My Birthday Trip Part 1 – Singapore


This post is several months late, I know. I wasn’t decided whether to push through with it as I’d been to Singapore many times, but I figured, I love this place so much, it needs to be posted. So here it is.

Singapore is one of my favorite places. It represents a lot of things in my life: family, independence, photography, design, fangirling, and a lot more. It was there that I really bloomed as a person, where my creative self shone through. It was there that I made some life-changing decisions which is why the place holds so much memories.

It’s impossible to go to Singapore without being all nostalgic and this trip was no exception. And sometimes, I feel like I go there just to bring back the memories. In December of 2013, when I was there for my sister’s wedding, I told myself I would revisit all the places that used to have meaning in my life: previous workplaces, malls I used to shop in, restaurants I used to eat, and houses I’d lived in. I didn’t get to do all that so I said I was gonna do it in my next visit.

Fast-forward to November of last year. I had chosen Singapore for my birthday trip (and Bali too, which I will be writing about in another post). I didn’t get to visit everything I wanted to visit, but I still had a good walk down memory lane. (WARNING: This post is image-heavy)

Reconnecting with old friends

Because I worked and lived in Singapore years ago, I have managed to accumulate a few friends there and I still see some of them whenever I’m in town.

My dinner dates, Farina and Saeedah.

A photo posted by Raia Ajihil (@raiaajihil) on

I worked with Farina and Saeedah before in ABN-AMRO. And I also met up with old high school and college classmates who had gone to Singapore to work there too.

With Karen, a friend from college
Singaporean Food

One of things I love about Singapore is their food! (Here’s a post of me gushing over Wang’s Kopi-C) Unfortunately, I didn’t take a lot of food pictures during this trip, but here are a couple:

My yummy dinner. Badoque Ribs. The serving was so huge! 😱

A photo posted by Raia Ajihil (@raiaajihil) on

Coffee break turned early dinner. Laksa set at Heavenly Wang. #cantresist A photo posted by Raia Ajihil (@raiaajihil) on

I enjoyed the food at Badoque and it’s just a short bus ride away from my brother’s place. I will certainly go back there in my next visit.

Walking and Running

Two months prior to booking a ticket, I had registered myself to the Great Eastern Women’s Run. It was my first run outside of the Philippines, and I blogged about it here. It was a fun experience, even though I walked like half the time!
One of the many things I like about SG is that it’s safe to walk outside no matter what the time. I think I developed my love for walking there. I would walk to and from coffee shops (5 km away), malls, everywhere! (Also, I hate taking the MRT at rush hour. TT_TT)


I did a mini photo-walk right before I left. It was my last minute attempt to revisit my past. I went to the first place I took pictures of when I first got my DSLR camera 7 years ago. Here are some of the pictures I took:














All pictures taken with my Fujifilm XF-1. It was a very tiring, nostalgic night, but I went home happy.


I don’t shop much whenever I’m travelling, but given that this was my birthday trip, I think I maybe have splurged a little. I bought a moisturizer and a facial peeling gel at Adore, bought two matte lipsticks at MAC, several tops and a jacket in H&M, and several penssssssss, notebooks, and sketchbooks in Art Friend and Popular. I just couldn’t help myself! Art Friend is pen hoarder heaven!


I’m sorry if this post does not makes sense much. But I think I’ll wrap it up. I will be blogging about my Bali trip next!

– RA

Of Eating Kare-Kare, Long J.Co Queue, and Christmas Rush at the Airport

(I was gonna post B&W pictures but decided against it because I don’t have enough quality photos to post. I am skipping black and white Friday this week. 🙁 Sorry! )

Anywho, yesterday was quite a busy day for me (which was also why I couldn’t take decent b&w photos). I had to work, pack my things, clean the house, and head to the mall to buy last minute stuff before my early morning flight to Zamboanga this morning.

I only had a couple of hours snooze time because my flight was at 5:45am and I needed to be in the airport at 3:45am– which didn’t happen because I had my alarm set at 3am and while I was preppin’, I lost track of time. So we got out of the house at 4am and arrived at the airport at 4:30am. This is normally okay, but what I didn’t expect was the throng of people wanting to check-in to their flight. THIS IS THE ONLY REASON I HATE THE CHRISTMAS SEASON. Aargh, and I hate myself for not thinking about it ahead of time.

So I had to queue, and the lady at the check-in counter was so slow. I really thought I was gonna miss my flight at the rate she was going. 🙁 Good thing a guy holding up a Zamboanga sign was doing a last check-in call for Zamboanga-bound passengers as the plane was leaving in less than an hour. So, he took my plane ticket and they accommodated me first. YAY! I was too happy to even bother listening to the snide comments made by the people still waiting in the long queue. To all of you, I’m so sorry. 🙂

Here are some of the pictures I took while my friend and I were in the mall. We went to Alabang Town Center, which is my favorite mall because it’s near my place and I don’t have to go all the way to Manila and pay a gazillion pesos for expressway toll fee. =_=”. We dined at Recipes, one of our favorite restaurants and ate Kare-Kare and General’s Chicken, our favorite dishes.

