Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ginebra Kings vs TNT at Philippine Arena

It has been three months since PBA's season ended and more or less four months Ginebra kings hiatus because they got eliminated in the quarterfinals of Governor's cup. During that "long break", Gilas Pilipinas played in the World Cup and Asian Games so I was still able to have my dose of Pinoy hoops.
Largest indoor arena in the world!
I think for more than a year now, we're really curious when we pass by the Philippine Arena along NLEX. It was like hitting two birds with one stone when it was announced that the PBA's 40th season opening will be held there and Ginebra is scheduled on the 2nd game. When the tickets were released online, I automatically bought 3 for me, my dad and uncle.

Finally on game day, we reached the venue after 30minutes drive from Caloocan. We're also 30minutes early from the announced opening ceremony time but, it turned out that its not enough lead time. I did not bother to read the printed online ticket that clearly stated that I should exchange it for a real ticket on or before the event. Apparently, based on the long lines, I wasn't the only one who assumed that the printed ticket is enough. =)) I had to sunbathe for 40minutes because I relied on online convenience fee.  Anyway, we're able to find our seats just in time for the player's entrance. 

It was a nice surprise that some teams will walk on the aisle near our seats. The first team was Alaska Aces, I was happy to see former UST Tiger, Cyrus Baguio. I didn't know that Abueva was that small =)) and welcome to the PBA, Chris Banchero!!! 
Basta, si Chris Tiu yan!

Rain or Shine also entered the arena from that same aisle and I was so biased to Chinoys that I only managed to take blurred shots of Chan, Teng, Tang, Tiu and Lee! =))
Pacman and may bonus pang college crush, Rich Alvarez
I had a lot of apprehensions when Manny Pacquiao decided to be a playing coach for the new team, Kia. But, regardless of all of those, i was truly starstruck when he walked in front of me. He really have this enigmatic aura!
Opening ceremony
After the no fuss team introduction and opening ceremony, they officially started the season with the 1st game between the new teams, Kia and BlackWater. I guess 40 years of experience is enough for PBA production to know that cultural-ish themed opening ceremonies are boring. Kia is the team where Manny Pacquiao is an endorser and playing coach. I still get a kick when I think about the Rookie draft what if scenario. "What if, he get drafted by another team but he's the coach of Kia." Fortunately/unfortunately there were no trolls. I'm familiar with BlackWater because that's the DLeague team where most UST Tigers play.

Kia had a come from behind win, with Pacman cheering from the bench. It was fun to watch, as the crowd was cheering every time Manny has the ball during warm ups and in actual game. My only rant about the venue is that they don't have enough food vendors. My uncle spent 2 whole quarters falling in line for pizza but it got soldout. We ended up eating mojos.
All time favorite Ginebra kings
Finally, it's game time for Ginebra! Wherever they play, it becomes their homecourt but it's a different experience to cheer with 50,000+ faithfuls. The last time I watched a Ginebra vs TalkNText game was a finals Game 4. I remember that vividly because during game 4 that's when they give out the BPC award. Eric Menk won that award but our party of 5 was silent during our trip back to Caloocan. 

Ginebra's line up is solid from guards to center. They kept their core lineup, added Yeo and even added a Hatfield like rookie in Brondial but I heard that they kept losing on pre season games. Although Alapag and de Ocampo did not suit up, TNT was able to keep up with the kings on the 1st half. In the 2nd half, the twin tower tandem of Aguilar and Slaughter were too much to handle. The former had a double double game while Tenorio had 10 assists. Ellis and the twin towers had their share of dunk highlights much to our delight.
mandatory shot =))

Their first win is a total team effort, its amazing to watch their chemistry. I have high hopes to this team, this conference. It's about time, guys!!!

