Who doesn’t love Open-Air Cinema?

I’m a sucker for outdoor- parks and beaches especially. Plus, I love films. So you can imagine how much I love open-air cinemas.

Ever since I ticked it off from “my list,” I can’t stop researching and waiting for the next open-air cinema schedule. And it just got better when Singapore had the first Sunset Cinema in May!

Fresh air, sand, a good film (I watched Lion that time!), good booze and food, and a good company under the stars is one of the best feelings on earth for me. 🙂 

There are plenty of food for you to choose from, top it up with some wine or beer and the night is perfect!

Instead of arriving right before the film starts, Sunset Cinema encouraged the film-goers to arrive early (gates open at 5pm) to catch up with friends while enjoying the pre-film ambience with a drink in one hand and a bite to eat in the other. As the sun sets, there were also a DJ and instrumentalists that spread the summer love from 5pm-7:30pm before the feature film begins at dusk (7:30pm).

The DJ played over the normal speakers but for the feature film itself, the audio was broadcasted via a state of the art wireless headphones which every film-goer was issued upon entry. Those noise cancelling headphones enabled us to immerse ourselves in the film wherever we were in the area (queueing for food, seats, toilet) and allowed us to control our own volume. We didn’t miss a part at all or got annoyed with a talkative seatmate during the film!

I just heard the news that the Films At The Fort will be back in August! Presented by Casillero del Diablo, it will be in the same spot as last year!

Films At The Fort is celebrating its 5th anniversary in the beautiful natural amphitheatre of Fort Canning Park from 3rd – 20th August. Truly, Singapore at its best – the perfect place to unwind with friends over a glass of wine, good food and an award winning film on a balmy night.

You can bring your own food, but you cannot bring your own alcohol and all bags will be checked for alcohol at the entrance. Our friends baked cookies and brought some chips last year (I miss you, Vee! Come back here!).

There are also inflatable cushions (sit upright or layback) for sale at $14 and can be re-used after the event at the beach or park. Alternatively, you can bring your own cushions, blankets and rugs but out of respect for others, you are not permitted to bring folding chairs.

This year’s film programme spans three weeks and includes a curated collection of new releases, premieres, cult classics and documentaries. One of my all-time favourite movies, “Lifes is Beautiful” will be shown and I can’t wait to watch it since the last time I’ve seen it was during my Cinematography class in college.

So if you’re visiting Singapore this August (just like my very loved Ate/Ninang Zarah), check out their website and chill with the good wine and movie!

You might find this FAQ useful, too!

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Friday Night-out: Donating Blood in Singapore

About 4 years ago, many good souls touched my heart when our family’s heart was broken. Dad was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis and we were told that his case was terminal with only less than 6 months to live.

The agony was unbearable knowing that you only have 6 short months or less to show how grateful you are to one of the two people who sacrificed so much for you.  I wish I could bring him to all the places he’d like to see before everything’s over. I wish I could give a part of me so he would live longer. We’d see Dad happy and active one moment, and the next moment, he’d throw up blood. His haemoglobin would drop to an average of 4g/decilitre (normal haemoglobin level for a male is 13.5 to 17.5 grams per decilitre) and we will all be out looking for 2-4 bags of blood for his blood transfusion. It was a tough routine.

I wished, I could give a part of me so he would live longer, but I couldn’t.

I was heartbroken but healthy and with a weight less than 100lbs. I was rejected as a blood donour for Daddy. The struggle to find blood in the Philippines was real and we needed 2-4 bags every month. From then on, donating blood became part of my long bucket list.

Note to self: I will take care of my body and be healthy so that a part of me can help save lives and heal families’ broken hearts.

The inspiration: Two good souls (Enzo & Carina) will always be a part of me because they gave their blood to Dad, a total stranger to them whom they knew the situation via twitter, without asking for anything in return. Together with one of my best bosses and friend, Kaoru, who courageously donated her blood though she knows that Philippines is not as advanced as Japan; our family friends and lastly, to the couple with a big heart, Ellese & Jhong, for almost sharing with us a platoon of army donours when we needed them the most. 🙂

The push-factors: Great neighbours with big hearts turned into friends here in Singapore, Anna & Belinda, who’s happily donating blood regularly to help save lives (Shh..they already receive medals for it. LOL). Plus, the fact that:

  • every blood donation burns approximately 650 calories based on studies
  • you may have a lesser risk of cancer as new blood cells are regenerated
  • free medical examination as they screen your blood and looks out for transmitted infections such as Malaria, Hepa-B and Hepa-C, HIV and Syphilis
  • Blood donours are given priority when there’s an urgent need for blood (this is true especially in the Philippines. But hey, if there’s no enough supply for emergency use, how will all these matters?)

The process: We went to one of the blood banks at Dhoby Ghaut as walk-in donours on Friday night. The process is thorough but as easy as 1,2,3…

I’ve never had a chance to donate in the Philippines but my husband and sister say that they give”zesto” and water (sometimes instant noodle!) for refreshments but in Singapore, they pamper a donour like crazy making sure that you’ll feel like the hero that you are (they even put a bandage on your arm!).  For first-timers, aside from treating you extra careful, you’ll feel like you just passed a frat’s hazing when they give you your “welcome kit.”

There are 5 blood banks in Singapore at the moment and HSA’s website has a very comprehensive information if you’re ready to save lives.

For more information about donating blood in the Philippines, please visit here or talk to my sister who’s a regular blood donour. 🙂

30 Things Before 30

They say that you have a lot of time when you’re 20, that’s okay. 

But now that I’m half way done with the ‘glorious 20s,’ I say that no matter how much you try to get things right when given a chance to do or have it, sometimes, you just need a few more tries to get it… just right. And you got to do them and learn from them in your 20s. You have to fall, fail and be fooled (sometimes!) so that you know what suits and best for you. 

