Friday, December 26, 2008

Getting Lost At Mount Faber

Sometimes getting lost turns out to be a remarkable adventure, especially if you eventually find your way and get to your destination on time.

This time around, it started with an invitation to dinner by one of our clients. They wanted to try something different, I was told. So we headed for Marina Deck Restaurant at Mount Faber.

The trouble started when we were climbing Mount Faber and the driver, Uncle, slowed down in front of a lodge and asked me if that was the place I wanted to go to. It turns out he didn't know where Marina Deck Restaurant was either.

After we kept making the wrong turns and going around in circles --and the meter kept registering additional spondulicks--, Uncle suggested that I should probably just walk. I took the offer enthusiastically. It was an opportunity to marvel and revel at the great view and of course, take photos.

I opted to take a flight of stairs instead of following the road Uncle and I had earlier taken.

A few minutes later, I got to probably the highest point in Mount Faber, where a park overlooking the city was built. The sight of the sea and the Singapore skyline was mesmerizing.

There was even a mini-version of the majestic Merlion.

A few minutes later I was walking along the sidewalk, following the main road.

I ended up in The Jewel Box. I asked the people stationed in front to point me the proper direction.

And so they did. All I had to do was keep following the road, they said.

I finally reached my destination in a short while.

No more figuring out why it's called the Marina Deck Restaurant.

They serve hotpot.

"This is a totally new experience!" kept exclaiming one of our clients as he tossed in the meat and vegetables into the boiling water every now and then.

What's new for me is that this sort of gas stoves was being used. They're on top of the table too, instead of being partially hidden, as I have gotten accustomed to.

The important thing is that we bonded and had fun.

Will I be coming back? If I get an invitation...

Will I be getting lost in Mount Faber again? I hope to jog there sometime in the future.


Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Singapore's Best Christmas Trees

Purple, blue, red, white, gold and green.
In different colors, they can be seen.
We went around searching for the best.
Oh won't you help us find the rest?

It's the most colorful time of the year once again. The Christmas spirit is in the air and the festive mood is just contagious. More so at Orchard Road and Scotts Road, which are splendidly decorated with festive lights strung across the streets from building to building that make it livelier than ever. At least in this part of town, it's rare to find a standing structure left unadorned with any kind of embellishment. Everywhere your head turns, you're sure to find a mall festooned with sparkling objects, or a hotel infused with dazzling decorations or an office building bathed in colored lights.

We've being going around Singapore looking for the best Christmas trees. Here's our list.

Paragon - definitely artistic

Christmas Spectacular the sign says. We have to agree. The adjective could be used to describe their tree as well.

Vivo City - definitely the tallest

It would have been picture perfect with the sun going down and the Christmas lights illuminated. But it's almost impossible to get a shot without somebody in the frame -- everybody's out to have their photos taken with this giant tree in the background.

Central - definitely elegant

It's neither too huge nor too flashy. It's simply elegant.

UOB Plaza - definitely charming

The toy soldiers did it.

Raffles City - definitely striking

Bright and tall. Now that's a Christmas tree!

Takashimaya - definitely chic

Oh yes, the term could be applied to Christmas trees as well. Here's proof. Takashimaya does it year after year.

Bugis Junction - definitely enchanting

A Christmas tree in the shape of an elf's hat atop a carousel? Who would've thought... Well, someone obviously did. Kudos!

Suntec City Mall - definitely unique

Hanging Christmas trees surrounding a similarly hanging giant wreath. They're one of a kind.

HarbourFront - definitely fun and creative

Tampines Mall - definitely star-studded

One Raffles Quay - definitely traditional

Plaza Singapura

Mount Faber - definitely resourceful

Now there's a reason why we took a picture of that tower. It turns out to have been dressed to serve as a Christmas tree at night. From afar, we wouldn't have been able to guess.

The photo doesn't do it much justice. Guess we'll be dropping by again sometime soon.


The space below is reserved for those that are not as spectacular but deserve some attention.

Vivo City

Suntec City

Vivo City

Next places to visit on our list:
We'd love to hear what you think -- do post your comments!


Living in Singapore? Want to send us photos of your Christmas Tree at home?

This one's from Aileen

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Monday, December 8, 2008

Aboard The MV Doulos

If there was a ship that was built before the Titanic, which is still on sail today, wouldn't you love to come aboard even for just a quick visit?

For us, the invitation came by way of a friend from church, who mentioned that a ship bearing Christian books for sale was docked in HarbourFront.

We met at VivoCity after work on a rainy Friday evening and had a quick dinner before being led by three of the ship's volunteer crew members towards where the ship was berthed.

We didn't expect the ship to be moored right out of VivoCity, just outside the Modesto's and the Carnivore restaurants.

It was Kirsten, one of the Doulos's crew, who got us on board and toured us around the ship. We went from one room to another as she told us bits and pieces of the ship's long and colorful history.

The MV Doulos, it turns out, is not only the world's largest floating book fair but also the world's oldest ocean-going passenger ship. It was built in 1914 at Newport News, USA and has been sailing around the world for the past 94 years. Before being christened anew as Doulos, it had been previously known as Franca C (1952-1977), Roma (1948-1952) and Medina (1914-1948), and aside from the USA, it has been registered in three other countries -- Malta, Italy and Panama. It has served as a cruise liner, migrant carrier and a freighter.

It was in 1977 that GBA Ships e.V., a private, non-profit, charitable organization registered in Germany, purchased the Doulos to serve its current purpose. Hence, the letters GBA -- painted on the ship's funnel, which stands for Good Books for All.

Apart from the Doulos' legendary tale, Kirsten also told us about its 350-strong volunteer crew and their purpose of bringing knowledge, help and hope to the people of the world. They go from port to port to supply vital literature resources, encourage inter-cultural understanding, train young people for more effective life and service, promote greater global awareness, provide practical aid and share a message of hope in God wherever there is opportunity.

The volunteers come from 40 countries and have chosen to dedicate two years of their lives to be on board. A lot of them are singles but it is not uncommon for entire families to join as well.

We got to meet some of them as we walked along the hallways, the main lounge, the dining room and even the laundry area. We caught some of them doing a dance rehearsal.

It was a short and sweet tour that ended with a visit to the book fair. We were surprised to find that the Doulos not only offered Christian books but also covered a wide range of subjects, such as science, sports, hobbies, cookery, the arts, economics and medicine. There was even a children's section.

How could we resist buying?

For more info regarding the Doulous, or how to join as a crew, or ways to give support, visit their website at

Labels: , , , , ,