Monday, December 3, 2012

X marks the Spot: A Rurouni Kenshin Live-Action Film Review

Never underestimate the power of the fans. The anime/manga community was so passionate regarding the live-action to be shown here in the Philippines that the bigwigs took notice. Rurouni Kenshin (live-action) will be officially shown to all SM Cinemas on December 5, Wednesday. The movie is in English subtitle.
But before its official showing, my friends and I were lucky to have an opportunity to watch it in advance.

Image credit:

Rurouni Kenshi is also known as Samurai X especially to those who have watched the English dub in Studio 23 (a local channel here in the Philippines).

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!! Before I ramble more about the said movie, I'd like to remind everyone that it's inevitable that I'll be telling you some spoilers. But I'll try my best not to give it all. note: I WILL TRY. :) 
In terms of how avid I am for this series, I can say I'm an average/casual fan. I've watched the series and was VERY familiar with the opening and ending themes. *wink, L'Arc En Ciel* But I only manage to retain a few bits of this series in my anime memory bank. So if you find anything to correct, please do. ^_^

    Himura Kenshin - Takeru Satō
    Kamiya Kaoru - Emi Takei
    Sagara Sanosuke - Munetaka Aoki
    Myōjin Yahiko - Taketo Tanaka
    Takani Megumi - Yuu Aoi
    Saitō Hajime - Yosuke Eguchi
It tells a story of a wandering swordsman (rurouni) named Kenshin Himura. Set in the Meiji Era, Kenshin was infamous as Hitokiri Battousai. When the war ended, many claimed that they are Battousai and ignited fear among the townsfolk. Saito Hajime who's now working as a police officer believes that the recent battousai-related attacks are not done by the 'real' Battousai.
Kaoru Kamiya, assistant instructor of the Kamiya dojo, later learns that the harmless-looking, wandering samurai she just met is the real Battousai. Just like in the series, the two quickly became friends since Kenshin defended the dojo from a group of bastards. Kenshin did some jail time (since he claimed responsibility for the rumble in Kaoru's dojo) and you'll see Sanosuke in the prison too (but they are not on the same cell).

Before Kenshin was released, Saito made sure that he was able to send his message loud and clear to Kenshin that it's impossible to turn his back from his past. That they will all die by the sword. However, Kenshin still believes he can protect his loved ones without having to kill. His (Kenshin) belief will soon be tested as there are circumstances that put his friends in danger.

The movie made an effort to keep the elements that we knew and loved about RK. I remember hearing Kenshin saying "Oro?", Sano doing his mad street-fighter skills (his term, not mine) and cheeky Yahiko teasing Kaoru. It was really enjoyable to see it on-screen. I'm sure avid fans will be able to spot those other elements I've not mention here. You have to see those exciting scenes for yourself. :)

For a Japanese movie, I think the actors did good and the cast was well-chosen. At least for me. :) 
Takeru Sato satisfied my expectation to see Kenshin as the comical rounin to the serious battousai. Guess being a Kamen Rider might have helped. Yuu Aoi was the perfect Megumi. She looked fox-like to me. And I like her eyebrows. It captured her mysteriousness. Yosuke Eguchi as Saito, man... I'm really excited whenever he shows up. There's always something unexpected when he's around. I don't know if it's just the script or Saito is really a man full of surprises (the Buddha scene in the anime cracked me up). Lastly...the fighting scenes, I've to say the choreo met what I wanted to see. So it's not surprising that people were cheering while the fight unfolds. ^_^
This movie runs for 2 hours. So I suggest avoid drinking too much water/liquid intake especially if your bladder's weak. I think if we'll be able to prove to the bigwigs that there's really a market for Japanese films, they might consider importing more. Watching it in cinemas is just one of the many ways to support the creators legally. 

For a casual fan like me, I really enjoyed it and would recommend you to watch it. I didn't feel that I'm just looking at beautiful actors. This movie was well-planned and the actors did their part to make their characters alive.
*insert your favorite ending RK theme song here*

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Memory Remains: What I'll Always Remember About 9/11

When I opened the TV today, the first show that popped was a feature on 9/11. I saw it last year in BIO channel. It was a documentary of the survivors' account on the horrors and heroism of what happened on that fateful September 11, 2001. Then it dawned on me that today's the 11th anniversary of 9/11.

"Big lights will inspire you, let's hear it for New York" -lyrics from Empire State of Mind

I have a former colleague who have experienced 9/11 firsthand. She was on her way to work via train. She felt the ground shook while she was inside it. She thought it was an earthquake. But when she got out of the subway, she was surprised with what she saw. A plane was stuck in one of the towers of the World Trade Center. She felt it was surreal. Why would there be a plane? The following scenes disturbed her more. She could see people in the windows. And suddenly, a few of those started jumping out of the windows. She told me she could almost tell that their clothes are being ripped due to the air pressure from jumping such altitude. She was completely in utter shock. That's the World Trade Center. One of the tallest buildings in the world. Why would people jump from there? And why is WTC in smokes? These were all too much to comprehend at the same time. She's in the US. In New York. Infront of World Trade Center- an iconic building of global commerce. It took a while before she got back to her senses and when she did, she called her kids' school.

Most likely, my colleague was around this area before it all collapsed.

The first thing that she said to whoever picked up the school's trunkline was, "We're being attacked! Get all the kids out of the school!"

That person on the other end tried to calm her down. My colleague said she's near WTC and there's a plane stuck in the said building. She (colleague) requested if she can talk to her kids but the person she's talking to declined as they need further information on what she's saying. She yelled: "Open the TV! It must be on TV by now!"

She can't remember what happened after she said that. If the line got cut or she dropped the call. There was an adrenalin rush for her to run and see her kids. As well as inform her friends who she knew has loved ones/relatives working in WTC.

The school officials on the other hand was very shocked on what they saw on TV. They immediately asked all kids who have parents working in WTC to go to one room.

It was already afternoon when she and her kids were reunited. My colleague said she hugged her kids so tight and both parties cried profusely. With what she saw earlier that day, it made her feel as if it was her last day on Earth. Emotions were running high as the other kids in the room were still waiting for their parents to pick them up. The school officials are worried for their own relatives as well.

She remembered that night with a certain chill in the air. No honking taxis. No noisy neighbors. Not even the usual on-the-go New Yorkers were on the street. Only the sirens of ambulances could be heard.

She said that 9/11 really shook her. The first few months, she found herself crying whenever she remembered what happened. She thought she could have died if she was inside WTC on that day. After much careful thinking, they went back here in the Philippines.

My colleague shared this to me around March 2008. I don't know how our conversation went that we've talked about 9/11. But I do know that it was very insightful to me. I never knew someone personally (until her) who was there while it all unfold. As I type this, I still get goosebumps. I can feel the fear and horror of not knowing what's happening around you. You can only grasp that there's a threat around you.

