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Thursday, February 28, 2013

~ Hong Kong 2012 - Day 3 (Part 2) Ocean Park ~


The sun was scorching hot and the spectators’ seats at the Ocean Theatre instantly became a pool of brollies overlooking the stage. We were at the mercy of the heat, perspiring furiously while waiting for the show to start. The scenic view of the ocean and mountains helped to cool off my thoughts for a moment.



It has been more than 10 years since Hubby and I sat down at this very spot. We can vividly remember how impressed we were with the performance put up by the dolphins then. The contents of the show has changed over the years and we seem to be seeing lesser action from our ocean friends. Nevertheless, "Sea Dreams" is the one of the main attraction to catch at Ocean Park.


The Rapids is the only ride that we hopped on despite the risk of getting soak. The thrill of this ride is not how the raft swayed along the course but how I can avoid being attacked by the splashes of water!


Now that we have Kai Kai and Jia Jia at the Singapore Zoo, Le Le and Ying Ying are the Super Stars at the Giant Panda Adventure.

They are so adorable! No wonder we got mesmerized by our furry friends.
 

The cuddly red pandas nearly stole the limelight as they make their appearance. These little reddish brown, bushy-tailed mammal has a cat-like face and white whiskers. They look like raccoon and is about the size of a small dog.


We met Whiskers and his friends at the Whiskers Theatre. Mommy helped to translate the story to the children as the show was mostly in Cantonese. Despite the language barrier, Denver & Gladys enjoyed watching the lovable characters and performance very much.


Merry-Go-Round is a MUST have at every theme park. It is a ride not only for children but also for adults. :)



Experience the culture of Hong Kong in its 50s to 70s at Old Hong Kong.
More Merry-Go-Round.

As the night falls, we headed back to the Waterfront Plaza for a series of acrobatic performance as a team of Balloonatics and Aviators explode across the sky.

 
 
Symbio - A combination of light, fire and sound effects as the Lagoon transformed itself into a stage for the world’s first 360° water screen show in the night. The final finale before the park closes for the day.
 
 

Check out our Ocean Park photos at BPDGTravels' facebook page.

Friday, February 22, 2013

~ We Welcome Families Awards 2013 ~


'We Welcome Families' Awards is the pinnacle award of excellence in the effort to encourage businesses to cater to families. First launched by Businesses for Families Council (BCF) in 2010, it showcases and recognises businesses who had took extrodinary efforts and measures to welcome families.

For the third running year, the contest is currently open to all Singaporeans and residents of Singapore to vote for Singapore’s most family friendly business. 

Voters stand a chance to win prizes worth a total of $2,000 and five lucky winners will walk away with $100 worth of prizes every week!

We are definitely happy to have more businesses providing services, infrastrature and promotions to welcome families as their customers. Shopping malls have ramped up their facilities over the years with nursing rooms, playgrounds, complimentary use of baby prams or kiddy cabs, family parking lots and more. During the holidays, there are also meet & greet sessions and performances to attract families to bring their children for a series of fun-filled activities.

Visiting shopping malls is no longer boring for children. Our kiddos are able to find entertainment in the neighbourhood.

Water play
http://bpdgtravels.blogspot.sg/2010/11/kidzplay-at-northpoint.html
http://bpdgtravels.blogspot.sg/2011/03/kidz-play-nex-skygarden.html
http://bpdgtravels.blogspot.sg/2011/11/changi-city-point-garden-city-in-east.html

Meet & Greet
http://bpdgtravels.blogspot.sg/2012/12/meet-greet-traintastic-chuggington.html

Businesses are gradually transforming and improving their services and we look forward to more 'surprises'. :)

To vote, simply click on the following link http://www.wewelcomefamilies.sg/ and vote for your  favourite businesses. Voting ends on 28 February 2013! Good Luck!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

~ Our collection of CNY activities - Day 1 to 3 ~

Day 1 - First day of CNY is usually packed with the most visiting. We woke up early in the morning despite staying up really late the other night.After dressing up, we are ready to set off! I love our family's Day 1 dress code. All RED like red packets. It was also the first time Gladys wearing a Cheongsam.


Every year without fail, our first stop is going to my inlaws' place to 拜年, and have our breakfast. We will then drop by PUAT JIT BUDDHIST TEMPLE (般若念佛堂) to pray for good health and year.


Apart from prayers, Chinese New Year is all about visiting relatives, friends and indulging in CNY goodies. Since we have welcomed the Year of the Snake, its interesting, appropriate and fun to play a game of Snake & Ladder.


Back in the car, Denver & Gladys were happily singing their favourite CNY songs and we also took photos while travelling. The kiddos were enjoying their long weekend!


Day 2 - Our mornings are usually occupied with visiting the temples on 大年初二. To ensure a smooth sailing year, we always pray to the dedicated deities and 太岁.

