Sunday, April 29, 2012

Turning 30

Run down of how the first day of my 30th (eep!) year....

After after-work drinks and chatter at a nearby pub, had late night-Japanese with G+A, who graciously treated me to dinner, sake and a surprise cake and song when midnight hit. I thought they shut down the lights to kick us out until the resto staff came out with a song and candle lit tiramisu! 

The next morning, I paid for all my monthly bills online, cleaned up my flat, spoke with M, and read the barrage of greetings on FB, email and SMS. Yay for technology!

True to form, it was only after having done everything else that I started packing for my trip - 3 hours before I had to be at the airport.  It was only then that I realized I had left my swimsuit in Manila. Not wanting to do a Filipino classic of T-shirt-and-shorts-on-the-beach, I packed EVEN faster so I could run to the nearest mall to buy myself some swim gear & brunch. The non-English speaking man who sold me my brunch (Japanse lumpia?!) threw in an extra dumpling. Yay for the bday freebie even though I'm pretty sure he didn't know it was my bday!

Ran back home, picked up my stuff, hopped back into a cab and made my way to the airport where I met up with J. Having checked in hours before, we printed our boarding passes and went through immigration by flashing a QR code, scanning passports and thumbprints on machines.Yay for living in a first world country! Yay for the 21st century!

We grabbed some coffee (and chocolate!) before boarding our flight and slept through the 1.40 hour flight to Phuket, Thailand. 

Fastforward through long cues at immigration, hour-long drive to the city, we had an early dinner at a nearby resto, checked into our hotel, and spent the evening watching a surprise video put together by my sisters (<3) and RuPaul's Drag Race. 

My 29th year was amazing - I remember finally getting a moment to myself at the airport enroute to Seoul, where I quickly posted a note to kick off the year. I was very much aware of the things that were just about to unfold in my life. This year, I have no idea what's in store for me - but I'm pretty sure it's going to be equally brilliant. Can't wait!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


I turn 30 (THIRTY!) next Saturday and about a week after that, I mark my 1-year anniversary in Singapore!

I thought it apt to honor the milestones by celebrating with the people who were integral in my move and assimilation into my new life. Without these amazing people, my experience here would not be as solid as it is now - so for that, I am grateful.

This morning, we all met at the home of a lovely couple who host a supper club called Brunch&Co - read more about them here.

A few friends went to an event here a few months back and raved and raved about the food and the experience that I thought, why the hell not, let's do it for my bday!

I was new to the concept so was curious to see how it would pan out - the people who run supper clubs open up their homes to strangers (through reservations) and cook for their guests. It's an opportunity to not only eat great food, but to mingle and meet new people. This particular supper club, was well.. all about brunches.

I was quite lucky to have snagged 7 seats well in advance. Even luckier that all of the people I wanted there were all in the country at the same time to attend!

All in all, I had a wonderful wonderful time. Mark & Louise's home was the perfect place for Sunday morning brunch - cozy, with lots of great natural light streaming in. This month's brunch theme was travel  - an amazing coincidence as all the folks I invited love to travel as much as I do! As with the theme, the details and the menu followed suite. The food was delicious as was the company.

Great way to kick off my 2nd year in Singapore as well as my 30th year!

Choice of cold spicy ice team and lemon grass cordial meet you at the door - perfect for a humid day!

Boarding pass for our ticket to foodie heaven!

Brunch & Co's napkins, with their name stitched in lovely script

Laminate placemats were images of different destinations; note the detailing of the boarding pass as well!

Mark & Louise of Brunch & Co greet their guests and explain how the afternoon would proceed

A & P/M/T (lol)

N & C


First Stop -  Europe: 
Caramelized Pear, Panettone French Toast served
with Homemade Ricotta drizzled with honey 
Louise describes starters
Second Stop - North Africa: Shakshuka, eggs poached in a spicy tomato & red
pepper sauce, served with zesty sausage, herb
salad & toasted pide 

Beautiful hydrangeas set on the tables; in the background,  extra bread for dipping


Before dessert, we were asked to swop seats; N chatting with a new friend

Palette cleanser - a beautiful tangy sorbet


J with some of the guests 
French-pressed coffee 
Final Stop - Middle East: Pomegranate & Turkish delight Fool served with
Persian Fairy Floss + little meringue drops for mixing in

My bday "cake" 

Happy 30th to moi!  
The pistachio fairy floss looks like troll hair but I promise, it's delicious!
Cold strawberries  were also served

Mingling mingling mingling

Empty glasses & plates, full tummies!

