form "91" with their jersey numbers. That was the year I graduated from high school... at the top of my class. Har har har!

Winning five straight matches (so far) could take its toll. The girls would take very quick power breaks in between.

Kia Leh is a fireball of energy on the green.

This photo of Kwai Han has the feel of a shampoo or a beauty soap ad. Seriously!

I told her about it and the self-effacing person that I've always known her to be made this cute face. Of course that's Kiddo Kia Leh in the background.

As Kwai Han proved, they are more than just pretty faces. They are fun, fab, but at the same time fearless. And in this shot, kind of fierce. Rawrrrrr!

Joyce, Kia Leh and Kwai Han battle it out for control of the ball.

Shan Shan, Kia Leh and Michelle charge to convert this goal-creating moment.

Goooaaal!!! Team WHATEVER scores!

Joyce, Kwai Han, Eone, Kia Leh and Cheng Cheng protect the goal.

A head butt interception from Eone saves the day! Haha!

Mitch!

Michelle, Cheng Cheng and Shan Shan charge forward!

Michelle is determined to meet the blues head on.

Score!!!

Bee Lian rejoices!

Cheng Cheng looks at the ball as if telling it, "Cooperate or else. Either way, you'll get good kicking from me!"

Cheng cheng intercepts and successfully stops the ball on its tracks.

Now, it is mine!

"If you want it, come and get it." Cheng cheng prepares to fight over the ball.

Cheng Cheng is one of the girls who sustained some injury during the games. Here, she is attended by both Bee Lian and a staff of the Medical Team.

Be Lian said that she has a built-in camera detector. She knows whenever she needs to flash her megawatt smile. Here, she realizes I was covering the moment and beams, some of the players and the supporters, including the injured Cheng Cheng couldn't help but smile as well.

A fleet of supporters is important to any sports team. Or sometimes, that ONE SUPPORTER is all that matters.

11 + 3 = 1

Don't be afraid. You can play this game.

Team WHATEVER enjoyed the loyal support of colleagues and friends like Kok Wah, Chee Hou, and Heng Yie.

Not even the non-stop rain could keep Jellyn and everybody else from supporting the team.

The team could definitely count on Eric, Heng Yie, Chee Hou, Way Hung, Ee Xyan, and Jellyn to be there.

All the pretty ladies! Who run the world?! Girls! Hehe...

Some of the guys jumped in - Chee Sian, Assistant Coach Der Zhan, and Chee Hou.

Yu Ting was clowning around and finally made it to the group shot. Haha!

Let's hear it for the boys!

Once more with the girls

There's a Team WHATEVER because there's a Head Coach Kelvin.

Kelvin, the cool coach, here wearing his cool Oakley sunnies.

Coach Kelvin keeps a close watch on the team's moves.

Kelvin is quite the cool coach. I think I was more hyper than he was. Haha!

Coach Kelvin and Team PE Player, Wee Hee.

Coach Kelvin confers with Wee Hee while Adam captures the action in still.

 

This is Adam, who used to be one of my engineers in the Philippines. Here, he comes across to me as the photography enthusiast that he really is!

 

The Sunday prior, these guys, Timothy, Kelvin and Wee Hee, went to the field to play. They came back to officially officiate in the matches. Though I guess a part of them was silently cheering for Team WHATEVER. Haha!

 

One of the supporters who came was my good friend Way Hung, who I learned, through this shirt, to be Team WHATEVER's Kwai Han's secondary school classmate in Perak, Malaysia. Friendships do last.

 

See there, Kwai Han!

 

And that's his, Way Hung!

 

While I did assume that Kelvin will just be all too happy to teach me how to play, I won't mind being coached by this guy. I call this photo, "Way Hung and his Power Kick". I first saw just what he could unleash with one kick of that ball on the practice field at Kallang Community Center. You wouldn't want to be at the receiving end of that kick. Haha!

 

Okay, let's try something else fancy.

 

A dribble here...

 

...and there.

 

See that?!

 

And that's how you play.

 

Of course I attempted...

 

But my best contribution would be to pick up the balls after the real athletes!

