17 10 2012

AS HUMAN beings, we are confronted everyday by subtle and direct reminders of our own mortality.

On the pages of the free paper handed to us as we rush to our morning train.

On the ticker tape that runs across the TV screen.

On alerts we get on our mobile.

Somehow, we couldn’t care less about any of these.  In the flurry of the many things that render truth to the claim of having yet another one of those busy days, we couldn’t care.  It’s just everyday news.  Well, not until it hits close enough to home that we realize we are indeed human.  We are mere mortals.

I came to work today hearing about a colleague who passed away last night.  I didn’t know him personally.  But I felt a deep sense of loss over a young life taken way too soon.  I read what his manager had to say about him, and I grasped a little more understanding of the kind of shock and sadness the group he left behind must be feeling.

For all that modern–day technology has made to make the world small, the fact still remains that we move in a big world where our existence may seem to not matter.  Where we unknowingly waste our time dwelling in negativity, worrying about what other people think about us, bothering ourselves with what other people say about us.  If there’s one thing my colleague’s leaving this world tells me, it is that life is too short.  Too short to spend on negativity and sweating the small stuff.

And one more thing – that no matter how we may feel about our own selves, we are actually important and special to those who really know us.  And that when we are gone, we – and whatever our existence had made possible for others – will be missed.

I didn’t know this colleague of mine personally.  But tonight I pray for the eternal repose of his soul.

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

In this context pronounced with an H

8 10 2012

I GREW up knowing that my brothers and I need to put on our Sunday best – no matter how simple they actually were.  I mean, they were clearly looks that couldn’t claim affinity with the Ralph Lauren double-page spread-of-the-moment or feel like they have just leapt off of the pages of GQ.  I mean, we just had to dress up to make ourselves presentable to God.  Like, we wanted to be on His good side.  Not that He ever looked at how we looked.

But wait, I did spend my afternoons off from school playing chess or writing my pieces for the school paper in Ralph Lauren Classic Pique Polo Shirts.  Oh well, the perks of having a grandmother based in Northern America.  But I digress.

So now that I’m old – notice that I say “old” and not “older” – it’s one thing I think I still do.  When I go to a store and do intend to seriously spend time going through their wares, I put on an item of theirs – granted I do have such.  I find that it helps build goodwill with the Sales Associates.

For dinner on Saturday, I changed into my Water Cube DRI–FIT shirt from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games because we made the plan to accompany Bin (who’s from China).

And so for breakfast on Sunday, I put on my Adidas UEFA EURO 2008 shirt with the colors of the Italian flag.  Not only does it state the obvious that Kiddo’s guest, Claudio, is from Italy but it also always reminds me of food.  I’m not referring to the obvious – Italy is to pasta.  I’m calling attention to what the colors of the flag bring to mind – Insalata Caprese.

You can say I did put on appropriate shirts.  It’s just like paying… what’s the word for it?…  Oh, in this context it is pronounced with an H.

Now that is stating the obvious.

Wearing my Adidas UEFA EURO 2008 Italy shirt, on board the Green Line, on my way to Bedok.


Easily one of my favorite shirts


I’ve got the bag too. Haha!


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

Bike Bin Bike!

7 10 2012

THE CUTEST OF BIKES. This bike traveled 2361.90 miles to roam the beautiful streets of Singapore. It traveled neatly folded in luggage!

HINDSIGHT REALLY is 20/20 vision.  I should’ve learned how to bike.

Because if I did, then I would probably be somewhere along Yishun – halfway on an eight-hour trail – spending a great time bonding with my friends Kiddo (Kia Leh), Claudio and Bin.  But I don’t know how to bike and never paid attention to anybody who attempted to teach me as a kid all those summers I spent vacationing with Mommy (my grandmother).

Claudio, Kiddo and Bin


Deciding on the bike rentals


Kiddo and Claudio


Bin and his Bike


Of course I’ve got to have a photo with the bike!


Bin did the rounds of the shop thinking to get a mountain bike in place of the one he has.


In the end, Bin chose to stick it out with his own trusty, foldable two-wheeler.


Bin inquiring or negotiating something at the counter


Kiddo eventually decided on this bike. It has the number “1” on it!


Helmet for sale. Anyone?