Let us pray for those lives who were taken away abruptly. May their memories will not be in vain. May their loved ones be inspired to carry their legacy and continue living productive lives despite their loss.
To those who were given the chance to share such stories with us,  may they receive the necessary care and support so that their traumatized hearts be healed. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

#LArcMNL Fan Meet 2012

#LArcMNL Fan Meet
September 23, 2012 (Sunday)
Balay Kalinaw - UP Diliman
2PM - 6PM

AFTER SO MANY YEARS... finally, a L'Arc~en~Ciel event organized by the fans!
The last one that I've attended was 6 or 7 years ago and was organized by Juujiro. It was around January. and for HYDE's birthday. Anyway, the L'ARC PHIL Street Team released a teaser and it went viral since some fans thought L'Arc~en~Cie/one of their members, Yukihiro will be coming. It was totally unexpected. We immediately did "damage control" as we don't want to mislead people just for them to come to the event. 

#LArcMNL Fan Meet aims to gather all L'Arc~en~Ciel fans and celebrate the band's influence and success all these years.  There'll be a bunch of fun activities too. Looking forward to see you at this event!

Music Gets The Best of Me (Asian Pop Expo 2012 Event Report)

"Ano pong hanap nyo ser/mam?"

Our online shop, FANdora's Box, has been around for quite some time. We had several successful transactions already online and we wanted to reach out to customers in person. We were planning to get a booth at Fantasy Quest 2 but it's beyond our budget. So when we came across Asian Pop Expo, we decided to give it a try since the whole table (6x2) only costs 2000PHP.

Too Early, Too Late Or Just Right
Let me tell you that my friends and I are "exhibitor virgins". (tricky term, eh?)
What I like about the organizers is that they held a meeting with all the exhibitors/sellers, fanclubs and contestants
1 week before the event. It gave me an expression that they're really serious about making the event smooth-flowing as possible and to set everyone's expectations. As well as answer some of the concerns in person. However, there was some slight miscommunication with some of the attendees. Some of us were informed that the meeting will be at 2PM while others thought it's 2:30PM. While a few thought it's 3PM.

So while waiting for the organizers, I wanted to get to know other people in the business/hobby and in hopes of finding new friends too. But I admit, I was overwhelmed at first. Since, I could hear *familiar* names of Asian acts being discussed but I didn't have enough info. I don't know how to start a conversation with the people around me. I suddenly felt old and disconnected with the fandom. It took a while before I got my own ground and when I did, 2 girls were talking about L'Arc~en~ciel. CHANCE DESU~
Unexpectedly, I also met the current president of the anime org (Genshiken) in DLSU-D in this meeting.  One of my fellow members in the #LArcMNL campaign was also there. Anyway, the Asian Pop Expo Pre-Event meeting  started at 3:30PM. Everyone was briefed on the rules and regulations. Some are very passionate in their cause so the organizers reminded us not to bash other sellers/FCs to avoid conflict. I think the meeting met its objectives and it ended well despite the hiccup to the time of the meeting. I understand that there are things that can happen unexpectedly.


 Event Proper
As per meeting, ingress can start at 8AM. We arrived around 9AM. I have the least number of items among my friends. Kid and Aish brought like backpacks/trolleys with them. All of my items managed to fit in a shopping bag. While we were waiting for the gates to open, we were checking each other's items. We were joking that we might buy each other's items after all.

The venue for this event was in ELEMENTS in Centris. It's just near Quezon Ave MRT. It's not inside the Centris Mall. But what's a few metres of walking from MRT for such spacious and conducive venue. :) I wore sleeveless because I was expecting that it'll be hot. But I was proved wrong as the aircon was in full blast. But it's not a big deal anyway. I'd prefer the venue winter-y cold rather than hot and sweaty.
It was our first time to attend an event to this venue and I  really like ELEMENTS.

I wanted to get this venue for our XMAS party but the people at ELEMENTS/ETON Centris isn't responsive. Ohwell.. maybe not my luck to get this. But I hope other cons would consider having this as their venue. *cross fingers*

They have a lot of cubicles. So whether you're a cosplayer or an ordinary con goer, waiting time isn't that long. Also, it was not hard to secure a space infront of the mirror despite that there were a lot of participants dolling up. Soap is provided and hand dryer is working. 

Food and Drinks
I think there was only one stall/booth offering food during the Asian Expo (under GENSHIKEN). But their food is really good. They were selling cupcakes (from TJS Bakeshop) and onigiri. The onigiri was such a hit.
Usually for cons, I just expect the food as "okay" but not repeatable. We call it pang-tawid gutom lang. May makain lang.  BUT the cupcakes and ESPECIALLY the onigiri in Asian Pop Expo, we were on repeat order mode! OISHII DESU!

Anyway, I saw some con goers who brought their own food with them so I think it's allowed(?). We brought our own food too incase we couldn't excuse ourselves from manning the booth. If you prefer to buy food near ELEMENTS, there are various choices and the range will be around 200-300PHP per meal/order.

As much as we wanted to check out the contests, we were only contented to get a view from our booth.
We are first time exhibitors so we don't have any idea about when and how will the influx of the people will be. I think as early as 11AM, there were some performers already on stage.

It was later in the afternoon that we had a break.We checked the FCs and we were amused that each has their own gimmicks and unique merchandise. Very creative! I love the idea of one FC where they had a cutout of the band members. Honestly, I was tempted to be silly and take a pic with it. JUST FOR THE NOSTALGIA. haha.. we were once fans of those bands.

I was really humbled that my friends (#LArcMNL, Facebook, Alma Mater) went to our booth. As well as those whom I made friends with during the pre-meeting dropped by as well. Sometimes, it's starting to look like a reunion of sorts. We met people whom we're just familiar with faces back in our hey-days.

It was nice to meet fellow Jmusic fans too. Most of the ones I've talked to are GACKT and L'Arc~en~ciel fans.  I spoke to some and had some little discussions too comparing the JPOP vs KPOP fandom.We were amazed how KPOP fans has a strong presence in the said event. While, the JPOP and JROCK still looked and felt the same. Yes, there are some new fans. Very passionate too about the music/artist but we wondered why there's still no mass appeal for Jmusic, not even enough to make the music honchos to sell like 100 or 500 CDs/DVDs. The younger batch of Jmusic fans are still doing what we experienced during our time. They order via online. Yes, the KPOP fans also order online but at least, when they step inside a music store here, they can expect one or two KPOP CDs to be there. For us, Jmusic fans, it's seasonal. Last time I rem, it was the Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol.1. I can clearly remember that scene as I was in a toss whether I'm going to buy the album of Madonna, Kylie Minogue or Utada. The said albums were lined up beside each other too. Well, I ended up buying all three but only Utada's album was in CD format (yes, the two were in tape- old school!). :))

The other attendees who are also contestants had their own practice area which I think it's a good idea and kudos for the organizers for considering that part. I just hoped that there was some sort of a cover that people couldn't see it. I know some attendees who got confused where was the stage because the practice area seemed lively (sometimes) than what's happening with the stage.

