Tips On Selecting A Mattress Topper In Singapore

wooden style bedroom
wooden style bedroom

How To Shop For A New Mattress Topper

Shopping for a mattress topper in Singapore is probably as stressful as buying a new mattress. If you get one that is too hard, your body will complain. If it is too soft, your discomfort will still be a problem. Mattress toppers can last 4-10 years, so you need to get the right one. These tips will guide you when choosing the best mattress topper.

The Material

In Singapore, mattress toppers come in four main materials; cotton, memory foam, latex, and feathers. These materials have their unique features, pros, and cons. The ideal material depends on your personal preference since what works for another may not work for you. 


Mattress toppers made of cotton are soft, cosy, and machine washable. Cotton mattress topper Singapore feels good on the skin, so this is the best one for you if you have any skin allergies. Unfortunately, while you get comfort from cotton, you do not get durability. 

Memory Foam

Memory foam mattress toppers are preferred because they are sturdy, and the material adjusts to your body curves. A mattress topper made from memory foam is not only comfortable, but it also provides the right support. 

Unfortunately, it sleeps hot. This can be a problem considering the high Singapore temperatures. However, cotton sheets help reduce the heat, so some people are willing to make sacrifices to have a more durable mattress topper. 


Latex mattress toppers are the best in the market. They have air pockets that allow for easy airflow, so they remain cool. The other advantage is latex is a sturdy material that sometimes lasts up to 20 years. 

Unfortunately, like every other mattress topper material, you win some, you lose some. This mattress topper is the most expensive, it tends to discolour as it ages, and it also doesn’t look as good as mattress toppers made of other materials. 


Mattress toppers made of feathers are so soft and comfortable. They are lightweight, cool to sleep on, and they offer the best heat regulation. Unfortunately, animal cruelty questions have been raised, especially on mattress toppers made of feathers from geese and other birds. 


Mattress toppers need to be the same size as your mattress. Fortunately, this should not be a problem because manufacturers produce mattress toppers of different sizes.  

Single190cm x 91cm
Super Single190cm x 107cm
Queen190cm x 152cm
King190cm x 182cm

Your Preference

Sometimes, your choice of mattress toppers comes down to your preference. Do you want a soft, comfortable mattress topper or a firm one? In some cases, the state of your current mattress will determine the type of topper you buy. If it is too firm, you need a soft mattress topper Singapore.

These are some of the things you need to consider when choosing a mattress topper. If you have all the information you need on the type of mattress topper you wish to buy, you will save time. If your mattress is compromising your health, ask your doctor for advice on the ideal mattress topper to buy, especially if you cannot afford to replace your mattress.

Single vs Super Single Mattresses

single mattress in a modern child's bedroom
single mattress in a modern child's bedroom

Buying A Single Mattress in Singapore

When buying a single mattress in Singapore, you need to ensure you know the difference in the dimensions of Singapore mattresses, American mattresses, Australian mattresses, and European mattresses. Although most of these mattresses share the same terms, such as king and queen size, the measurements vary. 

Singapore’s single mattress measures 91cm (w) x 190cm (l) (36 in x 75 in). The super single mattress is 107cm (w) x 190cm (l) (42in x 75in). The super single mattress is more popular because it has more space than the single mattress. However, if the room is small, a single mattress is ideal. 

When debating between a single and super mattress, it is important to note that even though the mattress lengths are the same, the super single mattress is 16 inches wider. So, you should expect to pay more and that it will occupy more space. You need to ensure the bed is the right size. 

The Pros And Cons Of A Single And Super Single Mattress

The single mattress has several advantages.

  • It takes less space, so it is suitable for small bedrooms.
  • It is cheaper than other mattress sizes.
  • It provides comfort to both adults and children. If the mattress is for an adult, you need to make sure there is room for movement since an average person turns at least a dozen times in his sleep. If the mattress size will affect sleep quality, it is best to go for a larger one. 

Unfortunately, the single mattress has its disadvantages. 

  • You can only use it for a short time. At some point, an adult may get uncomfortable if they put on weight or need a bigger mattress to share with a spouse. 
  • If you move to a larger room, you may need a larger bed or mattress. 
  • Someone with a bigger build, whether a teenager or an adult, will have difficulty sleeping on a single mattress, especially if he or she is a restless sleeper. 

