Little India, Singapore

After Chinatown, we went to Little India. Little India is located just across Chinatown. Although Little India is not solely an Indian neighborhood, many Indians choose to settle in this part of Singapore. We saw more Indians here compared to other parts of Singapore. True to its name, Little India is filled with Indian restaurants, mosques and other commercial establishments.

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We were browsing through one of the brochures at our hotel and we found a restaurant in Little India that was supposedly a Michelin star awardee. The first thing we did after getting off the MRT was find the restaurant. It was not far from the train station and we only had to walk a few blocks before we found it. The food here was really good. Our server even gave us dessert on the house.

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What I love about traveling is I get to experience different cultures and try new ways for doing things. Despite the things that are happening around us, the world is still such a beautiful place and I intend to continue exploring it.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

Chinatown, Singapore

On our 3rd day in Singapore, we opted to go around the city by train. Singapore is such a small country and very easy to navigate via their MRT. Our friend from Toastmasters, Coen, was getting married that night. Since we planned to go to Malaysia straight after the wedding, we checked out of our hotel and left our luggage at Regent Hotel Singapore, a posh hotel located in Orchard Road. Thank you Coen, for being so accommodating :) After leaving our luggage, we were now free to roam around.

First stop, Chinatown. Chinatown is an ethnic enclave that is a bustling mixture of the old and new. Unlike the more modern areas of Singapore that’s filled with high-rise, modern buildings, Chinatown has traditional one-storey shops,food stalls and cafes. This is the perfect place to do pasalubong shopping. They have t-shirts, keychains, figurines and other Chinese products.

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Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

We finished touring Universal Studios at 5pm. After a getting some rest and refreshments, we decided to proceed to one of Singapore’s most popular tourist attractions – Gardens by the Bay.

Gardens by the bay singaporeGardens by the bay singapore 1Gardens by the bay singapore 2Gardens by the Bay is a nature park that covers 101 hectares of reclaimed land in Singapore. It’s located near the Marina Reservoir and near the popular mall and hotel – Marina Bay Sands. From Harbour Pointe, we took the MRT to Marina Bay and then walked to the garden. The garden came about because of the governments desire to create a “City in a Garden” to increase the greenery in the city and improve the quality of life. The park consists of 3 waterfront gardens – Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden.

To create this, an international competition for the park design was launched in 2006.It garnered 70 entries from different countries all over the world. The winners were 2 British firms – Grant Associates and Gustafson Porter.

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1 Gardens by the bay singapore 6 heritage garden1GARDENS BY THE BAYThe park has many attractions such as The Flower Dome, Cloud Forest, OCBC Skyway, Supertree Grove, Childrens Garden, Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lake, Heritage Gardens, World of Plants and The Canyon.

Upon arriving, we walked thru Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lake, Heritage Gardens and Supertree Grove. Supertree Grove is a majestic edifice that looks especially outstanding at night with all the lights on. We weren’t able to check out the Skyway as it was closed at the time, but we did visit The Flower Dome. It holds an astonishing number and variety of flora and fauna.

SUPERTREE GROVEGardens by the bay singapore supertree grove

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FLOWER DOME

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Gardens by the bay singapore 29Singapore Cityscape at night

 We also got to watch a show near Supertree Grove at 7:45pm. The show featured fire dancers,aerial yoga and fire works. All in all, it was fun tour.

-Alex

Singapore Day 2: Universal Studios Sentosa

On our 2nd day, we decided to go to one of my favorite places in Singapore – Universal Studios in Sentosa. It’s about an hours ride via MRT from Geylang. I don’t know about you, but theme parks make me feel like a child again. Even though I’ve grown up, I love the feeling of wonder and magic being in a theme park evokes in me. Knowing we’d have to spend the entire day in USS, we woke up early. Since it’s really hot in Singapore I decided to wear shorts and sandals and bring an umbrella.

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Travel tip: Bring the right footwear. Traveling usually involves a lot of walking so you’ll need comfortable shoes or sandals. Singapore is a tropical country with weather very similar to the Philippines, so I brought a long a pair of comfy Grendha’s for this trip.

We took the MRT from Geylang to Harbor Point and then another smaller train from Harbor Point to Universal Studios. Sentosa is located at the end part of Singapore so it’s beside the beach. Aside from Universal Studios, there are other attractions in Sentosa you can see as well.

Universal Studios ticket prices:
Adult               S$76
Child               S$56
Senior Citizen S$38

They accept both cash and credit card.