As for transactions in our booth, it went okay. We managed to break even with what we've paid for the table.

Aside from the venue, we really enjoyed hanging out with people who shares the same interests with us.
The venue's good. I'd definitely attend an event again here. Program-wise, I was looking for more variety when it comes to "Asian music". This event has a lot of JPOP and KPOP FCs. Did anyone noticed if there's a fanclub for Mandarin/Chinese as well as Malaysian artists? I was looking forward to see that or maybe I just missed it? How about OPM? I mean Filipino artists are considered Asians, right? This event has a good concept. I hope they'll have another one next year. Maybe incorporate it with OKTOBERFEST? Music+Booze = that's one irresistible combo!

***The magazine featuring GACKT and the 1st edition Japanese print, FAKE manga are still available as we speak, check out our shop for more items.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Death and the Maiden

Roll The Dice of Life

Our block was really sad that one of our classmates have passed away due to breast cancer. This classmate of ours whom I'll always remember as quiet and thoughtful. Even if you're not part of her clique, you can ask her for notes and would never ever say anything sarcastically to you just because you forgot to take notes or you were just lazy to write things. I don't even recall that she has some rifts with our classmates too.

I remember talking to her about her plans once she got her masteral degree in guidance and counseling. She told me she wanted to start a school geared for children with special needs. We even compared notes on our post-grad since I'm taking up Industrial Psych while she took SPED/Guidance and Counseling and we're in different schools.

There's an old saying that those who are good are the ones who are taken away first. I'm not sure if such statement was made out of compliment or to appease the loss of those who were left behind. Our initial reaction was sad on the possibilities that this classmate of ours could have achieve if she lived longer.

Her wake was not gloomy. Not at all. When we attended her wake, we communicated to her as if she's still here. We told her that finally we were able to find the copy of the video of our block's most loved and famous theatrical performance. The block also  reminisced our college years. For a few hours, we talked about the struggles, triumphs and the funny moments we all had in our Alma Mater. Her family would also join our discussion after they had assisted the other guests. Before we left, we said a prayer for her.
In my heart, I thanked her for being a good classmate. I also told her that even if we belong to different groups, it seems she gave us all an opportunity to visit her one last time. Even her classmates from elem/HS were there. Her wake fell on a Philippine Holiday.

A few weeks after the death of my classmate, one of our former employees died. Though this time, it was from a congenital heart disease. What breaks my heart more is that she was pregnant. She died in Singapore and her body was moved back here in the Philippines.

The last time that I spoke to her was around last week of May. She thought I was still in Singapore and would like to meet up. I told her I was there last April but might be visiting around November if I still have some VLs left. She fondly calls me "Ninang" because I was the proxy of my manager (who's really their ninang (godmother) for the wedding). I'll always remember what stated in their wedding invitation: We feel so blessed in our lives that we prefer that you give to our brothers and sisters who are in need.
Who would have thought she'll leave everyone before she reached her 2nd wedding anniversary? :(

When I attended her wake, you can feel the love of the people for her. Her friends and classmates from elementary up to college were there at the wake. If I rem it right, she has worked for 2 companies here in the Philippines before moving to Singapore (1 is with a leading telco company here and the other is with our company).  The big bosses of that PH telco company and some representatives from her Alma Mater were present too. I've observed that her parents especially her mom really get strength from those people who have come up to tell good things about their late daughter.

We tend to relate death = old age. But when Death claims 2 young lives especially with the same range as you are, we all ponder about their current status, their dreams, potentials and what they could have been if they have lived longer. I never thought 2 of my friends will leave so soon.

But more than the reality that death could take anyone in an instant, I realized that how people perceived you when you were still alive, it will be magnified when you're dead.

I remember one story I read about a certain politican/judge in Cavite. That person was known to have a mean temper that it could top a certain female senator's outbursts. There were also rumors that he's corrupt. When he died, no one from his political party attended his wake/funeral. No one even claimed to be friends with him. He was known to be a bad person and up until his death, people still see him that way. That's just sad, ne?

As for my two friends who have passed away: your journey with us was cut short but I was glad I was able to hang-out with you both when you are still here. Will pray for your family's strength. I know they miss you.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Dare to Trick Me

      Scammers are getting creative to lure victims. tsk, tsk...                

Just want to share this incident which happened a few days ago. 

This is not the first time I've sold an item. But this is the first time, I've encountered something like this. Though nothing bad happened to me except that my cellphone's battery is missing, I'm writing this to warn people that this incident could be a potential modus operandi for those meet-up transactions (wherein the buyer and seller would meet in person) especially to those who are selling gadgets. 


A buyer from a local online buy-sell-trading site contacted me last night and told me that she's interested to buy my phone. After a series of SMS exchange, we agreed to meet at a mall during my break.

She arrived on-time in our meet-up place. She also came with a child and her lesbian lover who's smaller than her. Since she's buying a phone, she wanted to check my item using her sim. I agreed since it's her right as a customer. I CLEARLY remembered that I took the battery out and got her sim. Once I've put the sim in the phone, I noticed I'm no longer holding the battery of my phone. I was really shocked and embarrassed since the battery just magically disappeared and my customer was there, waiting excitedly for her potential phone.

Right then and there, I admitted to my customer about my predicament. I told her the battery is missing. And thought maybe I gave it to her while I got her sim. She looked inside her bag and checked her child. She didn't find any. I also looked in my shopping bag (containing the box and accessories of the phone) and found no trace of my cellphone's battery. 

All of our search was in vain and I humbly apologized to the customer that we can't continue the transaction since the cellphone's battery is missing. The customer was really kind and didn't show any sign of disappointment with my service AT ALL. So I left the meet-up place, feeling confused of this transaction. I can't understand how my cellphone's battery just disappeared!

After a few minutes since I left our meet-up place, I received a text from the buyer that she still wants to buy my phone even if it doesn't have a battery. She's asking for a discount. I thought the price was still reasonable and so I agreed. 

I was about to return to the meet-up place when I received another SMS from the buyer. She said, she'll only buy my phone IF I accompany them to buy the battery. I told them I can't since I still have work. She tried to convince me that I should accompany them and it would not take long. By this time, I felt something is not adding up right. 

No love for the scammer. High Five y'all!
 image credit:

In an attempt to validate my gut feel towards this customer, I sent an SMS and reminded her about the battery. That in case, I'll find it (battery) I can give the phone at a MUCH lower price from what she was asking from me. But in case, she finds it in her belongings, I hope she can return it to me so we can proceed with the sale.

