“Meeting Tracer Tong”; My Trip to Hong Kong

My sister invited me to attend a medical convention with her as to keep her company and support her as she had a poster case presentation from November 24-27.

At first, I wasn’t really into the idea of going, but after her persuasion, along with my parents coercion, and the fact I get to meet 2 of my friends who live there, made me decide to go with her.

Day One



“Meeting Tracer Tong”

23755705_10214533108662091_6895277000181096898_n
Meeting Tracer Tong is a reference to one of my all time favorite PC games ever, Deus Ex. In there, there is a level in Hong Kong, specifically in Wan Chai streets, where one of the most iconic background music (in my opinion) plays as you find a character named Tracer Tong.

It so happened that the medical convention, the 11th Echo Hong Kong, was being held in Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, which is in Wan Chai, I couldn’t help but play “The Synapse” (the Hong Kong level background music in Deus Ex) on repeat while I was there.

Like my trip to Singapore alone last September (I also went to Singapore last March with company) I have always been ignored when it comes to “timing”; by this I mean, I was always told to leave the house for the airport way to early. I know that counters usually open 2-3 hours before the scheduled flight, and I do take into account the possible traffic and such, so I could usually calculate the best possible time including all the hindrances that can come from the travel to the airport. Alas, nope, we left the house at 7AM from Pampanga to the airport in Manila.

Now our flight is 2:20PM, take into the regular time it takes to make it to the airport which 2 hours, with a possible hour of traffic, we will be arriving at the airport at 10AM, for which we did, and had at least another hour of waiting before the counter to be opened for our flight… for which we did.

After all is said and done, I have always had something bad to say about Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the lack of efficiency and such, but that was in Terminal 3 that I was already complaining about, yet boy oh boy, Terminal 2 is a different beast altogether.

Lack of seats while waiting for a flight, only ONE opened public restroom at the time, lack of proper dissemination of information regarding changes in flights or gates (I know, I know, I traveled quite a lot when I was younger and more recently, so I know flights and gates are subject to change, but the lack of announcement thru PA or a sign showing there is a change, heck even a change in the monitor, can confuse those first timers who are traveling alone – doubt my sister would have noticed this if she traveled alone), and I can go on and on, but hey, let us save that for another post.

23844755_10214533108262081_2518152384002504524_n

Needless to say, we got on our flight, but didn’t take off until an hour and thirty minutes after stepping on board… another thing that ticked me off.

Anyways, overall, the flight in Philippine Airlines was fun, could have been better, but we got to Hong Kong safely, and that is all that matters.

Sixteen Degrees Celsius

My friend who lives and works in Shenzen tagged me in a post in Facebook showing the weather is quite cold; as low as 16 degrees Celsius she mentions. At first, I was like, darn it, time to pack in some thick jackets to keep me warm and stuff. Upon arrival and exit from the Hong Kong International Airport, I will admit, it was cold and had to put my jacket on, but after awhile, it reminded me of a regular day in America. It didn’t take me long to adapt to the weather and remove my jacket altogether.

DPY3xIrUQAAPXGe
Finally got to play this officially!

The taxi fare from the airport to our hotel near the convention center in Wan Chai cost us like 50 bucks; it was nearly an hour’s travel from the airport to the hotel, so it wasn’t really that surprising, but nonetheless, still surprising.

Upon checking in, I got to meet up with my good friend, Roberto, whom I first met last September in Singapore during the Formula One race there… he decided to show us  around a bit and take us out to dinner.

Turning Chinese

After a brief tour around our block in Wan Chai and pointing us towards the convention center, he took us out to a nearby restaurant to try the local cuisine; not Chinese food is worldwide, you will always find a restaurant serving such dishes, but to try the AUTHENTIC food is really quite the feast.

We got to catch up, talk about Formula One, and get to talk about our personal lives more. Sadly, since me and my sister had a convention to attend to and Roberto had a flight to catch the next morning, we didn’t really spend the whole night hanging out.

But that is alright, as this proves that Formula One brings different people together, surely, in the future, be it in the States or here in the Philippines, dinner will be on me, Roberto! And we will hang out much longer then.

11-24-2017 Hong Kong Trip Day 1-1 11-24-2017 Hong Kong Trip Day 1-2
11-24-2017 Hong Kong Trip Day 1-3 11-24-2017 Hong Kong Trip Day 1-4
11-24-2017 Hong Kong Trip Day 1-5

Percolate the Mind

After having a delicious dinner courtesy of Roberto, my sister wanted coffee and thankfully, there is a nearby Starbucks right in front of our hotel and we got there for a couple of nice warm coffee; I was already editing some pictures we took with Roberto, and my sister was studying for her poster presentation on Sunday, which is 2 days from that point.

23826342_10214535777888820_357581046144713277_o

It is known that there is a delay in my posting of photos since I started my hobby in photography in 2010, so my sister usually reminds me to post, and thank goodness, otherwise no one will see these pics for another week.

Thus, Day 1 ended, and onward to Day 2…

Day Two



Convention Day

This is considered the convention day for me and my sister; we got to the convention center early to prepare her poster and listen to a number of lectures.

The lectures reminded me that I still have a soft spot for my first love in medicine: Cardiology.

My sister took up Cardiology which was her second choice for subspecialization, where Neurology was her first love; my first love was Cardiology and my second is Neurology. As fate would have it, since she is like 7 years older than me, she got to study and train in medicine earlier than me, so she gets to choose her subspecialization first, naturally. She chose Cardiology.

I then targeted Neurology thinking I will still be ultimately training and practicing here in the Philippines, and it would be a nice tandem to have different fields of expertise than being both Cardiologists.

However, I decided to move back to the States, hoping to pass the USMLE for my license there. Now, knowing that, I can go back to Cardiology as my subspecialization, but I already love the thought of being a Neurologist. That still doesn’t stop me from enjoying the lectures as Cardiology was my first love.

11-25-2017 Hong Kong Day 2-1 11-25-2017 Hong Kong Day 2-2
11-25-2017 Hong Kong Day 2-5 23795602_10214541813879716_3735954094131221653_n

Exploration

After listening to a few lectures, we decided to head back to the hotel to take a nap and such, then explore once again, the nearby areas. This was also a good opportunity to take shots of ourselves using my new Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 lens that I recently got with the thought of using it for future photo projects and future Formula One races.

The Calm Before the Storm

Back in the hotel, my sister is hard at work studying for her presentation, whereas I was hard at work editing the photos earlier in the day and making sure our hotel room doesn’t end up too messy; my sister does not have obsessive compulsive personality disorder (there is a big difference between Obsessive Compulsive Disorder vs Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder… look it up), thus I like keeping things neat and orderly.

Knowing full well we need not wake up early the next day as her presentation is in the afternoon, I slept like a log. This was important as I was meeting one of my great college friends and a friend whom I consider very close, Amanda, right after the presentation. So I need to save up energy for that evening’s exploration and hang out.

Right Here, Waiting Smile, Sister
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Day Three


Meeting Amanda

Day Three, which is Day Two of the convention for us, went by without a hitch; my sister successfully presented her case and poster, and all the stress she had going in is finally gone, and all she can think about is shopping.

Thankfully, Amanda took that into account, so as we met up, she took us to an area where my sister can shop.

After a few strolling around together as a group, my sister wanted to shop more than have dinner, so she went shopping on her own, and Amanda and I had dinner and subsequently strolled the area some more.

23844880_10214557619674851_7353520920317123012_n 23755826_10214557620274866_3168804680536898160_n
23905563_10214557619954858_2187179103030266003_n 11-25-2017 Hong Kong Day 3-2
11-25-2017 Hong Kong Day 3-5 11-25-2017 Hong Kong Day 3-7

Falling in Love with Photography All Over Again

Amanda and I then strolled around the city and occasionally entered shops to, well what else? Shop. Along the way, laughing and enjoying every bit just like the times where she was still living here in the Philippines where without fail, we would hang out at school or anywhere after school. I missed those days and more importantly, I missed her, and it showed.

I would take pictures of her without knowing as that is usually my style in street photography or any event for that matter; I like taking pictures of people in their natural state… no faking smiles or whatnot. Of course, there are times I asked her to smile for me and I must say, she makes a great model! And I will admit, I have taken a lot of photos of people since 2010, both in regular events or in modeling, but when I saw the photos I took while I was editing, I can’t help but have my breath get taken away.

