It has been almost one year since our pug – Mr Beef Pies – entered our lives. When he first came to our house in May 2015, he was still a shy dog, meekly sat in the corner looking at us with those huge gorgeous eyes. Now in less than a year he already considers himself King of the entire house and gets grumpy when we close doors on him or don’t give him his beloved foot scratches.
Mr Pies 2nd birthday was fast approaching and it was a bit of a struggle to think of some place extra special to take him for his birthday as we regularly take Mr Pies out to his favourite places like Sentosa, East Coast Park and Changi Village.
One of the places we have wanted to take him is Pulau Serangoon which is more popularly called Coney Island. It is a small island attached to the north of Singapore by a small bridge and features woodlands, a beach and views of Malaysia. There isn’t much on the beach apart from nature (although a mysterious cow lives on the island which you can read more about here / interesting, right?), but Mr Pies loves sand to play on and trees to wee on so it is like a theme park for him.
We had thought about taking Mr Pies there in a taxi one day, however some internet research told us there was a more interesting way. There is a company specialising in Pet Cruises that could take Mr Pies finally to Coney Island, so we thought that would be a great birthday treat for our special pug. Since Mr Pies birthday was on a work day this year, we arranged the cruise for Valentine’s Day which fell on a Sunday. This meant it was a romantic treat as well as a birthday one!
The Pet Cruise company is run by friendly Skipper Joe and departs from Punggol’s Marina Country Club. The vessel is a small motor boat and comes provided with free soft drinks and towels to make sure you stay hydrated when out under the sun. For Mr Pies’ birthday cruise we left at 11am and planned a 2 hour cruise from the Marina to Coney Island, with plenty of time for Mr Pies to run around on the beach and tire himself out. Coney Island is not the only option for your cruise destination. In addition, you could also go to Seletar Island which is even more isolated and uninhabited if you fancy a bit more privacy. Skipper Joe can also arrange activities like cycling or a seafood dinner to add onto your cruise.
The boat is a small and clean vessel, though as always, Mr Pies was a bit nervous of new things. He spent most of the time on the boat cuddled up beside us for his protection. He was a lot happier when we finally got to Coney Island where he got the chance to run around to his little heart’s content on the beach and play around in the water.
Skipper Joe gave us the option of doing some swimming behind the boat, but since Mr Pies was already quite tired we chose instead just to let him rest on the beach for longer.
It was a really great day for Mr Pies and he slept for most of the day when he got back home which normally indicates a happy pug. The Pet Cruise is a lovely idea for pawrents who want to do something a bit different for their Fur Baby. After the cruise, there are a few restaurants in the Marina that allow you to eat with your dog. We would recommend though that you pre-arrange transport to get from the Marina afterwards as it can be difficult to get a cab in this remote location.
So go ahead, treat your fur baby to a lovely pet cruise. You and your little bundle of joy will definitely love it.
Telephone of Skipper Joe: 9637 5009
Written by Mr. G – as a follow up to his previous post on the Pinoy-loved brand. I got an email from him earlier that fateful day deciding that he wants to brave the Pinoy queuers in Jollibee to get it over and done with.
He We and came out satisfied and full and he came up with this. The review is too good and posting of this article shouldn’t be delayed!
It’s here! It’s here!
Arguably the biggest thing to happen to the Filipino community in Singapore since Western Union opened its doors – Jollibee has finally arrived! Yes, the
restaurant Filipino fast food chain famous for its sweet spaghetti and unlimited gravy has landed in Singapore like a big red bee of happiness splashing (chicken) joy over the smiling faces of the Pinoy masses.
There will be no prizes for guessing where the good people at Jollibee decided to open their first Singapore branch: it could only be Lucky Plaza. Hiding amongst the pasalubong shops and money remittance branches, Jollibee now occupies a large portion of the sixth floor, and its queue occupies the other half. Sadly, the Filipino community’s gain is Happy V’s loss. Happy V was a knock-off Jollibee that had created a niche for itself in Lucky Plaza with its imitation Jollibee menu. It remains to be seen whether its logo of a big letter V can compete with the red smiling bee.
Speaking of the bee, Mr Jollibee himself has been making his appearance known at the new outlet. A cry of “Waaaaahhhhhh!” can be heard every time the six foot bee jumps out and poses for photos with happy customers. So far Jollibee have not announced if Mr Jollibee is classified as a local worker or “foreign talent”. It also appears that hiring Mr Jollibee may have filled up the restaurant’s quota of foreign workers as unfortunately his friends Twirlie, Hetty, Yum and Popo (J: Bravo on your Jollibee knowledge and well done on your good research! ^_^) were nowhere to be seen and are presumably still back in the Philippines waiting to hear if their work passes have been approved.