Travel tip: Many of the lines in Universal Studios (for the good rides) are really long. The Transformers ride was the longest. We had to wait for over an hour to be able to ride it. If you want to go at a faster pace, then you can get the VIP Pass. It’s a bit pricier than the regular ticket but it’s worth it if you want to maximize your time in Sentosa.

You may also check out this website for good deals. The tickets are cheaper than if you buy on site: https://www.getyourguide.com. From S$76, the USS tickets on this site cost only S$50.44. A pretty great deal if you ask me. Once you get the 1-day pass, you can go on all the rides. There are also restaurants there that you can dine in.

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Here are my favorite rides in Universal Studios:
Transformers. It’s a 3-D ride that really makes you feel like you are in the movie.
Galactic. If you enjoy going on roller coaster rides then you have to try this one. There are 2 types – Human and Cyclone. I’ve tried both and I think Cyclone is the crazier ride. You’ll need to leave your bag and loose items at the locker or with a non-rider as they don’t allow you to bring these with you for your own safety.
The Mummy. This is another roller coaster ride that takes place inside a tunnel. Also one of my favorites.
Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure. This isn’t an extreme ride but I still enjoyed it a lot. You’ll need extra clothes though for riders are most likely to get wet – maybe even soaked.

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Travel tip: Bring sunblock and an umbrella. It’s really hot in Sentosa and you’ll need to protect yourself against the sun’s UV rays, since you’ll be spending the entire day walking around.

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Allen and JB’s Perfect Day

I love weddings. I love the romance, the festive vibe and how everyone is rooting for the bride and grooms happiness. Of course, planning a wedding (especially your own) is a different story. Weddings have become such a big production already that many couples find the idea of getting married a daunting and pretty much expensive prospect. I’ve started planning out my own wedding myself and I admit that there are a lot of things to consider.

allen and jb wedding + luxe hotelThe Bride in Veluz

If before you only had to think about the dinner menu, now there are add ons such as the dessert buffet and the appetizers. Then there are giveaways, photobooth, photographer and videographer, make-up artist… Now, even the bridal robe is a big deal. Still, even with all these things to consider, I find planning my own wedding an exciting prospect. A wedding after all is a celebration of love, a public declaration of the couples commitment to each other as well as before God and man. So instead of being daunted by all these details, embrace it! Enjoy the process. DSC00222 DSC00225 DSC00094 DSC00191

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DSC00176 DSC00150Recently, two of my good friends, Allen and JB got married. It was a beautiful wedding. The decor was exquisite, the food was delicious and the program went smoothly. But what I liked most of all was the exchange of vows. The ceremony puts the focus on the wedding on the married couple that stand before God. This is now the start of their journey in marriage. The dinner celebration afterwards was a happy culmination of the ceremony.

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I’ve always thought you needed to spend at least 1M pesos to have a decent wedding. Then I realized, you don’t have to spend a lot to have a nice wedding. With a lot of planning, resourcefulness, creativity and loyal and helpful friends, you can have your dream wedding without breaking your bank account.

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Allen and JB had been together for  14 years and now that they have finally committed to be together for life, I pray that their relationship continuous to grow stronger and better. Like aged wine, may their relationship grow sweeter and more enjoyable through time.

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Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

Hello Singapore!

Last week, I went on vacation to Singapore together with my mom, fiance and Sha, a good friend from Toastmasters. We were there to attend the wedding of our friend, also a fellow Toastmaster, Coen and to do a little site seeing. singapore tour 1singapore tour 3Although I’ve been to Singapore before, it still struck me how advanced it is as a country.

There are 4 things I  love about Singapore:

First, their transportation system. You can get around Singapore via private car, taxi or bus. But their most convenient mode of transportation (and most affordable) is their MRT. Their MRT is so easy to use (and fast) that we knew how to get around Singapore after just one day of using it. After arriving at Changi airport, we walked to the nearest MRT (there’s one near Changi Airport) and bought an MRT card for 15SG, 7SG of which could be used for travel. For tourists who plan to tour around the city center, they also have an unlimited, ride-all-you can 3-day pass for 20SG. We originally wanted to buy this but it couldn’t be used to go to Sentosa so we switched to the regular MRT card.

Second, cleanliness. Singapore is so clean. There are trash bins almost everywhere so it makes it easy for you to dispose of your trash.