Maybe it is the fact I haven’t shot in the streets or people for a long time, apart from my trips to Singapore; maybe it is because I missed Amanda, and it was a pure pleasure taking her photos; maybe it was the nice city I was exploring; or maybe it was simply her smile in that one particular photo… but in the end, I am in love with photography again to the point I made a decision to finally upgrade my DSLR after 7 years.

It shows that even if I have a new lens, the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8, my previous lens that I bought 5 years ago is still just as good, the Sigma 30mm f/1.4. After getting an upgrade to my DSLR body, I hope to get a Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 to complete MY version of the Holy Trinity of Lenses.

Enough of that, enjoy these photos:

When You Shine Brighter Looking Forward...
Take Me Somewhere I Belong

Day Four:


Last Minute Shopping

It is the day we will finally head back home to the Philippines, but my sister still wanted to explore a bit more and shop a bit more, so after making sure we packed everything we needed and checked out from the hotel, leaving our bags at the counter, we made our way to Causeway Bay nearby and shopped.

24177102_10211487474847988_5887349369333183084_n 24232938_10211487473407952_2837959629495239403_n
24058906_10211487474607982_8406609811815123949_n

In the end, I wasn’t able to get anything I really wanted, but I did stumble upon this cool plushie!

DPnH0O1VoAAif7s 24899119_10214654946827969_1408987391_n

And finally, after my sister got the stuff she wanted, it was time to head back to the hotel, pick our luggage, and head to the airport.

Til Next Time, Hong Kong!

DPoW-y6UQAAFlIN

On the flight back home, me and my sister had separate seats as she got her plane tickets from a travel agency, whereas I ordered mine online; the flight to Hong Kong, we were lucky to be able to sit together, but alas, on the trip home, we are separated.

I sat next to a nice elderly lady, who was also Filipino, so we chat our way back to the Philippines.

I was also, apparently, labeled by two elderly Chinese couple as the “Go-To-Guy” for asking help when it came to using the inflight entertainment system. I found that very nice that even if they were sitting in the behind me in the aisle, they would reach out to my shoulder and ask me for help. Take note that they both seem to speak much English, but with enough simple sign language, I was able to understand what they wanted, and so I helped them get their inflight entertainment system play the music or the movies they wanted.

Then touch down in the Philippines, I said goodbye to my new found friends during the flight, and eventually, after an hour or two, me and my sister are back home.

DPphfPwVwAAGXCd

Overall, the trip to Hong Kong was awesome, but I would have loved to explore more of the area; seeing that we were really there for the convention, it was tough to have a vacation state of mind, however, during Day Three and Day Four right before we left, we were able to really appreciate Hong Kong and longed to stay a bit more to see everything else. Of course, there is always next time. And next time, I will go there without any other reason but to see everything else Hong Kong has to offer. So ’til next time, Hong Kong!

Those Hong Kong Lights


Follow me here or on the following sites!

•Follow me on Twitter!

•Follow me on Flickr!

•I’m also at Facebook!

•Perhaps Google+!

•Do you game? Add me on Steam!

Advertisements

When Dreams Come True: My First Formula One Race Weekend in Person!

WARNING! THIS BLOG POST IS VERY PICTURE HEAVY!!

So it seems I wasn’t able to blog while I was in Singapore, but can you blame me? I was having way too much fun! I got to see Formula 1 (F1) in person after being a fan for 21 years! I got to travel to Singapore and explore the beautiful country all by myself!

Instead, I will make a long blog post to summarize my entire trip!

But in a word, my whole trip, the experience, was “magical”…

DAY ONE:


“…Fly me to the moon”

DJt4g36UMAALeP0

I was tensed to say the least; I couldn’t, for the life of me, sleep the night before my flight due to simply being excited, but of course, being tensed as this is my first ever trip outside the country alone; I usually travel with family or friends outside the country, so this marks a very important point in my life… something to tick off the bucket list – to travel alone and feel in control of your entire trip.

It sounds typical on paper, something taken for granted especially for long travelers who travels alone frequently, but for me, it is a big deal; will I know where to go? Will I know what to say? Did I pack everything I need? Those questions loom inside my head as we inch ever closer to the airport.

Funny to note, that my dad told me, my mom, and our driver, to leave the house for the airport a tad too early; you see, I live in Angeles City, Pampanga, the airport is in the heart of Manila… going to Manila from my home is long enough, but having to weave our way inside to get to the airport is another thing entirely. Thus, the need to leave for the airport at an early time, but my dad told us to leave too early, that I managed to arrive at the airport at 3am, and my flight is still 7:40am, making the check in counters closed for my flight as of that moment.

Needlessly to say, after patiently waiting for the check in counters to open for my flight, thankfully I did the online check in and such for my specific ticket, that I was able to cut through most of the line as we have designated counters for those passengers that decided to purchase their tickets online and check in online.

Immigration was the longest part of the entire airport procedure, at least here anyways, in Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA); they really need to sort that out to be more efficient, as later on this post, I will talk about how I love the Changi International Airport in Singapore.

Finally, after going through immigration unscathed, I found my gate, and had a very quick breakfast before heading towards the aforementioned gate and play the waiting game.

Not long after waiting in the designated gate, it was time to board. See yah later, Philippines, and see yah in a bit, Singapore!

Touch Down, Singapore!

21753281_10213966986509391_1227500688988558701_o

Upon arriving at Changi International Airport, even technically this is my 3rd time here (1st when I 1st visited here last March and subsequently the 2nd time is when I came back here), I am still amazed at the efficiency; as soon as I arrived, got off the plane, I found myself done with immigration and picked up my carry on luggage without any hassle whatsoever. I then proceeded to get my taxi, had a great conversation on the way to my hotel, even joked how I brought the rain from the Philippines, because it started raining pretty hard while we were making our way to my hotel.

After getting dropped off, I then checked in to my room, thankfully my 1st time using Agoda was successful, however, I actually checked in a tad too early and had a surcharge on my check in payment. But I really didn’t care anymore, I was in Singapore! I managed to get here by myself, and I am now in my hotel room, resting up a bit, then plan to get lunch and then explore!

The Gardens by the Bay

2

After a hearty meal, a quick nap, a nice warm shower, it was time to explore; I wanted to visit Gardens by the Bay and simply have dinner there in a place called Satay by the Bay, which is technically still a hawker area filled with a variety of food not just satay, but we will get into that later. Take note that F1 had 2 Free Practice Sessions, for which I decided to skip on both so I can see more of the city.

I wanted to have live updates on my Twitter and Facebook, but to my dismay, my roaming, for which I was ASSURED of being activated by my service provider, well, let’s just say Murphy got his way and I didn’t have roaming.

3

5
7

That still didn’t stop me from taking photos with my phone, and heaven forbid, take selfies; I normally don’t take selfies, but hey, this is my 1st trip alone and I want to chronicle it as much as possible, even if it means me taking tons of selfies.

I arrived at the Gardens a little past 6PM and a bit of lack of foresight by me; I wanted to see 3 areas, namely, the Skyway, the Flower Dome, and the Cloud Forest. I went for the Skyway first as a I heard the queue is quite long, but what I should’ve done first was buy tickets for the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest before heading to the Skyway, as when I am thru with the Skyway, I can still visit the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest as those observatories are still open to a certain hour. Sadly, when I was thru on the Skyway, I headed straight to the ticket booths, but they were closed. Sad panda…

11

The Gardens by the Bay OCBC Skyway at

The Gardens by the Bay OCBC Skyway

In Love; The Sky's the Limit

The Gardens by the Bay OCBC Skyway
The Gardens by the Bay OCBC Skyway
15

16
17

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy my time in the Gardens; I still had an absolute blast even without visiting the other 2 observatories. Plus it gives me a reason to visit the Gardens again when I am in Singapore in the future. In fact, while I was in queue for the Skyway, I was in prime position to watch the light show they usually display at that certain hour. It was fantastic. Heck, even when I was on the actual Skyway, the light show was still ongoing, so it was perfect timing in a way.

23

24

I then thought it is time to have dinner, thus I followed the signs to Satay by the Bay. However, I am not kidding when I said the signs led me in circles! I was going around in circles at least 3 times until I decided to just forego the signs and look at the site map. After many more steps, this time towards the right direction, I made it to Satay by the Bay.

