Singapore Diaries 2: Gardens By The Bay

 

 

For the second part of my Singapore Diaries, I am featuring only one place, a spectacular one that needs its own post — Gardens by the Bay. It is a 101 hectare park of reclaimed land facing the reservoir. It has gardens, water parks, conservatories. The entire concept is a triumph for sustainable architecture, landscape architecture, conservation efforts and a new type of amusement for visitors of all ages.

I could have spent all day here. I would be so inspired to sketch and take photos all day. We were just there for over two hours. But our experience was so well-planned that we saw all the main attractions. There are suggested trails on the website link I posted above. I suggest you plan your trip in advance. We saw the two domed structures – the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome. The Supertree Grove, the iconic landmark of the gardens, is visible from all angles. It is spectacular at night, I hear. This is a reason for us to go back.

 

DSC_4885 STB 301113 Lifestyle Experiences in Singapore@Gardens by the Bay (AC) Preview
At the visitor’s centre near the entrance to the two conservatories, you see three sculptural Supetrees. This gives you a preview of what it’s like at the Supertree Grove, which includes a Skywalk and a restaurant on top of one of the biggest Supertree. You can also opt to tour the outdoor gardens using this audio-guided tram. Because of time constraints we skipped the Supertree Grove. I hope to visit again — at night next time. Photo by Andrew Chua STB.

 

Untitled
Smile! Singapore sunshine! I packed the kids’ sunglasses. But they forgot to bring them from the hotel. Yikes.

 

DSC_4929 STB 301113 Lifestyle Experiences in Singapore@Gardens by the Bay (AC) Preview
We started at the Flower Dome with its incredible design and architecture. The entire space is air-conditioned, cooled by chilled water pipes in underground slabs, while warm air goes out in vents on top. The entire space replicates the cool-dry climate of Mediterranean regions like South Africa, California and parts of Spain and Italy. Photo by Andrew Chua STB.

 

Untitled
The entire dome has no columns. It is the world’s largest columnless greenhouse. The Conservatories’ glass sits on a steel grid that acts like an eggshell.

 

Untitled
They change the flower displays in this Flower Field to reflect seasons, occasions and themes. This was taken on December 1st, hence Christmas.

 

Untitled
Amazing.

 

Untitled
My favorite tree – the baobab. It doesn’t have a good meaning in The Little Prince but in reality these are Africa’s trees of life. That one nearest my face is shaped like a heart. I am so fascinated by them. This is what they look like in Madagascar.

 

Untitled
A little Lily #OOTD. She takes pride in “styling” herself. She wore a Gingersnaps neon-sleeved T-shirt with the cutest giraffe graphic and matched it with light purple lace shorts also from Gingersnaps. Athletic shoes and that crazy headband from Cotton-On. Oh Lily!

 

Untitled
The gardens are completely accessible to anyone. There are elevators but we opted to use the stairs.

 

DSC_4988 STB 301113 Lifestyle Experiences in Singapore@Gardens by the Bay (AC) Preview
Just a little Stella update. She, being my youngest, is sooo attached to me. Now more than ever. We are going through some separation anxiety even if its a short trip to the grocery or when I pick up the two sisters from school. I am relishing these days that she seems to be hanging on to her toddler phase which has actually passed last year. A real “bunso” (youngest child aka “baby”). Oh her cute little Tshirt was a gift from @mimssac of Instagram. You can order personalized Tshirts and other items from her. A few people have asked about my sneakers. I got them at Cath Kidston online.

 

Untitled
The Cloud Forest is spectacular. It has a 35-metre tall mountain covered with a wall of lush vegetation. It has the  world’s tallest indoor waterfall with plant life from tropical highlands up to 2,000-metres above sea level.

 

DSC_5010 STB 301113 Lifestyle Experiences in Singapore@Gardens by the Bay (AC) Preview
A rare photo of the two of us at the Cloud Forest, not because we are elusive but because we don’t have anyone to take decent photos of us. I’m always the one shooting. This time, with STB’s professional photographer Andrew Chua documenting our visit, we have a lot of photos of the family – complete and just us as a couple. Yay!