Time check at the shop

I volunteered to just run behind them.  Clearly, it was a case of either unequivocal evidence of my faith in my own capabilities, or I was just too embarrassed to feel left out of the party, so to speak.  When I look at it another way, I feel our hanging out together is a microcosm of international understanding, of that world without strangers – Kiddo is Malaysian Chinese, Claudio is Italian, Bin is Chinese, and I am Filipino.

But true to the wise words of The ShenJun the day before, if I would trail them, I’d better be on a bus or a cab.

So while the three of them must’ve by now burned off the thousands of calories we stuffed ourselves with at Burger King, I have on the other hand reduced myself to yet again being a receptacle of all things sinfully delicious – a bar each of 3 Musketeers, Milky Way, and Ritter Sport in Espresso.  And as I write, everything in my head is looking forward to breakfast with them in about three hours.  My own love handles would soon think that I am too much for them to handle.

I couldn’t wait to hear about their stories biking in and around Singapore.  Kia Leh and Claudio on overnight rentals from a store at East Coast Park – where Bin’s planned eight-hour trail starts and ends – and Bin on just the cutest of (collapsible) bikes, something that traveled 2361.90 miles to get here.  In his luggage.

My Burger King Meal (except for the juice and one of the onion rings, which were Kiddo’s). And I wasn’t the one biking!


With Claudio


With Kia Leh a.k.a. Kiddo


As I was going to run, I saw it fit to change into a running shirt. And I decided on this one, my Water Cube shirt from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as I was hanging out with Bin!


With Bin


Now that’s an appetite!


Bin brought a couple of maps of hours-long trails!


Here’s the other route.


Ready to hit the tracks!


See you at breakfast!


Me, my SMS and I


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


From all over

5 10 2012

This is a tin of special tea that traveled the seas from the mouth of the Yangtze River to the straits of the Lion City. With a lovely note to boot!

YOU STAY on a job long enough and chances are you will have figured out for yourself the things that do matter.  Or at least, the perks.  I’ve been on my job for over 16 years now and I guess I’ve gotten a good handle on that thing that, in the midst of the daily placid mundane scenes or the grind of complexities, has kept me going.

My job allows me to contribute in a convolutedly matrixed, highly integrative, and deeply collaborative effort, sometimes without having to really leave the familiar comforts of my desk.  That also means having to work with someone you don’t necessarily have to meet in person.  I guess this is true for most of us in today’s workforce.

In the course of years, you get to know your colleagues better.  When you work together through enough challenges and really tough situations; and when you open your eyes wide and tune your ears to the finer, salient points that break through tumultuous discourse, you’d be lucky to find in some of them role models to look up to.  To emulate.

And – for lack of a better, less sentimental term – you start to care.  Care that other people do exist in this world besides yourself.

When 9/11 happened, I found myself frantically going online – insert the sound of dial-up connectivity here (haha!) – and checking on all my US–based friends.  I couldn’t care less that all the people I was worried about were on the West Coast.  It’s one of those knee-jerk reactions that seemed to make sense when your heart is pounding through your rib cage.

Whenever my place – or the whole Philippines for that matter – gets submerged after a heavy deluge of apocalyptic proportions, I do hear from them.  They ask how my family is and if they still have a roof over their heads – and not actually standing on one.  When my special day comes along, I get the best birthday wishes from all over.

And as if the Universe has been conspiring lately to grant me some of my own wishes, I’ve gotten to meet a lot of them in person – some of them for the first time ever, some of them, again.

And in of all places – Singapore!  Ain’t life unexpectedly, unexplainably beautiful sometimes?

That’s Ms. Lynda on the left, with Denice and Xu Dong. I took this photo so I’m out of the frame.


With Andy


With Melissa. She and her husband have been nice to me since I met them over nine years ago. On the card that came with the gift they gave me on the last day of my assignment in the States, they wrote about remembering me for my… songs. Haha!


With Melissa again and here, with Junwyn.


With Bin


With The ShenJun


eNTeNG, the Chilli Crab, and The ShenJun


Bin, The ShenJun, the Chilli Crab, eNTeNG, and Kia Leh


This is my good good friend of over nine years, Michael. This was taken during one of his daughter’s soccer matches. He coaches the team! Whatever fanaticism I have for the Adidas Samba, I got from him.