25

26

29

30
32

Now, unlike any other hawker around Singapore, the prices here are a bit high. Makes sense as it is inside the Gardens area. I must say, it was a great way to cap off my 1st day back in Singapore: I got to make it here in one piece, got to go up the Skyway, see the famed light show in the Gardens, took lots of photos, and had a lovely, simple dinner, in a gorgeous area with a breathtaking backdrop. What more can I ask for?

DAY TWO:


Merlion and Beyond!

Merlion

Day Two started a bit slow for me; I woke up around 11AM… It didn’t help that I slept past 2AM due to sheer excitement and happiness. I got a quick lunch and then started to plan out how to go to Merlion Park.

My lack of foresight reared it’s ugly head once again! I forgot that my F1 tickets can allow me to use the trackside as a shortcut to Merlion Park! I hold tickets that can let me go in near the hotel where my taxi dropped me off, which Gate 3A, and then go towards Gate 6 inside the trackside, and then emerge at Merlion Park. No sweat!

But instead, I did sweat, a lot, just to reach Merlion Park, and boy was my face red when I found out Gate 6 was just in front of Merlion… Ah well.

33

34
PUP-arazzi

Needless to say, I think it was great that I didn’t bring my F1 tickets at this time so I can see the other side of the city while making my way to Merlion Park. I wouldn’t have seen the everyday life in the city otherwise. So always look on the bright side of things, and indeed, in the end, I was thankful I didn’t use the shortcut.

Reaching Merlion Park and taking photos of the Marina Bay Sands and the actual Merlion itself, was worth the entire walk to reach the area. I was able to mingle with other tourists and, more importantly, fellow F1 fans who were more than happy to wear the colors supporting their teams and drivers.

35

39
40

42
43

45
46

51
57

21766612_10214042994449542_3574872147890083037_n

58
59

I wasn’t wearing my colors at this point in time as I am saving them for the qualifying session later that night and the race the very next night. But I still felt like one of the F1 fans, spending time looking at the beautiful Singapore and what if has to offer while waiting for the F1 sessions to begin. Bliss.

Marin at Dusk
Marina at Dusk
Marin at Dusk

“Making my dream come true!”

The Chequered Flag Waves

Finally, the moment arrived: I will watch my VERY FIRST F1 Qualifying Session after being a fan of this wonderful sport for 21 years. I was teary eyed. I can’t believe that it was happening. And now that it happened, I still can’t believe I was able to watch the F1 race weekend in person.

3

In fact, the day before the Qualifying session, I even made a long post in Facebook, emphasizing how this is a dream come true:

“This is going to be a long post… LOL

Twenty-one years in the making; the very first race I ever watched on television was the 1996 Spanish Grand Prix, where I saw a red car seemingly flying through Circuit de Catalunya on wet weather conditions. I then found out that that red car was the Ferrari F310 driven by the legendary Michael Schumacher. I became a fan of the team, the driver, and the sport ever since.

Other people would say my love for Formula One is an obsession, but I say it is PASSION. Unlike other sports, it was serendipity how I found out about Formula One; I didn’t have any external influences, thus I felt this was a sport that was mine. It was personal. Coupled the fact that I love cars prior and what kid never loved the red cars… the Ferrari.

Wanting to know more of the history of the sport, I delve deep into the lore dating back to the days of Juan Manuel Fangio; wanting to know the technology of the cars each year, that I can tell the era of the Formula One car and what makes them unique in that generation; trying my best not to miss a race each season since 1996, that I can always reference a race in my discussions with my other Formula One friends or forums.

So huge is my passion for the sport that I was that kid that would build Formula One cars out of Lego; I’d draw them on my notebooks; each time before going to bed, I’d imagine I was driving a Formula One car.

I was that kid that didn’t want to play arcade racing games like Need for Speed or Ridge Racer, rather I wanted to play racing games that deals more of the discipline and realism of the sport and cars. I was the one that learned how each component of the car needs to be tweaked in order to have the best balance just to shave of one thousandths of a second in Gran Turismo, F1 Career Challenge, rFactor, and other simulators (I am currently into Assetto Corsa and F1 2017).

And I was that kid that always dreamt of attending a race weekend in person.

Now that I am actually going to watch a Formula One race in person this weekend, I am looking forward to the actual spectacle of the sport, the rivalries in the race track, the finesse of each driver lap in and lap out for 61 laps, the camaraderie shared with strangers, throwing away political, racial, and spiritual differences, just to enjoy the sport we all love. And most of all, I am looking forward to fulfilling the dream of the 7-year-old me of watching a race in person.”

5

6

Much like the day before for which I skipped the Free Practice Sessions, I decided to skip on Free Practice 3, but still arrived at the track early so I can see the attractions, take photos of the area, try some of the simulators and games and whatnot.

Upon arriving, it was… all I can ever have dreamed of and more! I tightly secured area, with very friendly and knowledgeable staff to usher us around, friendly fellow fans who are not afraid to where their colors in support of their teams and drivers and who are not shy to ask help to take photos of them and are more than happy to take photos of you…

4

7
14

10

8

13

#F1NightRace

The attractions, both weird and F1 related, but is, what children nowadays say, “Instagram Worthy” – I don’t have Instagram, so I didn’t use that term in real life. Lots of merchandise booths for which I was able to buy an extra Kimi Raikkonen shirt to add along my 2 Scuderia Ferrari team shirts and a hat that I ordered prior to going to Singapore; F1 simulators, that to my chagrin, I wasn’t able to practice F1 2017 with my wheel and pedal set which were identical in the actual simulator on track – I was 10 seconds off the pace, I could have a better lap time if I practiced, were allowed to turn off both Traction Control and Anti Brake Lock System, and switched the Transmission to manual. But ah well.

29

11

25
26

27

There are a lot of hawker style eateries all around the track in different zones, and I love the idea of very limited seats and tables which forces one to make new friends by asking if one can sit with them; I made many friends while getting a bite to eat that are fans of different teams and drivers, but we didn’t make it hard on ourselves and simply had a mature conversation about the sport we love.

17

18

20

22

Unlike other F1 races, Singapore also has live concerts, but I was not there for that, I was there for the sport, thus I simply forego such concerts.

21

23

Thus, the green light signals the start of the Qualifying Session; as the cars are now powered by a V6 hybrid engine, they don’t scream as much as the previous years when they still used V12, V10, or V8 engines, but get close enough to the track, they can pound on the ear drums. I didn’t use any ear plugs, as I was able to tolerate the sounds of the V6 hybrid engines.

32

33

Singapore Grand Prix: The Calm Before the Storm

I was at awe, took some good shots, others not, but I wanted to concentrate on the session as much and lesser on taking photos. However, with that said, I did take enough to keep for memories. And my Day 3 below, you will notice that I have not taken a lot of shots during the race, except the end of the race, as I was really into the experience of watching my first ever race, plus an unfortunate event in the start of the race left a foul taste in my mouth that I just wanted to watch the rest of the race and not take too many pictures.

#Kimi7
Kimi Raikkonen, Scuderia Ferrari
Raikkonen #7
Kimi Raikkonen, Scuderia Ferrari
Raikkonen #7
Kimi Raikkonen, Scuderia Ferrari
#Seb5
Sebastian Vettel, Scuderia Ferrari
Vettel #5
Sebastian Vettel, Scuderia Ferrari
Vettel #5
Sebastian Vettel, Scuderia Ferrari
Hamilton #44
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
Hamilton #44
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
Ricciardo #33
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing
Verstappen #3
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
Alonso #14
Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Honda

As the session reached Qualifying 3 (Q3), I wasn’t really expecting Ferrari to do well since Red Bull seems so strong the entire weekend and the practice sessions. Raikkonen manged 4th position (P4), and that was actually a good thing after he was struggling to get into grips with his car during practice, but the best part was his team mate, Vettel, getting pole position (1st position/P1)! Now that is how we cap off our first ever F1 Qualifying Session in style! Seeing Ferrari and Vettel on top! I was in cloud nine!