And you know what? This customer didn't even show any anger towards me even if I subtly hinted that she might have the battery! Isn't that creepy? All this time, she never showed any frustration. Instead, she's more focused in coaxing me to accompany them to buy a battery and even reminding me that she was really excited to give me the *money*... woah, so she said the magic word: Money~

Notice how she is now using the word: money. But no, thank you. I'd rather be safe. And so, I went back to the office and checked my belongings. Everything is intact except for the cellphone battery. It's REALLY missing. As I write this, I remember she and her lesbian lover switched twice in carrying the child, this happened when I was getting the phone. Most likely I got distracted by it.  The buyer also allowed me to see her bag just to prove the battery isn't with her. I noticed that my buyer's bag didn't have a milk bottle, extra clothes and a face towel. The 3 items are COMPULSORY when you are going out with a child. All she had in her bag were an umbrella and coin purse. 

I want to give this customer the benefit of the doubt but I just can't. The red flags are there.

I forgot to add this customer wanted to change our meet-up location on the last minute. The oh-so-common "I'm not familiar with the place" and "I might get lost" excuse were used. duh! Our meet-up place is just National Bookstore. It's not like Jolibee or Mcdo wherein the said establishments can have 2 sites in a mall (the fast food and the stand-alone dessert/take-out counter). I replied her "Just ask the guard." 

So for those who are also doing meet-ups, never let your guard down.
Always be alert. If you feel something is wrong, maybe there is something wrong. Those scammers are really creative in coming up with tricks to dupe people. Like this couple, they even used a child as a "prop" to their modus operandi. Never compromise your safety.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I was DRAWN to you (Summer Komikon 2012 Event Report)

                               The poster can sell itself                              

Summer KOMIKON 2012 is the first hobby-related convention I've attended this year. The event was held in Bayanihan Center (Unilab compound) near Shaw Blvd. Two of my friends have attended KOMIKON last year in the same venue. My friends noted how conducive the venue was for events such as this. This got me excited since not only I'll get to see talented artists but to experience an event in a new venue. Especially since I'm currently scouting for possible venues for our Christmas Party (yes, we're planning this early since we have a large population).
update: I learned that during December, Bayanihan Centre is used exclusively by UNILAB. Would love to hear your suggestions for venues good for 300pax-up.

We arrived at 2:00pm. There was a long line already of people. We followed that line but one of the crowd management staff asked us if we're lining up to have our comics signed by Manix Cabrera (Kikomachine).I've to commend that staff for being attentive in assisting the con-goers. We didn't waste time  in a wrong line. 

Our mothers liked DARNA. In our time, it's ZSAZSA. chos!

It took us a while to find our other friends. There were a lot of people in the venue. But nonetheless, I love the venue! The aircon's working and was able to keep the room conducive for us, excited geeks. Also, the restrooms looked decent. YAY!

There were also some artists who gave out their work for FREE! And the quality of work isn't something you'll overlook at. My initial impression was: really? This is for free? It looks good as those being sold at the booths.

I also met some artists from Bacolod! I learned from them that they sell their comics at 7-11 stores (Bacolod). Sofuckingawesome that artists are allowed to sell their works at a convenience store. I think it's a good strategy to reach people and be noticed. :) I bought one of their works and gave it to my brother since I know he'll like their art style.

Artists from Bacolod and their table

There's also an upcoming movie with a comic book tie-in called TIKTIK. Local celebrity, Dingdong Dantes was there to promote it. What's unique about this TIKTIK movie is that they did it 100% on a green screen! It's a 1st in Philippine Cinema. I heard that the movie will be released around October. I'm really forward to it and I've to agree to what my friend said: There is so much mythology going on in the Philippines that there's really no need to borrow monsters from Hollywood and Korea. 

I also met Carlo Jose "Caz" San Juan, MD of CALLOUS COMICS. Yes people, he's a doctor and a comic book artist! It was Jay who told me about Doc. I was really amazed and intrigued that there's a doctor in this field (comics). It's my first time to meet someone like him. I have friends who are also doctors who like anime/comics, a few has artistic potential but never really pursued it. Doc was really nice to accommodate my questions and he even signed my copy. Honestly, he really inspired me that day. He's a doctor and yet he's involved with something that is outside of his profession. It made me think that I should try something like that. Not doing a comic book per se but to manifest both my profession and geek side TOGETHER. I tend to separate them in most occasions as I'm always afraid of what people will say about me. There's this constant tension of the opposites especially with people at work. Usually when they learned I like anime and comics, they seem not to see me at their own level. UNLESS of course, we share the same hobby. But by meeting Doc, it really made me braver to pursue things that I like. I'm looking forward to work with Doc. I told him that I'm proposing an activity for our employees in relation to hobbies such as comics and would love to have him as a guest. I'm humbled that he's open for some engagements. Wee~

Btw, there's also another doctor who's a comic book artist. He's involved in a project called: Palimos ng Kulangot. And there's another doctor whom Doc San Juan wanted me to meet as well. Whoa, 3 doctors who are also comic book artists! Hm.. when will I see the day that an HR practitioner will venture into comics? Delete what I've mentioned earlier. Anyone who's interested to do a short panel with/for me? I'll just tell the story tho. I can't really draw to save my life. XD

Coincidentally, one of my officemates found me in KOMIKON. He was surprised that I was there. He never saw me as a comic book enthusiast *daw*. He asked me if I've been to anime conventions. I said yes and then he squinted his eyes and said he never saw me once. There must have been a light bulb up in his head when he said, "Maybe you're into cosplay!" I just laughed and he asked me again about cosplay. I admitted that I do cosplay. My officemate said: "What characters have you done already? I never saw you. You must be joking." I laughed again and replied, "You'll be surprised to know."  

It was really nice to see my friends, Jay, Marthy(MANGAholix), Ian(wickedalucard), Chapel, WackyRodent (SilentSanctumManga) and made new ones. :)

I felt bad that I wasn't able to bring more cash on that day. I wanted to buy more~ I failed to buy some stuff from ElectroMagnetic Tentacle, Kubori Kikiam, Rommel Estanislao and Carlo Vergara. >__> 
I KNOW! I'm such a loser for going home without any item from them.

My friend and I were on a hunt to look for comics with Northstar in it. Sadly, we weren't able to find one. I can't help but laugh when I notice how the guy beside me was shocked to hear what I was looking for. I have a funny feeling that he knows about Northstar. :))

There was also a tribute for Tony de Zuñiga (the iconic artist who paved the way for other Pinoy talents in the international comic book industry) during KOMIKON. We have a lot of talented artists here in the Philippines. I hope in our own little way we can support them. Being an artist here in the Philippines has been viewed as not the most practical way to earn a living. Seeing those artists in KOMIKON, I can't help but admire their passion in their work. 