 

So I just went on to have my photos taken with some of these lovely, beautiful, interesting people I saw on the field. Here, with Shan Shan.

 

With Coach Kelvin!

 

With Kwai Han

 

With my own coach (haha!), Way Hung. And oh, I haven't acknowledged yet the special participation of Mickey Mouse. Haha!

 

Me and someone else's umbrella which I picked up from the pile on the green. Don't worry, I made sure I returned it.

 

Way Hung, Yong Run, eNTeNG

 

With Karen who was doing emceeing duties for the second time around. Good job, Karen!

 

With one of the nicest and loveliest people in the office, Joey! See that on her arm? Artwork! People do have a fun side to them. Body painting looked great on her.

 

A few more action shots. Here with Shan Shan, Cheng Cheng and Mitch. Good deflection by Shan Shan!

Shan Shan and Kwai Han team up to show their opponents just how it is done.

 

 

See what I mean!

 

Shan Shan is now in control.

 

Sports Superstars have a veritable fan base. Here, Team WHATEVER poses with their very own!

 

Let's try that one more time!

 

There would be a number of cameras flashing all at the same time everytime these girls and their supporters strike pose that we sometimes wouldn't know if we were done or not. Haha!

 

Bee Lian said that she has a "built-in camera detector". She knows when the lens is being trained upon her sight. I have to say it is true. Here, she knew exactly I was trying to steal a shot. (Way Hung, why so serious?! Hehe...)

 

Ladies and gentlemen, Beyonce!!! "All the single ladies... All the single ladies..."

 

Kwai Han, Kia Leh, Assistant Coach Der Zhan, and Joyce

 

How can the really gloomy sky bring anyone's spirits down when smiles are this bright?!

 

Shan Shan... Milo should be paying you for this photo. You could very well be their new endorser!

 

I have to say, Team WHATEVER had the hugest loyal following that day!

 

After 17 matches on the field, everything boiled down to these final two matches.

 

Team WHATEVER takes on last year's champions, Synergy. Go Team WHATEVER!!!

 

The road to victory...

 

They even clinched a special title, that of the highest-scoring team!

 

What is their hands saying? Oh yeah, number one!!!

 

Here they are joined by the two guys who really helped make this all happen, Assistant Coach Der Zhan, and Head Coach, the Kelvin!

 

Everybody now joins in on the celebration!

 

Celebrate good times. Come on!

 

Presenting this year's Soccer Carnival Champions, Team WHATEVER!

 

On top of their medals, the girls received a special award for being the highest-scoring team.

 

The taste of victory!

 

Der Zhan, Timothy, and Kelvin

 

Clearly, a part of this victory is offered by the girls to their friends and supporters.

 

The girls get movie vouchers for scoring the highest!

 

Suk Lee even won a lucky draw prize!!! She got the 10th in an array of 15 prizes.

 

Kwai Han and her medal

 

Can you handle this?!

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





The Artist

20 04 2012

THIS POST is not about Jean Dujardin.  Though he was my bet for Best Actor at this year’s Oscars.  And he won.

I’ve always believed that we should surround ourselves with people who help bring out the best in us.  These are the kind of people who help nurture the best things that we like about ourselves.  And oftentimes, those who manage to do just that are actually those we silently aspire to be.

I found three of them here in Singapore.  Well, actually, when I really think about it, it is more like I “re-discovered” them here in the Lion City.  They’ve always been friends from way back.  But we just move around in very different circles.

Being here in Singapore really brought us together.  They all even agreed to back me up on this song number that I did at a program at work.  I mean, instead of shooting down my idea, all I heard was something like, “Okay, eNTeNG, if you want to sing, I’ll play the box drum.  Nathan and Tenz can play the guitars.  You can do ‘Rolling in the Deep’.”

One of the guitarists, Tenz, is who I call as The Artist in this group.

So before he even contemplates about charging an arm and a leg for his work, I wanted to make sure he renders my likeness onto my medium of choice.  Which, on the first opportune time – right after a marathon meeting – was a page on my work notebook.  I nudged him to doodle.  And I made sure he autographed his work.  Haha!

eNTeNG, a sketch by Tenz

Soon after, toying with my delusions of privilege, I “commissioned” him to make me a couple more.  I would look at all three from time to time and realize that my friend Tenz was able to capture my ever-evolving hairstyle and my growing collection of spectacles that are the extension of the many personalities that make me up.

eNTeNG, The Host, artwork by Tenz

 

The Artist calls the newest one as "New Hairstyle" eNTeNG!

