Singapore Off The Beaten Path: Bukit Brown


In view of celebrating a Chinese tradition called “Qingming Festival” or “Tomb-Sweeping Day”, I wish to share part of Singapore that I consider a hidden gem: Bukit Brown. Bukit Brown is the largest Chinese cemetery outside China and is home to the forefathers and founders of Singapore back in the early days. If Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris is housed to famous people in history. In parallel, Bukit Brown is. Those who have buried here are where most of the names of the road in Singapore has taken. Bukit Brown is also home to a number of endemic species of flora and fauna.

If you wish to unwind, is looking for a quiet place and just wanting to commune with  nature while learning something from the humble beginnings of Singapore, visit Bukit Brown. Visit Bukit Brown before its physical landscape change drastically. Visit Bukit Brown as it is included in the list of 2014 World Monuments Watch which showcases its cultural heritage.


Few months back, I wrote a subject about – Bukit Brown Cemetery: Preservation or Conservation? It was written coming from a viewpoint of being an Environmental Science professional. But up until now, it is in my draft files. I decided not to publish it as this might create a conflict of interest to where I am currently connected.

I can only concur following the concept of “Four Laws of Ecology” popularized by Milton Friedman, the fourth law of ecology states that: “There is no such thing as free lunch.” In pursuit of any economic development, there is always a price to pay.

The battle and debates may continue and might not end but I would end this piece quoting what John Stuart Mill had said: “In the battle of intellectual debates, both sides tend to be correct in what they affirm and wrong in what they deny.”

Meanwhile, Enjoy the snaps! :)DSC_0096DSC_0097DSC_0055DSC_0076DSC_0093DSC_0053DSC_0092DSC_0091DSC_0088DSC_0082DSC_0081DSC_0070DSC_0069DSC_0065DSC_0095DSC_0050DSC_0085DSC_0073DSC_0061DSC_0060DSC_0066 How to go to Bukit Brown?

1) If you are coming from the East, take MRT circle line, alight at Marymount station. Take bus 52, 165 or 855 and get off opposite the SICC (Singapore Island Country Club). Walk (back) through Lornie Rd, turn (right) to Sime Rd, walk ahead and turn left to Lorong Halwa. Welcome to Bukit Brown! :)

2) If you are coming from the opposite direction, take MRT circle line, alight at Botanic Gardens station. Cross the footbridge, walk towards Adam Rd, cross the road towards the bus stop near the Baptist Church then take any bus, alight at 2nd bus stop, SICC (Singapore Island Country Club). Cross the footbridge and you will see Sime Rd, walk ahead and turn left to Lorong Halwa. Welcome to Bukit Brown! :)

Transit Visa to UAE for 96 hours/ 4 days/ @70 USD

Maf - UAE Transit VisaFor my next/ soonest/ upcoming, I call “ambitious” trip ;). I will have a 4-day lay over at the United Arab Emirates. For Filipino citizen, a visa is needed to visit this opulent country in the Middle East.

The requirements are as follows:


1)     Passport with 6 months validity (the page with personal particulars, the last page, & the first observation page)

2)     Proof of residence in the country where you currently reside (ie, work permit, working pass, dependant pass etc.)

3)     Passport size photo with white back ground

4)  Additional documents (optional) ie. visa for the last 5 years if you fly to or visit UK, USA, New Zealand, Australia or any Schengen countries.

5)   Other documents (optional but NOT necessary) ie. bank statement, pay slips or proof that you are earning at least $8000 USD annually; and

6) Completed form for visa application done at the emirates website, just click the link, “Manage Existing Booking”:


The documents should be in jpeg format  not exceeding 200 KB in size.


By the way, the processing is done online using VFS Global Services through Emirates Airlines. The case I believe will be slightly different if you fly with a different carrier. I was told at the Emirates office in Singapore that if you apply directly to the UAE Embassy – they require sponsor, am NOT sure why if you have sufficient financial means to support your stay. Well, different countries have different rules and we have to abide by their rules.


The procedure I went through:


1)       Despite some glitch, I tried to complete my application before Wednesday, 12 March 2014 is over then settled the payment online.


2)      Got a reply on Thursday, 13 March 2014, with the subject: Dubai Visas – Pending (I thought, wow, for the very first time I’ve got a visa application on hold, has it something to do with my complaints at the Emirates, I hope not. They asked me to resend all the documents I’ve sent from the Emirates website through this email address: Asking me to provide a CLEAR SCANNED PASSPORT BIO AND LAST PAGE COPY. (Yes, it was caps lock).


