Monday, December 26, 2011

~ Countdown to 2012 @ Marina Bay ~

COUNTDOWN TO 2012 with MARINA BAY!
 
5 more days to New Year! Are you excited? Well, we definitely are! 2011 has been a very eventful year for us so far and we are looking forward to more adventures to broaden our horizon! As we welcome 2012, there are many countdown parties around Singapore. The biggest and most happening countdown would be at Marina Bay on 31st December 2011

We have penned our wishes on the Wishing Spheres and these signed spheres will be set afloat in Marina Bay and form a spectacular visual arts display during the countdown!


On New Year's eve, there will be many activities around Marina Bay. Check these out!

Event: Esplanade Presents: Celebrate December
Venue: Esplanade Concourse/Outdoor Theatre
Date: 16 Dec - 31 Dec 2011 (Free admission)

Event: Happy 3+65 New Year's Eve Countdown Show
Venue: The Promontory @ Marina Bay
Date: 31 Dec 2011, 6:30pm - 8:30pm (Free admission)

Event: Rhythms by the Bay (FM Pop Music School)
Venue: The Promontory @ Marina Bay
Date: 31 Dec 2011, 9:30pm - 12:00am (Free admission)

Event: Downtown Bites (Marina Bay Link Mall)
Venue: Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade
Date: 31 Dec 2011, 5:00pm - 2:00am (Free admission)

Event: Celebrate 2012 with Channel 5
Venue: The Float@Marina Bay
Date: 31 Dec 2011, 8:00pm - 3:00am (Tickets at $25)

All events will be happening around the bay, not forgetting the fireworks display! Partying is going to stretch through past midnight and it will be a blast!

Visit the official website for more information: http://www.marinabaycountdown.sg/#/activities


If you are penning your wishes or coming down to the countdown party, remember to snap pictures which captures "Special Moments" to participate in the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown Photography Contest. Everyone is welcome to participate even if you are not a pro. ^_^

Here's wishing everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

~ Guided Tour on Logos Hope ~

Since we have never been on a cruise before, we thought it is not a bad idea to take up the 45 minutes tour on LOGOS HOPE. Each guided tour will take 10 people at a specific time. Hence it is best to approach the staff on board to book your tour first before you move to look at the book fair which is open to public.

We assemble at the waiting area 5 minutes before the start of our tour. Our guide is a volunteer on board and the all volunteer crew and staff of 400 people from over 45 countries worldwide, working in various roles acting as teachers, cooks, event planners etc. They normally join the organisation to live on board for two years.



LOGOS HOPE (The word Logos is Greek, traditionally meaning ‘word, thought, principle or speech’) was originally used as a car ferry in the North Alantic Ocean and has been repurposed to serve port communities around the world. The ship's purpose is to bring knowledge, help, and hope to each port she visits.

We had a look at the 'mock-up' version of the crew's cabin and beds. That would be their resting space while sailing on the seas.  Next, we were brought to the staff cafeteria where the crew have their meals. Sometimes, they also schedule to gather here for short meetings.

LOGOS HOPE's captain, Dirk Colenbrander was away for vacation when we were on board. We were briefed by the guide that at the age of eight, Dirk's dream was to be a deck officer as well as serve God. He did not feel this was possible at that time until he learns about the logos.

The main highlight of the guide was visiting the deck and the ship's bridge (room or platform from which the ship is commanded)! Too bad is was raining heavily and we could not stay on the deck to take better photos of the life boats.


Here is the ship's bridge! Captain is away but we got a good glimpse of the equipments. There are log books and captain's cap on the table!

The meters and buttons looked sophiscated to us. Gladys noticed a glass panel on the ground looking through the sea waters. The guide told us that this is used as a guide when they are docking.

Denver & Gladys put on the Captain's hat and they look really cool! Ah Hoy! Captain!

View from the ship's bridge door. :)

More tour around the various deck. With 400 crew on board, there is also a school for the children. We also learned about the ship's mission and brief history of the other 3 ships.


Logos Hope is currently looking for donations for its generators and to keep the ship afloat and the book fair running. - http://www.omships.org/powerup


Our last stop for the tour was the ship's theatre where many events and performances were held. It is amazing to see how this space was transformed from a car ferry holding area to what it is today!  

Before leaving LOGOS HOPE, Denver wrote a short message on the Captain's logbook. It has been an eye opener for our family and we learned a lot.

