Monday, April 20, 2015

Reunited with Singapore, Three Years Later

I'm here to finally blog about our Singapore vacation which happened weeks ago (holy week weekend to be exact) but haven't been getting to write as I had a lot of things happening when I got back. It was an awesome weekend, and I had a marvelous time. The best part, was that my spending really behaved. The last time I was in Singapore was 2011 and like I said earlier, it took me 3 years before I started travelling again (the most are just day trips, which can be really pretty exhausting) since I became a cat mum. Thankfully, I found an awesome place to board my kittehs where I can have peace of mind in my vacation and I could continually check on them. 

What I loved about the place is that how it was super clean and orderly.  Almost everywhere was walking distance (added exercise) and it's a melting pot of a lot of cultures. Transportation was very efficient and self-explanatory. Just be sure to wear comfy shoes for walking and commuting and bring a foldable umbrella in case it rains. 

I needed a photo of the iconic Merlion in Sentosa as I didn't have one during the last time I was there.

A view of Sentosa, To do this is a feat for me, as I was riding a cable car and I'm deathly afraid of heights. 

Universal Studios was decked with Easter theme, as it was going to be an Easter weekend.

we are the kittykets
even grouchies like Oscar sport Bunny Ears

Another bucketlist checked when I rode my first-ever roller coaster since 2002, the Revenge of the Mummy, which was scary beyond my brains. I'm not particularly fond of roller coasters since I get a lot of motion sickness with fast vehicles and reckless driving but in this roller coaster, I was able to hold myself together and popped a ginger sweet on my mouth right after the ride. I was thankful too that I rode it on an empty stomach. When I read about the Revenge of The Mummy Ride in Wikipedia though, the speed was just 64 kph. Seriously, the effects, sharp turns, and dark tunnels made it seem to be 100 or more. No regrets riding it though, but I wouldn't repeat another roller coaster ride in a million years or so.

Of course I needed to have an obligatory splitty/flexi yogi pose somewhere, and I did my Nataranjasana by one of the Godfather alleys. 

The city's buildings and architecture are artforms too

Tucked in the city is this small artsy community near Arab St. with very quaint little shops selling souvenirs, textiles, food, etc.

I saw shops selling one-of-a-kind items and art. I was able to score some souvenirs here to give friends and got myself a skirt on sale for SGD 10 (on sale) from Utopia Apparels that fit me perfectly. 

Of course the highlight of the vacation was food. During travel, I have this rule to eat at local establishments, and to avoid popular food chains as much as possible (no fast food, popular coffee shops, or Western food in this case) or establishments we have here in Manila. 

Hello Yong Tao Foo

I was able to have my share of Indian food at Little India in this restaurant called Banana Leaf Apollo. Buttered chicken, lassi, naan, palak paneer, biryani, and I was in spice heaven. 

What is Singapore breakfast without Ya Kun Kaya Toast? Soft boiled eggs, steamed bread with kaya butter downed with a glass of hot teh tarik

I look forward to anything with sambal in my meal, so I had sambal shrimp and kangkong in Ion Orchard

Plus I downed my spicy food with Yeo teas. I do not forget my Yeo tea drinks in lychee, chrysanthemum, and wintermelon. Anyone from SG who would want to give me pasalubong, I am happy with Yeo tea and sambal sauce.

A must-have is the dollar ice cream on wafer along Orchard Road. 

This ice cream is chocolate flavored. Some people swear by durian, but I'm not that fond of durian so chocolate it is.

Arab St. had this pretty Turkish restaurant called Sufi, which serves really good food to share. Get the kebab and appetizer platters and a pitcher of iced tea and you'll be set for life. 

Morrocan Mint Iced Tea

Appetizers! I love the hummus! I love hummus

Kebab platter
Ending our vacation with a visit to Newton Hawker Center for more local cuisine where I had sambal stingray, satay, and fresh sugarcane juice with lemon.

As for shopping, I was pretty proud of myself for not going overboard with shopping and shopped for essentials, most especially yoga things. I got a travel yoga mat from Lululemon, a bandeau top, a yoga mat bag to place my new yoga mat in, and also I got myself a singing bowl.

I've been teaching private classes lately and since some of them aren't in yoga studios, I don't have singing bowls with me. I was able to get one in this tiny shop near the Buddhist temple. This one sort of "called" to me since the modulation was right and I was able to make this bowl "sing" better than the other ones I tried. 