I was lucky that National Bookstore accepts credit card and I was able to purchase some graphic novels. Our group stayed at the venue until it closed at 7PM. After that, we went to Robinson's Pioneer to buy dinner. We walked from Bayanihan Centre to Robinson's since it's like 6 blocks away. One of the things that I can't help but compare to other countries is how PH's sidewalks were constructed/being used like an extra parking lot or as an extension of one's lot. Sidewalks doesn't have ample lighting too. *sigh*

Anyway, we head to my place to cook our dinner. We had shrimp gyoza and chicken noodles.Our supposedly dinner turned into a full-blown sleepover. It's like we had our own "Komikon" event. We started talking about XMEN. Then, shifted to local komiks and other topics such as anime, game and cosplay. My brother even joined in our discussion. 

We also played games such as we'll give you two choices. Choose one and then from that choice, we'll make you choose again until you'll find yourself stuck. I'll give you an example when it was my turn to play the game. 

friend: Xmen or Batman?
me: Xmen
friend: Jean Grey or Phoenix
me: Phoenix
friend: Dark Phoenix or White Phoenix?
me: White Phoenix
friend: White Phoenix or White Queen (Emma Frost)
me: er....


We slept at around 2AM or 3AM. And got up at around 7:30AM, I guess. Despite our place being small (others would call it condo-living to make it sound extravagant, LOL), it was nice to have friends over at our place and talk geek on things such as these. It was fun to watch how my brother, Duston and Chris churned out those comic book trivia out of their heads. Aish and I just foamed our mouths and disappear in the background. Anyway, I'm really looking forward for the next KOMIKON. The last KOMIKON I attended  prior to this, was in 2009. I was really happy that  I decided to attend this year. It's a breather to be surrounded by art and its talented people. :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Truly, Madly, Deeply

Last year, I had my first MAJOR part in a wedding. I was the Maid of Honor for my friend in Graduate School. It seems that more of my friends are settling down. For this year, my calendar has noted 3 weddings that I need to attend. The first was last Saturday at Batulao, Batangas. For this wedding, I was a guest. 

A couple of my officemates were there as well. I feel humbled that the couple (who are also my officemates) have invited me to witness this event. I'm from Cavite but it took like 2 hours before we reached the place. I was surprised that it was near Charles Huang Conference Center. We used to have our retreat there in college. Anyway, Chapel On the Hill is such a nice, solemn place for weddings.

Before the ceremony, I learned that one of my previous hires/employees and the groom know each other. Small world, huh? I can't find my officemates so I decided to go with our former employee and his buddies. The wedding started at 2PM. While the mass was on-going, the former employee made chit-chat and informed me that he checked Jobstreet and he saw that there are a lot of openings in his (former) team. He concluded that many people are leaving because of a certain 'hierarchy' in that team. He was telling me this while we were observing the wedding. *SIGH* I really hate it when people bring up WORK-RELATED MATTERS during special events. Yes, I'm in HR. But I have a life outside work. 

I cut the conversation by telling the guy that everything is going well with his  (former) team. The reason that there's an opening is because there were some promotions and not because of people are resigning. I ended my statement by telling him: "If you have issues, you should have raised that in your exit interview. We're attending a wedding and I prefer to focus on that."
I thought the guy would stop but hellno! he tried to save his ass by telling me that I was the one who opened up the topic. ME?! gods, that made my vein popped. I answered: "I didn't even ask about your work. YOU started this topic. Why are you even checking the company thru Jobstreet? YOU wanted to know about your team. I just replied to your inquiries." 
FINALLY! That made him shut up. 

After the wedding, I learned that guy and his buddies didn't have a car. They went to the church via bus and tricycle. I felt sorry for them as the reception is in Tagaytay and offered my ride to them. But once in the car, I didn't talk to that guy again. He was trying to make chit-chat but I acted deaf. Once at the reception, thankfully! I shared tables with my officemates and not with that guy. My officemates were a bit late in the wedding that's why I couldn't find them first. Since I'm single, I was being teased or rather... pimped (lol) to the bachelors.

One of the things that I look forward to in a wedding is I'd like to hear what the families have to say to the newlywed couple. We always thought that mothers would be the first ones to cry but in all of the weddings I've been to, it was always the father who cries first. 

Also, gone are the days when singles would vie for the bouquet and the garter. I noticed that the wedding games are getting creative just to corner 1 male and 1 female. For this wedding, the guys have to do the Limbo Rock/Dancing. Whoever touches the satin ribbon will be the "winner". One of our officemates was declared as the "winner".
For us, females, each were given a sleeping/eye mask and we need to find hairpins that were carefully tucked at the bachelor's body. haha.. it seems most of the female participants are motivated since the bachelor was good-looking. As for me, since he's an officemate (not the former officemate, oki?), his charms no longer work. hahaha.. but he's really nice. He's one of the fellows we can joke around with. :)

The program ended at around 8PM, I think. I was surprised that in Tagaytay, there's traffic already. I remember the said place with little or no traffic at all. After the event, I realized it's already my 2nd year attending weddings with no boyfriend and that I'm always part of the SINGLES game.

One of my friends suggested I should stop this whole anime-cosplay-Japanese thing for me to get a boyfriend. That guys get turned off that I'm still in tuned with childish hobbies. But I also realized, there would be always be guys who'll not see me as their potential mate.

I tried to 'tame down' who Nagi is. I colored my hair in dark brown to look normal and didn't mention about my interest in anime, comics and fashion. BIG MISTAKE! Because I maybe able to hide who I am. But I can't hide who my friends are. Friends reflect who we really are. 
Besides, I may love to color my hair, watch anime, read manga/comics, etc. But I think I have a pretty good sense of responsibility when it comes to my career. For starters, I'm on my 4th year with my current company. :)

Well, if I can't find a guy who'll truly, madly, deeply accept me for everything that I am. I'll just settle for the role of the cool aunt that kids love to hang-out with because she's never boring, cooks great food and has a nice home that offers an awesome home theater system and a library full of manga/comics. BUT she looks so awesome for her age that your kids' friends would thought their 'aunt' was a former supermodel. hahaha..
This is not to say I'm closing my heart to love. This is what you call the back-up plan. :))

2 more weddings... 2 more ways to expand my network. Will this lead me to Prince Charming?

Single Girl Nagi (lol)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Driver's High

After the concert, we (I, Hoshi, Tcha and Fairy) ate at a nearby Burger King joint. Our conversation started how we all got to know each other and about L'arc En Ciel (of course!) then it evolved to discussing other Jrock acts and that the newer bands doesn't  catch our attention. We wondered. Is it about the lyrics? music style? visual presentation? or...simply because we are getting old? We laughed at such thought. We also discussed about other celebrities such as GACKT and Utada Hikaru. Then we got serious on about work and the people we deal with everyday. We didn't even realized that it's already 12MN! And we missed the last trip for the train.

