Sunday, May 29, 2011

Newton Circus Hawkers

I love eating at Hawkers. My 1st foodie encounter was at the Makansutra Gluttons Bay Hawkers center. In our first weekend at SG, I took hubby and kids there too and they loved it as well.

Hawkers are open-air food complexes that houses a variety of stalls selling inexpensive food. They are strategically located near housing estates or transportation hubs.

Our home in SG is 10-minutes away from one of the biggest Hawkers Center at the red dot -- the Newton Circus Hawkers center, at Clemenceau Avenue. Circus, being the English word for round-abouts (rotonda for us Pinoys), the Newton Hawkers makes good use of a spacious piece of land in the middle of busy Newton district of Singapore.

We arrived at 6:30 pm and the Newton center is already in full swing.

They have more stalls and spacious, covered dining area. The tables have plastic chips with numbers. When ordering, just tell them your table number and they will surely be able to find you.

Kevin and Kyla's favorite is the BBQ Chicken Wings.

While our favorite is the famous Singapore Chili Crab. Price is marked per 100 grams. We ordered the medium crab. This is good enough for 2-3 persons.

The Cereal Prawn (leff) is another staple favorite. You can order prawns in many different ways-- there is buttered prawn, salt and pepper prawn, stir fried with veggies,  shelled variety etc.

I googled the history of Hawkers in Singapore and found out that Hawkers sprung in the 1950s and 1960s and used to have a reputation for unhygienic food preparation. The government of Singapore upgraded the Hawker centers by implementing strict licensing requirements and enforcing hygiene standards. At the same time, Hawker centers were constructed around the island and equipped with sanitary facilities.

Hawker centers have now become not only a popular dining place for the locals, but also a must-try for the tourists and expats in Singapore!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

One Fine Day

I procrastinated for more than a year to write this specific blog entry, only because it's too emotional for me. I could not write about it without having tears well up in my eyes. Just like now.

But it's high time to share this and I owe it to our special son. 

This blog is in honor of Kevin's upcoming birthday.

The first graduation event we attended was Kyla's graduation from Toddler class. It's more of a moving-up day but they have all these graduation garbs, toga, photo ops, ceremonies and marching-down-the-aisle-thing anyway. When the Preparatory class marched in last, I was overwhelmed with emotion then because I could not help but think that our son should have been a part of it, given his age that time. He should have been there with those kids on their graduation day.

To an outsider, I probably look silly, standing there and fighting off the tears over some preschool graduation. I will admit that while we had come to terms with the probability then that Kevin might not make it past the traditional academic level, there were moments when the could-have-beens come to haunt me. It was that kind of a moment.

And because Kyla will actually have her graduation ceremony year-after-year until she completes Preparatory (yes, there's graduation day for Toddler, Nursery, Kindergarten too - like 4 graduations in 4 years!), it means I will have to deal with the sentiment for the next 3 years.

Fast Forward to 2010

There are mysterious happenstance in this life. Kevin entered Kyla's preschool in 2008 under Special Education program. I learned that his program is also called Social Inclusion. This gave Kevin an opportunity to socialize with school kids and help him 'imitate' the right behaviors (taking turn, listening, lining up, socializing, sharing) in a school setting. He looked like a cute big brother because he was already 8 and he had to go with the pre-schoolers' class. He enjoyed going to school and we know this because otherwise he would have thrown fits going to a place he didnt like. We didnt mind that he was with preschoolers and the other parents didnt mind too. In fact, everybody knew and loved him. Kyla's classmates call him Kuya Kevin too. And they all help look after Kevin.

By end of the school year, Kevin is finally about to have his graduation day, dressed in his burgundy graduation gown along side Kyla graduating from Preparatory. We were all very excited that day.

Everyone helped him prepare for his graduation day. We had a dress rehearsal to ensure that he wont get irritated in the long, heavy gown and so that he will be comfortable with the cap. In the morning of his graduation day, we took him to the venue so that he is familiar and "at home" with the place. They also practised a lot before school year ended but it would be safe to have him see the venue with all the trimmings. We also arrived early so that he has time to get cozy and comfortable. He happily posed along with the other kids for picture taking before the ceremony began.

And so the moment we have been waiting for was at hand. He was in a good mood that day, with Kyla (also in grad gown) constantly fluttering by beside him.

Kevin looked serious throughout the event. He probably knew it was an important day.
We were nervous about the graduation march because we knew Kevin had a thing against the long, heavy flowing gown. It was too warm for him.