LOGOS HOPE will be departing Singapore and it's next stop will be Cebu, Philippines. Do pop by to Vivo City to have a look before it set sail to other countries!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

~ On board with Logos Hope ~

Last Monday, we hopped on board Logos Hope which is owned and operated by GBA (Good Books for All) Ships, a Germany-based not-for-profit organisation. This is the first time Logos Hope makes it's virgin visit to Singapore along with the world's largest floating book fair (cargo of over half a million books!).

It was a wet and rainy afternoon as we slowly made our way up the slippery 'stairs', grabbing tightly onto the metal railings to get on board.

There are photos of the ship's history as well as mock-up navigation machine for the children to have some hands-on experience.


Visitors can start by watching a short video introducing and understanding the life of the crew on board followed by a short briefing of the points to note if you are purchasing books from the book fair. 

The crew on board are very friendly and approachable, accomodating to the visitors' request for photo-taking every now and then.

As the ship travels to different countries, all books are priced in units. By doing so, the price tag on the books do not have to be re-tagged. (E.g. 100 units is equivalent to SGD $4).
Logos Hope has a good collection of books with over 5000 titles allowing visitors to look through before deciding on their purchases.


There is also an International Cafe, selling snacks, drinks as well as ice-cream!

At the back of the cafe is a little play corner for the children.

Admission to Logos Hope is FREE! It has berthed at The Promenade, Vivo City and will be here from 17 - 29 December 2011

Opening Hours:
Tuesday - Saturday: 10am - 1pm
Sunday & Monday: 3pm - 10pm
Different opening hours during Christmas:
24 Dec (Saturday): 10am - 3pm
Closed on Christmas Day (25th December)
26 Dec (Monday): 10am - 10pm

Visitors who like to learn and see more about the ship can take up a guided tour. $10 per adult and $5 per child (6-11 years). Free for children 5 years and below. (Note: no pre-booking of tours and it is strictly on first-come-first-served basis).

We signed up for the tour and will be covering this in Part 2. :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

~ Trees of the Word - Singapore Botanic Gardens ~

Only 1 week to Christmas! Apart from the ChariTrees at Marina Bay, enchanting christmas lightings and beautifully decorated Christmas trees along Orchard road, you may also notice the Trees of the World at Singapore Botanic Garden.

Hundreds of tropical trees were individually decorated with special ornaments (hand-made/recycled) that represents its organisation or community. Although these are not Christmas trees, the decos and lights gives it a Christmas cheer. Especially as the night falls, the garden is transformed into a magical tropical wonderland as you take on a leisure stroll and admire these trees along the path.

Each tree stands out on its own and you'll notice the interesting ornaments like orchids, plastic bottles, gingerbread man hanging on them.


The 300 trees used for this festivity will be replanted after the event which ends on 1st Jan 2012. We also voted for our favourite tree in hope to stand a chance to win tickets to the Singapore Garden Festival 2012! :)

Come celebrate Christmas at the Singapore Botanic Garden :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

~ National Orchid Garden - Open House - Part 2 ~

There's a lot to see at the National Orchid Garden if you slow down your pace, and take your time to look at the variety of orchids within. We too took an hour to walk leisurely around the three-hectare garden.

Squirrels and orchids are spotted within and around the Golden Cage display. Hubby, Denver and Gladys did a lovely pose signifying freedom outside the cage. Hahaha 

We walked to the Burkill Hill (a colonial plantation bungalow built in 1886) but did not manage to see our National Flower - Vanda Miss Joaquim. Awwwww.. :( Nevertheless, we learnt a brief history of the first orchid hybrid. :)


More orchids can be found at the Hertiage Orchid Display which was blooming beautifully. We took a turn and settle in at Tan Hoon Siang Misthouse. Tan Hoon Siang was a descendant of Tan Tock Seng and the misthouse has a colourful selection of orchid hybrids.


Lady Yuen-Peng McNeice Bromeliad Collection -  As the name suggested, Bromeliad House showcases unique collection of bromeliads from the Bromeliaceae family.

The Cool House - our favourite place to be in the NOG! Why? It was so cooling upon stepping into the house. Denver & Gladys cheered and shouted as they feel the mist!  Even I cannot resist enjoying the cooling air to vent off the heat.


Misty inside the house. :)

Gladys had so much fun wandering within the Cool House and playing with the mist. So much so that she refused to exit until after much persuasion!

Celebritey Garden - Before leaving, we stopped by the Celebrity Garden where some orchids are named after a celebrity. (e.g. Stefanie Sun, Bae Young Jun, Princess Diana etc.)