 

DSC_5019 STB 301113 Lifestyle Experiences in Singapore@Gardens by the Bay (AC) Preview
My nature-loving daughter Sophia was in heaven. Photo by Andrew Chua STB

 

DSC_5013 STB 301113 Lifestyle Experiences in Singapore@Gardens by the Bay (AC) Preview
My little Fifi. I wish for her to always feel this free and adventurous. She can’t wait to see the rest of the world.

 

DSC_5020 STB 301113 Lifestyle Experiences in Singapore@Gardens by the Bay (AC) Preview
They loved identifying plants. I couldn’t believe Soph knew a lot of them already. This is the “pitcher plant”. Sophia tells me it’s eats insects, and it really does. OMG. There was a little pond up top of the mountain with a pod full of carnivorous plants including the Venus Fly Trap. How fascinating. Photo by Andrew Chua STB.

 

Untitled
It was incredible seeing a really tall lush vertical garden. There was an amazing mixture of orchids, ferns, colourful bromeliads, begonias and carnivorous pitcher plants, all the way up.

 

Untitled
We made our way up the top of the Lost World Trail. The highest point replicates the cloud forest vegetation at around 2,000m above sea level.

 

DSC_5063 STB 301113 Lifestyle Experiences in Singapore@Gardens by the Bay (AC) Preview
Here we are on that trail. It’s very safe. We even brought Stella’s rental stroller. Photo by Andrew Chua STB.

 

Untitled
It was very high. My knees were shaking. It weaved in and out of the mountain. I’m so proud that Lily got over her fear of heights.

 

Untitled
To give you an idea of how high it was, here’s a 360 view.

 

DSC_5105 STB 301113 Lifestyle Experiences in Singapore@Gardens by the Bay (AC) Preview
So the Paezis made it to the top of The Lost World. Haha. It wasn’t anything like real trekking, so none of us suffered. We didn’t even break a sweat. The entire place is air-conditioned and very well-maintained. There are elevators and escalators too. Photo by Andrew Chua STB.

 

DSC_4916 STB 301113 Lifestyle Experiences in Singapore@Gardens by the Bay (AC) Preview
I have to say, Gardens By The Bay was one of … if not, THE highlight of our trip. It was a very unique experience seeing modern architecture with the world’s most exotic plants and trees. We learned a lot about the environment and the danger we face with the changing habitats that put plants and animals in danger.

 

For a complete list of our four-day itinerary in Singapore, click here. And to plan your trip to Singapore, check out www.yoursingapore.com

More of our Singapore travel diary coming up in a few days.

 

 

Around the World with Hello Kitty

 

 

Untitled
Had a fun time shopping at PynKiss at SM North Edsa with Phoemela Baranda and her daughter Kimmie. Awesome PR man Frank Briones is with us in this photo. He invited me to check out the new collection of Hello Kitty merchandise in this fun store. Phem and I have the same Hello Kitty bag. Oh by the way, sorry for the lazy phone pictures. I promise to be more conscientious in the new year.

 

Untitled
These jeans are so cute and soft. Got them for Sophia. They have buttons on the side, which I find so practical because my tween is growing like  a weed. So if the jeans get too short on her, we just fold it and make it cropped pants. Then it gets handed down to Lily and Stella.

 

Untitled
Cute hoodie shorts set. Got this in purple for Stella.

 

Untitled
Lily got a chic grey dress with Hello Kitty in studs (not in photo). The one above is so cute too. Comes in comfy jersey fabric.

 

There is a wonderful travel-themed Hello Kitty festival going on right now til December 31st. Several SM Malls have been showcasing different sites in Western destinations. SM North Edsa is showing Sanrio characters in London. SM Southmall has Hello Kitty in Italy. SM Megamall has the Big Apple, while SM Lanang shows Paris and SM Cebu has Germany.

 

Paris - Cafe
SM Lanang and its Parisian street cafe.