The inevitable discussion of other Japanese music artists after the concert
Image credit:

Thankfully, transportation in Singapore isn't a problem. And it's safe too. Hoshi called for 2 cabs and it arrived just after 5-7minutes. We let Tcha took the 1st cab since she'll be traveling alone back to her hotel. Hoshi, Fairy and I took 1 cab together. Our uncle was nice and entertaining. He likes to ask questions and share stories. I can't help but feel how similar this scene is. Most of the taxi drivers here in PH at night will also try to engage you in a conversation. Probably a way to keep themselves awake. Uncle even shared some tips about traveling in Malaysia and how to eat durian without leaving your hands so smelly.  :)

When Hoshi and I got home, I noticed that it's already 1AM. this time, I feel bad that I'll leave Singapore. This was the longest bonding moment Hoshi and I have so far. This really helped to make us closer. We talked things outside of the fandom. About family, work, plans in our career and yes, even love life. Mine's boring tho. XD

Before I sleep, I checked my towel which I used to cover Hoshi's pillow. tsk, tsk.. it has some dye marks already. But good thing, it's not on the pillow cover.

Lost Heaven
After a few hours of sleep, I woke up around 8AM and prepared myself to go to church. I was accompanied by Hoshi's roommate. I think it was a good 15-20minute walk from our place. Also, there's a Buddhist temple. It's just a stone throw away from the Catholic church. This was my first time to see two different beliefs sharing a ground near to each other. You'll get a vibe that everyone really tries to get along with each other.

The mass just ran for 1hr. And when we got home, I organized my things. On the other hand, Hoshi was preparing herself for her church service. Hoshi and I left their home at around 1PM. One of her roommates, Popoy helped us in carrying my luggage. Before I rode the taxi, I hugged Hoshi tight. Who knew that a simple letter in Questor magazine could lead to a friendship that withstood years!

My flight back to the Philippines is scheduled at 2:20PM. I was at the check-in counter already at 1PM. It took only 20minutes to finish the process. I used my free time to look for more pasalubong at their Duty Free shop. I didn't notice the time that it was almost 2PM! I was afraid that I was late but when I got to the boarding gate, we were informed that the flight will be delayed for 1hr since the first flight that day was delayed. Domino effect... Anyway, our flight officially left Singapore at 3:45PM.

I arrived Manila at around 7PM. The moment we were at the PH Immigration counter, I miss Singapore. Not only because my friends are there and L'arc En Ciel had a concert but because it was very organized. Most of us,Filipinos are complaining that the sign boards are confusing. The board says NON-RESIDENT PASSPORT but alas! all of us were asked to line there. One returning resident asked in local language that he's a Filipino and why does he need to line to a NON-RESIDENT PASSPORT counter. The personnel just replied: "Okay lang yan" (translation: It's okay.)
/sigh/ I joked myself: I'm really back in the Philippines.

ROUTE 666 
After the Immigration counter, it was the dreaded Customs counter. Again, the signboard problem. The board says WITH ITEMS TO DECLARE. Even if us, passengers who don't have any item/s to declare, we still need to line up there. The NO ITEMS TO DECLARE counter is closed. I don't get it. In Singapore, both counters are open. When it was my turn, the officer was curious with my boots. Her questions seem to hint that I need to pay taxes because I bought it in Singapore. I told her that I bought it here in PH at a department store. She replied that it still looks new. I told her that I just use it for events such as concerts. She has this surprised look as if she saw a celebrity. NO KIDDING! And she just managed to say: "Singer or Performer ka pala."  (translation: You must be a singer/performer.)
And then she allowed me to pass. /RELIEF/ Anyway, if she insisted that I should pay tax dues for my shoes (hey, that rhymes!), I have an evidence that my shoes were bought here in Manila. ^_^

I went to the receiving area of the NAIA Terminal 3 for arriving passengers. I couldn't find any available Money Changer so I opted to withdraw from an ATM. I saw another disappointment. There were some people hanging out near the ATM counters. The guards doesn't even bother to budge those people who are hanging around and obviously not withdrawing from the ATM. Doesn't they realize the threat of allowing random people in such area? So much for the IT'S MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES campaign. Safety should be a priority! Ohwell... at least I'm back in one piece.

I still have a music hang-over if you may call it. Especially with their ANATA performance.

But this trip is not just about a simple fangirl's trip abroad to see her favorite band. During my short stay there, I was able to experience for myself what our fellow Filipinos are saying about Singapore. I also got a feel of our OFWs' work and compensation expectations if ever a company based in the Philippines would ask them to come back. Most importantly, it also made me closer to one of my friends, Hoshi. We may not be rabid as before with the band and their songs. But it was nice to bond over things outside of fandom too.
I get to see the serious side of Hoshi. I've to say she has her own tough chick side underneath the bubbly persona everyone sees. I leave you now my favorite piece off their concert in Singapore.

Video credit: Youtube/   

I'm So Happy

We got up around 8AM and started the day by doing breakfast for everyone. Hoshi was really nice and accommodating to me. I helped around by making scrambled eggs with cheese. Don't you just love cheese? *heart* We had Pinoy-style breakfast but with brown rice. Can I just say their brown rice smelled like chocolate porridge? I'm not sure why. I couldn't help myself but get another serving!

After the breakfast, I logged online and informed Tcha that the roaming service isn't working but I told her I'm looking forward to see her at the concert. I also memorized her seat and row #. I was also touched how my friends are cheering for me at Facebook that I'll see L'arc En Ciel. I like the punchline of my friend, DK. He said: atleast he showed up where he's Hyde-ing... 

Supposedly, our itinerary will be Little India and Chinatown. And also to taste more Singaporean food but since we took in consideration that we need to be at the Singapore Indoor Stadium at least an 1hr or so, we  decided to cut our itinerary and just go to the Mustafa mall to buy some pasalubong. I'm also delighted that this mall is open round the clock (yes, a 24hr mall!) and accepts credit card. Singapore does not only offer convenience to its citizens but to tourists such as myself! ^_^
I just bought a few items since I was thinking of the weight of my baggage and fear over the PH customs. *_*

Just when we were about to leave the mall, we saw a PINK watch by Zerone. I didn't have any plans to buy something for myself but god, it was a PINK watch. I asked the sales lady to convert the price to PHP and when I found it reasonable, yes... I bought it. LOL.
We were also reminded by the sales lady that as a tourist, I'm entitled to a 7% rebate from the GST (Goods and Services Tax). However, you need to go to the GST counter on the same day of your purchased items so you can avail the said rebate. What's so cool about this rebate is that you have the option to receive it via your credit card or thru mail. If it's mail, I think they're going to send a cheque instead. :)
Anyway, the shipping from Singapore to Philippines doesn't take long. Usually just 2-3 weeks (including weekends) based on my experience from eBay.