Finally, its Mommy's turn to take pictures with the kiddos. :)

Stylish and happy pose!

NOG is a pretty neat place if you enjoy greenery and flowers. It brightens your day by just looking at them. ^_^  If you are visiting Singapore Botanic Gardens, you may wish to drop by the National Orchid Garden. :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

~ National Orchid Garden - Open House - Part 1 ~

On our trail for the elephants in the Elephant Parade, we took an extra effort to visit various parts of Singapore. This time, we made our way down to the Singapore Botanic Gardens in search for another 2 elephants to add to our collection.

Coincidentally, there was an open house at the National Orchid Garden and free admission for adults bringing their children! It was our first visit to the garden and we were blessed with a lovely, sunny Sunday morning. A perfect day to stroll around the park after a couple of wet downpours over the couple of weeks!

Located in the central core of the Botanic Gardens, National Orchid Garden houses over 1000 species and 2,000 hybrids of orchids.

Opening hours
8.30am - 7.00pm daily

Admission Fee:
$5.00 for adults
$1.00 for students
$1.00 for senior citizens (60 years and above)
Free for children below 12 years

Visit NOG webpage for more information: http://www.sbg.org.sg/centralcore/centralcore.asp


There are a lot of scenic spots for photography within NOG. Water fountains, orchids, sculptures, trees and various plants. Denver & Gladys are having a good time and I have been snapping pictures all over the place with my beloved family. ^_^



Lots of greenery and colourful flowers.

Apart from bees buzzing around the orchids, we spotted squirrels, lizards and spiders!

Of course the main highlights are the orchids! Look around carefully and you will spot the various species blooming beautifully before your eyes.



Seems like we have been seeing a lot of orchid exhibits for the past 1 month and we are loving it! Not only that, we are looking forward to the Singapore Garden Festival 2012 which returns from 7 - 15 July 2012!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

~ Witnessing the Lunar Eclipse ~

10 Dec 2011 - It was a rare phenomenon. A natural and fascinating astronomical event that nobody should miss! To have a total lunar eclipse (when the moon passes through the earth's shadow) to happen in Singapore's evening time is extremely rare! Did you saw a 'reddish' moon?

We are extremely excited to be part of the astronomy watching on Saturday at One Fullerton where there are telescopes being setup. Special thanks to the SingAstro volunteers (a local astronomical community) who assisted to guide the public and our kiddos during the viewing session. Apart from being able to see the magnified view of the moon during the eclipse, we also had the opportunity to see the planet,  Jupiter and the moons of Jupiter! Awesome!


It was our first time looking through the telescope with such detailed view of this rare celestial event! Excitement is written all over our faces!

Thanks to URA, not only do we have the opportunity to witness the total lunar eclipse, Denver & Gladys found company with Andy's kids and transformed One Fullerton's rooftop as their play area! Just be careful!! Do not damage or trip over the delicate and expensive equipments!


The cameras and equipments looked sophisticated to me. (*shy) Everyone seems to know what to do while I am struggling with my settings. :p Big Thanks to Darren who guided me with the manual settings on my camera. (Gosh.. mommy needs more lessons and practice!)


Was extremely HAPPY to be able to take a shot at the moon! So far up in the sky yet so close to us on the screen.



Here's the guideline of the Eclipse sequence (Singapore Time) - abstracted from The Astronomical Society of Singapore.

7.31 pm - Start of Penumbra Eclipse.
8.45 pm - Start of Umbra Partial Phase.
10.05 pm - Start of Total Eclipse.
10.31 pm - Maximum Eclipse.
10.57 pm - End of Total Eclipse.
12.18 am - End of Umbra Partial Eclipse.
1.31 am - End of Penumbra Eclipse.


We stayed through from 7 plus till 10 plus in the night and witness the start of the eclipse till it hit the maximum eclipse.

Sequence of shots taken with LUMIX FZ40 - ISO 100, F8, 1/125 (varies).


Couldn't get a clear shot of the red moon at total lunar eclipse but it has been a wonderful learning experience plus we get to know more people!

Special thanks to Darren Chin who took this nice group photo for the celestial event @ One Fullerton's rooftop! I'm sure everyone had a great time together sharing tips, photos and enjoying the view of the lunar eclipse!


Note: If you have missed the event, the next lunar eclipse will only be visible in Singapore in 2014! Till we meet again!

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