[April 22, 2007]

BARRIO FIESTA – A TASTE OF HOME
 
Now it’s imperative that I buy a cellphone here with a kababayan sim to communicate. Che and Coy was more than willing enough to accompany me. I’ll be forever thankful to them they made my stay here seem like I never left home. Coy is one cool guy and very friendly at that. He reminds me of my friends back home, so easy to get along with. I actually find him and my cousin a perfect match. First time we had dinner at Bukit Panjang Plaza I was even asking Che if I get to hear wedding bells soon.
 
We took a cab to a place called Orchard. We went straight to Lucky Plaza. We found one but I forgot the model no. for 100+SGD. We then proceeded to the upper floors and I found myself in a place called Barrio Fiesta. This is not the Barrio Fiesta that you see at the Philippines. It’s one stall pretty much like what you see at the food courts. But don’t let looks deceive you. I ordered Papaitan and Dinuguan. Ang galing! Meron pala pinoy cooking dito! Nice! I can’t express to you in English how the food tastes so to all those who knows how I talk, I’ll describe it in Tagalog so you’ll have an idea how it tastes, here goes: ANAK NG PUTA! ANG SARAP! THE BEST YUNG PAPAITAN AT DINUGUAN! GRABE!
 
After that sumptuous dinner we headed back home by train. They taught me how to transfer trains; which route is the fastest; and what bus to ride so I don’t have to waste all my money on taxis. Che even gave me an EZ Link card which is like credit card which you ‘tap’ on terminals of buses and trains. Hell! You could even use it to buy at McDonalds. You just have to load credits on it and you don’t even have to bring cash when travelling around Singapore. We arrived home in less than an hour. I arranged my contacts and texted everyone my cellphone number; blogged and blogged until my eyes grew weary and sleepy. 
 
UNLUCKY PLAZA 
 
My order for the day is to go online and familiarize myself with the trains and explore Orchard. As soon as I awoke I got ready and took the bus to Bukit Batok. I found McDonalds; ordered food and “Wi-fied.” In the back of my mind I was thinking, I need to find a new place where there is free Wi-Fi access. If I keep up with this McDonalds diet I might end up supersizing myself. There is one thing I noticed about McDonalds here. Back at home when you order fries they automatically give you ketchup to go with it. Here they automatically give you chilli garlic in sachets. And boy it’s spicy! And delicious! Also I found out that they have the small, medium and large sizes for the fries. The large one is double the size of the large size back home. The medium is the size of the large. I haven’t ordered the small size so I can’t compare it to anything.
 
After draining this laptop’s battery I took the train to Orchard. I took the long route so I could enjoy the scenery and man was it long! It was fine though because I enjoyed the sights. I arrived at Orchard station and I immediately went to Barrio Fiesta. I told you that they serve delicious Filipino food and now this is proof. I wouldn’t be eating twice there if it wasn’t delicious or they have free Wi-Fi access. In this case, the reason is the former. This time I ordered Nilagang Baka and Caldereta. By the way it only costs 5SGD for a meal consisting of two viands, one drink of your choice and unlimited rice. It’s a steal if you compute it compared with the cost of living here plus its Filipino cuisine, I wouldn’t mind paying for more as long as it tastes of home. The Nilaga tasted good but it would have been better if there is more “sinuso.” Just in case you’re wondering what “sinuso” is, its cow fat but not the fat that solidifies at roof of your mouth when the soup gets cold. Hmm… How do I explain this, think of it as super tender fat that melts in your mouth and explodes of rich flavour. You can actually take three to five spoonfuls of rice with a small piece of “sinuso.” That’s how flavourful it is. The Caldereta was great though my Caldereta is best, yabang ko ampotah, hehehe, indulge me na lang.
 