Again, the maturity of the crowd made it easy to cheer for your favorite team, as no one will give you a hard time if you support their rivals. I can hear fellow Ferrari fans cheering and I can’t help but cheer with them as the Qualifying Session was ending, cheering (to no avail, since Vettel can’t hear us in the car) as he passes the grandstand we were all sitting in, and shouting in jubilation and in unison when Vettel was officially in pole position. Such bliss. Great feeling indeed. And a memory I will keep in my heart forever as this was my first Qualifying Session ever. There may be other races I will attend in the future, but this is my first. And will always be special.

The most difficult part was actually going back to the hotel; I was not to keen on using the metro in Singapore as I have never used it before, and I will not try something new in a different country, so I rather look for a taxi. My mistake was I decided to exit thru a different gate from where I entered and was far from the usual taxi stand. Needless to say, I walked a mile or so just to find a taxi, and thankfully, unlike the taxi drivers here in the Philippines, you feel very safe taking a taxi late at night in Singapore. And needless to say, I got home to my hotel safe.

I was too high on the experience that I had to calm down in order to sleep. I was to meet with my mentor and friend. Doc Noe, the next day before I head to the track for the race. But alas, I fell asleep 4AM, and as I will mention in the Day 3 section below, Doc Noe and I met in the afternoon, giving me time to sleep til 11AM. And then the race after my meeting with Doc Noe to cap off the day and my overall Singapore trip.

DAY THREE:


“One Good Day Comin’ Up!”

70

Day started slow for me, waking up at 11AM; eventually had to take a warm bath, quick lunch, and meet up with my friend and mentor, Doc Noe.

We honestly had no idea what to do or where to go during our hangout, so Doc Noe decided to show me Sentosa, which in fact, is one of the 3 places I wanted to see so bad: 1. being Gardens by the Bay, 2. being Merlion Park, and 3. being Sentosa; having seen the 1st 2 places, without him knowing that it was my 3rd location I would want to visit, he took me there.

67

I finally tried out the buses around Singapore, and technically, it isn’t difficult, but I always go by the rule: if I am unfamiliar with how one thing works or goes by, I won’t try it on my own just yet, especially if I am not from Singapore at all. Thus I didn’t try the bus or the metro around the city, only relying on taxis to get me to and from certain locations.

Upon arriving near Sentosa, we had a short stop at a local mall there to find some Ervin’s Salted Chips for my sister and some Old Town Coffee for my other friends. The former, according to Doc Noe, would usually be sold out, and lo and behold, it was! I am not interested in trying it, I was just buying it for my sister, but I was just wondering what in the world did they add in it to make it so addicting for other people? It will still be a mystery to me in the end.

68

69

Having gotten what I needed, and looked around inside the mall, we then headed out to Sentosa by foot.

It was pouring at that time, and as a F1 fan, I was already thinking how will this affect the race. But until the race that night, I will just enjoy Sentosa as much as I can.

71

72

73

Sadly, I didn’t get to see everything in Sentosa, because even if it is it’s own little island, it is still a large area to explore. I saw the interesting portions of Sentosa, thanks to Doc Noe, and was told that there are a lot more to see in Sentosa. This along with my failed attempt to see the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome in the Gardens by the Bay, may warrant another visit to this lovely country some time soon.

As we are making our way back to my hotel, we took the metro, which gives me another option after the race, since the night before, I had to go end to end to find a taxi stand. As mentioned above, I usually don’t try anything new without enough research or have someone guide me, such as the case of riding the bus in Singapore, and now in this case, riding the metro to my hotel.

After all that, had to say “see yah later” to my good friend and mentor, Doc Noe, as I needed to prepare for the race, hence we didn’t end the hangout with a meal or so. I had to rush, because I was one of the selected few to be interviewed by some F1 representatives on my current experience of the race weekend and what I think would be a welcome addition or change for future race weekends around the world. So the clock was definitely ticking on me.

“Rain on my Parade”

#F1NightRace

Upon arriving once again on the trackside, I can see what the earlier rain has done: the rubber on the track itself that was laid down by the cars, has been washed out; the hawker areas on the open grass fields have become muddy; and the chilly feeling that it would rain again later in the race, as opposed to clear skies the night before.

I mentioned that some F1 representatives wanted to interview us, the select few, but unfortunately, the rain made it hard for them to interview and record the interview. So, they informed us, instead, that they would send us questions vis email and we would still get our incentives. Yes, I was given a certain amount of Singapore Dollars thru PayPal. Talk about getting something in return for trying to improve the sport you love. All this, on my 1st ever race weekend. Wow.

Now that I had all that done, I was making my way to my seat in the Bay Area Grandstand, suddenly, the heavens opened up, and a downpour ensued. Is this a rain on my parade?

“Five Red Lights Off, Two Red Cars Off as Well”

Along the way to my seat, I was lucky enough as the downpour occurred, I was just near another merchandise shop, thus I ordered what they call “race weekend survival kits”, basically, it has a raincoat and some earplugs. I find it funny it being named survival kit when it only has those 2 items.

Wore it, and had a lot of strange looks, not because of a grown (figuratively) man wearing a clear raincoat, slightly oversized for him, but had a lot of strange looks, because they also needed it. Along the way, I was approached by males and females, all ages, from every walks of life, asking me where to get one, because apparently, they couldn’t find it, and like me, wouldn’t let the rain defeat them from enjoying the race. This is another example of the camaraderie within the race track amongst the fans. It wasn’t much, I just had to point out the proper booths, but to hear them sincerely saying thank you, was music to my ears and nearly in comparison to those times my patients say thank you.

47

49

Thus! I finally reached my seat, waiting patiently for the race to start, hoping the rain wouldn’t get any worse that it was.

There it is… the screen in front of our grand stand seats showed the start/finish straight, and finally, 5 red lights illuminated one by one (well, there are 2 lights per column, so 10 red lights in total, but yeah, whatever, we usually say 5 red lights… deal with it.) and when of them lit up… and finally all of them turned off… signalling the start of the race!

As the 5 red lights turned off… I saw 2 red cars… crashing out.

DQmS9oemqDEPbJXk1az8rr11TFGGYphZ8muSRi8k2Xc2bVe.jpg
Copyright: Formula One

The worse case scenario for my 1st ever race weekend actually happened! A rare double DNF (Did not finish) for both Ferrari cars! And the first time in history, not a single Ferrari finished a lap. I was like. What. The. Hell.

But that is the nature of the sport I watch. You can’t always win them all, and in fact, both cars may not always be there when you actually go and watch a race in person. Just a fact of life. That didn’t stop me from enjoying the remainder of the race. I stayed behind to watch the whole thing, making friends again with strangers, and made a new buddy that I might meet up again in a future race! He was my seat mate, Robert is a Mercedes fan, but like every other F1 fan, we both respect each other’s support of opposing teams, and won’t say anything bad otherwise; again, this shows how it is easy to be in a F1 race, wearing your colors, and not be insulted for the team or driver you support.

48
One of the main reasons why I chose the Bay Grandstand seats, even if it is technically slow part of the track (but hey, it makes it easy to take photos of the cars!), but the fact that it over looks the body of water and it is quite the show with fireworks as made evident by my photo I took.

Thank You, Singapore Grand Prix 2017

Finally… it was time to make my way back to the hotel and pack. For it was time for me to come back home to the Philippines in less than 12 hours from that point.

Arriving at the hotel, I had to lay down my F1 gear and just had to stand back and look at them. The result wasn’t what I wanted, but the experience… not just the race, but traveling alone, exploring Singapore alone… I didn’t think I would be able to do so.

53

Then of course, the thought that I finally made the 7 year old me’s dream come true was and still is difficult to fathom. In fact, 2 weeks or more have passed, but I am still in pure shock and delight that I as finally able to watch the sport I love. Not that many people can really say that. Sure, there are season ticket holders for NBA, NFL, etc, but the majority still, just watch in the comfort of their own home. So this was really something for me.

Done packing up, making sure I didn’t leave anything important, double checked my booking and my passport, and finally took a good warm shower… It was time to sleep… Or so I thought…

Making the Most of my Trip

DJ8cXAHUMAM0wTK

I still went out, looking around the beautiful side of the city I was in, knowing that in a few hours, I will be leaving it again. I wanted to just make the most of this trip.

Went around and found a quaint little area for some dumplings with Coke of course, and then I was out on my feet again, looking at the rest of the city near my hotel.