韭菜芭城隍庙 (Lorong Koo Chye Sheng Hong temple) is a popular taoist temple with a long history and also our children's 'playground' for many years. 



We can easily spent the entire hour here praying, while the kids skipped along to 'play' after they finished their prayers. Taking photos with our Zodiac sign is a not to be missed even though Hubby says it looked the same every year. :p

Crossing through the coin and sitting on the horse are Denver and Gladys' yearly activity too. 

Our next destination is the famous 洛阳大伯公宫 Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple situated along Loyang Way. It used to be situated further off facing the sea, but was moved to the current site a few years ago. Every CNY, we will see many devotees coming here for prayers.

If you are a first timer visiting the temple and does not know what to do, fear not as there are numbers and arrows tagged near the location of the deities, directing you where you should go to complete your prayers around the temple. 

香火鼎盛

Do you find this Fortune God familiar? If you are a regular visitor of River Hongbao, you may have identify it as the Fortune God for the Year of the Rabbit 2 years ago. :) It is common to see these statues being moved to a different site after the event has ended. 

See how it has transformed - (http://bpdgtravels.blogspot.sg/2011/02/river-hongbao-2011.html)



Day 3 - Bad weather experienced throughout the Chinese New Year period has hindered a lot of our initial plans. Unlike the previous years where we were busy travelling around the island and doing our CNY visiting, this year we get to enjoy little moments staying home resting.  


Having said that and with the golden opportunity, it was also the first time we made 年糕 (also known as rice cake). Eating Nian Gao symbolizes raising oneself taller ( 年年高升) and hence it is very popular during CNY. Denver & Gladys adored its sweetness and kept asking for more!


Having more than one Lo Hei during CNY is perfectly normal. It is a Must Have dish and a Must do tradition this festive season. 

Hubby always says: " Once we passed CNY eve, CNY celebration will end in a jiff". I hate to agree with him but it does seems happy moments and time seems to flash past quickly. Holidays are never enough and we could only wish for more. :)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

~ Our collection of CNY activities - Prelude ~

Chinese New Year is an important festival for Chinese and holds a very significant meaning to our family. It is a time where families and friends get together, a time where we share laughter, happy moments, a time to feast and celebrate, and a time where we pray and hope for a better year.

To me, the celebration begins as soon as we prepare to spring clean, decorate our home and buying new clothing for the children. No doubt it encompass a lot of work but the process is enjoyable and satisfying.


We started our celebration officially on CNY Eve. By then, our storeroom will be stocked up with drinks and goodies and we have our red packets ready.

Reunion dinner (团年饭) is the special moment where family members come back, gather around the table and enjoy a meal together. Our "appetizer for the day" is 鱼生. Adult and children will hold on to their chopsticks and standby for a round of Prosperity Toss (aka Lo Hei - Cantonese means 捞起). This is to signify abundance, prosperity and good health.

After a good toss, here comes the main course! Traditionally, we have been having Steamboat with a sumptuous spread of food for our reunion dinner. This also marks the start of feasting for the next few days. :)


The night is always young on CNY eve. Some families prefer to stay at home watching TV programmes while others like to go to River Hongbao or Chinatown to immerse in the festive mood. Massive crowd can be seen at Chinatown and markets. Shopkeepers are clearing their new year stock and people are doing their final shopping, grabbing stuff at discounted price.

Every year, we will stay up till past midnight to 守岁. It is an act of filial piety and belief that this will bring longevity to parents. This year, Denver & Gladys also follow suit and stayed up with us. How did they made it? TV programmes and movies helped a lot! ^_^ 

We have less than 6 hours of sleep before we begin with our rounds of CNY visitings. :)




Tuesday, February 12, 2013

~ Unexpected surprise accompanies River Hongbao visit ~

It was Chinese New Year Eve and I was tired after coming back home late from our River Hongbao visit the previous night. After a refreshing wash-up, I was ready to start my day with a final round of spring cleaning.

As usual, I went to collect the Straits Times papers which is promptly delivered to our home daily and was shocked to see myself appearing on the front page! Couldn't really believe my eyes but it surely was a pleasant surprise. Denver & Gladys were equally amazed and asked when did Mommy pose for this photo without their knowledge?


Check out our River Hongbao experience.

Monday, February 11, 2013

~ River Hongbao 2013 ~

8th February 2013 - It has been raining every day and I was pretty worried that it will affect our visit to the River Hongbao. Luckily the afternoon downpour stopped in the evening and the RHB official opening and fireworks were able to commence sucessfully.


Despite the slight drizzle and wet floors, it did not dampen our spirits. On the contrary, we were able to enjoy the breeze and coolness during our walk.


Denver and Gladys enjoying the magic performance while Daddy and Mommy went to make some purchase. :)

Guest-of-honour, President Tony Tan officiate the light-up ceremony for River Hongbao 2013. This was followed by a series of fireworks.