I love these so much that they now occupy their rightful place on my office wall.  I can’t wait to see what The Artist can do with color.

One of his influences on me is this pair of shoes, which, when I saw on his feet, I just got to have!

 

I was already back home when I got to really pay attention to what was on the pair I got: "You never truly know someone until you have walked a mile in his shoes." 'Nuf said!

 

My really good friend, Tenz.

 

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





I’ve been keeping all the letters that I wrote to you

18 04 2012

I THINK this is the longest I have gone without going back for a weekend at home.

But as one of my most favorite quotes from a TV series says, “But it’s comforting to know, the ones you really love are always in your heart.  And if you’re very lucky…  a plane ride away.”

eNTeNG and the wheels

 

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





From the sidelines: Moments at a soccer carnival

17 04 2012

My good friend Kelvin was particularly inspired in all five matches. Anyone can see that it was with very good reason.

THE VICARIOUS THRILL of a spectator sport like soccer is the kind of rush that can shoot right through your cerebellum convolutions, form an upsurge of emotion in your arterial system, and make you clench your fist as you prepare to release your brewing manifestation of plain and unequivocal support and pride for one team, in one unbridled cry, “Go Team PE-E-E-E-E-E!!!

Quite obviously, you can tell I went to the Soccer Carnival to show my support.  That, and my fierce loyalty.  And you can tell for which team.

Those who can, do.  Those who cannot – like me – spectate.  I love being a spectator.

Or in the case of some of these wonderful people, just show not only their support but also their love.  (Wow!)

Or, still for others, just wait for their own time on the field.

This was where it all happened - St. Wilfrid Sports Complex, St. George's Road, Singapore.

 

A spectator can't go around running and screaming at the top of his lungs on an empty stomach! Since St. Wilfrid didn't have a cafeteria, I had to cross the street to the nearest 7-11 and get my fill. A bowl of instant noodles and jasmine green tea. Good enough for me. Five minutes and I was back on the field.

 

My trusty Adidas Samba, having stood on puddles of muddy water and grass on the sidelines, was in on all the action!

 

Present to support their friends are these lovely, brainy ladies - Chiet Yen, Cheng Cheng, and Ee Xyan.

 

A closer shot with the girls.

 

Yu Ting, Way Hung, Cheng Cheng and Chiet Yen

 

Stepping out of the white line: Yong Run, Way Hung, Kok Wah, Jeck, and Yu Ting (at the back)

 

As fields became free as teams got eliminated one by one, I had the chance to make some kicks of my own.

 

I was told to make a direct free kick.

 

Getting last minute instructions from Yong Run

 

eNTeNG makes the approach...

 

...delivers the kick...

 

...and scores! The crowd goes wild!!!

 

With Karen

 

With Yong Run

 

With Rohit and his medal

 

With very good friend Wee Sern. For this day at the soccer field, I wore a T-Shirt by Topman, khaki shorts by Topman, dark brown genuine cowhide leather belt by Esprit, Adidas Samba in classic black and white, Ray-Ban Classic Wayfarers in Black, Style in Play eau de toilette by Lacoste, and Incursore Automatic Swiss Made wristwatch by Glycine.

 

Gotta stretch in between!

 

Such a beautiful couple!

 

Someone sure is proud of that medal.

 

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Bend it like Team PE

16 04 2012

Adidas StarLancer Soccer Ball, on the soccer field at St. Wilfrid Sports Complex, St. George's Road, Singapore, 15 April 2012

SPORTS BUILDS character.  It encourages the quest for personal excellence, nurtures one’s talents, and allows one to develop an appreciation for teamwork towards a common goal.  In a game of sports, one who has trained hard, persevered, and is never afraid to dream with his team, wins.  The game of life is not so different.

Team PE!