I definitely have a lot of reason to go back to Singapore for a weekend or weeklong vacation when the time and money allows me to. It really was an awesome trip and next time, it won't take me three years to go back. Maybe this time, I go home with more Lululemon or yoga things, and probably a certificate from Cosmoprof and more yummy food in my belly. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Pet Project Experience

Since I became a cat parent, I haven't travelled, like a real vacation, which makes 3 years.  I just get this paranoia of leaving my cats behind for a long period of time since I'm very OC with their care and security. They are very sheltered cats, you know. *hairflip*

There came a time that I needed to travel so I had to look for a place where I can board my cats while I'm away. A friend suggested pet hotels. Pet hotels are establishments where pet owners need to leave their furbabies when they need to go on a trip and do not have anyone to look after their pets. Veterinary clinics have this as part of their services and the number of establishments are becoming increasingly popular. For someone like me with no yaya or know someone to leave my furbabies with, this is heaven-sent.

I had to do a lot of research to where to board my furbabies. First of all, I wanted one that have very good safety concerns. There was a storm coming so I made sure the place was flood-proof. I also made sure that my boys would have a lot of space to exercise. Finally and most importantly, I made sure that they are very big on safety and security, so the boys won't do any escape exhibitions. I consulted cat lovers and cat mums who have multiple cats and cats with special needs and issues (in my case, Candy with all his life issues and kasungitan). My friends Jonna and Mirell suggested I take my boys over to Pet Project in San Juan, and most pet lovers agreed as well.

Pet Project is a Vet Clinic located in San Juan. It is a huge house converted to a clinic,

photo from the Pet Project Facebook page

The doctors behind this place are Dr. Riza Zunio and Dr. Melay Pelayo. Coincidentally, Dr. Riza was the doctor who performed surgery on Candy when he was rescued as well as his neutering procedure. Imagine her surprise when she met our baby boy again, this time a lot fatter and cuter than the scrawny, thin kitty she met before. Being the pet parents we are, we did an ocular of the space first and explained our babies' needs, okay, mostly Candy's needs. Also, I really expressed my greatest concern on their security and safety, like even though my cats are chubby, they move fast and to be really cautious going in and out of their suites. Yes! Our cats actually had rooms instead of cages,

taking lots of selfies while giving my Burtie Boy snuggles
Dr. Riza explained to us that cats are really very stressed and apprehensive especially when in a new environment, and they really help with adjusting to the cats. I told them I'm very concerned with Candy because he tends to not eat when left in a different place, say hospital confinement or boarding. They really understood and said that it really does take some time especially for cats. They sometimes stay with the cats in their room to help them adjust, even sleeping in the same room when it calls for it (just check their Facebook page and you will see how they really take care of the pets that are boarding in their places while the furparents are on holiday). I was quite impressed with that kind of service that we booked right away.

I'm one pet parent that gets separation anxiety when leaving my furbabies. So imagine I think I created a 5-page list of all my notes on my cat's needs (diet, their attitude, their temperaments, body concerns. etc). and even packed with them their own toys, bed, litterbox, food, and two unwashed shirts (as per Jonna's suggestion). The day before their boarding, I was hugging and kissing them a lot even. When they were in their room, I personally arranged their stuff inside. Dr. Rizza suggested not to open their carriers yet as they will stay with them for a bit so that the cats can adjust better in a new environment.

The best part of it all was that they would send us updates even while we are away. Dr. Rizza would send us photos and updates via Viber everyday.

set up big cages at the room so that the kittehs don't escape, complete with litterboxes, bed, and hammocks

Candy being that handsome cat that he is, always gives everyone that "I-don't-care-how-you-run-your-life-look", which actually increases his appeal.

Surprisingly, both boys were eating well and using their litterboxes. They were adjusting quite well. I was actually worried before that they would be starving themselves with defiance but they were doing fine being adorable.

playtime with Burt the Explorer

This was what gave me my ultimate peace of mind, that I know that my boys are doing quite well and I really left my cats in good hands. I could really enjoy my vacation and sights. Even though that the clinic was busy, the doctors still took time to send me updates and really play with my cats.

we brought Burt's scratching post, and he loves it

The king Candy in his spot, still being a cute catloaf.

I would recommend Pet Project for pet parents who want to go on vacation with peace of mind with their furbabies in good care and would love getting updates on their babies. This really gave me the opportunity to welcome travelling again because I know my babies will be in good hands. And yes, I love that they really followed all my instructions up to the very last detail even setting up these comfy cages for the cats to be able to hava some space for exercise while still being safe. Also, they really had playtime too, which gave them social interaction. Thank you Dr. Riza and Dr. Melay and the rest of Pet Project Vet Clinic for taking care of our babies!