So how is Jollibee Singapore? Everybody I have spoken to about the new Jollibee warned me that the best course of practice would be to avoid the place for the next six months until the queues had calmed down (J: I told him I will never set foot in Jollibee until after three months!). News reports and rumours from friends confirmed that the crowds at Jollibee were extremely high and approaching levels only seen before in Singapore when Ikea discounted its meatballs one day to ten cents. However, unable to contain my curiousity for six months, I found myself braving the hordes of chickenjoy addicts and joining the throng just ten days after its opening day.
At first glance the queue was not so bad – no worse than some chicken rice places in Raffles Place at lunchtime. Then my eyes followed the queue into the waiting area that snaked around the side of the restaurant and knew that I was going to be waiting for quite some time. A huge line of people triple-backed on itself in the waiting hold which was composed of mainly Filipinos, a handful of Singaporean families who were excited about joining such a long queue (“Look how many people are queuing! It must be good!”), and one very obvious white guy (myself). I joined the carnival-like atmosphere of the queue and settled myself in to a long wait. For everyone’s information, I joined the queue at 18.11 on a Thursday evening and ordered my food at 20.11 – EXACTLY two hours later. The shutters to join the queue were closed down at about seven o’clock, but I have heard rumours about people still queuing late into the night and forcing the store to stay open till 2am in the morning. The general consensus seems to be that the crazy queues are only going to die down after 3 – 6 months, and that Sunday (when Singapore’s large Filipino maid community enjoy their day-off) is a definite no-go.
So….. two hours later, we reached the front desk. The service staff did a commendable job of being friendly despite what must be a very tiring and long non-stop working shift for them (J: A call out to Ate Susan – very friendly and nice, all smiles). Despite the long queue it was actually easy to find a table as most people were ordering take-out, plus the entire restaurant was admirably clean considering the sheer amount of people that were passing through it. We ordered the chickenjoy with rice and gravy, plus a Yum burger with TLC and a chocolate sundae (J: He had the extra Yum, I didn’t. Just want to make it clear). We also ordered the Jolly Hotdog but this was sold out and seems to be the most popular and fast-selling item.
Chickenjoy and rice: A HUGE thumbs up for the chickenjoy! Arguably the best fast-food fried chicken I have tasted in Singapore. The pieces were large and tender – not overly battered and full of flavor. I have tried the chickenjoy in the Philippines and didn’t much care for it, but I found this chicken to be absolutely delicious – kicking Popeyes and KFC into 2nd and 3rd place. The rice was just standard rice and nothing special, but what do you expect from rice? I just hope that the quality of the chicken continues and isn’t just a new opening phenomenon. J: I agree. Their chicken seems bigger and, erm, juicier than the ones in the PH.
Drink: Unlike in the Philippines, the main drink offered is Pepsi, not Coca Cola. This made no difference to me as I ordered the root beer.
Gravy: As a northern Englishman, gravy is an important component of my life. It flows in my veins instead of blood. One of the problems of Singapore is that the other fast food restaurants like Popeyes or KFC that offer gravy as a side in other countries unfortunately do not offer it in Singapore. Thankfully Jollibee rectifies this situation. With a chickenjoy meal one carton of gravy is provided, and extra cartons can be purchased for 25 cents each. I was sad that it wasn’t unlimited and free like in the Philippines, but I can understand with the crazy demand and queues why this is not possible in Singapore. The taste? Delicious, and a great accompaniment to the chicken.
Yum Burger with TLC: This was the only disappointing aspect of the meal, though to be honest I wasn’t expecting much. My Filipino friends (J: His wife also told him so) tell me anyway that Jollibee is all about the chicken and not the burgers. I have to agree with this. It isn’t a bad burger, but places like McDonalds do much better and more varied burgers and the Yum Burger sadly does not compete. My advice is to go for just the chickenjoy or the hotdog. However, if big bosses at Jollibee are reading this, please consider bringing the Jollibee Double Hashbrown burger to Singapore as that is your one burger I actually think is amazing!
Sundae: Standard chocolate sundae, very similar to its counterparts in McDonalds and KFC.
Overall, it was a very satisfying experience. There are a few items from the Filipino menu missing from the Singapore menu like the palabok (J: I want palabok too!!!) and the Champ/Aloha burger which may disappoint some fans, and I don’t believe there is currently a breakfast menu. Old favorites like the burger steak and the spaghetti are on the menu but I didn’t really see anybody going for these options as chickenjoy seemed to be the major draw. I would recommend Jollibee as a great alternative to the familiar fast-food faces that already exist in Singapore – just adjust your expectations accordingly for the extremely long queues that currently exist. Take an iPad, a downloaded copy of Candy Crush, and some friends and you’ll be fine.
PS: Rumour has it that a 2nd Jollibee is going to open in July following popular demand. Perhaps they should build it next door to the existing Jollibee to help alleviate some of the queue!
The first outlet of Jollibee in Singapore is located on the 6th floor of Lucky Plaza along Orchard Road. Nearest MRT is Orchard Road NSL.
LINE REACHES 100 MILLION USERS WORLDWIDE!
18th January 2013, Singapore – The world’s leading mobile messenger app with social networking service, LINE, celebrates a historic milestone at the start of 2013!
The popular free instant messaging smartphone app has achieved the 100 million mark of users globally as of January 18th, less than two years from its launch in June 2011.
On this milestone, Akira Morikawa, CEO of NHN Japan shares, “We at NHN Japan make sure that we are constantly steps ahead in terms of innovation to meet the needs and ever changing wants of our users. This achievement is a direct result of the efforts we have put in to making the LINE app appealing and relevant to our users. But we will not stop at the 100 million mark. We will continue to strengthen and improve our services to become the world’s number one mobile communication service.”
LINE initially started as a simple smartphone messenger service offering free messaging and calling functions with adorable communication tools such as Emoji, Stickers and Emoticon features. Following the success of LINE, more interactive and entertaining apps were rolled out, such as LINE Camera, LINE Tools as well as mobile app games like LINE Pop and LINE Bubble.
The regular releases of new features have made it easier for LINE to position itself as one of the market leaders in the mobile messaging and app market. In particular, the LINE Camera hit 20 million downloads within 10 months of its release and currently ranks as the top app in the camera category across 27 countries worldwide. LINE Games is also keeping up with these positive statistics starting with ‘LINE POP’, a simple puzzle game linked with the LINE app, which hit 10 million downloads in less than two weeks of its release.
To date, LINE is recording an average of 3 million new subscribers per week with active users constituting of up to 86% of its total registered users. Users of the LINE community are rapidly increasing making LINE the #1 free app in 41 countries including Singapore.
“We share the excitement over these significant achievements of LINE and we at NHN Singapore are very proud to be part of this success,” says Mr. Eric Lee, Managing Director of NHN Singapore. “We are positive that the LINE community will continue to grow especially in South East Asia as we continue to refine and enhance the LINE app and all of its features to engage our existing members and capture more new users across the region,” adds Mr. Eric Lee.
As they move towards becoming a ‘Smartphone Life Platform’, LINE further strengthened its communication functions and social networking elements with the launch of their ‘Home’ and ‘Timeline’ services in August 2012. Users can now post updates and share their life stories on their own space. In addition, they have released LINE Tools that include tools essential for daily use and even LINE Antivirus to protect users from online security threats. These features mark LINE’s evolution to more than just sending and receiving messages.
With the aim of becoming the world’s leading mobile communication service in all over the world, NHN Japan’s CEO Akira Morikawa concludes, “We would like to celebrate this milestone with our users who made all this possible. That is why we at LINE are making our special stickers available to everyone for a certain period. We promise to continuously improve our products and services to make them even more enjoyable and useful to our users.”
For more information about LINE, please visit the official website at http://line.naver.jp/en/. ###
Useful Links: LINE Partner
LINE Facebook Page
LINE Official Blog
LINE is a smartphone app which allows users to enjoy free calls and messages to one another, both nationally and internationally, regardless of which mobile network provider they are using. Launched in June 2011 by NHN Corporate, LINE has more than 100 million users worldwide. It has also been ranked no. 1 in 41 countries in the free app category including Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Macau, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, Israel, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Latvia. LINE carries various unique features such as ‘instant translation service’, ‘Official Accounts’ that enables users to interact with famous public figures, ‘Timeline and Home’ to share recent updates with friends, ‘Shake it’, a fun way of exchanging ids and many ‘Emoji/Stickers/Emoticons.’
For more information visit: http://line.naver.jp/en/.
About NHN Corporation
NHN Corporation (www.nhncorp.com) is the No.1 internet firm in South Korea, with main business focuses on the search engine NAVER, and the game service Hangame, which has the largest user pool among Korean game portals. With its great success in PC domain, now the company is seeking to expand into mobile business. Launched in June 2011, the mobile messenger service ‘LINE’ attracted more than 100 million users globally with a strong presence especially in Japan and Southeast Asia. NHN has also launched over 15 smartphone games in Korea, and expects to become a top global smartphone game publisher with various upcoming titles.
For more information visit http://www.nhncorp.com/nhnen/index.nhn
About NHN Singapore Pte. Ltd.
NHN SINGAPORE is a wholly-‐owned subsidiary of NHN Corporation and serves as focus point for providing a valuable platform for games developers in leading overseas expansion of online games services to Singapore and other South-‐East Asia countries. NHN Singapore is preparing to launch a new online game community portal, offering games in wide range of genres, including fun and interesting casual mobile games, multiplayer web-‐based games to arcade-‐style, console-‐quality online role-‐playing games. The service will offer gamers the best in interactive online game entertainment, combining innovative social platform functionality with popular hit game titles.
For more information visit http://www.nhncorp.sg.
© 2013 NHN Corporation. All rights reserved. NHN, LINE logo are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of NHN Corporation in Korea and other countries. Other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated. Features, pricing, availability, and specifications are subject to change without notice.
A month or so ago, when my tourist visa was about to expire, G and I decided to have it renewed and go out through Pengerang, Malaysia. It was supposed to be a quick lunch trip but we got more than that.
Not even that well known to locals, Pengerang is a small town at the southern tip of Johor, Malaysia. Only a 45 minute bumboat ride away from the Changi Point Ferry Terminal (far east!) in Singapore, you would think it will be somewhat similar to the (in)famous Johor Bahru, which looks like a less developed Singapore with malls et al. because of its proximity to the city-state. But it’s far cry from it.
I have never heard of such a concept as High Tea or Afternoon High Tea before I went to Singapore. Apparently, it is huge here and probably in each and every country the Brits occupied as it’s an English institution dating back to the early Victorian Days. It makes sense because if Spaniards were into siestas and afternoon rests which the Filipinos were more than willing to adapt, then this is their thing. Interesting to think that while the colonizers are resting or having a midday tea break, the rest of the colony are outside, under the sun, doing the backbreaking labor.
G made a reservation for us to go to The Courtyard at the Fullerton Hotel for his pre-birthday celebration. It wasn’t my first High Tea as we had one at Halia Restaurant last year but this time, it’s a bit more upscale. G asked me if I was a fan of High Teas but I can’t really say because this was only my second. But come to think of it, who wouldn’t want Afternoon High Tea if you were served with pretty desserts and yummy savoury treats! And unlimited too so you can replenish your plate with you favourites.
If you are based in Singapore, never miss out a chance to visit Dempsey Hill. What’s in Dempsey Hill? Well, it’s still another one of those Singaporean posh areas with bars, restaurants, a place to chill and hangout, a couple of ‘antique’ shops and a local expat deli. The crowd is a mix of the ‘upperclass’ locals and the white Expats. Usually best to ‘drive’ going to this place as the nearest MRT stations are not that near. 😛
When in Singapore, don’t miss a visit to the Arab Street and its neighboring lanes like Bussorah St., Haji Lane and Baghdad St.
In these streets you’ll find great fare, cute shops selling anything and everything that you can think of (cute Japanese bikes, handmade postcards, physical store of a blog shop, etc.), and great views. It’s the only place (I think) in Singapore with graffiti (wonderful graffitis – the artsy stype). The Perenakan houses also adds to the charm of this area.
When there, try visiting Alaturka, a Turkish restaurant at Bussorah Street or the nearby hawker center Kampong Glam.
I was never a fan of ‘Indian’ food so I never dared to try Laksa ever since I’ve first set foot here in Singapore. Little did I know that Laksa is NOT an Indian food but is a Peranakan (Chinese and Malay mix) cuisine and that it’s surprisingly really good.
My first conversation with G included him ‘promising’ to take me to this popular and best Laksa place in the whole of Singapore, the Katong Laksa (East of Singapore). True to his word, albeit rather late (he fulfilled the rest of his promises earlier in our relationship!), he took me to 328 Katong, which is the best-est among the Laksa stores in the area.
I am a big fan of firsts that’s why I refused to acknowledge that it is G&J’s 1st year anniversary yesterday, 13th of May 2012, as we’re apart: I’m in Davao, G is in SG. But I realized and should have known that what matters most is what’s in our hearts: this so much love that is enough to cover the distance that separates us. Happy 12th Monthsary G! Looking forward to another first anniversary next year, as husband and wife.
Before I left for the Philippines, I bought G a ticket for a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour here in SG as my anniversary present for him (at least he can experience being a tourist in SG even for just a day and see the places in a different perspective). I know we won’t be together that day so I thought this as a good way to keep himself entertained. I hid my gift (with a letter and a map of SG) in one of the cupboards at home and last May 12, I told him to go look for that package. Since I won’t be there to join him in his tour, he brought along Mini J to keep him company and to remind him of me (that was sweet). And here is Mini J’s accounting of that day. Enjoy!
It’s been a long time since I last went rollerblading. I can’t even remember the last time I put it on. Probably 15 years ago, back in high school or probably even longer than that, elementary days.
Since we were holed up in Stemei (we Christened our home this name) for two days (Friday and Saturday) as G’s nursing a bad case of
hangover headache, we have decided on Sunday to make up for it, go out, and go treat ourselves to whatever, wherever. So we decided to go to the East Coast Park and have a nice long walk in the park. And ended up renting two pairs of skates.