The main highlight for today! It was also our first time witnessing the fireworks display at RHB.


From now till 16th February 2013, there will be performances every night. If time and weather permits, Hubby and I are very keen to be back again on Wednesday to enjoy their 新谣之夜. Check the full programme list here.


I particularly enjoyed myself at the RHB this year as I find the lanterns displays attractive and beautifully designed.
1. Vanda Miss Joaquim and Merlion

2. Denver & Gladys get really excited whenever they toss their coins at the bells. Hearing the bell chimes gave them a sense of satisfaction and acknowledgement that they will have a good year ahead too. :)

3. The 12 Lanterns Zodiac. Our must-take photo spot at RHB every year. My greatest challenge is to take a quick shot at each of the 12 zodiac while people are waiting to take pictures with their zodiac signs too.
I love the elegant vase designs as the zodiac animals pose gracefully inside each of them.


4. God of Wealth. The biggest lantern of all at each RHB.

The best time to visit River Hongbao is in the evening when the lanterns are light up.
Check out the other lanterns on display. Even JiaJia and Kaikai have joined in the celebration.


Overview look of River Hongbao at The Float @ Marina Bay 

In the past years, we will visit RHB on CNY eve. This year, we came a day earlier and the crowd is not as chaotic as compared to the eve of CNY. We had more time and space roaming around the float ,taking pictures which I enjoyed very much.

This is our 4th running year visiting RHB at The Float@Marina Bay. It is a great place to go with your family and friends to take some pictures and sink into the festive mood. View our blog post and photos on our previous years experience at the following link: http://bpdgtravels.blogspot.sg/search/label/River%20Hongbao

River Hongbao 2013 will be open to public from 8th to 16th February (12pm - 1130pm). Admission is free with different performances daily.

Check out more photos of River HongBao 2013 on our facebook page.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

~ HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR - 蛇年快乐 ~


The year of Dragon has been busy and hectic. We bid farewell to our old neighbourhood, settled down in our new place, met new neighbours and adapted to a new routine.

This year we are extremely excited as it is our first year ""lebrate Chinese New Year at our new nest. We have spring cleaned our home, bought our CNY deco, goodies and not forgetting new pots of plants to give it a touch of Spring. :)


BPDGTravels wishes all a Prosperous and Happy Lunar New Year

恭贺新禧 , 万事如意

Sunday, February 3, 2013

~ HIFUMI - plus all you can eat Appetizer Bar ~

It has been ages since we last visited Plaza Singapura and we were delighted to see more shopping and F&B outlets after it went through major renovation works last year. Japanese food has always been my favourite cuisine but it is usually too pricey for our family to enjoy most of the time.


Hifumi - a newly open Japanese Restaurant, serves a variety of Japanese bento sets which also comes with an all-you-can-eat appetizer bar! Children usually does not have a big appetite and this seems to be a really economic and family friendly dining option.

The bento sets displayed at the counter looks attractive and appetizing as well.

Hifumi has a small appetizing bar offering a couple of dishes like chawanmushi, jelly, cucumber, egg-plant, potato salad etc. Children may not find some of the food at the appetizer bar to their liking but it pretty much kept my tummy 'occupied' while waiting for our main course.


Diners can also enjoy free flow of drinks with an additional charge of $1.99. Soft drinks, coffee and sachets of tea are available.
 

A point to note is Hifumi provide diners with a black plate each for the appetizer bar. Hubby's plate was full of salad sauce after he had his first round of appetizer and it looked really messy when he went for his second round. It does not taste very nice to place new food mixed with the other sauces. I did not notice the other diners requesting to change their black plates and am wondering if it will be fine to do so. That will definitely raise our dining experience. :)


Here comes our Main Course! Denver has a liking for spicy food and he ordered the Hokkiado curry served with rice. Looks Yummy and he loves it. :)


Pork Katsuni Set for me. Slices of pork cutlet was simmering inside the hot pan with egg and onion.
  

Hubby chosed the Oroshi Tonkatsu Set and it was interesting that we have to grind the sesame seeds and add into the tonkatsu sauce.


As for Gladys, a simple Kid's udon set is just nice for her.


The portion of the food serving is small but it is just right for our kiddos. The set meals however, did not fill up our tummies but hubby and I were lucky to have the appetizing bar and free flow of drinks to complete and satisfy our dining experience at Hifumi.

Although the taste and quality of the food may not be top-notch, it offers a variety of selection and is value-for-money. We enjoyed our meal pretty much and it will be great to see the appetizing bar beef up its contents and maybe add a few dessert items too. ^_^
 
Hifumi Japanese Restaurant
68 Orchard Road, #04-68 Plaza Singapura, Singapore 238839
Tel: 6338 4712
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10:00pm

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