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Kuala Lumpur Experience: Food trip

We've spent our morning strolling in Changi airport before our 1 hour flight to Kuala Lumpur. After clearing immigration, we took another 1 hour train ride from airport to KL Sentral station. Our plan A is to go to Batu Caves and the plan B is to have a city tour, starting from the old Kuala Lumpur Station to National Mosque, Lake Gardens, Perdana Lake and Central Market. None of it happened because it was raining hard after we got off KL Sentral Station. It's like we're in a middle of a storm. 
We decided to have a late lunch before heading to our hotel. Thank goodness there's an adjacent mall to KL Sentral station. We chose Teh Tarik Place to try out Malaysian food. I also tried another Roti with egg that was so good, I wasn't able to take a photo. =))

Nasi Goreng


Teh Tarik, pulled milk tea

Roti Canai

Laksa

By 7PM, the rain stopped, my siblings and I wanted to explore Bukit Bintang, a shopping area near our hotel. My parents begged off and decided to just have a staycation in Kuala Lumpur.


RM100 Challenge @ H&M
My younger brother was on shopping mode at Lot10's H&M and he noticed that we're just sitting on a corner while fiddling our phones. We said that he should take his time, we'll shop on our Korea trip instead. He came back again and said that he'll give us RM100/PHP1400 shopping money each. Hooray! We jumped from our seats and started trying out the winter clothes. We ended up buying these discounted winter sweaters and a pair of gloves. :)






We walked to Jalan Alor, a hawker style area where tables and chairs are placed on streets.
Checking out our route back to hotel

The only photo I was able to take =))
We ordered almost the same menu from Glutton's Bay - Garlic shrimp, satay, lemon chicken - and added fishball soup. The prices are generally cheaper but the Singapore version is way better.

Back in the hotel, we tried the local beer and snack of Malaysia and Singapore before packing our clothes.

A visit to Kuala Lumpur won't be complete without a trip to Petronas Twin Towers. We woke up at around 6am, walked to KLCC area, took photos using mono pod and went back to our hotel just in time for our flight.

We're happy that even though we had sore bodies after this trip, we we're able to enjoy exploring Singapore and made the most of our trip in Kuala Lumpur. I'm happy that we're able to stick on our PHP23k/pax budget. Some plans, especially in Kuala Lumpur, did not work out but we've managed to spend quality family time! I can't wait for our next adventure!

Singapore Experience: Souvenir Shopping

The cable car ride from Sentosa to Vivo City only took 7 minutes so we had an extra shopping time before dinner.
Macadamia flavored, so good!
The mall has H&M, Pull & Bear and Vivomart Grocery but my feet is sore. I ended up munching Garett's popcorn with my parents on a bench near Starbucks. We enjoyed the free Wifi while my siblings shopped. =))

Tim Ho Wan @ Plaza Singapura
We rode the train to Plaza Singapura in Orchard Road to dine at Tim Ho Wan. I know, its not a Singaporean restaurant but the lines in Manila is too long and we wanted to finally try the much talked about BBQ buns. And the craze is real, the bread literally melts in my mouth! It's also a nice break from chicken meals. =))

The next day, my mom and I had a workout. We walked to Mustafa Centre to shop for customary souvenirs like ref magnets, shot glasses and Singapore plates. The prices are way cheaper compared to the stores in Sentosa Island.

In Changi Airport, I was able to buy a Kokeshi doll from Madam Butterfly. I only bought one because it's a bit expensive!

Singapore Experience: Sentosa Island

1st Teh Tarik for this trip
On our second day in Singapore, we had a leisure breakfast at the hotel because we knew we have a long day ahead. 
Mandatory shot where we waited for "Universal" =))
It only took us 20 minutes to go from Bugis Station to Vivo City where Sentosa Express is located. Our first stop for the day is Universal Studios Singapore at Waterfront Station. It's a Sunday so we expected the long lines but we prepared by listing the must try rides:


Lights, Camera, Action hosted by Steven Spielberg - where a hurricane in New York city aka just another rainy day in Manila,  was simulated on an empty sound stage. =))

Allspark
Transformers 3D battle - where we helped Optimus Prime and the Autobots.

Revenge of the Mummy -  we're expecting a scary theme but we missed out the "indoor roller coaster" part in the description! =)). There's a reason why we're required to put our stuff on lockers.
Thanks, but no thanks =))
I was teasing my mom that "The Mummy" is a connecting flight to this outdoor rollercoaster.