 

Some of the members of Team PE include Wee Hee, Bryan, Suan Bin, Nick Chee, Timothy, Wee Sern and Shuai.

 

Finally, Kelvin made it to the group shot!

 

Kelvin is fifth from the left.

That is why I have the utmost respect and admiration for those who do excel in sports.  And in the case of these guys I just watched today – who all donned jerseys that brought to mind the home colours of Manchester City F.C. – I couldn’t help but be in awe.  I kept reminding myself that most of them, if not all, are colleagues I look up to at work.  They come from a group whose value to the organization is undeniable technical expertise in their field.

And today, I got to see them bend it like Beckham.  I cheered them on, while silently, a part of me wanted to scratch my head, look up in the great blue sky – Mother Nature cooperated! – and wonder, “Why am I not as good as these people?!”

Or, not as well-rounded.  That’s yet another thing that sports gives to a person – many wonderful, amazing sides, quite a number of enviable facets.

And undoubtedly, a maturity to see past penalty kicks.  Celebrate the camaraderie.  Celebrate one another.

Congratulations, Team PE!  You didn’t make me want to bend it like Beckham.  You made me want to bend it like you.

This is also a team from our group!

 

In Action: Wee Hee

 

Surveying the scene and strategizing: Kelvin

 

Wee Sern, the goalkeeper!

 

Team PE protects the goal then charges!

 

Suan Bin makes this goal!

 

Timothy makes one too!

 

Shuai makes an attempt too!

 

Yong Run

 

Shuai, in between matches.

 

Nick Chee

 

Suan Bin

 

Nick Chee

 

Kelvin is down! (His minutes in the field were so action-packed, I would call him Action King, Kelvin!)

 

A minute at the sidelines: Suan Bin, Shuai, and Bryan.

 

Timothy makes a go for it!

 

Kelvin does too!

 

Suan Bin sees an opening!

 

Wee Hee swooshes past the red shirts!

 

This yellow cone marks the spot.

 

A field of dreams

 

Timothy, Bryan, Shuai

 

Suan Bin, Wee Sern, Wee Hee

 

Bryan

 

Orange cone marks another spot.

 

It's the final match!

 

Go Team PE!

 

A corner kick from Suan Bin!

 

Blue and red trying to win the ball

 

Getting ready for their medals!

 

Good job, guys! Congratulations!

 

eNTeNG with good friend Wee Sern

 

eNTeNG with good friends Wee Sern and Kelvin

 

eNTeNG with hawker center buddy and good friend, Yong Run, and of course, Kelvin!

 

eNTeNG with good friend, Rohit! Their team copped the championship. Happy for them too.

 

With the lovely Karen who emceed the event.

 

Again, C-O-N-G-R-A-T-U-L-A-T-I-O-N-S to Team PE! I'm so proud of you guys!!!

 

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Soccer but only on my feet

15 04 2012

My current pair of Adidas Samba, happy to finally be on familiar ground, the soccer field.

THESE SHOES are so popular that they have transcended the indoor soccer training courts and have crossed over to fashion.  They actually found their way to my feet in 2003, much thanks to the influence of my then acquaintance, now really great friend, the Michael J. Fisher.

Last week, my current pair, the most popular color scheme in black with three stripes in white, must’ve thanked its lucky stars that I’ve finally brought it to familiar territory – the soccer field at the complex on St. Georges Road near the office.  It was my colleagues’ practice in preparation for our company’s Annual Soccer Carnival happening very early today.

I wish I knew how to play.  I guess I will have to take lessons under one of my good friends Kelvin or Wee Sern.

But for now, my affinity to the sport will be limited to the Adidas Samba on my feet.

My first ever pair in 2003 was in this color scheme. Navy blue with white stripes. I've had Adidas Samba in various other color combo iterations.

 

A view of the soccer field, captured on my Blackberry Bold 9780.

 

Those are my colleagues and friends playing soccer in the background. I shall forever remain to be the ultimate supporter!

 

I found these Adidas books at one bookstore that has since closed shop here in Singapore. It is a "brand" book and talks about history, collections, and, oh yeah, the complete collections!