Advantages Of The Super Single Mattress

  • It is an excellent option for people who are too big for the single mattress, which is 91cm wide but too small for the queen-sized mattress. 
  • It offers more space for children who turn a lot. 
  • It has a small difference in price for the extra inches, so it might be a better option than the single mattress. 
  • Growing kids are likely to use the super single mattress for longer than the single mattress. 

Interestingly, besides Singapore, the other countries with the super single mattress are Japan and China. However, the measurements differ. Japans’ super single mattress is longer and wider at 195cm x 110cm (77in x 43in). China’s super single mattress is longer but narrower, at 200cm x 100cm (79in x 39in)

So, instead of ordering a mattress based on the terms used, it is best to look at dimensions, especially if you do not know if you are buying a Singapore mattress or one with standard measurements of a different country. 

The decision to buy a single or super single mattress is personal. Several factors, such as the bed and room size, will influence your choice. So, you need to ensure you have all the information, including dimensions, so that you can make the right choice.

Best Mattress Toppers In Singapore

clean bed in a room with hat decor
clean bed in a room with hat decor

Types of Mattress Toppers

When selecting the best mattress toppers in Singapore, price, quality, type of material, and durability will influence your decision. The following mattress toppers are some of the best in Singapore.

  1. Origin Mattress Topper

The features that make this mattress topper one of the best in Singapore are;

  • It is made from memory foam. It provides full-body support and provides pressure relief for your back, shoulders, hips, and neck. Since it is soft, it provides support for people who sleep in different positions. 
  • It is fitted with cooling gel beads. Memory foam naturally sleeps hot. This is one of the downsides of memory foam. Origin mattress toppers have found a solution, not just to boost sales but also to control your body temperature as you sleep. 
  • It is durable. This mattress is made of high-quality foam so that it will last a long time. 
  • It has a removable cover. The origin mattress topper is easy to keep clean because of its removable cover. You can wash it as many times as you need to, so your mattress topper will remain in excellent condition.
  • It is 5cm thick. Most mattress toppers are 2-4 cm thick. The origin mattress topper is one of the few that is 5cm thick. 
  • It has a three-year warranty. 
  • This mattress topper is available for single, super single, queen, and king-size beds. 
  • This mattress topper costs $150 – $250, depending on the size. 
  1. Tatami Mattress Toppers

Tatami mattress toppers are crafted using the Japanese Tatami concept. It is a great mattress topper because it is favourably priced, yet it is of great quality. It has a distinct grass scent that has a calming effect. This mattress topper Singapore is soft, so an excellent choice if your mattress is too firm. 

This mattress topper also sleeps cool, is easy to clean, and with proper care, it can serve you for years. These mattress toppers are available in different sizes and thicknesses (5cm – 6cm). 

  1. Sleepthetic Fitted Memory Foam

Sleepthetic fitted memory foam is affordable. It adapts to the body’s contours and relieves pressure in parts of your body that carries the heaviest load. This mattress topper is also resistant to dust mites, allergens, and bed bugs. If you want some custom features, such as a firm and soft side to cater to your needs and your partner’s, you can request a customised mattress topper. 

  1. Seahorse Mattress Topper

The seahorse mattress topper offers a delicate balance between quality and affordability. It has a great foldable design, is multipurpose, and the brand is reliable. 

The foldable design enables you to easily move the mattress topper from one bed to another or even travel with it if you are concerned about the quality of your mattress. You can also use it on the sofa for additional comfort. 

These are some of the best mattress toppers in Singapore. Many more brands provide mattress toppers of great quality and affordable rates. Ensure that you do your research against the qualities you seek in a mattress topper. This is the best way to ensure you get the right mattress topper.

Should You Buy A Firm, Medium, Or Soft Latex Mattress Topper?

grand bedroom
grand bedroom

What Is Your Sleep Situation?

When you ask anyone about their ideal sleep situation, you are likely to get different responses. Some people prefer a firm mattress topper, while others prefer a soft one. If you do not know if you need a soft, medium, or firm latex mattress topper, there are several things you should consider.

The Condition Of Your Mattress

Since you will place the mattress topper over the mattress, you need to consider your mattress’ condition. Is it too soft or too firm? Is it too old?

If your mattress is worn out, but you cannot afford to buy a new one at the moment, you need to buy a latex mattress topper that is thick and firm enough. The same applies to a mattress that is too soft. 