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Third, the food. The food in Singapore is really good. But also expensive. If you’re traveling on a budget, then hawker stalls are your best bet. They have delicious food at affordable prices there. A meal at a hawker stall costs around 4-5SD. If you eat at malls, you can easily spend 20-30SD on 1 meal. On our first night in Singapore, we checked in our hotel located in Geylang and decided to roam around the area. Luckily, we found a good place to eat. I was able to try barbecued sting ray for the first time and it was really delicious.singapore tour 6 singapore tour 8 singapore tour 5

Fourth, the people. Singaporeans are generally helpful and respectful. They dont hesitate to help out foreigners in need. And it helped a lot that most Singaporeans are proficient in English.

All in all, I enjoyed Singapore and would definitely like to come back to visit it. After I visit all the other countries in my list. :)

Want to hear more stories about Singapore? Find out about Day 2 of my Singapore trip HERE.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

How Should I Pray?

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Is there a right way to pray?

I’ve been doing my quiet time regularly now for the past few years. And yet, there are times when I experience dry spells in my spiritual journey. This has lead me to question whether I may be doing it wrong. Am I not praying the right way? Or is there even a right way to pray?

This led me to purchase Timothy Kellers book entitled Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God. Deeper intimacy with the Lord is a popular prayer request among my Christian friends. And knowing how to pray can certainly help with that.

What other nation is so great as to have their Gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?
Deuteronomy 4:7

Prayer is an important part of our Christian walk. It is when we pray that we allow Christ to enter our life and make his will for us known. In fact, the bible calls on us to pray without ceasing.

To fail to pray, is not to merely break some religious rule-it is failure to treat God as God.
Timothy Keller, Prayer

What is prayer?

Keller defines prayer as a personal,  communicative response to the knowledge of God. It is how we, as Christians, connect to the Most High. It’s an intimate conversation with Him. It’s a response to the knowledge of God.

Prayer is both a duty and discipline. There are going to be times when you wont feel like prayer. But when we doggedly do what we must, that’s when we experience break though.

How should we pray?

There are a lot of ways to pray. And yet, according to Keller, the best model is still the Lords Prayer. He calls it the prayer of prayers.

Step 1: Praise

Our Father who art in Heaven. Hallowed be thy name, the Kingdom come.

This calls us to recall who we are and who God is. God is God, and we are his servants. This calls for us to glorify Him. Sometimes we become to familiar with God and treat his casually. Yet this part of the Lords Prayers reminds us that He is Holy and we should treat Him as such. John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion advises us to treat God with reverence and awe. To “hallow” God’s name is not merely to live righteous lives but to have a  heart of grateful joy toward God – and even more wondrous sense of his beauty.

Plagiarism is considered a big deal because it’s taking someone else’s work and making it your own. And yet when we refuse to praise God and give thanks to all He has done, we are committing cosmic plagiarism. All that we have is a gift from God. And yet when we take credit for something God has given us, that’s cosmic plagiarism.

Step 2: Repent

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors

Asking for forgiveness changes our hearts for it allows us to bow down in humility. It is only when we have understood who  God is and the magnitude of what He has done for us, that we can be merciful towards those who have hurt us. Our relationship with God is directly proportional to our relationship with others. 

Step 3: Ask

Give us this day our daily bread.

As God’s children we are given the privilege to ask for anything – according to His will. Like a Father, the Lord wants to give us what we ask for. But the condition is that it must be according to His will for He knows what’s best for us better that we do.

And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us
-1 John 5:14

Step 4: Yield to the Spirit

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from Evil.
Thy Will be Done….

The end of goal prayer should be for us to yield to the spirit. Because without submission to Gods leading, the whole exercise would be pointless. Since prayer is about knowing God and His will for us, then we are to submit ourselves to his plans and not ours. There maybe many things that we want in life, and that’s ok. But it’s important to discern what God wants for us and submit to His leading.

The acronym here is PRAY. Praise,Repent ,Ask, and Yield.

Daily prayer is an important part of our Christian journey. Kellers book has enlightened me on the right way to pray. I hope you’ll try this out as well – if you haven’t been doing so already.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

The Danger of Idolatry

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When we think of idols we usually associate it to a physical object that people bow down to. In the old testament, the idols people worshiped were statues that had the form of their different gods. Today, the idols we have come in the form of wealth, fame, beauty and power. And they are as tempting as ever before. They promise happiness, yet they only lead to emptiness and ruin. No one thing in this world can fill us up as God can do. 