 

One of the Adidas books has my great friend Michael's name written all over it. It shall find its way to him halfway around the world. The Louis Vuitton is an extensive and voluminous catalogue that the sales associate gave me the last time I was at their ION Orchard store.

 

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Home is where the art is

14 04 2012

TO HAVE a “happy place”, here in Singapore, is quite important.  It’s that one place you can go to for a much-needed respite from the daily grind of work.  It’s that one place you can go to to drown out the maddening crowd.  Or simply, true to the name I’ve been calling it; it’s that one place that can make you happy.

(Not that your sole happiness will depend on it.  I just have to get that out there because as I write this, I could hear my good friend DJ Raoul’s voice ringing in my head, “eNTeNG, you don’t have to depend on others for your happiness.  You have a lot to be happy about being yourself.”  Haha!)

For the longest time, my closest friends have known that my proverbial happy place has been ION Orchard, where I’d ogle at timepieces I couldn’t afford until my eyeballs pop out of their sockets.

Lately, it’s been IKEA.  The title alone of my previous post gives my emotion away, “IKEA is the love.”

The one thing I’ve learned about making trips to IKEA is that I have to go there armed with a list.  Clutching the list in one hand, I would almost always find myself thumping my chest with the other (hand) as I remind myself of my personal injunction, “Stick to the list!”

Well, that’s kind of hard to do.  You see, while others could get lost and feel their spirits rise by looking deep into someone else’s eyes, I get that high while staring at kitchen implements that are so affordable as evidenced by their price tags, while so chic for having hard-to-pronounce designer names associated with them.

Always, a debate would ensue in my head as I fixed the objects of my affection with a deep, almost longing stare while I weigh in the merits of the dilemma at hand, “The colander at S$ 13.90, or the strainer at S$ 12.90?”

I heart IKEA.

I can hear the ticking of a clock from a mile away. Haha! These are in stainless steel, not just steel finish.

I really have a thing for anything that goes ticktock.

Study table and single-column shelving, both in black. Back home in the Philippines, my study table is still the one that was a hand-me-down from my eldest brother.

This has a very country feel to me. I'd love to have this outdoor shelving for back home in the Philippines.

A chest of three drawers, in red. I want this.

"Mirror, mirror..." ...Make that, mirrors!

I know someone who would love this black room.

I would love to have one wall in my room converted to a floor-to-ceiling mirror.

My Mama may not like the design, but she will like that it's pink.

I call this the White Room.

I call this lighting fixture the Daisy Chandelier.

Getting up close. I love the intricate details of this piece. It reminded me of a challenge on "Top Design" wherein the contestants had to make interiors that revolve around and showcase key pieces from the Swarovski Crystal Chandelier Collection.

I moved even closer and suddenly, it was Christmas.

This white wardrobe is nice!

I love the contrast of the red throw pillows against the pristine white one-seater at the back.

This bedroom has a very country, Cath Kidston kind of look. I think Daphne Oseña Paez will approve.

I wear stuff for sentimental reasons. I wear only those that mean something to me.

A white screen. I saw this and got reminded of all those film noir movies that Batman gave me DVDs of.

Clothes racks. So many to choose from! The ultimate consideration? While these are packed flat, disassembled actually, weight and size are considerations for the transport back. Haha!

I want this newspaper rack. If I could only have it on the wall of any living space I occupy, wherever I may be.

I didn't bother to turn the tag and read the fine print. But I touched this and it had the feel of stainless steel to me.

This is a miniature set meant to encourage kids to develop love or skills for culinary arts. During my time, I didn't need these. I was cooking full meals by the time I was 10.

I could stay in this section for hours and wouldn't mind. Haha!

You can never go wrong with pristine white service!

Parang SM Bonus lang! (As if it's just SM Bonus! / Has the feel of SM Bonus!... "Bonus" is the house brand of the Philippines's biggest department store and supermarket chain, SM.)

Last year, I got this for one of my closest friends, who happens to have that as a nickname.

Enter the Dragon!... My youngest brother is a dragon. So I'm definitely getting this for him and his family.

What I would've given to have had a burner and fresh produce to cook that very moment!

The colander of my dreams! Haha!

Grate it to me gently...

Take your pick of your weapon of culinary distinction.

