En Route: Taiwan + Singapore

December 20, 2015 Filed Under: Abbey, En Route, Travel Journal, Worldly Whereabouts 5 Comments

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“You keep leaving!” // “I need to leave.”

I spent two consecutive weeks in transit. It was only a matter of transferring old laundry and filling up my luggage with new ones, and doing a bit of work here and there before flying out. Unlikely as it sounds, I didn’t expect a lot of things to transpire during these weeks (since I booked ahead), but, well, life has its way of catching up on me.

I’m flying out again for a long adventure with my family (to Scandinavia!) next week, and as much as I told myself I barely had enough time to update my travel diary online…I digress. I love writing. So here goes. Photo diary below the cut. :)

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November 26-30, 2015

I’ve visited Taiwan five years ago, back when my fascination for traveling was close to nothing. Revisiting was a good idea – and better yet, revisiting with a friend proved to be a change from the usual. While I’ve been quite familiar with my Chinese roots, little did I know that I had to speak straight Mandarin for four consecutive days thanks to this trip.

Which reminds me, I think I’d gladly pick up my high school notes and get educated again with my third language. Lol.

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Jiufen was a beaut – plus the cold weather totally made it worth the visit.


This lady was kind enough to demonstrate a bit of calligraphy while I watched her. I also showed her my brush script, she seemed to be impressed :P


I ended up getting a brush (made of fox hair?!) and some ink. :) Can’t wait to try them!1-Jiufen_Callig2


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Ni hao from me & Reena!


Commute life, because it’s always better to act like a local in a foreign country. :)2-Noodle_Line 2-Noodle_R

Lined up for some good ol’ rice noodles (THEY WERE GOOD) along Ximending, where our hostel is located (we stayed at Meander Hostel).

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I’m posting this remarkable wild boar sausage because I don’t like processed meat on a stick but this one was a winner.


TFAM goes to my top 5 favorite museums of all time, mostly because despite its small size, it didn’t fail to impress.2-TFAM_Front


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Tiny people, big spaces, beautiful art.


Speaking of art, got to visit Zhongxiao Dunhua district for some Zakka explorations – and the ever-so-famous VVG Something shop. (Thanks Aleyn & Mikka for the recos!)

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The quaint store was located at the far end of the street. So much for navigation! Got myself a copy of B magazine – it was the last copy left. Meant to be? 


Type-i? Hehehe

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Also: Din Tai Fung first timer. I was def not disappointed!3-DTFORder

Tourist duties included visiting the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, Taipei 101 –

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and a bit of live sketching in between :)

Spent the last day on my own navigating the city, with a flexible itinerary and no particular destination in mind.

Instead of staying at Ximending, I headed to Huashan 1914 Creative Park as recommended by most of my friends. No regrets, it was the best way to unwind that particular Monday. I spent the afternoon painting by the park in silence amidst the cool Taipei weather.

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Quick stop to Somebody Cafe for some coffee + writing before heading to the airport.


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Top 5 in Taipei:

  • Shi Lin Night Market (prepare for lots of shopping)
  • Eslite 24H Bookstore
  • Taipei Fine Arts Museum
  • Huashan 1914 Creative Park (!)
  • Jiufen (take a tour; it’s much easier)


December 7-10, 2015

I’ve been to Singapore five times already. This time, there was no particular purpose, though – except to explore more of the city and take in the usual art + culture fix with Katsy.

Also: check out Katsy’s VSCO journal of our trip here. It’s amazing.

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I’ve only ever visited Art Friend alone…so imagine how ecstatic I was when Katsy’s reaction was like this. LOL


BooksActually is still my favorite bookshop because of their playlist. And interior. And selection of books.

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And their hidden vintage section is winning, seriously.

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CapitolStumbled upon this signage on the way to NGS. Beautiful type right there.


Spread for my SG trip on my #WriteNow journal.


Illustration on benches. SG, you’re too cool.


National Gallery of Singapore opened a few weeks ago. I’m biased – I have a soft spot for Filipino art, as well as Southeast Asian masterpieces. And while I have this fear of museums (hehe, secret’s out!), I particularly enjoyed visiting NGS. Architecture was pretty spectacular, too. A must-visit in SG.