 

Paris - Eiffel Tower
Paris is not Paris without the Eiffel Tower.

 

Italy - Bridge
SM Southmall’s Italy and its famous canals.

 

Italy - Ice Cream Store
More of Italy and a gelato shop.

 

It’s not too late to catch Hello Kitty’s version of a globetrotting holiday season.  You have til December 31st to see these cute displays. Avid fans can also get the chance to meet and greet Hello Kitty herself this weekend! Get access to the meet and greet Hello Kitty by collecting 24 Hello Kitty pins of different designs which they can purchase alone for P50.00 or they can receive for free with a minimum purchase of P500.00 at Toy Kingdom stores nationwide.

Exhibit sites are open to everyone for free from December 1 – 31, 2013. To know more, follow on Twitter and Instagram at @imHelloKittyPH

 

 

Christmas 2013

 

 

Well, it’s over. The kids are all busy playing with their new toys. I’m busy cleaning up and preparing for a new year. This Christmas had been difficult for many of us. Weeks leading up to Christmas, all I wanted to do was just sleep it off.  Collectively as a nation, we felt so much loss amidst all the tragedies this year. But no one really knows how to cope with loss unless it happens to you. In my Facebook alone, at least five friends lost a loved one within the past few days. But Christmas went on. I felt the love. And I’d like to think I gave my love back.

I hope you and your families had a wonderful time. Sharing with you some snippets of the past season. I miss it already.

 

Untitled
We kicked off the Christmas season in Singapore in early December. This was taken at the beautiful Gardens by the Bay.

 

Scan 2
The kids didn’t really ask for major things. Every night our prayers always include the children and families affected by the war, earthquake and storm. On November 6th when the storm warning was serious, Sophia prayed — “Dear Papa Jesus, You don’t have to give me anything. I don’t really need much. But please, I ask that you save the people from the storm.” Two days after, Haiyan/Yolanda happened. Lily also learned about the suffering and damage caused by Yolanda. Her letter to Santa above shows how she cares. Sigh.

 

Sister love. Thank you Santa. #frozen
Santa came. Since Sophia had already bought Lily that simple book she asked for, Santa figured it out and gave them what he knew they really wanted (but was sold out in every toy store). Frozen dolls! Lily received Elsa and Stella got Anna. Sophia got more furniture for their Sylvanian Family house(s).

 

icicles
Speaking of Frozen, there was a nasty ice storm in Toronto that looked so beautiful in pictures. Because icicles formed on branches, a lot of trees fell breaking some power lines. My sister lost power in her house two days before Christmas. She didn’t have power=heat til Christmas Day.

 

1501058_10202060475886222_1110466072_o
At Noche Buena with my cousins, it is tradition that kids perform. Sophia did the Cup Song.

 

1483486_10202060478126278_804921940_o
Lily performed Olaf’s song from the movie Frozen. She prepared her own props and choreography. Stella fell asleep by then. Poor kiddie wasn’t able to perform her act.

 

1506105_10202060449085552_909080375_o
So instead, let me post this photo of me and Stella at Noche Buena minutes before she fell asleep. Oh yes, Stella and Soph are wearing the same exact Gingersnaps dress. It was so beautiful, both girls wanted it. I wanted it in my size too. Haha. Photo by Koko Roura.

 

Untitled
We put up our non-designed tree and used the same ornaments. Each one has meaning. The tin toys were from our first Christmas after we got married. The wooden toys are from my mom and dad’s recent trip to Germany. The paper and cellophane flowers were made by our helper. The kids also added a paper garland they made.

 

Untitled
The kids were able to share some of their artistic talents with the kids of Yolanda. My very charitable friend Chary Mercado had been organizing relief work for Yolanda-stricken areas. She needed some Christmas cards to go with all the gifts they were sending. The kids and their friends got together with Chary’s daughter and did over 200 cards.

 

Untitled
Olaf and Frozen again. My girls are so into this Disney movie.