3)      Afterwards, I got a response on Friday, 14 March 2014, with the subject: Online Visas – Application Successful. Informing that my application has been checked, assessed and passed to the Dubai Naturalization Department for final processing. I have to wait for the next four working days for the final result of my application.


4)      Comes Saturday, 15 March 2014 quite a surprise. Received another email, with the subject: Online Visas – eVisa Mailing Facility. Saying they are happy to inform me that my visa application has been granted. I received a copy in pdf file. Well, I am satisfied to say the least, considering, Saturday is NOT a working day. I applaud them for that. However, my feedback with the Emirates airlines is another story and I will definitely write about it for the benefits of other passengers choosing this carrier. Though, my case is not closed yet.


The breakdown of the fee is here:


Name of Applicant

Visa Fees

Deposit Amount

Service Fee


Total Fee Payable






USD 69.82


Meanwhile, to spill a li’l bit: I can’t wait for my South American trip!!! :D



Special Segment: Love month :))

Aix-les-Bains heart_

You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love. –Henry Drummond

I am experimenting with my blog :). Still, it will remain as –  Maf travel blog with beautiful photography ;). While, I am ruminating on the art of diversification :).

It makes me happy seeing those supportive friends and readers who continuously visiting my little space even when I hardly have time to update. With utmost gratitude, and as my way of rewarding you dear readers (hihihi), and let say, because it’s a love month I thought of getting a little bit more personal… :) (as if what I am writing here all along aren’t personal ones! Hehe).

Let’s get cheezzzy, it’s valentines month anyway! I am publishing here an excerpt from my journal. I have read thru several stuff of what I wrote in the past, and I’m picking this one, it’s keeping me smile with  giddiness :P

My belief though is that even if we don’t see any impact, when everything that we do in our daily life is done in the spirit of love – be it doing a monotonous desk bound job, or trying to ignore a super to the max annoying colleague, or just helping a total stranger who asked for direction (and asking for your number simultaneously, hey! that’s too much, am not a hotline! Haha), I can only guarantee that we are contributing in making our world a better place to live.

Here it goes. A very brief one. Hope you like it! ;)

“…you know that defining moment when suddenly the world stops and all that matters is YOU and the PERSON at the receiving end of the phone… I couldn’t capture it in any way with words. But that scene. Despite the crowd of people and the noise of vehicles passing by… they’re nothing. You are there. Standing in glory. Trying to hold your breath. Composing yourself. Because the person you’ve been wishing and looking forward to talk to – the person whom you give a cold shoulder and silent treatment; after not speaking for months – has just called you.

Your world becomes beautiful all of a sudden… there’s something you can’t explain. The butterflies in your stomach. You are smiling alone. The sweetest in years you have had so far. The people looking at you; staring as if; and maybe thinking – something’s wrong with this charming woman ;)). She must be crazy!

Deep down you, you just know that moment. You were speechless. And just contented sitting in the bench at the uber crowded bus stop. Staring blankly. Uttering nothing. Just acknowledging the wonderful feeling emanating from all of your being.

Excited. Nervous. Silent. Trying to grasp for the right words to say…

Hello? Hello? Mafey are you still there?

Yes… I am listening…

Voice: I miss y0u… :)

M: I think, I miss you too :)

Voice: Hope to see you soon :D

M: Yeah, hope to see you soon :D

… … … then how are you going to tell her? … … …

… I will tell her, we met in Singapore… … …

… yeah, that’s right… …coz I never talk to anyone and share our love story… … …

What??? Did I hear it right?! We have a “love story”!!!

I got extremely nervous. Or excited? :P I want to laugh and interrupt him. But he sounds serious and seems, he means what he say. Or just my interpretation? :P. I just let him go on and continue with his rhythm… … … 

…that voice that would pass for a newscaster or a broadcaster :P – such a music to my ear! :D


Philippine Embassy in Singapore: How Effective is the “OEC” Online Appointment System?

POEA_An anticipated long weekend coupled with public holidays is just around the corner. During this time of Chinese New Year season, a lot of fellow kababayan are returning home for longer vacation. (Friends, this particular post is intended for Filipinos living in Singapore).


OEC or Overseas Employment Certificate is a document required by the POEA or Philippine Overseas Employment Administration as a means to document OFWs working overseas. I used to think it’s just a mere document to obtain to be exempted from paying Terminal Fee and Travel Tax in any Philippine airport’s Departure area. It’s more.

General Requirements Continue reading