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The iPad Case + Bluetooth Keyboard

I was on the lookout for a good gadget find during our trip to Singapore.  I am going to Hong Kong in a couple of weeks but the shops there are Ginormous and for me it’s a place where you can buy the equipment after doing online research.  In Singapore – I was really just doing my regular shop browsing.

The result of that browsing is this new iPad Case that I bought.  It’s a leather case with a built in Bluetooth Keyboard.  It’s a great gadget geek’s find.  One of the reasons why I have not bought the iPad Keyboard dock is mobility.  The keyboard dock seems to be too chunky to bring around.  In this case – you don’t really have anything extra to bring for the keyboard comfort that a lot of iPad owners are looking for.

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I bought the case for 170 Singapore Dollars.  That’s a fair price.   The case admittedly adds a little bit of weight to carry around for the iPad.  But it’s still lighter than the netbooks.  I am not sure which is heavier – this ipad + case or the new Macbook Air 11’’.

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The keyboard is responsive – and according to the shop – it lasts ninety hours on a single charge.

Chili Crab

Last dinner of this Singapore trip and a friend of the Queens brought us to a local Hawker station.  I must say that this is the best meal of this trip and I am happy that it was filled with the dishes that Singapore is known for.  Of course the center piece of the meal is the Singaporean Chili Crab.  The Singaporean Chili crab is not complete without the Fried Steamed Bun.

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There were other dishes in the meal which were equally scrumptious.  We ordered Sambal Kangkong, Salted Egg Spare Ribs, and Crispy Baby Sotong (Squid).  There are Singaporean restaurants in Manila but none of them compare to the hawker places here in Singapore.

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Singapore Night Safari

Planning for the Singapore trip was simple.  We had an open invitation to stay at my friend’s place and we were set on booking a night at Marina Bay Sands.  So flight was booked and we had a place to stay at.  We were also set on having good Chinese, Malay and Indian food which Singapore is known for.  However – for a five day stay – it was not that simple to think of activities that might enjoy.  Going to Sentosa, Resort World and Universal Studios did not appeal to us.  And then one of the queens suggested we go to the Singapore Night Safari.   That got me stoked since I love animals and seeing them at night will be a brand new experience for me.  The challenge though is capturing the experience in a photo.

Going into the Nigh Safari – we met hundreds of people who had the same idea.  Like us – they carried their cameras hoping that they can take some pictures.  Like us – they had difficulty.  My SONY NEX-5 can take great low light pictures.  This can be seen in the following pictures of the show at the Night Safari.  However – when you are on a moving tram – even with the use of the TWILIGHT feature of the camera, you just can’t take great pictures.

Since I wasted the first 10 minutes trying to figure out the best setting for the camera and still not getting good pictures, I decided to just put down the camera and not think about it.  That’s when magic happened.  The experience was awesome.  Seeing the animals at night proved to be a wonderful experience.  I highly recommend this to visitors of Singapore. 

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From Dusk Till Dawn at the Marina

I have a lot more to share about the Marina Bay Sands but I will start with these two pictures taken from the Balcony of our Hotel Room.

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The House of Queens has a tip for all of its readers: when going on vacation, you need to set aside money or time or any resources you may have for one indulgent experience.  For this vacation in Singapore – that indulgent experience is one night at the Marina Bay Sands.

The Wine Company

We just got back from Dinner at The WIne Company – a restaurant in Singapore which is apparently located in a dormitory for the National University of Singapore.  The food was good and the Pinot Grigio that they served was fantastic.   Our host indicated that if you want great Pinot Grigio – you must order something from Italy.

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The restaurant’s indoor sitting is a little bit old gentleman’s club for me – and I was happy that we actually decided to dine al fresco.  From the time that we landed at the airport up to this dinner – we’ve noticed that most of the people who work in the Hospitality industry in Singapore are Filipinos – very much like our experience in Macau.

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For tonight’s dinner, we had divine Spring Rolls, heavenly Prawns in Wasabi Mayo, and great Aglio Olio pasta with Prawns.  For dessert, we ordered the Molten Lava Cake.

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The Queens are tired from Traveling – so we are going to call it a night.  We decided to try the restaurant again for breakfast.   I’m not sure what time that will be.  Till then … I guess in the spirit of Thanksgiving – I must reflect first on the things that I am thankful for.  I’m definitely thankful for a great life – filled with great friends, wonderful family and awesome dogs.  Of course – I also am thankful for the talent that I’ve been blessed which allows me to have a great job which incidentally pays well.

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Thanksgiving in Singapore

Thanksgiving 2010 has come which signals another trip for the House of Queens to an Asian City.   In the past, we’ve been to Bangkok ( Twice ), Macau, and Kuala Lumpur.  This year, we decided it’s time for me to visit Singapore for pleasure. 

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It’s been five years since my last visit to Singapore.  In a previous job,  Singapore is a regular destination mainly because most of large corporations’ regional headquarters are based in Singapore.  Working for a consulting company means dealing with these large companies and dealing with their executives face to face in – you guess it – Singapore.