DJ8evG4UMAAFJoJ
DJ8diW_VYAAMj7K

It was serene… calming… but at the same time, saddening knowing that this beautiful city and I will have to separate as I have to make my way home to the Philippines. But hey… I can always come back.

DAY FOUR:


“Thank You, Singapore…”

DJ93t3bVYAA6Vb4

Rough time trying to sleep after packing my stuff for the most part, double and triple checking my documents/passport for traveling back home, making sure I haven’t left anything,  I was, like the night or morning before, too high from the experience, albeit, seeing both Ferrari cars crashing out without even completing a lap.

Decided to head out of the hotel again just to get a quick snack and maybe just look around the area near my hotel as I am just hours away from going back home.

I fell asleep, back inside the hotel room of course, around 4AM and had to get up around 6AM so I can get breakfast and head to the airport really early. Again, like in NAIA, I rather be early and wait in Changi International Airport rather than rushing. Also, I needed to get my friends some souvenirs, thus I had to make a mad dash to get keychains.

Again, I am very impressed by the airport here, so efficient and I had no problems whatsoever checking in and getting through the immigration and security. As soon as I arrived in the airport, the sooner I was done with checking in and I found myself waiting beside my designated gate to open. And as soon as my gate was open, I found myself inside the plane as the waiting wasn’t all that long.

And as the plane was taking, I can only look at the nearest window (as I gotten older, I rather sit next to the aisle so I can easily go to the comfort room) and I can only say to myself… Thank you, Singapore. Thank you.

“10 HOME
20 SWEET
30 GO TO 10”

As I gotten home, or even on the way home, as my mother and our driver picked me up from the airport, I anticipated the traffic jams and everything else wrong here in the Philippines as opposed to the very regulated Singapore. The crazy bumper to bumper traffic jams, coupled with the heat that wasn’t helped by the little drizzle adding to the humidity, the ill maintained roads and buildings, the overall lack of cleanliness and pollution, and as I gotten home and switched on my PC only to find out the net is down… Everything is just the opposite of Singapore. But in spite of all those… you know what? It is still home. Philippines is still my home (Along with America, of course). And I’m happy to be back.


Follow me here or on the following sites!

•Follow me on Twitter!

•Follow me on Flickr!

•I’m also at Facebook!

•Perhaps Google+!

•Do you game? Add me on Steam!

I’m Going on an Adventure!

September 15, 2017: A day that I have been waiting since May of this year when I first ordered my Formula 1 (hereafter F1) tickets for the Singapore Grand Prix weekend. I always exclaimed that September 15 can never come sooner, and now it is just a few hours away and my flight to Singapore will take off.

Let’s recall up where this all began and up to this point where I am quite excited and tensed for my first ever trip outside the country alone (I have been out of the country, of course, but I was always with family or with friends).

inarticle_singaporeskyline_323132
Original Photo: http://www.redbullracing.com/article/singapore-gp-track-essentials

“…you deserve it”

The words my sister and fellow physician, Debbie, told me when we first vacationed at Singapore last March 31, along with our other friends/colleagues from the medical world (Tidbit: they are her colleagues, I treat them as my mentors, because I’m still the youngest and I have yet to train for a specialization just yet. So they are far and away, more brilliant than I can ever aspire to be. But aspire I will), when I was contemplating whether I should visit the beautiful country of Singapore again, this time, for the race to add along the beauty of my visit. She uttered the words, “Why not, you deserve it”, referencing the fact I chose not to have a thanksgiving party after I passed my Physician Licensure Exam the year prior, nor did I ask for any real prize from my family. I didn’t even think of vacations as I was immediately hired, or asked to be hired (I was lucky to have a lot of sources and a lot of people endorsing me as a good physician and would be a perfect fit for their institution), by a number of Universities (both as their University Physician and Faculty in their School of Medicine), clinics as their general physician, teaching hospitals to hire me as their resident in various specialties; all that made me not think of vacations, prizes, etc., but immediately started to think about work and my future training.

So, when my sister said those words, I can’t help but seriously think of treating myself to a race, a plane to ticket too look around Singapore a second time around (trust me, Singapore should be visited many times… It is just beautiful), book a hotel room for my own, and just have the whole trip paid with my own hard earned cash, where no guilt is involved, and I can go to the places I want to go and that I missed in my first visit.

I was still at the cusp of deciding to go to Singapore again for the race, until it came to my attention that this year’s Singapore GP may be the last one held there for F1 in the foreseeable future. Thus, I decided to go back.

image
                                         Original Photo: memecrunch.com                                           Copyright: Warner Brothers

“I’m going on an adventure!”

As metioned multiple times above, this isn’t my first time going to Singapore; I was there last March 31, because, apparently, my sister needed a chaperone, otherwise my parents won’t let her go (take note, she is older than me by 7 years – I am 28), so she can join her colleagues (my mentors) to watch Coldplay. I like Coldplay, I respect them as a band, and I love a lot of their songs, but I am not a fan enough of them to actually watch them in concert. Thus, while I became the chaperone, I told her, in exchange, I will explore the city while they all watch the concert; I don’t want to watch the concert. She agreed.

So, now I will be coming back for my version of their Coldplay concert: the Singapore GP!

I will also explore a lot more this time around, since I was only able to explore on my own last March 31, but the subsequent day, I was with the group and wasn’t able to decide on the places to visit. Now that I am alone on this trip, sure I might meet up with a couple of friends (1 of which is another fellow physician, whom I consider a mentor, Dr. Noe), but I will be checking places like Gardens by the Bay, Merlion Park, etc.; the places I failed to visit last time.

The main point of going here is the race, but like I said many times: Singapore is such a beautiful place, that it is a MUST to explore.

And this is my first time traveling out of the country all by myself. I am excited and tensed. But really looking forward to the overall experience.

Twenty-One Years in the Making

01_1996_esp-966x543
Copyright: Formula 1

I first fell in love with F1 at 1996, where I saw Michael Schumacher in the Ferrari, seemingly flying through the Circuit de Catalunya in the Spanish GP in horrid wet weather condition.

I was enthralled by the overall discipline of the sport since then. The passion of speed and technology. And of course, I became a fan of Michael and Ferrari. Up to this day, I still support Ferrari, win or lose, I bleed red.

I have been a fan of this wonderful sport that literally changed my life for 21 years; I have religiously watched every season. Sure, later on in my life, especially during my medical school days, there are some races that I missed, but overall, each season, I am in the know.

Some people may call it obsession, but to me, it is just pure passion. I am that kid that didn’t understand the value of money, so my parents would trick me into thinking they can’t afford F1 toys and such, that I made one out of paper. Not the best as you can imagine, but I was satisfied as my imagination took care of the lack of details. I then started making F1 cars in Lego, and was proud of its accuracy (I use this word with caution as “accuracy” in basic Lego parts, is really not accurate, but I got close – I will provide a photo of that Lego build once I clean it) and still have it with me, never broken down since, proudly displayed with my actual die-cast F1 cars – why yes, as I finally gotten older, I was able to get my hands on F1 toys and merchandise.

My passion also sent into apparels, where each year from 2002-2007, I ordered Scuderia Ferrari hats to support the team (I have stopped ordering hats from 2008-2016 due to my supplier stopped selling F1 merchandise), and proudly wearing that hat while watching a race even if I was not in the actual stands.

Thanks to F1, I also got into cars in general, to the point where I am like most guys that love cars, that can tell the make, the model, the year, a particular car is.

Thanks to F1, I also became a fan of racing simulators, where my first taste of a “simulator” was Gran Turismo; this further fueled my love for F1 and now different types of racing disciplines. With Gran Turismo, and the other games I played in that series, I learned the parts of a car, and what different setups will cause the car to behave. And my passion for the sport shows as I have a racing simulator rig set up for games such as Assetto Corsa, Codemasters’ F1 series, etc.

As you can see, F1 opened a whole new world for me. It is more than a hobby; more than a sport I love; it is a PASSION.