1 Kings and 2 Kings tells about many leaders who led their people to destruction because of idolatry. One such leader was King Solomon. God had blessed King Solomon immensely. He gave him wisdom, great wealth, immense power and influence. It was under his reign that Israel reached its golden age. Kings and leaders from other kingdoms visited Solomon to listen to his wisdom and learn from him. And yet, despite all that God has given, King Solomon turned away from God. He built temples for the gods of his wives to please them and also started to worship them. It was because of this that God tore Solomon’s kingdom away from him. And yet even in his anger, God was merciful. For the sake of David, he only took Solomon’s kingdom after his death. And even then, he did not take away everything. He left 2 tribes for Solomon’s son to lead. And thus, the kingdom of Israel became divided into 2 kingdoms.

As for you, if you walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, “You shall never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel. But if you or your descendants turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other Gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated in my name.

-1 Kings 9:4-7

Idolatry is defined as extreme adoration of something or someone.

For instance, a woman who has searched for her true love a long time can, upon finding that person, cause her to regard the person so much that she may end up crushing him under the weight of her expectations.

Or a mother who has prayed for a son, may upon being given a son, smother him with too much love that it can end up hurting their relationship and preventing him from growing up.

Or a business man who has made it his life’s goal for his company to succeed, may upon achieving his goal, cause him to value his wealth too much, that it becomes the most important thing in his life.

Anything can be a potential idol. Even good things such as love and respect – can become idols if we value them more than we value God. Idols are not necessarily bad things. But when you take a good thing and make it the main thing in your life, then it becomes an idol and draws you away from God.

We are all susceptible to idolatry. And that’s why we need to be careful with whatever we pursue be it business success, a happy relationship or even ministry. Because only God should be at the center of our lives. When we allow Him to lead us, we will experience a kind of happiness and fulfilment that can’t be found anywhere else.

Whom have I in heaven but you, and there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
– Psalm 73:25-26.

Think about it. Is there an idol in your life right now?

Reach down deep within and stop to consider whether you have something that you’re prioritizing over of God. The Lord is faithful to those who are His. You don’t have to hold on too tightly. Surrender it to the Lord. He will take care of you.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

Be a Good Testimony

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Being a Christian is next to impossible. And yet, when you declare that you are one you have this responsibility to fulfill. You need to be careful how you act and carry yourself because you never know, you may be the only bible some people read. If they see you acting in a way that’s contrary to Christ’s teachings, then it may turn them away from Christ.

Yesterday, after getting a new listing in Philam Life Village, we stopped by a gas station to gas up. After paying, I was about to drive away when the attendant informed me that they had mistakenly gassed up my tank with diesel instead of gas. Apparently, the attended that filled up my tank was new and she got confused.My cars engine runs on gas. Since gasoline engines cannot combust diesel fuel, had I driven away, my car would have eventually stopped running and the engine would  need to be repaired.

The bottom-line is, it could have been very costly and time-consuming for me. As a real estate broker, I use my car a lot and to not be able to use it even for just a few days would mean lost revenue. After the mistake was discovered, all the attendants apologised profusely. One of them called their mechanic so he could drain out the diesel in my tank and replace it with gas. Instead of getting mad, I choose to wait patiently for their mechanic to arrive and fix the problem.

There are two reasons why I chose to stay patient.

First of all, getting mad wouldn’t have helped the situation. The damage had been done and so I might as well cooperate with them to fix it. Also, the new attendant that made that mistake didn’t do it on purpose. Hopefully, she’ll be more careful next time though.

Second, I wanted to be a good testimony. Had I gotten mad and yelled at them, I would have put my being a Christian to shame. 

Being a Christian is not always easy or convenient. But when you choose to honor God and do what’s right, I believe this helps bring more people to Christ. Every choice you make, whether good or bad, has consequences even though it may not be readily apparent.

What does it mean to be a good testimony?

Being a good testimony is not only about the words that you say but how you live your life. It’s a public declaration of your belief through both words and action. You must both tell and show people what it means to follow Christ. The purpose of a testimony is to give evidence to the world that Jesus really changes lives. Following Christ is a transformational experience and once you choose to let him in, it will be reflected in the way you life your life. 

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
-Matthew 16:24

Being a follower of Christ is a daily struggle. Because with my naturally sinful tendencies, I need to constantly watch myself. Yes, I still stumble from time to time. But I’m not aiming for perfection. My aim is to improve. And by God’s grace – with a lot of prayer and commitment –  I’ll do better each day.

“Following Jesus isn’t something you can do at night where no one notices. It’s a twenty-four-hour-a-day commitment that will interfere with your life. That’s not the small print—that’s a guarantee.” – Kyle Idleman

When you look at your life, what kind of testimony are you making?

Go live a Truly Wealthy life.

-Alex

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