However, if your mattress is too firm, you need a soft latex mattress topper. Pairing a firm mattress and a latex mattress topper rated soft will help you find the perfect balance since you get comfort and support. 

Your Sleep Position

Just like when buying a mattress, your sleep position matters when choosing the latex mattress topper. If you sleep on your side, your shoulders and hips take most of the pressure to support your body, so you need a medium to soft firmness. 

If you lie on your stomach, your neck and lower back are the parts of your body that will be strained the most. If the mattress topper is of the wrong firmness, these parts of your body will start aching. You should opt for a medium or firm latex mattress topper. 

If you sleep on your back, you need a medium to the soft latex mattress topper. Some people mistakenly assume that the spine will need firm support for back sleepers. However, most of the strain is not on the spine but the rest of your body. 

Your Health Condition

Do you suffer from arthritis or back pain? People with chronic pain tend to prefer plush mattresses because it gives them an extra comfort. The extra soft surface helps with body contouring, which can help provide relief when in pain.  

You should discuss your discomfort with your doctor and see if he can recommend a type of mattress. 

Your Personal Preference

Sometimes, the type of latex mattress topper you choose will depend on your personal preference. If you prefer a soft mattress, get a mattress topper that suits you. Likewise, if you prefer a firm mattress, you should go for a firm mattress topper. 

If your spouse has a different preference from yours, you should get a mattress topper that is softer on one side and firm on the other. 

If you want a thicker mattress, you should get a latex mattress topper that adds depth to your mattress. If comfort is all you seek, then you should get a mattress with the ideal thickness.

These are some of the things you need to consider when choosing a latex mattress topper. Considering you are likely to use the topper for at least a decade, you need to make sure you make the right choice.

Benefits Of Buying A Single Mattress Online

book, pillow and glasses on a bed

Shopping For A Mattress Online

Technology has made shopping easier, especially for mattresses, whose purchase can be a little complicated. It is estimated that 73% of Singaporeans shop online. There are several advantages to shopping for single mattresses online.

It Saves Time

Many mattress brands offer detailed information about mattresses these days. So, you don’t need to walk into a store to test the mattress’ firmness or softness. When shopping for a single mattress, you may go from store to store or check on multiple mattresses in the same store before determining the ideal mattress. 

Instead of going through this, you can look at the specifications online and buy the mattress. Fortunately, some brands even offer a limited test period, during which you can return the mattress if it doesn’t meet your expectations. 

It Is Convenient

You can buy the mattress at any time, day or night. Since choosing a mattress takes time, you need to determine the most suitable time to shop for one. You don’t need to prepare your kids and move them around trying to get single mattresses for them. Instead, you can make the selection online, and the mattress will be delivered to you. 

Less Sales Pressure

When buying a single mattress online, you will not go through the pressure of salespeople trying to convince you to buy one mattress over another. Most salespeople aim to sell bigger and more expensive mattresses, especially those that work for a commission. 

When you shop online, you have the clarity to buy a mattress within your budget and with the qualities, you seek. If you want a single mattress, you get to buy one without someone trying to encourage you to spend more or get a better brand. 

Get More Information On Mattresses

When researching single mattresses online, you will find out much more about mattresses than you would have done had you walked into the store. For example, you may discover various types of mattresses, and you get to decide which type fits your budget. 

You may even discover that some unbranded mattresses are of great quality, yet you will pay less for them. 

Some Online Stores Offer Better Return Policies

Many brick-and-mortar stores have a return policy of a few days or weeks since they expect you to have tested the mattress before buying it. 

Online stores offer greater flexibility on their return policies, usually 1-3 months because they understand you did not have the privilege of testing the mattress before buying it. So, you have more time to decide if the single mattress is what you want or if you should return it for a softer or firmer one. 

Discover Stores That Have Discounted Sales

When shopping online, you have a better chance of discovering stores or brands offering a price reduction on some of their mattresses. This is common when the store is letting go of old stock or when they need to free some space for new products.

You are likely to miss such opportunities when you choose to go and buy the mattress physically. Not only are you likely to be at the wrong store, but you may not have the energy to move from store to store to find one with the best rates.

These are some of the advantages of shopping for a single mattress online. Technology has made life easier, and since more Singaporeans are exploring e-commerce, the quality of services and products is reliable.