21745236_10213953310527500_1946210686_o

“…all my bags are packed…”

Yesterday, I started packing my things up, but not before my mom and I met each other at the local mall after my clinic duty to buy some more necessary travel accessories and maybe a new luggage for my own. Previously, I simply thought of borrowing my sister’s small luggage for the trip, but I thought of maybe buying my own, to call my own, for a relatively good price. The go-to luggage nowadays seem to be Samsonite, but I was always distraught with the price. Not to sound arrogant, but I can afford them, but the practical side of me thinks bags/clothes/shoes, should not be too expensive; for electronics, I don’t mind spending a premium, because I feel it is proper to have a more expensive prices for better quality electronics and such. But when I saw this one Samsonite luggage, it spoke to me. It is strange, but I treat my items as living objects, I take good care of them, and sometimes I talk to them; it is strange indeed, but this is how I get to keep most of my items in tip-top shape and last much longer than they are advertised to be. Thus, when this bag spoke to me, I didn’t care about the price and just bought it… well, with a little persistence from my mom to buy it. Otherwise, I would still be thinking about the purchase even if the luggage spoke to me.

21729438_10213951979734231_601130090_n
Impulse buy?

DJmcRxjV4AAFkJK.jpg

Reppin’ the U.N. Spacy!

Since this bag is going to be checked-in, I decided to remove the Razer “Remove Before Fight” tag from my key chain and attached it to the bag. I also added some U.N. Spacy logos on the tag. Afterall, this Samsonite bag is not exclusive to me, someone out there, may be traveling to Singapore on the same flight with a similar bag, so I might as well place some stickers, tags, etc., to make it easily identifiable. I will not, however, copy what others are doing like printing a huge picture of themselves on the bag. Maybe next time…

singapore-f1-grand-prix-02-625x375
             Original Photo: http://www.carmag.co.za/singapore-f1-grand-prix-2017/               Copyright: Formula 1

“…and that is 5 red lights and away we go!”

Now, I am just waiting for tomorrow, September 15, 2017, for my flight. I will leave home around 2am, since Manila is unpredictable if there will be a traffic jam like last time we went to the airport. Plus, it is far better to wait in the airport, fully checked-in and such, rather than panicking trying to make the cut-off. This is afterall, my first trip overseas alone.

I am tensed, but excited. And I am sure this trip back to Singapore will be a wonderful experience that will supersede the previous visit as this is my first ever trip overseas alone, add the fact I will watch my first F1 race in person after being a fan for 21 years, this adventure will be a memorable one indeed.

Til my next post when I touch down in Singapore! PEACE!


 

Follow me here or on the following sites!

•Follow me on Twitter!

•Follow me on Flickr!

•I’m also at Facebook!

•Perhaps Google+!

•Do you game? Add me on Steam!

There and Back Again: A Trip to Singapore

Truth be told, it has been 11 years since my last air travel; it was way back in 2006 when I last traveled to and from America, so I was definitely excited, and a bit confused, while travelling to Singapore a few days back.

I was excited, simply because it has been 11 years since I boarded a plane, and excited because Singapore is one of the countries I have yet to visit, and by golly, I heard great things about it.

I was confused, since I don’t remember how to travel; I don’t remember where to go, what stations to pass by in the airport, and I don’t know the process for me to travel nowadays since I have a dual citizenship (I am both American and Filipino citizen, but only had a U.S. Passport). Luckily, my sister, who is also a physician, and also dual citizen, happened to have traveled to Thailand a month ago, and she got first hand experience when it comes to the extra paper works we needed as dual citizens.

Now, skipping the boring airport procedures, let us begin with me waiting to be board the plane: like I mentioned above it has been 11 years since I boarded a plane, let alone be in another country entirely, and with that thought, I guess I was a little too excited for my own good and wasn’t able to sleep the night before. This lead me to be a bit off the day of the flight, unsure if I can really stay awake during the duration of the flight. It also didn’t help that the trip to the airport didn’t help me sleep either, so here I am, being a wake for effectively 36 hours since I had work the day before, trying valiantly to enjoy my first air flight in 11 years.

Singapore Trip 2017
The waiting game…

When it is finally time to board the plane, I was right smack down in the middle of the plan, the middlemost seat, which in theory is the best as most people would say that you’d feel less of the effects of the flight there, of course, I would rather have the aisle seats, more specifically, next to the window, even if in fact, by the time you take flight, you’d see nothing but clouds and the body of water, but hey, I am easily entertained.

Thankfully I sat next to one of our friends also on the trip, who happens to also be my mentor during medschool, so it was cool that I had him next to me for the flight.

Overall, I am happy with the trip, it helped that it was just a short flight of 3 hours, so it was a perfect reintroduction to air flight as I plan to either visit Japan later this year or visit back home in America, also sometime later this year.

My only qualm from my first flight in 11 years is simply I ordered a certain breakfast in flight meal, and they got it wrong, it was tough to have it switched to the right one seeing that I am seated in the middle of the flight, so I let it go, but I made sure on the flight back home, I will have the right meal.

Singapore Trip 2017
At Changi International Airport with my sister

And so, we landed in Changi International Airport, and I know that most airports are better than NAIA, but wow, I was impressed by Changi, and all the more impressed when we were on the road; the lack thereof of traffic jams, the cleanliness, the overall beauty of Singapore, scream everywhere. I was blown away.

Singapore Trip 2017
Doc Jap showing the way to our chosen hotel as Doc Edwin looks unto the distance

Right off the bat, I will mention that we are here only for 3 days; the main reason we all went here is that my sister and our 2 other friends wanted to catch Coldplay in concert. I, on the other hand, just wanted to go around so I didn’t bother with a ticket. That is not to say I don’t like Coldplay, I do, I have a lot of songs that I like from them, but I am not a concert kind of guy. If it were The Cure, however, I will definitely watch them. I digress.

Being obviously a tourist hot spot, most people understand English, thus making it very easy for me to order food and whatnot, and feel very confident when the time for my sister and friends will inevitably will leave me for the concert. My confidence is further increased when the area, overall, seems to be a safe place, unlike here in the Philippines when the sun goes down, you have to constantly look over you shoulder and be vigilant. I am not trying to ruin the Philippines in terms of safety, but come on, people that live here will know what I mean… don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean.

Singapore Trip 2017
Looking for food
Singapore Trip 2017
A complete stranger… But I like her getup
Singapore Trip 2017
Lunch at the nearby Hawker with Doc Edwin

As the trio set off to line up for Coldplay, I decided to explore. I don’t plan on using the Taxi or anything of the like seeing that I wanna spend less on the commute and more on items, plus it makes it easy for me to see the actual sights and sounds, so to speak.

Singapore Trip 2017

Since I play lots of video games that are open world, I was not to worried about getting lost, and again, it helps that everyone speaks English very well. What worried me most was my knee; as you all know by now, I had surgery nearly 3 years ago and I still have difficulty longing long distances and standing for long periods of time. It was just the sheer adrenaline of being somewhere new that kept me going really.

Singapore Trip 2017
The weary travelling physician

Sure, I succumbed to fatigue, going in and out of the hotel I was staying in, Premier Inn Hotel, and then heading towards the nearest coffee shop to get a sugar rush in order to resume my exploration; I am a big Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf fan, but sadly, I can’t find any nearby, so I settled for Starbucks, my former love.

Singapore Trip 2017
Sugar rush!

After the much needed sugar rush, I am back on the road, exploring on my own. I was this close in getting to Merlion Park by myself, but having air traveled just in the morning and not having enough sleep to back it up, I reached the end of my energy tank, and had to call it a day and head back to the hotel. Overall, I had so much fun exploring on my own, tomorrow surely will be even better.

Singapore Trip 2017
Back at it again after my sugar rush

Next day… it started a bit slow, cos we all woke up late. Having washed up and ready to go exploring again, we waited for my former Resident/Mentor when I was but a wee medical clerk, Doc Noe, who has moved to Singapore and is a physician there, so who better to show us around than him, while my sister and 2 other friends, who are also physicians and my mentors, catch up with their colleague. Just 5 physicians hanging out in Singapore.

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017
Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017
Five Physicians in Singapore

Doc Noe then treated us to a nice hearty meal, and as the afternoon was ending, a photo of the former AUFMC IM residents along with their boss/mentor is definitely a must.

Singapore Trip 2017
Doc Noe!
Singapore Trip 2017
Jollibee!?