Burp! I was having a hard time using my cellphone so I planned of trading it for another. Off I went to where we bought it last night. The shop where we bought it is managed by Singaporeans or Chinese I guess; well for me they all look alike. I liked the Nokia 6101 because of its size. After haggling from the original price of 220SGD plus trade of my 100+SGD cellphone, I managed to buy it just by adding 170SGD. Again it’s a steal if you compare it with the Phillipine index of cellphones. I continued with my order for the day which is to explore Orchard. I found myself mall-hopping. There was Tangs, Isetan, Paragon and many more which I can’t remember the names of all of them. I especially liked Paragon and I would have liked it even more if there was a Camper Boutique. I also found out that there are more Filipinos in Lucky Plaza (LP) than in any other malls around Orchard. Maybe one reason is that more stalls at LP are managed by Filipinos.
 
Last night I was warned that there are many tourists who have complained of being fooled and duped in LP mostly by those “singkits.” I didn’t actually take it seriously having lived in the Philippines where I’m used to and experienced with tomfoolery and hoodwinks. Well, I should have heeded the warning. As I was about to go back to the train station I decided to make one last round of Lucky Plaza. I was informed that I have friends who work here so maybe I could bump into one. Unluckily, I bumped into no one. Luckily, out of nothing I asked one stall that sells cellphones how much they are selling a brand new Nokia 6101. The guy said 180SGD. I asked if that’s all I pay. He said yes and it includes everything. I turned my back on him and angrily made my way to the stall where I traded my cellphone. As I was turning my back he said “OK, 160SGD.” Furious, I looked for the “singkit” who I sold me my cellphone. Unluckily, he was nowhere to be found. 
 
MINISTRY OF SOUND – THIS IS IT! (NEVAH BETAH) 
 
I was on Bus 173 which is the bus that passes by Century Mansions and planning how I would plaster that “singkit’s” eyes so that he won’t be able to blink while I bound his arms and legs and pour McDonalds’ chilli garlic sauce into his nostrils and eyes until he gives me my money’s worth when Che texted me that we’re going to the Ministry of Sound Bar (MOS) later that night. YES! Kandi Bar by Hed Kandi is the talk of the town back at home but I was informed that MOS is way more famous.
 
We decided to meet at McDonalds Bukit Batok and took the train to Clark Quay. After we got out of the subway I was awed by what I saw. River Point is beautiful! The architecture of the buildings around was just stunning. I saw the “reverse bungee.”  That’s one tourist attraction here that I’m not trying, not in this lifetime or the next being afraid of heights and all. We were greeted by a long line at MOS. I immediately had my picture taken with MOS logo hovering at the background. We fell in line and were lucky enough to have arrived early so the 25SGD entrance fee still does not apply. It’s a lot like Embassy back at home but bigger and there was this giant mirror ball at the centre of the dance floor which goes up or down. The crowd was a mix of nationalities but mostly of “singkits” driving Ferraris, SLKs or any dream car you might be dreaming of.  Tiger Beer which by the way is Singapore’s SMB costs a little over 10SGD. It tastes good though. And there’s this drink that’s famous here, I don’t remember what it’s called kind of like “jug.” It costs 41-47SGD at MOS. I was told that it’s a mix of whisky and cola poured over ice and served in pitchers with straws. I tried it and it tasted like whisky! Duh! Hehehe what do you expect.
 
After MOS we were going to meet Che’s friends over at DXO (formerly known as Embassy) We made a quick stop over at Kandi Bar which is more of like a lounge bar for chillin’ and C Clinic where the chairs look like hospital beds with matching dextrose stands and the waitresses are in nurse get-ups. We took a cab to Esplanade and I saw what they say is “durian” whatever building. It was awesome! We then walked a little to where DXO is. Inside DXO, you’ll find that it’s a lot like Club Industry back home. At first the usual club music and as the night deepens they shift to music more of mainstream. Imagine Decades or Pier 1. I get to meet Che’s friends and had a great time downing bottles of 14SGD a pop Heinekens. But when I get back home I’m making the “waterfall.” If you have no idea, well, then, it’s a surprise. Though my cousin already has an idea of what it is. Speaking of ideas, I have no idea what time we went home. I was smashed to the highest heavens.