WaterWorld - Amazing stunts and special effects for this live water show! This is the only attraction we've seen in The Lost World section because of the long queue in Canopy Flyer and Rapids Adventure.
Hainanese chicken rice
We had a quick lunch at The Lost World's Discovery Food Shop. Based on our theme park experience in HongKong, food can be very expensive, we're surprised that our set meals are only PHP350 each. It also helped that they offer discounts on tickets and food purchased thru MasterCard.
with our 4D glasses

We also checked out Shrek's 4D adventure, we entered a cinema where we're able to see, hear and feel his adventure with Princess Fiona. The longest queue for the day is for Madagascar: A Crate Adventure. The line was deceiving. We thought it was only a short queue but we ended up lining up for it for more than an hour. You can skip this ride.


best in yoga pose
By 6PM, we went back to Sentosa Express and alighted to Imbiah Lookout Station. We visited the Sentosa Merlion, the mythical creature that guards Singapore's prosperity, we hope some can be passed on to us :)
Singapore Cable Car from Sentosa Island to Vivo City
We went back to Vivo Vity thru the Singapore Cable Car, another moment to face my fear of heights! The entire cable car, except the floor, was made of glass. That allowed us to have a good view of the city, that's an advantage and a disadvantage at the same time. =)) They offer discounted tickets  after 7PM, from $29 to $17.

Singapore Experience: Marina Bay Walking Tour

I originally booked a seat-sale to Kuala Lumpur. At that time, I knew that Singapore is just a train  or bus away so I planned a 4 day, 2 city trip. =)) When I finally started researching, that's when I found out that we need at least 6 hours to go to Singapore, and that's a one way trip. After considering several itinerary revisions and different options, like riding a night train or exploring Kuala Lumpur only, I stumbled upon a cheap Jetstar roundtrip KL-SG-KL tickets for only PHP3k per person. Hooray! Waiting and shopping at the airport is better than riding a bus or train. I booked our flight, scheduled 4 hours after our estimated arrival in Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
NAIA4 - KLIA2 - Main Terminal - Changi Airport tour =))
Tried Nasi Lemak on KLIA
In short, our family's first day itinerary is a plane ride from Manila to Kuala Lumpur, Ekspres train ride from KLIA2 to Main Terminal, plane ride to Singapore, train transfer to Changi Airport and finally 10 train stops to our home station, Bugis. We traveled from 3AM to 5PM!
our home in Singapore
Finally, after a long walk from the train station, we found our hotel! It was recommended by my friend, she told me that its near Bugis Station, Google Maps also noted a 7 minutes walk, but it should be 7 minutes brisk walking!
Marina Bay walking tour
In the original itinerary that I've prepared, we're supposed to ride the train to Bayfront MRT station, explore Garden's by the Bay, watch the Wonder Full Light Show, have a late dinner at Makasutra Glutton's Bay and go to Merlion Park before calling it a night.
Feasting our eyes on Singapore lights
But since everyone doesn't want to walk back to the train station, we just rode the bus to Singapore Flyer Food Trail. It's an al fresco "food street" themed place located on the ground floor of Singapore Flyer. Good thing that we already bought the EZLink Card in the airport, we're able to use it to pay any public transportation fare.
back to original plan
After alighting Ritz bus station, Singapore Flyer is still not in sight BUT we found Makasutra Gluttons Bay, where I originally planned our late dinner. 

Full house at 7PM
As expected, the place was packed so we needed to break in small groups to save a seat and order food.

Starving
 After almost 30 minutes, we found our long table!

Gluttony
We're able to try the must eat food that I've listed except the famous chili crab because 2 pieces for PHP1000 was too much for us. =)) I'm sure my mom's crab is better hahaha! We enjoyed Lemon Chicken, Garlic Shrimp, Hookien Mee (seafood noodles) and satay.
parents on tourist mode
We automatically burned the calories as we walked to Merlion Park located at the back of Glutton Bay.
Marina Bay
We strolled and enjoyed the scenic views of Singapore until we reach The Shoppes at Marina Bay. I swear, my fear of heights was tested by the fast and steep escalators!
Amazing!

We walked around until 9:30PM just in time to watch the free light and water show, Wonder Full Light Show, at Marina Bay Sands.  

Google Maps and our unwilling feet failed us!
CNBlue light sticks? =))

We we'rent able to see Garden's by the Bay so the next day, we dropped by the area to see the SuperTrees. I was looking forward to seeing the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest conservatories but it's already closed when we got there, maybe next time!