After shopping, we went home and took a "power nap". ^_^
I'm not sure how I was able to get some nap as I'm starting to feel giddy from excitement. hihi..
Anyway, after the nap and eating a light dinner, we dolled ourselves up. Hoshi's cousin Ate Shiela helped with our "dolling up session" too. :D Made me miss my cousin whom I'm very close to. Before we left the house, we had a mini-photoshoot. We took a cab from Hoshi's place and I'm delighted how easy the travel was. Hoshi showed me how the toll gates work and yes, it's another "whoa, hi-tech" moment for me. :)

When we reached the venue, there were a lot of people already outside. Some fans even dressed up as the band members. I even saw a few who have HYDE-inspired Angel Wings tattoo. Anyway, we made a beeline to the souvenir booth and by accident, we saw one of Hoshi's friends! It was Fairy.

It was really nice that we were able to arrive before the concert started. We hang out with Fairy and shared how we all knew L'arc En Ciel. The common answer was: Rurouni Kenshin.
At the souvenir booth, they no longer have (t-shirt) sizes available for us. I just bought the World Tour pamphlet. Once inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium, we agreed that after the concert we should hang-out again. Fairy has a different seat. At this time, I was also thinking how am I going to meet my online friend, Tcha. I tried texting and calling her number but failed. All I knew was she's seated at PC2 (blue seats, near the stage).

Fans waiting for the concert - Singapore Indoor Stadium

As people started to gather inside the stadium, the sole thought in my mind was: I'm really here~
haha.. yes, I'm amazed how this "dream" became a reality for me. I remember at my former blog, I have an entry around 2008, that I wanted to see L'arc En Ciel in concert but I didn't have a passport yet. I think that concert was in Hong Kong.

Anyway, Hoshi and I talked about our favorite songs and our expectations for the concert. We also giggled that our view is really nice. That even if people would stand during the concert, we could still see the guys perform. Then, I looked at those blue seats below us. I wondered if Tcha has received my message and if she's already here in the venue. As if on cue, I saw a girl with long hair, looking at our direction from the blue seats. I have a strong gut feel that it was Tcha. I waved my hand and it seemed that "girl" is acknowledging my presence. I told Hoshi that it could be my friend and we went to that railing and I continued waving my hand. The "girl" went to the railing too and true enough, it was Tcha! May I add that our seats were 30-40mtrs away from each other. I think I forgot to tell Tcha that I colored my hair in red violet. My FaceBook profile pic is still in brunette. We had a quick chat and agreed that after the concert, we'll meet on the same railing since the roaming service didn't work (Both of us are GLOBE subscribers).

When we got back to our seats, I saw that there were a lot of people who were taking pictures even when there's a notice in the SISTIC website/ticket that taking photos and videos are not allowed. Since I saw everyone was in a photo frenzy, I decided to wipe my camera out as well. But I still act with caution. My camera's barely a month old and I certainly don't want to depart with it because of my fangirl foolishness.

It was almost 8PM when we heard like a 5-second guitar riff on the speakers.Fans can only guess if it was Tetsu or Ken who's doing a sound check but the whole crowd certainly roared with excitement. When the white lights went off, I gasped for air for what's about to happen. The concert started with a 2-3minute 3D video clip. Artistically telling us, audience that we're going to embark on a journey. ^_~
And then, the screen showed HYDE punching the screen and breaking it into pieces. Excitement went one notch higher as we heard a piano piece played until the voice of HYDE seductively stormed the speakers. Hoshi and I hugged each other~ The fans screamed more as the guitars and drums played in unison taking our souls in a musical journey which is made of 20 years.
People couldn't help themselves but stand during the concert. Especially during the 1st song. The usherettes tried to keep people on their seats but it was no use. Everyone were standing and dancing.

I was wearing boots. I think by the second or third song, my legs started to feel heavy. For someone who's wearing heels everyday, this is unexpected. LOL. But when HONEY came, it's like my legs have been magically healed. LOL. I was dancing and singing like crazy. And I was surprised that I still know the (majority of the) lyrics by heart. After HONEY, we decided to take our seats for a while. I liked the idea that during DAYBREAKS BELL, their background is undeniably Gundam-inspired (of course, it's an Op song for a Gundam series, what could've been better!). But it reminded me more of Gundam Wing's 1st Opening rather than Gundam 00. I was half-expecting there'll be a 'poor teady bear with no owner' scene. hehe.. A few more songs later, 4th Ave Cafe came and my! Hoshi and I were singing and dancing our hearts out again. And finally, STAY AWAY. Those who knew me all through my L'arc En Ciel fandom days is familiar that I love this song to bits. That I even played this on Guitar Freaks and Drum Mania. I'd even copied the dance moves from their video. And yes, I even tried copying HYDE's gender-bender look.

Their background for this song I believe was the Japanese TRON dance group. Talk about combining novelty here. hahaha..  After Stay Away, RSG!! was played but I was not that familiar with it. When ANATA came, it was the perfect 'cool down' song~ It was beautiful. I heard there was a fan who cried when he/she heard it live in Singapore. After ANATA, Winterfall was played. Among the 'downer' songs of L'arc En Ciel, this is my favorite. Blurry Eyes was played after that. And the concert ended with the song, Niji. I know Hoshi loves that song and I think it was nice that they played the song at the end. A perfect way to seal our memory of this concert.

The Forbidden Lover 

I've to say, I'm more familiar with their playlist on the latter part of the concert. I didn't realize that Driver's High was not performed until the concert ended. They also give each member their own time to perform their instrument. I always viewed Yukihiro as the shy drummer. And when I was there in the concert, he still looks shy to me. But I've to say his arms are rockin'! So sexy~ I wished they focused it more and his face. Not just the whole drum ensemble with him on it. Ken... or I'll just call him fondly as Ken-chan~ I never thought I'll be interested in you physically, aside from your mad guitar skills. LOL. He looks good for his age. And I like his style. It reminds me of classic glam rock.
And Tetsu~ baby Tetsu~ *chu* *chu* You still have that youthful energy and still like colorful clothes~ hahaha.. I really like how you do that leg gesture when you play your guitar and trying to get some sort of a balance. I know Tetsu's the cheeky one but I never thought he's that dead cheeky even in a concert. How we wished we got your free lollipops and that sparkly banana water gun. And of course, no Japanese concert will be complete without a comedy skit. It was by Tetsu and Ken.
Ken mentioned that he went to Mustafa mall and bought Tetsu some Merlion statues in various sizes. Hoshi and I giggled because we just came from Mustafa a few hours before their concert. Thru Ken, we also learned that Tiger Balm is from Singapore. All the while, I thought it's from Hong Kong! So Ken, thanks for enlightening us. :))