More mingling on the other side of the room

J & N chatting with Louise 
Beautiful hydrangea in a pesto bottle <3 
Parting shot with my SG survival team

The ACGC & the EGP

A few weeks ago, I was asked to write a letter to the current touring batch of the Ateneo de Manila College Glee Club (ACGC), competing for the European Grand Prix (EGP) - one of the grand momma's of all competitions. It was to be read to the group on the long bus ride to Maribor, Slovenia.

The last time ACGC competed for the EGP was when I had first joined the glee club as a freshman in college. Preparing for a competition, touring, traveling, singing, rehearsing was intensely AMAZING. Though we had sung our best, and lost - the entire experience in itself was life changing.

Wanted to share my letter here: 

Hello Dear ACGC!

This is Pia, one of many fans from around the world, rooting and cheering for you on this wonderful journey you have ahead of you. 

Quick stats on how I'm connected to the ACGC:
• President from '03 - 04 (or Mamalou's first tour with the ACGC!) 
• VP for External from '02 - '03 (also Mamamlou's first year with the ACGC)
• VPP in '01-'02 (Sir Montet's year with the ACGC) 
• Trainee from '00 - '01 (or Sir Joel's last year with the ACGC and when we competed for the EGP)

Yup, that's right,  11-12 years ago (shet), i was exactly were you guys are now. I had just joined the glee club and was very lucky to be singing with the cast that was would embark on THE trip of a a lifetime: to compete in Marktoberdorf, Germany and then in Debrecen, Hungary for the EGP.

I won't go into the details, but suffice to say, the entire experience changed my life forever, as it will yours. Best. Experience. Ever!

You'll learn how NOT to burn your costume, how to perform at your best even when you're feeling your worst. You'll make the best of friends even though at one point during the tour, you'll most likely want to strangle them. You get to sing the awesomest songs in the most specialist of places and touch hearts you never knew your songs could touch. When you're in that semi-circle and every inch of your body is singing, and you know every single person around you is putting in the same 200% that you're putting in? You'll know that the hours and hours and HOURS you've put into learning and rehearsing is not for naught. Nothing else comes close to that feeling of pure magic. 

So my dear ACGC, be present, be grateful and whether competition or courtesy call, sing with all your heart and soul. Know that no matter what happens, what you have have accomplished is nothing short of brilliant. 

So proud to be part of the history that you guys are blazing onward with today. All my love and congratulations to Mamalou, the tourcom, execom and every single one of you!

Now go kick some serious choral butt!

big hugs from Singapore, 

The support for the ACGC has been tremendous, magnified even more by the presence of social media. Very different from how it was when we competed over a decade ago! 

It is an hour before they compete and I can picture what is going on back stage. The group, divinely dressed, boys' shoes shining brightly, girls' hair pulled back tightly in a pusod, voices as warmed up as they will ever be, war-paint on, nerves nerves nerves rippling through the group. I can see them holding hands tightly as they pray and give thanks before stepping on that stage. I know though that the minute they step on that stage - they will be in God's hands and they will sing like they have never sung before. 

Listen to the ACGC with me at 10pm (SG time) here!

Thank you JOM for the photos!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Beijing Eats

Big part of travel for me of course are the eats. And boy did we eat!

Thanks to our guide, we managed to try all sorts of yummy things without having to guess what we were ordering. 


Kung Pao Chicken

Beef with Mushrooms


Spicy mushrooms

Lamb BBQ

Hot choco with... fizzy water?!

Duck time!

Duck gizzard & liver with honeyed dates 
Stir fried duck intestine


Making myself a wrap!

Lots of duck!! 
Yummy mushrooms

More duck more duck! 
Beijing yoghurt. Yum! 
Szechuan hot pot!