Shopping Tips for Buying Mattresses for Back Pain

A new mattress is a necessary purchase and takes some thought and money. A quality mattress is relatively expensive, but you buy one after a long time. In addition, a mattress plays a vital role in your life since you will spend about a third of it sleeping.

After all, a supportive, comfortable mattress promotes a good night’s sleep, which in turn helps you function better during the day and manage chronic back pains. Singapore citizens take sleep matters very seriously. And with the long office hours of working, mattresses for back pain alleviation are highly sought after. So, if you are in the market for a new mattress, these tips will help you in selecting one that works for your needs.

Know Your Size

It’s a no brainer if you are buying a replacement, the old size applies. However, if you are buying one for a new bed, knowing the size to buy is essential. For instance, a twin bed can’t sleep two people comfortably. A bed for a couple should be spacious; therefore, a queen or a king size is better. Also, your bedroom space will determine the size you will get. Get measurements of your bedroom first as it will determine the bed size.

Talk to Your Doctor

If you suffer from chronic back pains, it’s essential to consult with your doctor who will recommend the best fit for your needs. Doctors are not mattress professionals, but they know your medical issues and will probably have some good advice from that point of view.

Try before you Buy

Yes, you need to lie on that mattress and take it out for a test. Stretch out and lie on it the way you would usually sleep. Feel the firmness, and the size to see how it performs. If you are planning to buy online, it’s advisable to test it in the showroom first.

Mattress sellers will label a mattress as orthopedic, but there is no medical organization that certifies these labels. They may have orthopedic friendly features but this can’t be verified. Therefore, the only way to know if the mattress will work is to test it.

Ask for Returns and Trial Periods

Even after trying the mattress in the store, the real test comes by sleeping on it for a few nights. That is why most sellers have a trial period, typically 30-100 days with free returns. In any case, if you find the mattress not to be comfortable for you, you can return it with a full refund or exchange it for another. You may incur a restocking fee if you exercise this option; still, a trial period is crucial especially if you are buying online.

Know Your Options

There are several types of mattresses, the most common being innerspring, memory foam and hybrids that combine the two.

Each mattress has its strengths and weaknesses. Innerspring is fairly priced and offer excellent support for back pain. On the downside, they are not durable.

Memory foam mattress comes in different densities for the users who prefer soft to firm mattresses. They are more expensive and provide excellent cushioning for back and joints.

 Hybrids come with springs with a foam overlay, giving the best of both foam and innerspring models. They are expensive, but an inferior hybrid will give you the worst of both.

A good mattress is not cheap, so is your health, especially if you suffer from back pains. It may be expensive, but the right mattress you serve you for a long time.  

Things to Consider while Choosing a Mattress Brand

Do you know that how well you sleep is determined by several factors, one of which is: the quality of your mattress. Waking up with an aching spine and back after a hectic day to face yet another tankful day isn’t what one would want to encounter, hence the need to make a great choice of a super mattress. To achieve this, price would be the last thing to consider.

However, the most important thing to consider is a good mattress, its make-up and size. A rather “too soft” or “too hard” mattress will leave you with back and spine aches every morning. Trying some mattresses for some nights to be able to ascertain how it feels, and how comfortable you are is advisable.

Visiting a Mattress Showroom or Retailer

On the contrary, you wouldn’t like shopping for a mattress when you’re tired because when you’re tired, any mattress will feel good. However, one should not rush into this decision. Take time to rest on each mattress that you are considering. Visit different warehouses and retailers to seek advice and test these mattresses. There might also be available deals and offers only available at the retailer so don’t be shy to ask for discounts or sales.

Shopping Online for your Mattress

For some, shopping online is the way to go. If you seek convenience and already know what kind of mattress you want, then buying your mattress online is good: Some online retailers offer money-back guarantees and periods of trial. Always check for an additional price tags or delivery, and that would be your final total amount to pay.

Know the Types of Mattresses Available

You should also spend time researching on the different types of mattresses available now in the market. Innerspring, foam, latex, adjustable, mixed, cooling gel, memory foam, pillow or plush tops and even air beds are some of the varied options available for sale in the mattress world today.

In sum, your choice of mattress should be soft enough to be comfortable yet firm enough to give support and allow you to have a great night’s sleep. Considering the pocket friendliness is also another important factor of consideration. All the best in finding the mattress right for you!