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017
Doc Chan’s Glare
Singapore Trip 2017
The gang after shopping at Samsonite since they had a sale
Singapore Trip 2017
From L-R: The Boss: Doc Edwin, along with the former IM residents: Doc Deb (my sis), Doc Noe, and Doc Jap

At the evening, we managed to meet up with Doc Jap’s high school classmate who happened to also have moved to Singapore; he also treated us to a delicious dinner and then showed us around.

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017

Though we didn’t get to visit places like Merlion Park and the like, Orchard Road was pretty neat by itself; lot’s of places to eat, shop, or simply look around. I was on the lookout for some action figures so it isn’t surprising that when I arrived in Singapure I would go straight to the action figure shops, sadly, no Macross figures in stock at that time. Maybe next time…

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017
Doc Deb, my sis!
Singapore Trip 2017
Doc Chan… Me… obviously

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017
The doctor…  the otaku
Singapore Trip 2017
Looking for my waifu

As the night turned into early morning, we wanted to see Mustafa since it is supposedly a 24 hour lot for electronics and whatnot, but we were just too tired already; we headed back to the hotel and of course, the packing comes next. Now since I didn’t really get to buy anything interesting this time around during my visit, it was relatively easy packing, especially when my sister bought herself a Samsonite luggage as pictured above. For my friends’ souvenirs, I decided to just buy a lot of souvenirs in the airport later in the morning.

Finally, had just about enough sleep for the trip back home. After a quick bite to eat, it is straight to the airport and on the way back home to the Philippines. After 2 and a half days away from home, I must say, I was already getting home sick, hence, I was very eager to hop on that plane and get home.

Singapore Trip 2017
Manila bound… isn’t it obvious by my happy face?

Upon arriving back home, the first thing that greeted me was the wall of humidity and heat; Singapore wasn’t really at its coldest at that time we visited, but boy oh boy, nothing can beat the heat of the Philippines. The next thing I immediately miss about Singapore is the free flowing traffic; back here, man, the traffic jams are a stuff of legend.

Singapore Trip 2017
HOME… One of my fave pics my sis took of me

I don’t know if it was apparent in the post, but I was slightly hinting that I am planning to go back to Singapore later this year, for I am a Formula 1 fan for 21 years now, and I heard that it may be the last Singapore GP in F1 for the foreseeable future (not yet sure), I jumped at the chance of finally watching a race live in person. I will also be traveling on my won for the first time in my life, so it all the more, it will be a special experience.

I have yet to book my flight, book a hotel, or even buy a ticket for F1, but I’m pretty much sure about this trip, just have to finalize the seating (gotta find good seats, of course) and ask Doc Jap’s friends what hotel to book into, and we are ready for the race!

Anyways, overall, my 1st flight in 11 years, thankfully a short one, and thankfully a beautiful place like Singapore to visit, was a fun and well worthwhile one. I am not much of a traveler, but honestly, apart from going back to Singapore for the race and going to the States to see my home again, I plan to go to Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan in the near future. Somehow, visiting Singapore whet my appetite for traveling. Maybe this geek should see more of what the world has to offer…

Singapore Trip 2017
After 11 years, I got to travel again…

Til next time! PEACE!

P.S.

I will add a few of my favorite shots I took with my DSLR (you can click on the title/caption to be linked to my Flickr:

The Other Side
The Other Side
The Daily Grind
The Daily Grind
The Light on Route 76
Light on Route 76
One Small Step
One Small Step
The Connection
The Connection

Follow me here or on the following sites!

Follow me on Twitter!

Follow me on Flickr!

I’m also at Facebook!

Perhaps Google+!

Do you game? Add me on Steam!

Blog on the Go: A Geek Lost in Ortigas. Not Really.

Me and my sis decided to have a little R&R and ended up in Origas and checked in at Marco Polo Hotel… And yes, I was shouting “Marco”, hoping someone will appropriately shout back “Polo”, but alas, no one ever did. Hey, worth trying, right?

image
Making good on a challenge I set for myself: shoot good photos with only my ASUS Zenfone 2

This is one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever set foot in. And I have been in a lot. It is so nice that I began regretting not bringing my DSLR, but sets up for a great challenge; I will challenge myself to shoot DSLR-esque shots with nothing but my ASUS Zenfone 2. I may use apps for postprocessing, apart from that, everything is taken with the stock camera app in Cyanogenmod.

The above photos, are my officially entries for the challenge, the following, however, are not. They are just to show the place in general…

image
Big queen size bed!
image
I want to copy this desk for my own room...
image
Nice hallway and incorporation of the closets...
image
The customary bathroom shot...
image
Zhe bathtub...
image
Too exposed... But yeah.
image
Pretty nice toiletries...

As you can see, it certainly such a lovely place. Truly one of the best hotels I have been to. And again, I have been in a lot.

image
Another entry to the challenge I called Zenfone-ography

As the night ensues, after a nice dinner, it was time for me and my sis to get some coffee. Thankfully, there was a Starbucks right in front… Or behind, depends on your perspective, of the hotel.

image
With the sis!
image
Drool...
image
Drool some more
image
Proof of how close Starbucks was!

We will be going back to Pampanga tomorrow morning as my sis has hospital duty tomorrow and I, well, I have no hospital duties for now, will just study at home.

For what’s it, it was worth the time to bond with my sister, before I move here in Manila to study for my exam for 3 months.

It is fun, and we still have the rest of the night and morning.

So that is all for now! PEACE!

My Everyday Carry!

I have, like most everyone else, an everyday carry; this can be as simple as just a cellphone and wallet, others may have a multitool, a vlog camera, etc.

For this post, I will showcase my everyday carry (as of August 2015); by the term, this is what I take with me on a daily basis, whether I be at work or at the mall. This is different from my complete gear on vacation where I take my DSLR gear, tablet, laptop, etc., with me.

I will try and give the specs of each everyday carry (hereafter, EDC) and a link to their manufacturer’s website. I will avoid posting prices because, it may change by the time you stumble into this.

So, here goes.

1. ASUS Zenfone 2 (Previously ASUS Zenfone 5)

Let us begin with my phone; honestly, I am not too big in the cellphone/smartphone department. Ever since I was in high school, I never bought my own phone, I had to had hand-me-downs from my sister. My first smartphone was also a hand-me-down from the same sister, an Apple iPhone 3G (She bought herself a 3GS). The very first smartphone I ever bought on my own, happens to be just be my second smartphone ever, the Zenfone 5, but I since upgraded to the Zenfone 2. Why am I not so big on phones? Well, I just needed a phone where I can call or send text messages. Simple as that. But I must admit, having a smartphone like the ASUS Zenfone 2 is making me use my Apple iPad Mini a lot less.

I always said to myself though, if I do get a phone, or even a tablet at that, it would run an Android OS, because my experiences with iOS on my Apple iPhone 3G was not as good as others would say it would be. Well, to the everyday person, an iOS is a superb OS, and rightly so it is, but if you are like me, a PC geek, you hate things that are too locked down like iOS, and an Android OS, so far with the Zenfone 5 and later on the Zenfone 2, I have done a lot more customization and a lot more productivity with it than I ever had on my iPhone 3G or iPad Mini.

Plus, the time I bought this Zenfone 2, it had a price none could beat with it’s specs. I was a no brainer for me to get, since my Nokia and Samsung (I forgot their models; these were the phones I chose for my clerkship) were dying, and my iPhone 3G was practically dead.

So I may not really be a big fan of smartphones, but if it is an Android phone like this one, I had to get it and use it to it’s full potential, and thus far, it has been very good to me in my work/studies. Perfect when you are in the hospital, and then a consultant asks you a question, you can easily browse through your apps, books, or check online for the answers; Perfect when you are tired at work and just want to check your social sites; And most importantly, perfect just to bust out to play some games on emulators. Couple this with the iPega PG9021, you got a perfect handheld gaming device that still serves other purposes other than gaming.

I can also remotely control my PC/Laptop or control PowerPoint presentations remotely and be able to read the notes; this is especially useful, if one has no projector and has to present the PowerPoint directly from a laptop without being able to read the notes on the laptop screen.

Love this phone.

2. Apple iPad Mini

This was given to me by my parents and sister as a gift for becoming a clerk/junior intern. They knew I needed something for me to use for quick references, reviewer, etc. Or just go online to relax a bit while on duties.

