Johor Premium Outlets

17 November 2012

My mother-in-law was in town over a week ago and requested to see Malaysia. So we decided to bring her to the Johor Premium Outlets as it's only a short bus ride from here.

The place is also just a few minutes away from Legoland and uses the same bus so it's a very convenient day trip for anyone interested in going over the border.

I've been to outlet malls in the U.S. and I must say that if you plan to go bargain hunting, best to do it in the States as the prices here are rather steep. A pair of Nike shoes for example, range from MYR 169 to 209. Basically, MYR 169 is equivalent to SGD 70 or PHP 2334 which makes it cheaper than Singapore but more expensive than Manila or the U.S.

Ah, but then again prices in Singapore are really more expensive to begin with. My Mom found a bag she liked from Mango while window shopping at Orchard Road, but found the exact same bag in one of their Manila branches to be PHP 1000 less (SGD 30).

Another concern is that you have declare all items purchased from abroad and pay the corresponding tax (GST) once you reach Singapore. That lessens a bit of the savings any long term resident might be hoping to have.

Well, if you want things a little cheaper and can't go anywhere else at the moment, then the Johor Premium Outlets will do in the meantime. Also, the place reminds me so much of Alabang Town Center back home that I'll definitely return if only for the scenery.

Singapore Flyer

03 November 2012

This turned out to be better than expected and coupled with the XD Theater ride next door (below), both made for a very enjoyable evening.

National Museum of Singapore

14 October 2012

I've decided to treat our short stint in Singapore as an extended holiday. So one of our goals as long-term tourists is to go to every museum this country has to offer, and our first stop is the National Museum.

It turns out that yesterday was a good day to visit as it was the museum's 125th birthday. Not only was the entrance fee free, but they also had a small ceremony and everyone present was invited to partake of the cake!


We came after lunch thinking that we would only need a few hours to see the place, but the only exhibit we were able to really look at was the one on bridal gowns:

Gowns from 1828 and 1834:

Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale's wedding attire:

We went through the History Gallery, but only briefly since they ran out of Companion devices (you'll need one to fully appreciate what's in front of you) and we had other things to attend to after. We both liked the museum and we've decided to come back when we can spend an entire day in it.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition

04 October 2012

This event has already closed here in Singapore, but I've decided to post it anyway in case someone might be interested in seeing it wherever it is headed to next.

I would recommend it only for those who liked the movie or read the books. We went with relatives who were not too familiar with the story and they found it a bit boring (though my nephew ended up reading the books after our visit).

Earl paid for the audio guide (SGD 6) which I thought wasn't needed, but I later changed my mind as it made the tour much more fun.

Celebrity Sightings

12 September 2012

I was here earlier today:

For this event:

They passed right in front of me:

But I was too busy looking at my camera's screen that I was not able to get a really good look. So I decided to to brave the crowds:

Alas, I only got a rather distant glimpse before they left:

Parkroyal on Beach Road

22 July 2012

Earl and I just spent five perfectly wonderful days in Singapore. It was a look and see trip sponsored by his office as he'll start working there next month. We were billeted at the Parkroyal on Beach Road and what made it great was that we got upgraded to the Club Floor. Since I used to book hotel rooms for a living, I've always wondered what it would be like to stay in that room category and now I can definitely say that it was so much fun!

Here are the inclusions for the Orchid Club Premier King Room:

Guests have access to the round-the-clock Orchid Club Lounge which serves breakfast, all-day refreshments and evening cocktails. The Orchid Club butlers are on hand to facilitate guests’ requests.

• Priority check-in and check-out at Orchid Club Lounge
• Welcome fruit basket and drink
• Complimentary daily newspaper
• Complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails at the exclusive Orchid Club Lounge
• Complimentary Shoe Polishing
• Complimentary Pressing upon arrival (two pieces)
• Complimentary Laundry up to two pieces per day (excludes dry cleaning and non-cumulative)
• Complimentary in-room Broadband Internet access
• 20% discount on all Business Centre services
• 20% discount at Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant (for a la carte menu only)

The bed was so comfortable that I decided to check what brand they were using for the pillows and the mattress pad - Northern Feather Asia. Unfortunately, based on their website, it doesn't look as though as they do retail. As to the bathroom, it was very clean and the rain shower was quite soothing after a long and tiring day.