**credit to Tcha for this
Here's the L'Arc-en-Ciel 20th L'Anniversary Concert in Singapore tour setlist

Ibarra no namida
Goodluck my way
Drink it down
Hitomi no jyunin
Daybreaks bell
Forbidden lover
My heart draws a dream
Seventh heaven
4th ave cafe
Stay away
Blurry eyes

The best term for a staff

Continue reading about my Singapore Trip... For Part IV: Driver's High

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Promised Land

*If you're a L'arc En Ciel fan, you know the title is a song. :P

The plane arrived a few minutes shy to 10AM. When I stepped on the ground of Singapore for the first time, I was really happy by the weather that greeted me. Yes, it was hot but not humid. I felt it was the perfect weather for sightseeing. I don on my sunglasses and I was thankful that it was tinted since it will hide my expression of awe. I also tried to act cool as if I'm an experienced traveler, walking around the airport with ease while my eyes carefully followed where my fellow passengers are going. And finally, I saw the Immigration desk. While waiting for my turn, I turned my phone on and checked if the roaming service was already activated. I'm using a BlackBerry and it just showed an SOS on the network indicator. I dismissed it as we just arrived in SG and thought it will change once I go outside the airport.

When it was my turn to the Immigration Officer, she read my name correctly and with no hesitation how to pronounce it. And I thought my name's unique. LOL. Anyway, I replied a very cheerful "Yes!" to her. She asked me if it's my 1st time in SG and who lives in the address I stated in the Immigration card. I answered the Officer very briefly and I could hear the excitement in my own voice. I hope I didn't look so silly by smiling all throughout the said process.

It seemed I forgot those horror stories at the Immigration. And then I heard the sound of the passport being stamped. I said "Thank You" to the Officer and proceeded to get my luggage. Once I got everything in place, an officer reminded some of us (especially those who have their cameras hang around their necks or wrists) that we can't take pictures inside the airport.

As soon as I went outside, I immediately saw my friend, Hoshi. We glomped each other and ecstatic to start our adventure. LOL. She also took a pic of me but outside of the airport. We also stopped by at the airport's money changer. Aside from the notes, I got my 1st SG coin which is 5 cents. I checked my phone and there's still no sign that my roaming is active. What's odd is that I have received an SMS confirmation that the roaming service will activate once I reached my destination. And I've registered 24hrs before my flight. I'm a GLOBE prepaid subscriber. Hoshi offered her phone so I can contact my family and tell them that I've arrived safely. My mom's phone was off so I was only able to reach my younger brother. He was teasing me, "Are you sure you're in Singapore already?" After talking to my brother, Hoshi and I had a quick snack at the airport. We had cake and tea. Hoshi's cake is strawberry. While mine's chocolate. She also gave me a crash course on the escalator and MRT rules. We rode a train from the airport and switched to 2 lanes (if I rem it right) before we reached Hoshi's place.

I settled my things and changed to something more appropriate for a city tour. The first thing that caught me in SG was the mobility and how organized the transport system is. Also, you can just use one card to pay for your train and bus ride. You can also pay credit card in their taxis. Also, I noticed the vehicles are in the right-hand drive. Hoshi and I rode a 2-level bus. I think we got off at the area of Lucky Plaza then proceeded to those hi-end shops. This place reminds me of Makati and Cubao (in a more organized way). There were also a lot of shops that caters to high-end brands like Versace, Louis Vitton, Armani, etc. I learned that the gov't has a rule when it comes to buildings. The developers have to follow a strict limitation on how many floors and what materials they can use. Another thing I noticed is that there are only few private vehicles. Aside from that it's very expensive to buy vehicles in SG, the permit and other fees for you to own a car is also quite expensive. One even claimed you can buy another car with the fees you need to pay.

             Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre 

My friend, Hoshi and our first Singaporean meal 

Hoshi and I decided to go to Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre to eat. YAY! My first Singaporean meal. We had seafood noodle and orange juice. Lau Pa Sat is located at the CBD of Singapore so if you're going to eat there, avoid going around lunch time. The usual lunch time is around 12:30nn-1:30pm. Good thing, we arrived at around 4pm and there were no queues. After eating, we stopped at a drug store and I bought a box of medical tape with Doraemon design. My shoes rubbed on my Achilles' area and the tiny wound created from the friction is starting to hurt while I walk. Once I got it covered by the tape, we proceeded to the MRT and here I experienced again how complicated the design of their train system. I meant complicated in a good way. Because you'll need to walk a lot but it's fully airconditioned and there are shops to check out too! On our way to Esplanade, Hoshi and I got ourselves a drink called PINK DOLPHIN. I tried their Apple flavor and liked it. We also found a souvenir shop that sells items that are made from Kimono fabric. Some items there costs similar to a seat in a L'arc En Ciel concert. Maybe if you have money to spare and like cute stuff out of Kimono fabric, you'll like it there. ^^;;

Anyway, we went around Esplanade. I must say I REALLY love this place. I love how this place with lots of paintings, exhibits and art-sy stuff. I saw a group of people doing some dance and the vibe was all about art. We went out of the Esplanade hall and walked a few metres until I finally saw the famous Merlion statue, Singapore Flyer and the Marina Sands Bay Hotel. Yes, I did the compulsory photo-taking with the Merlion. :)

We stayed there until 7:30pm. We went to a place called Makansutra for our dinner. There were a lot of people who are talking in Tagalog. It made me feel like I didn't leave PH at all. :D I was entertained how some of the sellers are speaking Tagalog. That's what you call connecting to your customers. LITERALLY. ^_~
For dinner, we had beef satay with peanut butter sauce, prawn roll and Yang Chow. For drinks, I had Bandung. Hoshi said it's made with rose. I love the smell and it tastes so yummy.

After Makansutra and checking out a pop culture and movie paraphernalia shop, we went to meet Hoshi's relatives (who were at Clarke Quay). I was shy at first since supposedly, we're going to meet them around 8PM or 9PM but we (Hoshi and I) had some fangirl-related stopovers so we met them around... 11PM already. >.< Anyway, they're a fun bunch and they accepted me as easily as if we've known each other for a long time. I even managed to crack some jokes to them. After eating, we saw another bunch of tourists who tried this bungee jump-thing. It was fun to watch and maybe if I wasn't so full, I'm willing to try such risky tourist attraction. :))

We waited for Hoshi's aunt and uncle to get a ride before we went home. It was almost 2AM (I think) when we got home. Once my head touched the pillow, I fell asleep in a snap. LOL. Good thing before I fell asleep, Hoshi and I talked what time to get up to prepare breakfast so I managed to set the alarm.

Continue reading about my Singapore Trip and the L'arc En Ciel event report... For Part III: I'm So Happy
Images by Freepik