And though the gastronomic delights rank among the top 5, one of the singular things I miss most is the cultural diversity - people from all over the world living in a crush on a tiny speck of an island no more than 247 square miles was an exhilarating experience to say the least.
Not to mention the steamy tropical temperatures and rains that seemed to arrive every afternoon like clockwork.
I accepted my first proper job in Singapore and I was delighted to find myself surrounded by Filipino community. As a community and I hate to generalize, here is a bunch of good spirited people who love good food, parties & laughter in equal quantity and being around them means some of that good humor is bound to rub off.
Working in one of the most stressful high-tempo environments on the planet, the Filipino brand of humor helped all of us fellow 'expats' get through the day and survive the work week with a sense of well being and all round jocularity.
My first experience in Makati City, Manila during my early teen years was riddled by memories of hawkers & dust, open air buses that never ever stopped - people simply jumped on and off them as well as some of the most lecherous gawking men I had ever come across in my life!
Needless to say my fellow Filipinos in Singapore were a welcome surprise. It was in the company of these friends that I learned all about Chicken Adobo and Deep Fried Milk Fish - some of my favorite foods in the world.
Especially on busy days with a little bit of planning before running off to work, Chicken Adobo always gallops to the rescue like a knight in shining armor on a white horse.
My only problem with writing this post is whether a handful of qualifies as a recipe. That being said, the very name adobo refers to a common cooking process indigenous to the Philippines that involves stewing foods with vinegar. To this is simply added a ton of garlic, ground black pepper, soy sauce, an onion and a couple of bay leaves. And the result is simply delicious. So here's to all my Filipino friends in Singapore, who made my life so much better.