Colorful cupcake liners. Of course, Sonja Ocampo came to mind! I think these will make perfect presents for her.

Color and the element of time. Two of my faves in one product. Nice.

Sealing clips. I got some of these as a present in the past. From my brother. He knew I wouldn't throw away a crumb from the bottom of a bag. So I needed clips!

This steamer insert fits perfectly on to a pot I already have. So naturally, I snapped it up! For what do I have this hankering for a steamer? I want steamed, soft "Kopitiam" white bread on to which I will slather dollops of ice-cold LURPAK butter that will just melt and slide down the sides. Yum!

Yes, the bathroom could get very busy.

So lovin' this red wall.

The first time I saw this, I had to do a double take. I thought it said, "How to create your own SELF." Hahaha!

I hoarded these hangers the first time I saw them!

Yey! Finally, the clothes hangers of my dreams!

4 pieces for S$ 1.00!?!?!? Gotts love that! I HOARDED! Hahaha!

Sea of lights! It's the lighting section!

Has anybody ever gotten crazy just looking at ceiling lamps? I felt like I did. Haha!

Any one of these can add a splash of color in monochromatic interiors.

Just in case anybody forgets it is the Year of the Dragon!

I saw this and realized that I should've gotten this for the Year of the Dragon event we had in the office over a month back. Oh well...

I find paper lamps like these not only very Japanese-inspired, but also, more specifically, Zen-like in design. I first laid eyes on one of these in a garage sale in the States. I snapped up all the lamps laid out, and to this day, still have all of those. My favorite happens to be a table paper lamp that now has an off-white look to it.

Flower bowls! If I remember correctly, these are available in either plastic or steel. They're pretty but I don't think I'd put one on my dining table.

It's the self-serve furniture area! Yey!

This section NEVER fails to overwhelm me! It has the feel of Costco, or Sam's Club.

The BILLY Bookcase! (The name of the person I work with on my new project happens to be... Billy!)

I'm lovin' the look of these black and white side tables. I actually went nuts thinking I should get them just to pile them up at home. Haha!

The even shelves

The odd shelves

Follow your road... to check-out. Haha!

This wall panel caught my eye from a distance.

Up close, this wall panel kept my attention! It was so damn lovely that I wanted to take it home with me that very second.

IKEA Family. Of course, I applied!

After getting my membership upgraded, I went to the wrapping station to secure my stuff. I did get some bulky items and I challenged myself that if I'd wrap them well, I could take the bus instead of the cab. Ha!

I knew I needed these! And this is one thing I love about IKEA!

When you pay for the extra fittings, you're actually making a donation to a good cause. Ain't that nice!

I got this much!

After the check-out, you can choose to make a quick stop for snacks at this fastfood section. Again, this reminds me of Costco.

Just the essentials...

This is how easy it is to shop at IKEA.

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





IKEA is the love

9 04 2012

ANY HOME need – like this stubbornly unyielding thought of a clothes rack I could get on the cheap or haunting images of pristine white clothes hangers that sell at four for S$ 1.00 – is good enough reason to hop on the 27 that stops behind my block, taking me to IKEA Tampines in no time at all.

IKEA at 60 Tampines North Drive 2, Singapore 528764

 

Me on my first ever trip to IKEA

 

Welcome to IKEA! See, they're open up to 11:00 PM... DAILY!

 

Welcome to IKEA Tampines!

And once within the hallowed walls of the world’s largest furniture retailer’s imposing structure off on Tampines North Drive 2, I have to make the requisite stop at the Swedish Food Market and at the Restaurant & Café.  Any efforts at home improvement would prove futile when done on an empty stomach.  Take my word for it.

IKEA Restaurant & Café

 

April specials. Some are available up to 10:00 PM! Gotta love that.

 

Gravad lax plate

 

Organic pasta with tomato sauce & Swedish meatballs

Besides, how could you resist Swedish Meatballs?  Well, honestly you could.  Because before this trip, I have always shunned speckling the top of my Organic Pasta with Tomato Sauce with these coveted rounded tender morsels of beef and pork, prompting one of my best friends to SMS in horror, “What?!  You went to IKEA and didn’t have the Swedish Meatballs?”