General’s Chicken and Kare-Kare, two of our most-ordered dishes whenever we visit Recipes. 
We were wanting to get J.Co donuts, but there was a long queue — as always! (facepalm) and I was too tired to face all of that. The donuts will have to wait until I get back to Manila.
So, in my disappointment, I just took a picture of this cute turtle bread from Bread Talk which was just in front of the J.Co store. Haha..
Lovely lights by the Rustan’s entrance (and a random person smiling for my camera. gotta love that! ahhaha)

I wasn’t able to take any pictures when I was at the airport. I was too  rushed to be all tourist-y and stuff. Hahaha.. But I got home to Zamboanga safe and sound, and probably haggard-looking. LOL. I am excited as this is the first time in a long time that I will be spending Christmas and New Year’s at home with my parents and my younger sister who’s flying back from Singapore. Happy times. — RA


Sta. Cruz Island, Zamboanga City

I mentioned a couple of posts back that my friends were coming over to Zamboanga for a visit. So they did and one of the places we went to was The Great Santa Cruz Island.

A view Sta Cruz Island from Paseo del Mar

It was my first time to go there despite the fact that I lived in Zamboanga city for 4 years when I was in college, and that we owned a house here. It’s just that years ago, going there was just never an option, what with the rampant kidnappings during those times.

But it was always a dream for me to go there. I remember that one of our text books back in grade school featured Sta Cruz Island, describing it as a heart-shaped island that is known for its pink sand. As a child, hearing of a place with pink sand (PINK! As in my favorite color. WTF o_O) was pretty awesome and dreamy. And the fact that it was in my parents’ hometown made it way awesome-r. LOL. Oh, and did I mention it was heart-shaped too? ASJGAKDFDDJAA&; *flails* Continue reading

Fun at the Jurong Bird Park, Singapore

My family and I had the chance to visit Jurong Bird Park yesterday. The bird park is the largest in the world in terms of number of birds. It boasts of a lot of attractions, among them are the tallest man-made falls and the Lory Loft. We didn’t get to explore the whole place because we got there at 4pm and the park closes at 6pm. So we only had less than a couple of hours to tour whatever we could.

The best fun we had was when we fed the Lory birds! Oh how awesome it was when they flock on the cup of food. Haha.. here are some of the pictures I took. I used my brother’s Sigma 28-300 f3.5-6.3 Macro lens for all the shots.

You can check out my Facebook Page for other pictures. 🙂

Getting Friendly with the Jellyfishes at The Manila Ocean Park

I am not very fond of the ocean. In fact, I have water anxiety. I don’t have a problem going to beaches, or swimming in shallow waters, but throw me in the middle of the ocean, or a deeper part of the beach, and I’d probably die of a heart attack first before drowning. It’s just how it’s always been. I remember when I was a kid, my family would go to the beach every summer and I would cry all the time because I couldn’t swim with my brothers and sisters for fear of being stung by a jellyfish. Yeah, it was that bad.

Now that I am older, I still have that same fear. But I’ve gotten to appreciate the beauty of the ocean and its creatures. I love going to beaches (even bought an underwater camera) to take pictures of fishes, corals, and whatnot. They’re just breathtaking. And as you know, Philippines has a few of the most beautiful beaches in the world. I’ve gone to a few, but I still have a long list to cross out!

A couple of weeks back, my family and I went to the Manila Ocean Park. I’ve always wanted to go there because I’ve heard so much about it – mostly good things. I had high hopes but was disappointed when I saw how shabby the place has become. I wish I had gone when it was newer. 🙁

This didn’t prevent me from having fun with my family (time with family is always fun!) and from taking pictures of the amazing collection of sea creatures they have there. Here are some:

You can check out the rest of my shots here: Raia Ajihil Photography on FB.

Rock on. RAP

Like a kid again! Visited Enchanted Kingdom with workmates

It’s been a while since I last visited this place. The last time, I think, was 5 or 6 years ago. Nothing much has changed, Space Shuttle, Anchors Away, and the Log Jam were still there. Except for a few addition to the rides, Enchanted Kingdom was still the same as how I remembered it from years ago: fun, crowded, and Christmassy. LOL.

The only difference probably is my increased fear of heights. I don’t remember being so scared, I even didn’t go in the Space Shuttle. X__X

I almost didn’t take the EKSTREME ride. I’m glad I did! It was so exhilarating! And that on the lower right is Ringo, the brown turtle Reena won in the basketball game. So cute!

In hopes of winning more stuffed toys, Tracy and I decided to play more games. We didn’t win anything though, hence the look on our faces:

After that, I did some stalking! Haha..

And ate a few things…

All in all, it was a very fun weekend with friends and colleagues and their families.Here they are:

This is probably not the last time I will be visiting Enchanted Kingdom this year. ‘Til next time! RAP

Great Deal at Club Balai Isabel

Deals have popped up here and there and groupons have gained so much popularity nowadays to the delight of many, including yours truly.

One of the recent buys my friends and I had, was an overnight stay in Club Balai Isabel. If you are not familiar with the place, you can visit their website and get more information. But if you are to ask me, my favorite description is that this was the place where Oyo and Kristine (yes, the showbiz couple) tied the knot. And almost always, whenever I say that, I get a wide-eyed expression from the asker. But of course, there’s more to this place than that, and I got to experience it firsthand a couple of months back.

Again, I am not going to bore you with words, so here are some of the pictures I took:


There was probably just a couple of disappointments: 1. the lake was full of seaweeds, it was impossible to take a dip. 2. it was just an overnight stay — we didn’t have enough time to do much. But overall, this was a nice experience – a breather away from the hustle and bustle of city life. – RAP