And so the time came... Kevin was the last to march in from their level. Kevin walked past looking calm and confident with his gown and graduation cap in place. And for the rest of the program, he was at his best behavior, simply sitting on his place with his fellow graduates and he finished the program without fits! He even participated in all the song numbers.

When he was called to receive his Diploma and Special Award, Kevin stood up from his seat and walked up the stage on his own. Parents were asked meet their child on stage but will have to come from the other end of the stage. I gave him his batch pin and the school head handed his diploma and special award for Visual-Spatial intelligence.  Then he bowed down to the audience.  The parents applauded for him. We all knew he had come a long way. I frozed that moment in my mind.

Yes, it was indeed a most memorable moment.

Kevin received the Visual-Spatial Intelligence Award and everyone applauded when he took a bow.

It was surreal. Again, I had the tears in my eyes but this time, they were tears of happiness.

I thank God for the opportunity given to Kevin. For a space in time, he belonged and was a part of something very special.

 It was a day we will forever cherish and remember.

It was one fine day. Out of many more that I know will come.

Kevin and Kyla with their Graduation gifts

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Long Xia Zhou

Its my favorite end-of-the-week recreation. Yep, eating/dining and discovering new foodie places. And it's definitely fun spending it with my foodie friends.

This week's random find c/o Leklek was Long Xia Zhou (The Orange Lobster). Tucked at the upper level of Orchard Central, nestled along rows of Asian restos, the ambience is relaxed and ideal where you can have long conversations and enjoy good food. My friends Belle and Leklek were into this friday night dinner thing and I sorta invited myself to their duo. And then Leds and Eric joined as well.

We went to order their house specialties, with Leklek sending SMS to Belle on which dish to pick. Then we realized we ordered more than what a party of five can likely handle. Guess what? Not a crumb was left, haha.

L-R: Lobster with Porridge (their signature dish), Signature Chicken and Crispy Tofu.
Steamed Kailan hidden.

I loved the Lotus with Salted Egg for appetizer

This was Korubota Pork, another house specialty
I love their house specialty-- Lobster Porridge. We were at first stunned when huge bowls of lobster in rich stock and porridge were served. The stock was flavorful and easy on the phalate.

We skipped dessert and opted to have a post dinner coffee at Toast Box at Food Republic until the lights were finally turned off and we had to move our butts off.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Thingamajigs and Memories

Been rummaging through my old stuff and here are some interesting find which I kept in my mini casket. Although I had to (painstakingly) learn to part with my abubots through the years, there are some trinkets that reminds you of timeless memories from the days that were.

This was a gift from Nats during our R&D days... so charming that I was happy to just gaze over it instead of actually using it (!) I thought that should I use it, the gold trimmings might turn dull and it will lose its 'royal' look. 

The mint special edition silver U.S. coin was a gift for Kyla from our then-Plant Manager Doug Wood. It was given to me shortly after Kyla was born together with an Osh-Kosh Overall. The edges turned soot-y when I attempted to remove it from its plastic protective sleeve.

The Belgian lace trimmed tissue holder was a pasalubong from another R&D friend Renee.

This is the only wedding souvenir left to me (aside from ours). Ceramic Dutch Clogs from Joel-Nats Wedding. Straight from Holland. Serious!

Apparently I have this envelope full of foreign currency. I dont think these amount to much that's why I just kept it.

From our Wedding! We call this "Aras". Basket-full of gold coins. The groom gives this to the bride as a symbol of his promise to provide for the family's needs. This was a gift from my Tita who made our wedding rings.

Does anyone still remember the Goody barrettes?  They come in fancy colors and designs. Yep, still have them from my early childhood days. I still have some more other than those in the picture. I think its with Kyla.

My 2nd Daruma doll. Still waiting for a wish.

This wooden box was an exchange gift from my UST dorm days (freshman year). The giver was one of my BFF at the dorm. The thing was, she even asked me to accompany her at Blue Magic when she bought her exchange gift and I even chosed for her! The dedications from Jing and May are still visible.

No matter where I moved (from college to Ayala working gal to married woman to Plant and now in SG), this wooden casket went with me.

I had to let go of my keychains, started using my bookmark collection, discovered Kokeshi dolls and found a new collectible which Kyla has been eyeing to keep someday (my bags!!).

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Caylabne Calling

It might as well be true that last minute out-of-the-blue plans have the most probability of pushing through. Our sis Cindy had a quick weekend in Manila and we decided to have the Molina family outing last summer of 2010, to take advantange of long weekend.

Getting our first choice destination booked was a bummer because hello? long weekend and last minute reservation... all the known resorts with overnight accomodation has been booked. Not to mention I have to book for 9 people. Redemption came when I remembered to call our travel agent. I told her to simply find me any place in Luzon that can accomodate 9 peeps.