So on yesterday’s trip, I made good on this resolution to finally give it a try.

The first thing that strikes you about the IKEA restaurant is that it could get crazy in there.  With the sheer number of people alone waiting for tables to free up, you would feel thankful that while it could take all the time up to when the cup of coffee you got for 50 cents freezes over, it is, like some of the other drinks, refillable.

Some drinks are refillable. I forgot to try the Lingonberry! I take that that is very Swedish. I like it that IKEA uses UTZ CERTIFIED coffee.

 

IKEA's three-tier food cart

I took the store’s signature three-tier food cart, walked at a leisurely pace unperturbed at the thought that I was flying solo and didn’t have anybody to save me a seat, and walked up to the end of the queue under which the sign says, “Line 1.”  The queue is formed right beside where I would always get the cup for my refillable coffee, just right before the row of refrigerated counters that dole out, among other sumptuous treats, one which has proven to be impossible to forget – the Cardamom muffin.

Impossible to forget - the Cardamom muffin. I had this on my first ever time at IKEA.

 

Salads & Cakes

 

Hot meal counter

This time, I didn’t fancy any of the lovely packed salads they had on display – Smoked Chicken or a Gravad Lax plate – as I could hear the meatballs calling my name from the adjacent counter where the hot meals are dished out.  So I got the Organic Pasta with Tomato Sauce & Swedish Meatballs, and its mini-me called Kid’s Meal Pasta with Tomato Sauce.  The invisible human conveyor I was on makes a turn to the right where the soup station is.  But before ladling in to a shallow bowl the Cream of Mushroom Soup chockful with chunks of wild mushrooms – I espied oyster, cremini, and shiitake – I got a couple of the rolls and three 10-gram packs of LURPAK unsalted butter.  Everything is better with lots of butter!

From the counters to my tray!

I moved on to the cashier and for everything in my cart, paid S$ 14.30.  I couldn’t wait to dig in.

The sauce for the organic pasta was very resonant with the strong flavors of dried herbs.  I picked that out clearly and easily from the mishmash of flavors and textures since I have recently re-acquainted my palate with the subtle nuances of fresh sweet basil leaves, quite a delicate whiff the moment they hit the heat from a bubbling sauce.  But while I did find the dried herbs in the sauce to be a bit strong, it didn’t take away from the culinary pleasure I was deriving from piercing the al dente penne with the tines of my fork, alternating it with the diced tomatoes and carrots that were swimming in the sauce.  The meatballs, I gobbled up on their own, or a couple of times, stained with the robust and hearty sauce.  Yum.  I cleaned the second plate, the “Kid’s Meal” version, in no time, shameless that I was like eating for more than one person.  Crazy.

Organic pasta with tomato sauce & Swedish meatballs

 

My plate of "seconds" - the Kid's Meal version of the organic pasta with taomato sauce

 

Usually, I would just have it plain as it is, no Swedish meatballs.

 

I've also had it with salmon.

 

Cream of mushroom soup, chockful with all of those bits of wild mushrooms!

 

Two rolls are better than one!

Yes, didn’t I say it could get crazy in there at the IKEA restaurant?  It took me quite some time to lay claim on free dining space.  And when I did, I had to move away from my captive table and chairs to ask for assistance from the staff to bus the table.  From time to time, I had to glance back to ensure that no one else could think even for a second that they had dibs on what I had already found.  But someone did approach.  But when he saw I had already found it first, he moved away, back to his also searching girlfriend.

Whoever said, “Share a table and win a friend” made a believer in me.  So I politely asked the couple if they wouldn’t mind sharing the table with me.  They smiled and took the free seats.  I told them that I shall refer to them as the cute couple with whom I shared a table at IKEA.  (Later, they were joined by the girl’s mom.  I assume she was the girl’s.)

I went to IKEA to get stuff, but had to eat, and made nice acquaintances.  And I finally made good on a promise to try something new.  Ain’t life sweet?

This customer feedback section is near the cashiers.

 

Everytime I see this, I get reminded to put up one at my desk. Haha!

 

See You Soon!

 

IKEA at dusk

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved