Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Away from Home

I still celebrated this year's Christmas in Singapore. It is good that my cousin is here so we celebrated Christmas together. 

In Singapore, Christmas day is also a public holiday. Yuletide Season commences when Orchard Road is already lit with grand Christmas decors.     

Orchard Road glitters around Yuletide Season

The Filipino community also holds Simbang Gabi in various churches around Singapore starting December 16. The Simbang Gabi I attended was at the Church of St. Mary of the Angels. 

Well lit Church of St. Mary of the Angels
during "Simbang Gabi"

The Filipino community celebrated "Simbang Gabi" at
the Church of St. Mary of the Angels.

The culmination of Simbang Gabi is the midnight mass every Christmas eve. This year, I attended the midnight mass at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. 

With Msgr. Philip Heng, S.J., rector of the
Cathedral of the Good Shepherd

With Archbishop William Goh, D.D., the celebrant
of the midnight mass 

Around the island, malls would also put up Christmas trees, some of which exhibit unique conceptual style.  

Christmas Tree at JEM, Jurong East

The Chocolate Christmas Tree at Takashimaya

Giant Christmas Tree at UOB Building

An Environment-friendly Christmas Tree at
Singapore Botanic Gardens

Christmas Tree at Lot One, Choa Chu Kang

To celebrate Christmas in most convenient way, my cousin and I just decided to have lunch on Christmas Day at Ce La Vi. 

Me with my cousin at Ce La Vi

Ce La Vi is the topmost restaurant of Marina Bay Sands. It offers breathtaking view of the city and beyond. 

We availed of the "Christmas Brunch" selection which offered five choices of main course, namely Oven Roasted Turkey Roulade, Charcoal Grilled Black Angus Striploin, Oven Roasted Barramundi, Charcoal Grilled King Prawn and vegetarian Assorted Mushroom Pie. We chose the Charcoal Grilled Black Angus Striploin for our main course.      

Charcoal Grilled Black Angus Striploin

Appetizers and desserts were also served in unlimited supply. Various sausages, sashimi and salads were available. The desserts were log cakes, ginger bread and small cakes.  

Choices of appetizers


After our lunch, we proceeded to my Dutch teacher's house for a Dutch Christmas celebration.

Me, my friends and my Dutch teacher's family

We were served with a sumptuous meal comprising of delectable Dutch dishes, some of which can only be tasted there. The foods were well prepared by our Dutch teacher.

The delicious Dutch foods served to us. 

Dutch Dessert

This year's Christmas is truly memorable in spite of the challenging year. Our celebration was an auspicious moment for rekindling ties that matter!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Disneyland: The Happiest Place on Earth

I always dreamed of visiting Disneyland, but I promised myself that my first Disney experience should be in Anaheim. Why in Anaheim?

Because it is the first Disneyland Park in the world. A visit to this place is a feast for the eyes with the magnificently designed buildings or structures dotting the park. Some of these I captured below.  

The Entrance to Disneyland

The structure which will welcome you as you
enter the theme park. 

Me in front of the statue of Walt Disney
and Mickey Mouse

The iconic castle of the theme park

You will also see these old-fashioned but stylish vehicles. It should be a good ride for those tired to walk the sprawling park.

Stylish tram which ferries visitors 

I like the design of this double-decker bus.

Among the more interesting movies I have watched is the Pirates of the Caribbean. Indeed this ride is fabulous.

Canopy of the entrance to "Pirates of the Caribbean"

If you want an adventure which will make you wet, then the Grizzly River Run is for you. I think, the ride is a bit challenging.

The Grizzly River Run

If you get hungry, there are a number of restaurants or food stalls inside the park. One of the notable restaurants because of its magnificent architecture is "The Golden Horseshoe".  

The Golden Horseshoe, a restaurant inside Disneyland

Being a fan of Pooh, I made it a point to visit his nook in this theme park. I met him there as well as Eeyore. 

Entrance to Pooh's compound

Directions in Pooh's nook

Me with Eeyore

Me with Pooh

I'm also a fan of Star Wars, so I should visit that section of Disneyland. 

A molecule-like monument near
Star Wars attraction

Star Wars Season of the Force

Star Wars fighting action

There is also a section on "Toy Story" with Buzz Lightyear as the most prominent character you will meet. 

Buzz Lightyear of Toy Story

Of course, Disneyland offers fantastic foods and drinks, some of which can only be found there such as the pineapple juice with ice cream.  

The famous Churros of Disneyland

Me holding two Churros

Dapper Dans, a barbershop quartet serenading
the diners. 

Mac and Cheese Hotdog Sandwich

The odd tasting pineapple juice with ice cream

In the afternoon of our visit, there were so many tourists who came. Some area became crowded.

Many tourists passing by the tropical-inspired village.

A two-storey house with dried leaf roofing

A hut similar to those in Batak, Indonesia

There's more to see of course such as the "Village Haus", a Bavarian village and the "Storybook Land".

Part of the Village Haus

Storybook Land Canal Boats Entrance

Walt Disney, the philanthropist that he is, was honored by the American Humane Association with this commemorative marker. 

A marker commemorating Walt Disney for
his humanitarian efforts.

The last ride we took was the "Small World." It's quite a travel of the world in just one place. It's good for kids as they know the characters there and they know quite well the song "It's a Small World". At various points of the trip, the song was sung in various languages. Below are some of the pictures I took there.   

Marker of the "Small World"

Palatial facade of the "Small World" ride  

The dolphin living sculpture 

Welcoming Diversity

The Drummers

Entrance to the royal courtyard

Field of clovers

Flying Over the Windmills


Scene in Venice

Dancers of India

Dancers of Indonesia


Children's Wonderland

Nature inspired  show 

Dancers of Middle East

Dancers of Latin America

Little Mermaid

Hawaiian Dancers 

Kanga and Roo

Toy Story's Woody riding Bullseye Horse

Cute Singers

My visit to Disneyland really made me so happy that I can only say... it's "The Happiest Place on Earth"!