 

Untitled
I spent a lot of time in the kitchen these past weeks. But on the actual day of Christmas, I had turkey and pasta cooked by a restaurant. (Are we the only ones who are zombies on Christmas Day? This tradition of Noche Buena is taken seriously in my dad’s family. So on Christmas Eve we eat at midnight and get home by 3 or 4am.) Re: recipes, I promise to share some of my “experiments” soon.

 

Poem
Sophia’s lovely Christmas poem

 

20131124_223907-MOTION
Attended a lovely wedding at the Shangrila amidst this beautiful Christmas lobby. And OMG, the photos on my Samsung camera get automatically backed up in some cloud and some of them get saved as GIFs. Haha. I have no idea how it does this. But this GIF makes me smile because of Patrick’s serious non-smile. Haha. It reminds me of the flip book we had made at the wedding as a souvenir.

 

Untitled
Looking back, I don’t know how we all did it. Going through the Christmas rush of shopping and making it to lunches and dinners with friends. It is always so lovely to see old friends. These are my friends from childhood.

 

Untitled
And my girlfriends Mel, Ingrid and Fiona. We had too much fun talking, eating and drinking that we only took one lousy photo.

 

Untitled
One thing I won’t miss is the crazy traffic. But who knows if it was seasonal or if it really is just that bad all the time. I hope not.

 

Wishing you more days of relaxation, reunions, detoxification and all that. And more importantly I pray for peace in our hearts and that includes the feeling of safety for all of us. Merry Christmas to you my dear readers and friends!

 

 

 

Barbie Live

 

 

Barbie Live PR Photo 2

 

We watched the opening performance of Barbie LIVE! last December 11 at SM MOA Arena. I was there with my three daughters and Tessa Valdes was with her littlest one Athena. We loved the show! The costumes were fabulous. Songs and dance were fun. Stella kept asking if they were real or dolls.

If you’re looking to treat your kids to something fantastic and festive, get tickets to Barbie LIVE!. Show ends on December 15.

In collaboration with EMS Entertainment, Barbie will bring fans a new opportunity to sing and dance with the introduction of an all-new musical, Barbie™ LIVE! Barbie LIVE! is an engaging production featuring contemporary music with empowering lyrics, energetic choreography and a modern storyline that will appeal to fans of all ages. Barbie LIVE! debuted last September in Singapore and will travel Asia through 2014. In Manila, the show will be staged at the Mall of Asia Arena from December 11-15, 2013 with 11 performances only.

EMS Entertainment, leading global creator of high-quality interactive exhibitions, family entertainment and live stage productions, received the global touring rights to Barbie Live! from Mattel in 2012 and has worked for almost two years to bring this vision to reality.

 

Barbie Live PR Photo 4

 

Barbie Live PR Photo 6

 

Barbie Live PR Photo 3

 

Barbie Live Keyart

 

Tickets for Barbie™ LIVE! are now available in all SM TICKETS outlets located in all SM Cinema ticket booths. For schedule and ticket information, visit www.smtickets.com or call 470 2222.

Barbie™ LIVE! is promoted in the Philippines by Vivre Fort Entertainment and Happy Junior Productions.

For more details about the show, visit www.barbielive.com or call (02) 470 6956.

 

 

Cath Christmas

 

 

Collage Cath Kidston

 

 

I was at the Cath Kidston shop in Singapore last weekend. And I thought I’ve had enough of this brand, but apparently not. They are just too adorable. And they bring me back to my childhood. I remember seeing prints like this in our curtains and table cloths. Happy times.

Here are some lovely pieces I’ve picked out from the Cath Kidston site. I wish I had bought the Stanley salt and pepper shakers. Why did I  hesitate? Ugh.

01 Santa Stanley Mug
icon

02 Garden Rose Cross Body Bag
icon

03 Big Spot Large Zip Bag
icon

04 Wild Ponies Skirt
icon

05 Garden Birds Saddle Bag
icon

06  Stanley Salt and Pepper Shakers
icon

07 Highbury Rose Folded Messenger Bag
icon