I heart SQ

21 08 2012

I always take photographs of the wing of the airplane I’m on. (Wing, Boeing 777-200 Twin Jet)

WHILE MOST of my Singaporean and Malaysian friends expressed concern about my family’s welfare when monsoon rains submerged 90% of Metro Manila, I had more pressing concerns in mind.  Mama had been ill – getting confined in the hospital twice in a couple of weeks, spaced less than 12 hours apart – and just like any child thousands of miles away, I knew I’d rather be home.

Fortunately for me, I always have a Singapore Airlines ticket ready for me when I am.

I was anxious the whole time during this trip.  But somehow, flying with Singapore Airlines felt like flying with family.  On the Singapore–Manila leg (SQ918), I got my favorite seat and almost instantly, I was already home, up in the air, 30,000 feet in the skies.

Since the flight wasn’t even half-full, I could be quick to charge the impeccable inflight service to be due to the low flight attendant-to-passenger ratio.  There was plenty of attention to be spread.  But having been a loyal Singapore Airlines passenger all these years, I know better that the service was just their usual – top notch and uncompromising.  Actually, the operative word here is “usual.”  Why?  It is because they have been consistent at this excellent service level that anybody will be quick to dismiss any new experience to be – there’s that word again – the usual.

But having my anxieties brushed away, even for the three and a half hours I was airborne, I couldn’t help but feel grateful to the inflight crew.  Hui Hui (I hope I got her name right) was especially helpful that I just had to write her a thank you note.

I realized I was wandering aimlessly when I reached Gate E20 and when I looked up my flight’s boarding gate, it was E8. I was way off! It was on the other end of the terminal. Hehe.


On the way to my gate, I had to take a snapshot of Gate E5. It’s my favorite letter and number.


Whenever I pass by a mirrored wall…


Finally, Gate E8!


Comfortably ensconced in my favorite seat, the first at this section.


My favorite seat


I can’t look at this emergency door – right beside a flight attendant’s takeoff/landing station – without having images of action movies in my head. Haha!


I get all the papers available by the plane door – Financial Times (FT) Weekend, The Business Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Straits Times.


The moment I get in my seat, I work on the disembarkation card and the customs declaration.


As you can see, I always have my favorite pens with me – the Parker from my good friend Jian Cheng and the Bic from Timothy.


Amidst turbulence, I had to write down a quote from the movie I was watching.


Tiger Woods was giving me the eye. “Finish your papers, eNTeNG!”


Time check!


All of my travel papers and stuff – passport, e-Ticket, boarding pass, EP – are organized in this Muji passport holder. This was one of the first things I ever bought in Singapore.


I always travel comfortably, which this time meant my red Zappi shoes and khaki Topman shorts. My top was my five-year-old custom fit Ralph Lauren piqué polo shirt.


After the movie “The Lucky One,” I caught up on an episode of one of my favorite TV shows Grey’s Anatomy. That’s one of my favorite characters, the feisty Dr. Cristina Yang.


Dinner has landed!


I had stir fried fish in dry chilli and Chinese wine, seasonal vegetables and fried rice. For starters, I munched on a pasta salad of marinated seafood and penne.


For dessert, it was tiramisu “Ais Krim”.

The Manila–Singapore leg (SQ921) was full.  Getting yet another one of my favored seats was just half of the pleasant flight.  The other half was taken care of by the attentive, thoughtful crew.  I took note of one name – Lynn.  Again, I hope I got it right (her last name starts with H).

While some of my fellow passengers opted to drown the occasional turbulence with gin and tonic or Johnny Walker Black with orange juice, I chose to wash everything away with my favorite Campbell’s Tomato Juice.

By the second refill I heard the most beautiful words, “Would you like a whole can?”  I heard that in both flights.  I heart Singapore Airlines.

Before I knew it, it was time to go back to the Lion City.


NAIA was full! There lines everywhere.


As an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), I had to fall in line to get my papers validated.


Ladies and gentlemen, the King of Pop!… “I’m starting with the man in the mirror…”


This flight was a bit delayed, but nothing disappointing. We were kept posted on the progress. By the way, it was raining when we took off.


For inflight reading, I brought a book from my bookshelf at home, Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster by Dana Thomas.


This show “Cupcake Wars” caught my attention.


Of the many movie choices, I decided on the 80’s classic Ghostbusters starring, among many others, the very beautiful Sigourney Weaver. I remember seeing this movie as a kid.


A young Bill Murray. I still think he should’ve gotten the Oscar for “Lost in Translation.”


Finally the food has arrived!


I had couple of these warmed rolls!


Dinner is served! – pork spare ribs with preserved soya beans (rendered like a most sumptuous sauce), chicken rice (yum!), and steamed seasonal vegetables (though the menu did say Chinese mushroom).


The spare ribs were actually served boneless. The meat was really tender, moist and flavorful. Having watched enough Top Chef, I know exactly the exacting skill needed to dish out such a scrumptious meal.