But like I said, I wanted an Android tablet if ever I get a tablet. Though, a gift is still a gift, thus I kept it, and sure, apart from its super locked down OS, I still found good use for it.

Again, I used this just for studies or finding answers while in the hospital. And it served me well in that aspect, but I never placed any games here. It was just not a good gaming platform FOR ME. And that’s just me. Sure it has emulators and good games available for download, but it was just not powerful enough for most emulators I wanted to have

I can still do things like, remotely control my PC; control my PC/Laptop while having PowerPoint presentations, and the like. But it just isn’t as intuitive as my Zenfone 2 in doing so.

Like I said above, I am beginning to use this a lot less now since I got my Zenfone 2, but I still bring it just in case I need it. For whatever reason.

3. HUAWEI E5220 Pocket WiFi

My postpaid accounts for all my cellphone numbers (yes, I have a total of 3 numbers; The Zenfone 2 is dual sim, and my “dying” Samsung has the other sim. I just don’t bring my Samsung with me everyday.) doesn’t have 3G or 4G capabilities; I got these numbers when my iPhone 3G was dying, and I was using non-smartphone (stupidphone?) that doesn’t have the ability to go online anyways. So I opted out of the 3G or 4G fiasco. Looking back, maybe it was stupid of me not to, but than again, having a separate pocket WiFi is a better choice in the end.

Having a pocket WiFI instead of a mobile data plan for my numbers, makes it so my phone won’t have it’s battery drained faster, and if I want to share the WiFi, I don’t have to turn on my phone’s hotspot.

The bad thing about this, is that it is signal dependent of course. But then again, also is my phone…

4. USB Flashdrives

I just showed one flashdrive, btu believe me, being a computer geek and being a senior intern, I have loads and loads of these flashdrives, from different companies, of different capacities, and different interfaces (USB 1, 2, and 3).

I never leave my home for work on vacation without at least an 8GB Flashdrive with me… You just never know what you’ll need this for or when you’ll need this.

5. Romoss Solo 5 10,000mAh Powerbank

Just a new addition to my gadgets; I just bought this last month. In fact, you can read my review on this powerbank right HERE (note this post was imported from Blogger; may look messy).

I love this. My Zenfone 2, though higher capacity battery life compared to let’s say an iPhone 5S, it does go through quite quickly depending on what you do in a day. I usually charge every 36hours (yes, I track how many hours my phone usually lasts before charging), but if I game, or text a lot or call a lot (which I do in the hospital due to referrals, etc), I do have to charge after 18-24 hours after previous charge. And we all know, by the advent of all mobile devices, finding a free socket to charge in is now rare. In fact, even USB ports of PC’s are occupied with devices being charged.

At first I wanted to jsut buy an extension cord, so everyone can share a charge, but then again, I would leave my devices on charge while I go through the different floors, in different rooms of patients, etc., thus risking missing important calls or messages. So I needed a powerbank so I can charge on the go.

And this Romoss has been nothing else but truly AWESOME. It has dual output (one is 2.1A and the other is 1A) so I can charge my HUAWEI E5220 pocket WiFi and my Zenfone 5 at the same time. In fact, if you have an octopus cord, you can charge even more devices! Albeit slower charge… but still. Perfect.

Do read my review for more info on this powerbank.<

6. iPega PG9021

I wanted to have a controller that is bluetooth, so it can be used with my Zenfone 2 and emulators, and can still be used with my main PC system by way of bluetooth. Not only that, it should have a clip on for the said Zenfone 2 and have a XBox controller form-factor. Sounds impossible? NOPE.

I found this iPega PG-9021 that is everything I just said above. And for a good price.

Now I won’t say everything about the controller for I have a review right HERE (note: also from Blogger; may look messy).

Do read it.

This is perfect for those boring days at work where you see people playing Clash of Clans or what not and you play Doom on your phone by way of DOS emulator and then mapping the controls to your controller.

Heck, if I have the urge to “catch ’em all!”, I can also do so by way of various Gameboy emulators.

Because REAL gamers don’t settle for games that are for casuals… Just saying.

7. Xiaomi Piston V2 Earphones

I was in the market for good quality earphones that don’t break the bank, and these pair of drivers certainly are, and literally are, BANG for the buck.

With its sleek looks (I got the gold ones), and sleeved cables, it can trick the unknowing and may pass for an even more expensive earphones that they really are.

Once you dial in the equalizer just right on your device, these earphones are truly a wonder to hear.

Of course, when you go out, be it alone or with other people, sometimes you need to listen to music… have a soundtrack for your life… so a simple strut around the mall or park can be so epic when “Bittersweet Symphony” starts playing and blasting through your earphones.

8. WIRES!! And Stuff!

Of course, this is a must, I need a couple of micro USB cables to charge my devices while I’m at work or out somewhere. I still bring along my Samsungs micro USB AC charger, cause I may need to charge my phone/pocket WiFi/powerbank all simultaneously and I just had one AC adapter from ASUS. Sure I can charge my powerbank and plug in devices on it’s USB ports to charge simultaneously, but it charges itself and the devices EXTREMELY slower if charged simultaneously. So I must charge them separately.

I also have this peculiar CDRKing Lightning to Micro USB adapter for my iPad Mini. BUT WAIT, you say! You have that octopus cord, you say. Well I SAY!! That octopus cord only charges, it doesn’t transfer files, so if I need to transfer something to and from my iPad Mini, I am screwed with the octopus cord. And why don’t I buy the actual lightning cord? Because it is too expensive. This was 10% of the total price of the cable. No brainer.

I also have an On The Go (OTG) cable for my phone. So I can quickly transfer files from my Flashdrive if need be. Just being a boyscout here.

9. Wallet

Self explanatory. Usually empty.

10. House/Room Keys

Ditto.

Not pictured because people sure know how to make copies by screen capture and molding the key. Not saying I did it, but I heard of it that’s why people warn me not to take pictures with my keys, any keys, visible. Let this also serve as a warning to you all. Be it true or not, better safe then sorry.

10. Rubbing Alcohol

Yes, I am a “germaphobe”… well only when I am in the hospital. Of course, you see patients that are sick, you can’t always go to the bathroom to wash your hands if in a hurry, so rubbing alcohol is necessary.

11. Rosary

I may not look like it, but I am religious, I get really scared if I don’t bring one along. Every time the going gets tough, I just hold on to this, say a little prayer, and everything gets better for me.

And that concludes my EDC.

So, how do I keep all these things when I am on the go? I have several travel bags/cases where I keep them. Note… All these cases came from Medical Representatives when I attend medical conventions… very handy. As I can’t find these items easily in the local malls for the life of me.

I have this small case for my powerbank, wires, flashdrives, pockt WiFi, chargers…

For my earphones, I also have a nice little organizer and case for it… doesn’t come with the earphones when you purchase them, I just got this separately thanks to the Medical Representatives.

Yes, I also keep my controller in a case when I travel. That’s how OC I am! But there’s more to it… read below as to why I have a lot of cases.

Then they all go in together a larger case.

Why do I still have other cases for my stuff if I will ultimately end up putting them inside a bigger caset that obviously accommodates them all?

Let us be realistic, some days, I don’t want to game, or I don’t need to listen to music, etc, so I need not bring the everything (which kinda contradicting to the EVERYDAY CARRY moniker); if I just want to bring my chargers, I will bring the smaller bag/case for example.

And of course, my wallet, rosary, rubbing alcohol, and phone is kept in my various pockets.

So there you go! That is my EDC as of August 2015.

Tell me what you guys think what are your EDC!

CHEERS!

Preview of My Travel Blog

Morning has broken…

If you are following me in Twitter (look at the right side for the Twitter widget if you want to follow me…) and here in WordPress, you all know that I had a weeked getaway to Tagaytay… It was a magical and relaxing place we got that named Narra Hill Tagaytay, and it was well worth the road trip.

This post serves as a sneak peak of the photos (Or you can visit/follow me on Flickr HERE for earlier access to my latest photos) I took during the trip.

The next post, if it will be about my travel, will show my favorite photos I took, including the one above, my experiences, and of course, my review of Narra Hill Tagaytay.

So stay tuned! There will be loads of photos to share, experiences to share, and a review so you guys can know more about Narra Hill Tagaytay!

PEACE!

Photographer mode again… After eons and eons of inactivity!