And so off we drove to Caylabne Bay Resort in Ternate, Cavite. It used to be a private club at the Ternate Cove but has long been opened to public.  They have adequate spacious villas that can accomodate up to 6 people or more. We were booked in a 1-BR villa with a living room and balcony while the parents+Jeni, son Justin and Cindy where lodged in a 2BR-villa. We were able to get this for a very reasonable price that included brekky and 1-night of complimentary dinner.

Picture of the Med Style Villas
Caylabne Resort have 3 pools including an Infinity type pool. They have Water Sports activities where you can rent kayak, banana boat etc. Alvin rented a kayak and the kids (and adults) took turn rowing with him accross the bay. They used to have facilities for an obstacle relay that is ideal for teambuilding. They took it off now. I have had at least 2 company teambuildings in Caylabne in the late 90s and mid-2000s.

Kiddos by the Bay

The Crazy Five
After 10 years, I still have a vivid image of what it used to be -- rustic yet vibrant with energy, a getaway place for families who want a weekend or holiday  -- and the picture of what it is now. Caylabne still had its old charm and niche but also needed some serious vamp-ing up. There were signs of deterioration and a make-over is a must if they are continue competing with the newer family resorts in the south. When we arrived and I strolled over the familiar spots of Caylabne,  I had an eerie feeling that reeks of isolation and lackluster. The pulsating place I knew once felt lifeless at the height of the season in the sun.

Kevin took the first Kayak ride. He looks apprehensive but ended ok.
Early morning stroll at the Breakwaters and Yatch Dock

Sissies poking at a dead jellyfish (at least, we think its a jellyfish and that it's dead. who knows?)
But at the end of the day, we enjoyed our weekend holiday. We had BBQ dinner by the pool and lazy afternoons in front of the beach, going after jellyfishes, perfecting jumpshots (never gotten round to it) and simply enjoying togetherness as a family.

Afterall, being together is what matters.

Crowning Glory

I dont typically splurge for hair accessories. My everlasting brown plastic clip would do; matter of fact, that was the only hair style I've ever been known for since college. Or my red scroongie. If ever I lose the scroongie, I replace it with the same color and texture.

I needed an outlet that day and so when Kyla went out for our usual Friday night bonding, we decided to splurge (by this I mean more than the usual plastic clip) for hair accesories. We found this store that sells hair accessories with bling-blings.

This is what we ended with:

Kyla's new hairband. Looks cute and classy. She love this. She love hairbands in general. I dont.

This was mine with Kyla as model. Not really a fan of hairbands, it triggers my migraine but the saleslady assures me this is easy on the head. We'll see.

Love this look. Cool for the Summer days. And matches any outfit. My hair was longer when I bought it.

These are for a more serious glammed up look plus with blings. Saleslady says I can pouf the hair for a bit of volume.

These are my magnetic clips (Kyla as model). Still true to my clipped-look but classier. There is a dragonfly design but that may be a bit of too much for the office.

So obviously, I was stressed enough to allow myself to get sales-talked into all of this. I bought enough that I ended up being given a VIP card and a freebie for Kyla. But it was worth it. We went home happy.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Story Behind The Gift

Last Friday, Kevin approached me immediately after he woke up and gave me a purple-colored thingy. It was a bracelet he made (I deduced this was from his school work) using colored buttons and flowerettes. It sure looked funky and hip! I bet it was from his Fine Motor skills activity. He always liked beading.

If you look closely, there was a small capiz shell material attached to it. One side says "I love U" and the other side has Kevin's name.

Then he uttered in his usual sing-song tone a-pi-a-ders-de ("Happy Mother's Day"). It was his Mother's Day present. As always, it yet again made my day. Kyla eagerly told his Dad about Kevin's craft. I knew she has a surprise coming for me too (she always do) but she is saving this for Sunday. I am happy to see her being proud of her Kuya's work too.

I was wearing purple that day so I wore it at once and all the way to work. When I showed him later that day that I wore it, he smiled broadly. I always wear it now.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tangled No More

With so many cables stashed at home, from phone and battery charges, mouse cables, i-pod earphones et al, its so easy ending up in a tangled maze of cables!

Good thing I found these assorted cute-sy cable wrappers at Artbox. They come in various colors, designs and sizes.

I used to buy the monochromatic 'magic tapes' to bind cables together. I still have some of them but with my latest find, its a wee bit more colorful (thus easy to spot them) and you can actually buy an assortment of sizes and shapes depending on the length of the cables.

Fun way to get organized don't you think!