We tried their evening cocktails at the Lounge and it included a light buffet. The food was good and if you ate enough of it, you would not need dinner. Buffet breakfast was also nice but I must say I prefer the one over at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.

We didn't have much to complain about except for the bathroom sink faucet that would at times only have hot water no matter which way you turned it. Also, the telephone inside the bathroom would periodically beep repeatedly for some unknown reason. It wasn't loud enough to wake us up so we didn't mind too much.

Oh, and when we requested a flat sheet from housekeeping, the attendant knocked on our door twice and then opened it before I had a chance to reach the door! I was a bit uncomfortable with that because what if we had been dressing up at the time?

Those things were minor though and most of the staff were quite friendly and helpful that we thought we were on vacation instead of a business trip.


05 July 2012

A cup of coffee for Php 1.50? Porkchop for Php 6? Two softdrinks for Php 3?

Ah, these were the prices 36 years ago when my parents were dating. Yup, they kept the receipts. I was thinking that maybe Earl and I should do the same thing so that our children can one day marvel at how "cheap" everything used to be...

Tokyo Café

25 June 2012

Whenever Earl and I feel like having a somewhat healthier lunch, we usually end up in a Japanese restaurant. This meal was at their SM Southmall branch:

Teriyaki Chicken Salad - Php 188

Creamy dressings are not synonymous with losing weight, but I'm just not too fond of vinaigrette. So this salad fit the bill for our "vegetable" requirement and was neither bland nor too salty.

Salmon Cream Pasta - Php 252

I'm a sucker for smoked salmon so when I saw this on the menu, I just had to order it. Also falls under the "lean protein with omega-3" category (hahaha!). It wasn't bad though I added Parmesan cheese to give it more oomph. Also, should have separated the salmon from the hot pasta first as the heat cooked it through.

Ten-Ju - Php 248

Basically their shrimp tempura bento box. It was better than a lot of other tempuras we've tried - and we've had quite a few since Earl will always order shrimp tempura without fail in every Japanese restaurant we go to.

Scorecard: In the same price range as Tempura Grill, but also serves pizza. A good option if you can't decide between Japanese and Western cuisine as this place combines both.

UNIQLO in Manila

16 June 2012

They opened yesterday and here's what the line looked like at around 3 PM today:

Phat Wong

07 June 2012

I've always wanted to try Chef Ariel Manuel's restaurant Lolo Dad's, but their prices are a little steep for our pockets. So when I read about his new venture for the budget conscious, we headed to Makati to try it out.

For this lunch, I was with my mother and sister and here's what we ordered:

Shrimps, Pomelo and Young Coconut,Coconut Milk and Lime Dressing - Php 270

Best described as interesting since we've never had this salad presented in a whole coconut cup before. But in case you're partial to pomelo chunks when it comes to this Vietnamese dish (like my Mom), you won't find it here. And though we all prefer the Pho Hoa version, it's not a bad choice if you're in the mood for something light.

Phad Thai Omelet - Php 240

If you're not a heavy eater and you'll be ordering other things from the menu, then this is good enough for three. We asked for the chili to placed on the side as I'm not fond of anything spicy, but Mom said it tasted much better with it than without it. My sister tried the sauce and it was way too hot for her liking.

Blue Crab with Crab Fat on Lemongrass Dumpling - Php 180

This was nice though we wish it had been smothered in crab fat. Yup, we're not exactly healthy eaters - hahaha!

Pinoy Duck Mami Shredded Duck Meat, Boiled Duck Egg, Spring Onions and Roasted Garlic - Php 255

Both Mom and sibling found this soup to be very salty but I didn't. Maybe because I was recovering from the flu at the time and my taste buds were not up to scratch?

Grilled Baby Back Ribs Tocino In Garlic and Vinegar Sauce - Php 325

For me, I would not mind having this for breakfast though I was expecting it to be a little bit on the softer side. Probably it's because I automatically associate melt-in-your-mouth tender whenever I think of baby back ribs.

The verdict? If you're in the area, it's not a bad place to stop by.