I fell in love with this smoked duck and green mango salad. I have to say, I was mesmerized by the tangy dressing.


I must’ve gone through three of these. I lost count. I wouldn’t be surprised if the flight attendant would decide to start charging me. Hahaha!


Back in Singapura! This was my first time landing at Terminal 3. The place is just breathtakingly beautiful!


The place is huge!


I turn into a kid in a candy store whenever I’m faced by this Visitor Information rack. I have to say, I get my fill of the latest. Hahaha!


Please proceed to Belt 41 to claim your baggage.


I said I had fragile stuff inside. Little did I know, my luggage would get this treatment. Haha!


My excel spreadsheets at work are always colorful. So I love looking at this flight indicator board.


I love taking the last flight out of Manila all the time. Because I arrive in Singapore to a taxi queue that looks like this.


This was the lightest I have ever traveled in years. But still I managed to pack in some stuff for some special people back at my second home.


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

High on claypot

3 04 2012

Claypot Chicken Rice, at a Chinatown Hawker Center, Singapore

HERE AGAIN is the thing about my love, the Tomato Noodle Soup.  It doesn’t get jealous even when my palate has wandered.  Really wandered.  To the point of obsessing over something as simple as Claypot Chicken Rice.

The same Malaysian who brought me to Mata Thai in Bishan brought DJ Raoul, Yu Chen, and myself to this unassuming stall at the hawker center in Chinatown.  I say this one is “unassuming” but don’t they all feel unassuming to a fault?   They do, though they’re never skeptical about the value and the charming nuances of the food they dish out, hot off the fire, all for the price of a few pieces of metal that jiggle in my pocket.

The current object of my obsessive affection is rice cooked in a claypot together with tender morsels of flavorful chicken, slivers of Chinese sausage, and crisp leafy greens, spiked with bits and pieces of dried salted fish.  Everything is then doused, liberally at will, with this deep dark sauce and splashes of vegetable oil.  The image in my head is of something rustic and artisanal, yet the flavor in my tongue is of decadence – with only the leafy greens as my redemption.  Please don’t tell me the “vegetable oil” is actually chicken fat!

The DJ gets ready to whip up some culinary goodness.


Listening intently to some of Yu Chen's tips as he starts to pour the sauce.


Almost there...




They said this was good for two. I say, it depends. Haha!

I’ve been having this almost everyday now, washing it down with a tall tall T-A-L-L glass of freshly pressed sugar cane juice.  At the hawker center across the street from where I work, I found one stall that actually mixes everything up for me.  All I that is left for me to do is patiently wait, dig my chopsticks in and revel in the tempestuous satiation of a burning desire.

Well, until a new obsession comes along.

This one is from the market across the office. I always ask for "more veggies, more dried fish... more of everything." (All photos taken with my Blackberry Bold 9780)

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

Nothing like the presents

30 09 2011

Send-Off Gift from Sonja L. Ocampo, Chef and Owner, Cupcakes by Sonja, The Serendra Piazza

WE CAN think of countless good reasons under the sky for giving.  But the sweetest one may be for no reason at all.

Or when it is meant to send someone off well.

A message from Sonja. She wasn't in the store when I stopped by (it was already very late). But she had left instructions to her girls about my box of presents. Sweet =)


“Are you bringing that with you to Singapore?”

My youngest brother asked, nonchalantly, in between taking up spoonfuls of the scrumptious dinner that I made, his eyes set in a fixed glassy stare at the object in question.  I lifted my first-edition Nokia XpressMusic – its original casing cracked near the power-on button and its screen broken on the right side – and brandished it with the response, “But of course!”

A couple of days later, I got a text from him asking me to meet him up at Greenbelt 3 where he was hosting dinner for about twenty architects, engineers and interior designers who worked with him on his latest (successful) project.  I didn’t want to intrude so I asked to be met outside the restaurant.  He got out and handed me a brand new Blackberry Bold 9780.  “Thoughtful,” I immediately said to myself.  Not so much because of the gesture of giving me a gift, but more so because he knew I wouldn’t like the Blackberry Torch.  I’ve never been into sliding phones.

Actually, I’ve never been into gadgets.  With cell phones, as long as I could text and handle calls, I’m perfectly fine.  And I’ve never received one as a gift.  So I was really surprised.

Why am I thinking of this anecdote?  Yesterday marked my third month here in Singapore.  And I couldn’t help but look back to all of the presents I did receive days before I got on that Singapore Airlines flight.

Sometimes it’s nice to reminisce.  Here are some of them.

Brand new Blackberry Bold 9780 from my youngest brother. The other one, the "Curve", was for my other brother.


I love that the Blackberry came with a free holster.


Sonja makes the best cookies!


...And of course, cupcakes! They're the very reason she put up her pioneering store in the Philippines!


From Thea, an Onitsuka Tiger bag, "handmade to the highest standards!"


And from Batman himself... another Batman!



Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.