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


1 10 2012

I debuted my GLYCINE Incursore on a trip to Universal Studios Singapore on 22 January 2012.

AT THE recent HUBLOT event, the guy who assisted me, Kelvin, Senior Sales Executive of The Hour Glass at their Tang Plaza branch, made a very astute observation as to the wristwatch I was wearing.  You see, I made a conscious effort to wear a brand that their store carries.

“That’s a GLYCINE, right?  But it doesn’t have its original leather strap.”

GLYCINE, fresh from The Hour Glass


I really adore the crown detail on the crown. Viewed a different way, it could very well be my initial – “E” for eNTeNG.


I dress up this watch with leather bracelets. Here, I stacked it up with a FOSSIL double–tour skinny leather bracelet. I took this shot on board the Circle Line on my way to a dinner at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.

I brandished my timepiece as I launched to the story behind the change from the original deep dark brown leather strap to an all–stainless steel look.  The humidity in the Lion City could be unforgiving.  So as to preserve the original leather, I went on a frantic search for a suitable replacement – only a stainless steel bracelet would do.  Soon enough, I realized one thing – it is quite hard to look for something 24 mm in size, that doesn’t have the hollow voluminousness of tin can, and the ubiquitous look of Seiko.  (No offense meant to Seiko, as I do own several pieces from their Kinetic range.  It was just not the look I was going for.)

My search that covered the stretch of Bras Basah, all the way to the City Hall Area, and then to Raffles, culminated at ION on Orchard where I chanced upon one store that carries wristwatches from Denmark, pieces that exude “Scandinavian coolness and simplicity”.

I snapped up the one in really chunky, solid stainless steel that looked so cool and so simple, all the branding was on the timepiece’s 45–mm face and caseback – nowhere in the bracelet.  I thought to myself, all the more perfect for it to go incognito while attached to my GLYCINE.  And it is in the exact size I needed – 24 mm – not 22 that still makes the watch dangle somehow and certainly not 20 that calls attention to improvisation that should’ve been given more than just second thoughts.

I think I got props from Kelvin for my design and comfort aesthetic.  Though I do know that should I just want to satisfy my knack for contingencies, I could just go back to The Hour Glass and stock up on original GLYCINE leather straps I could place on order.

Here is the exact same GLYCINE Incursore, decked with an all–stainless steel bracelet of Scandinavian provenance – Denmark, by way of Copenhagen, to be exact.


A closer look at a somewhat transformed tick–tocker


I love how solid the bracelet links look and feel. It doesn’t hurt that they do remind me of chocolate bars. Haha!


The bracelet locks in place with a push–button clasp on a double deployant buckle.


The bracelet links are as beautiful at the back, here perfectly complementing the exhibition caseback.


See what I mean? It fits at a comfortably snug 24 mm.

I think that one of the best things about wristwatches nowadays is that it is easier to change straps.  And with the sound of the click that locks the lugs in place, a “new look” is heralded.  I think Philip Stein saw the huge potential of this feature when they came out with their wristwatches that not only have limitless options in straps – in terms of materials, textures, and colors – but also the ease of a spring mechanism to release or lock them in place.

Philip Stein Signature Large with its original lizard leather strap.

The craze over Technomarine, very early on, was warranted.  All you had to do was look at all the rubber/jelly straps on offer and you knew you wanted to have all of them.

Technomarine Apnea in red


Here is the same watch with a black strap.


Technomarine Raft Chronograph with a yellow face, in all–black


By the colors of the Italian flag


The same watch with the colors mixed and matched


The Technomarine Raft Chronograph, now in all–yellow


The exact same Raft, now really in all–yellow


Another one of my wristwatches that I’ve loved “playing” with is this nine–year–old Guess watch with an Art Deco face. I got it for a steal at ROSS in Folsom, California.


It originally came with a really supple black leather strap. But you know me, soon enough I was looking for an all–stainless bracelet. And I knew exactly what I wanted – mesh! Here is my feeble attempt at an “editorial” spread.


I really love the very Art Deco face. Well, hello gorgeous!

And at the HUBLOT Pop Up Store that day, I couldn’t be reminded any better by the wide array of choices for straps that could breathe life to that oft–heard expression, “like a kid in a candy store.”

See what I told you. I love putting my wristwatches in a V–formation.


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