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If there’s one lasting impression the city has left on me – it’s their food.  I think I’ve never been disappointed in any restaurant that I’ve been in – when I was in the city state.  This is true for the cheap Hawker style outlets, to their Kopi TIam and even their high end fine dining restaurants.  So this trip to Singapore will be mostly about food.

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For this trip, we booked our flight through JetStar Asia.  This apparently was a good choice because unlike other budget airlines, JetStar actually has the privilege to use Terminal 1 of Changi airport.

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The flight we were in was not full – and we are actually seated in Row 1.  Apparently for a little bit of extra money, you can choose to sit on Rows 2 to 4 and have extra leg room.  Our flight was not full and there were no passengers who paid for the extra leg room – so the queens took over Row 2 and was able to have three seats all the themselves.

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Landing in Singapore early means that we have time for some quick breakfast at  the airport.   After that, it was time to go to Spanish Village where a friend lives and where we’ll be staying for most of our stay in the city.

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I’ve had really good meals so far on my first day.  I’ve had great Carrot Cake, Char Siu Pork and RIce, and Spicy and Cheddar Sandwich.  That’s not in one meal – that’s spread across all the meals of the day.  This is starting out right.

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Tomorrow, the queens are going to check into the Marina Bay Sands.  We decided to splurge a bit on the accommodation for one night since we were able to save for the other days.  I’m excited.  I’m sure we’ll have a lot of good photographing opportunities at this architectural wonder.

Family Picture

Sharing my favorite picture of Char Siew, Midori and me.  The queens thought it would be “cute” to have our pictures taken in front of the PETA poster featuring David Boreanaz.  I wanted to look like David – but I know I can’t pull that off.  However – I think my two dogs did a really good job posing in front of the camera.

Zuni For Lunch

The House of Queens decided to have lunch at Zuni after a really good review of the restaurant by one of the resident queens.  Zuni is located at Greenbelt five and had been there for quite some time now.  It was never in my radar but it seems like it has earned a sizeable fan base.  Fans of the restaurant claim that it serves really good food and the whole dining experience is impeccable.

Zuni provides a fine dining experience in a casual setting.  That’s what you read in the restaurant’s menu.  For The House of Queens – this means that the chef knows how to serve great food but the restaurant owner recognizes that the dining public in Manila will never want to dress up for dinner.   This was perfect for Saturday because I was wearing shorts and didn’t really have plans of dressing up early Saturday.

When I asked for the drink list, I was actually impressed that they have almost two dozen selections available in glass servings.   I don’t see that too often.  I ordered the Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay – and I don’t know what year.  I was a bit disappointed with the wine.  I am not a wine connoisseur  and I don’t intend to be a sommelier – so I tend to remember what wine I like – and I remember this brand to be good.  So I was a bit bummed that this time – I seem to have chosen the wrong wine.

Apart from the wine – everything else is good.  The food is good – from the salad, to the main dishes, and of course the dessert.   The House of Queens is divided on the verdict for the White Chocolate SoufflĂ©.   We don’t agree with whose SoufflĂ© is better – Antonio’s or Zuni.

dsc02937 The restaurant scene in Manila continues to amaze me.  It seems to be developing in a pace that is unprecedented.   It just goes to show you that Manilenos love food and there are actually a lot of talented chefs who can  make sure that we get our fill of great dishes.

Balanced Diet

I had a Balanced Diet during lunch time on Sunday.  We opted to have lunch at California Pizza Kitchen.   We ordered, Ceasar Salad and Lettuce Cups.  I thought I would have lettuce overload from those two dishes.  To make up for it,  we ordered the dessert sampler to balance the GREEN overdose.

Christmas At the Triangle

The Ayala Triangle Garden is a regular destination for the dogs and I on weekends.  It’s very close to the House of Queens and unlike other parks in the area, Dogs are not banned.  Of course – there is an unwritten rule that you have to pick up after your dogs.

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The whole area has transformed in the last couple of years.  It used to be a wooded patch of land which no citizen of the City will dare explore for fear of encountering wild beasts.  Now – it is a well manicured garden which serves as a park for the city residents.  In the past month, restaurants have opened.  Last year, Ayala actually started a nice tradition.  They installed Musical lights which dance to Christmas tunes.  The music is played every half hour between 6 :00 PM and 8:00 PM.

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Tonight, the dogs and I checked it out.  There were a lot of people in the gardens – which for me is disappointing because on regular evenings – it is our sanctuary.  Of course – I’m also thankful that Char Siew, Midori and I was able to enjoy the garden when it was an unpopular spot and we can have our quite time.  Tonight – we had to share it with our neighbors in the Metro.

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The lights were amazing.  It seems like the dogs also enjoyed the walk.  They are now fast asleep – tired from the excitement of seeing the lights and being pet by the people who found them cute and cuddly.

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If you’re from Metro Manila – do check it out.  I’m sure you’ll find it a neat setup and if the Holiday spirit has not touched you yet,  I think time spent in the Garden will get you in the mood for this year’s Holiday season.

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