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This kind lady explained some of the masterpieces to us and it was very enlightening. Fine art will always give me questions but I will forever find them interesting.


Also had our contemporary art fix at Singapore Art Museum. My favorite was this particular installation below, consisting of empty public places and the irony behind it.

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Brunch + art sesj at Tiong Bahru Bakery~

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Tourist day consisted of Gardens by the Bay, Cloud Forest (!), Flower Dome, Universal Studios, and…IKEA. :)


Of long walks, air-conditioned rainforests, fear of heights, and lots of fisheye selfies. Hehehe. :P


Third time at USS but it’s Katsy’s first time, so. Lol.

Me: “I’ll take your picture!”


I gotta say though, I will always be a sucker for tastefully designed theme parks. Aaand The Mummy + Transformers 4D never fail to disappoint!

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Katsy and her squad. HAHA.

On another note, Cloud Forest was ah-ma-zing. I never chose to go because I always traveled to SG alone…but this time around, it definitely was for the books.

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The last few hours of the fourth day flew by so quick…I literally had no time. Dropped by Joanne’s studio at TripleOne Somerset for a quick chat before leaving. She runs The Letter J Supply studio, and her work is just beautiful. I got to meet her a few months ago in Manila so I promised to visit during my stay here.

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So much light in the studio!

Also: I got myself a wildcard envelope (the ones on the wood panel) and it said “Rest”. Heh. So apt.Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Dropped by Straits Art for some paint replenishment as well. Glad that it’s relatively near our hotel :) Thanks Tippy for the reco!

Related Post: Art Shopping in Singapore

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Schmincke! *panics* Well, I ended up getting some Holbein tubes to try out.


Last commute to Bras Basah MRT before heading home. Fave station!

For some odd reason, too, I lost my EZLink card before departing on my last journey. Geez.

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Oh, and here’s me and a broccoli stuffed toy from IKEA to wrap up this post. :P

Top 5 in Singapore:

  • National Gallery of Singapore
  • Bras Basah Complex (Art Friend + Basheer = Winner combo!)
  • BooksActually
  • IKEA (because!)
  • Cloud Forest

Here’s to hoping I get to have more creative getaways soon! But first, time to save up lols. ~ Next year.


Got to share my thoughts on #ChangingChapters, an ongoing series part of #WriteNow. When Maine, AJ & I collaborated on creating this journal, we took into consideration the different possibilities on how to use Write Now. For me, obviously, I like to do a lot of scrap-keeping and illustration. But for others, it may be text-heavy, or even a spread full of photos and mementos.


And, ICYMI, I’ve wrote about some of my recommended travel art tools in this post. This should help you in case you’re traveling anytime soon. :)


The Sunday Paper Travel Journal is available online for P680, and it comes with a canvas pouch (perfect for traveling!). Order your copy here. Limited stocks only!

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5 Responses to “En Route: Taiwan + Singapore”

  1. Pearl
    December 21, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Taiwan and Singapore looks like a dream! This blog post made me want to visit ASAP :D If only plane tickets were like 100 pesos or something haha :D

  2. Tippy
    December 21, 2015 at 9:26 am

    Taiwan really looks like your playground and the store where you got the B Magazine really looks <3 <3!
    Now I'm a bit sad I didn't get to go to Ikea in Singapore. I want that veggie stuffed toy too!


  3. Abbey
    December 21, 2015 at 11:00 am


    Omg. I was supposed to buy that broccoli for Rye. No joke. HAHAHAHAHAH actually carrot din. :P

  4. Rouella Fajardo
    December 21, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Thanks for this guide Abbey! :) Haven’t been to Taiwan, so I found this mini Taiwan-guide very interesting! :) Made me actually look for plane tickets already lol. May I just ask, for Jiufen, did you book a tour in advance? Or is it easy and convenient to just book a tour once I get there? Also, since I don’t speak Chinese, would it be fairly easy for me to go around the city? Thanks in advance! :)

  5. Abbey
    December 22, 2015 at 12:20 am

    Hi Rouella! You’re welcome :) Hope it helped! Yup I booked at Viator. They’re efficient :) Better to book in advance. Also, better to research basic Chinese cause not everyone speaks English there. Or bring along a Chinese friend :D Enjoy!