I find myself glorifying my good old energetic days lately- Trying almost everything and finding something new each day. When I moved here in Singapore, I felt like a boring old maid struggling to live life while coping up to herself losing each piece day by day. (Haha. Yes, an exaggeration but it’s quite close.) 

My diagnosis is I am putting so much pressure to myself that I panic for not living my life the way I know how it should be. So today, I’ll be back to be a blessing to others and making other feel happy about their lives. And since it should begin with me, I’m sharing some of my 30 things before 30 (I removed some too cheesy goals) just like my 25 things and looking forward.

1. Witness the beauty of Sakura and join “Hanami.”
2. Eat pizza or have wine/coffee while sitting at front of the Trevi Fountain.
3. Learn Flamenco in Spain.
4. Pay all our loans and raise funds for parent’s retirement. (Filipino thing! Haha)
5. —
6. —
7. Read a book while enjoying Maldives with a beer.
8. Experience & learn how to make mojito in Cuba.
9. Cook a dish for a house party.
10. Learn a new language and use it.
11. See the beautiful Angkor Wat.
12. (Party for Dad’s 60th!) Appreciate the Aussie way of life.
13. Eat Pho Ga in Vietnam.
14. Learn Cooking.
15. Walk in streets of Tokyo and ride a train.
16. Drink local beers in Laos and Germany.
17. Have 2 successful businesses.
18. —
19. Skydive.
20. Watch in open air cinema in Kamari & take a photo of the sophisticated Santorini.
21. Have a photo with Eiffel Tower.
22. Ride the Trans-Siberian Express across Asia.
23. Ride a gondola.
24. Live in a foreign country for 3 straight months.
25. Climb up the Great Wall of China.
26. Have a photo taken in Roman Street.
27. —
28. Host a house party.
29. Find my passion.
30. Maintain a good blog that I can always read and reminisce the good old days.


Last month, I just crossed out the 24th in my list: Live in a foreign country for 3 straight months.


Turning "bano" as I move to SG

Almost 2 years ago, I visited and fell in love with the “convenient” country instantly and wished that I’ll have a chance to work and live there.
 
This year, after keeping my crazy faith in my dream job, I was given a very good opportunity to explore and establish my career and a bonus to move to Singapore. Coming from Manila, moving here is such a treat because of its convenience.
 
TRANSPORT SYSTEM
Who wouldn’t love Singapore’s Public Transport System? You can just go around the whole country with its MRT & LRT or if you prefer to do more sightseeing on the way, just hop in one of the many buses to choose from. 
 
 
Compared to Manila’s MRT, Singapore’s MRT has a very comprehensive comprehensive map (photo above), a panel that shows the schedule of train arrivals or the number of minutes left to wait, strict implementation of ‘no eating and drinking’ rules, and some trains have route info panels that show where you actually at! 
 
 
EZ-link makes my life so much easier! With its multiple use especially in transportation, I normally just need it and I’m all set.
 
LITTLE WORRIES GO AWAY
They say that low crime doesn’t mean no crime at all but as a Filipino who had lived in Manila for almost a decade and has developed a good ill-never-be-a-victim-of-crime skill, Singapore is such a place where I could fully breathe (and never worry about my bag being stolen or left open when walking.)
 
I also do not sweat in small things because:
 
1. People in this country automatically take the side of escalators so that those who are rushing can pass by.
2. When crossing the small streets without stop lights, pedestrians can just cross the pedestrian lane anytime (but of course still with caution) because cars give priority to pedestrians and automatically stop compared to what I’m used to that I have to wait for the upcoming car to pass by before crossing.
3. And of course, stop lights are perfectly working and generally (some are not), people know how to use them. 🙂
 
SINGLISH
The only difficult thing for me might be to fully understand Singlish. Here, words like alight, take away and 1 for 1 are used instead of get off, take out and buy 1 take 1. Definitely, I’ll learn more words as time goes by and I’ll definitely learn how to appropriately use “lah.”
 
(Image from: Google Images)
Some of my friends like this country so much even if they’ve visited or  lived in other progressive cities already. But some feel a bit suffocated of its strict rules and fast-paced environment. As for me, I’m still getting to know Singapore but the chaos of Manila will always be missed.

Toss up for a good year!

One of the most interesting celebration of new year for me is the Chinese way. Because of their many different beliefs and rituals, they welcome the new year  full of hope and optimism.

Two weeks after I moved to Singapore, I celebrated CNY for the first time together with my We Are Social family. Here, the Chinese believe that tossing up yu sheng (raw fish salad) symbolises luck, prosperity, good health, and all things good. The practice of mixing it together is called lo hei (also in Malaysia) which means tossing up good fortune in Cantonese. Yu which is “fish” in Mandarin, shares the same pronunciation with another character that stands for “abundance.” Each of the ingredients in yu sheng has significance like sesame seeds, which represents flourishing business and green radish for everlasting youth. As everyone partakes in mixing the salad, wishes are uttered to shower blessings to their lives for the year ahead.

For a first-timer, I was not bad in tossing but I don’t think I tossed enough for a promising year so I’ll back it up with hard work! 🙂

BEFORE AND AFTER.

We spent half day in the office going around the city to celebrate the new year with lo hei, tea, and childhood games! Plus, I got my first-ever ampaw!

We Are Social family
One of my first good friends in the office, Vera, invited me and Tianyu for a reunion dinner with her family. It was a great pleasure meeting her beautiful family and sharing a hot pot with them.


After the dinner, we visited a few temples and headed to Chinatown for the countdown. The countdown is very nice to experience but you better be prepared to endure the heat because of the crowd and loud noises from fireworks cause they believe that it will shoo away the bad things.