Dimensions of King and Queen Size Mattresses in Singapore

Globally, the dimensions of a king’s size and queen’s size mattress are not constant. Neither do they follow a universal basic or standard principle; however, its dimensions are geographically and culturally determined which depicts the uniqueness of its people. 

Standard king and queen size mattresses differ in width, but not in length. While a king-sized mattress offers more than enough space for stretching out, a queen size mattress gives you a lot of space too, just not as much as the king-sized bed. This makes a queen size mattress a better option if your room is not so spacious.

Therefore, Singapore standard king size mattress is 72in by 75in (180cm by 190cm). While the queen size is 60in by 75in (150cm by 190cm).

A few variations to the queen size that might interest you include the Olympic queen, also known as the expanded queen, which measures 66in by 80in (167.6cm by 203cm); just half a foot longer than the standard size.

The split queen mattress is another non-standard variation of the queen size. It stands out because it is split down the middle. This means that you can adjust each half to suit various needs and situations.

Finding the right fit mattress for you is one of the most important sleep related decisions that you will ever make. Not only does it affect you and your sleep health, but also your family and spouse. The type and size of bed chosen are important steps to a healthy relationship life and physical body health.

Why DIY Methods Should Be Avoided

You make your house look its best with elegant furniture and beautiful dcor, yet many face the problem of pest infestation as though it is the inevitable. Despite various effects, you may still face obstacles while trying to get rid of the uninvited guest. Today, our go-to remedy for all problems is the internet where we read a lot about DIY methods and feel like the superheroes that can save the day.

There are methods that guarantee to work, but the truth is they have more cons than pros. DIY methods that should be avoided are:-

1)Liquid sprays

The oldest method known to man is the liquid spray. A combination of harmful liquids are mixed in certain proportions and to strayed on the affected areas of the house to the entire house. This helps in termite control for a period of time (for 2 to 6 months depending on the liquid used). But due to the chemicals used in the liquid, it has an adverse effect on your health. The fumes given out by the spray is toxic to the human body and a constant inhalation of it can pose as a death threat. Asthmatic patients and children are advised not to be in the rooms where these types of spray are used.

2)Treatment by creating barriers

In this method, you create barriers for the pest by strategically drilling holes in the wall and insert a paste, injecting the chemicals into the soil and/or applying the chemicals thoroughly in the basement. Though this method seems to keep the pest at bay, you cannot terminate the problem completely. This method has to be repeated on a regular basis, which proves to be inconvenient, time-consuming but most of all the chemicals are likely to cause damages to the wall or soil that it is used on.

3)Baiting systems

The technique is known to be the most effective as it deals with decolonizing the pest. When the chemicals are introduced to the pests, the young ones are affected and are unable to survive the toxins. The queen and the older workers do not die by the toxins but after a period of time, when the older pests die a natural death, there are no other pests to take their place, so the colony eventually dies. There are many who claim that this method can be achieved as a DIY but that is not true. Manufacturers supply the needed chemicals for this method of treatment strictly to pest control companies.

Pest control is no longer as simple as it was decades ago. Termite problems have to be handled with care and caution. The understanding of pests and the proper methods to eradicate them is crucial.

When to See a Doctor About Dark Circles Under Eyes

The Causes

Dark circles are a commonplace unwelcome phenomenon and the traditionally believed culprit is either lack of rest or illness, but they can be caused by other factors as well. Heredity, allergies, eczema, stress, lifestyle choices like excessive smoking or drinking, skin pigmentation abnormalities etc. can lead to the formation of dark circles under the eyes. Another important cause is aging, which deprives the skin of elasticity and collagen; the skin becomes thinner and the circles darken and become more prominent. Aging can also lead to the formation of eye bags. Yet another cause of dark circles could be that the leaking blood from the blood vessels get oxidized causing swelling, dark circles and formation of bags under the eyes.

Are Dark Circles Symptoms?

In a few cases, dark circles may point to a serious medical condition requiring treatment. Sudden appearance of dark circles or the appearance of dark circles under one single eye that remains even after a few days require medical consultation.

The Psychological Factor

Apart from such serious situations that are rare, there is the problem of psychological impact caused by dark circles in most people. In spite of all traditional injunctions about not making appearance a factor in judging people, the truth is it happens more often than not. Hence, our concern about our appearance. Therefore, if the dark circles can be removed, it is best to attempt to do so, either by the more traditional home remedies if it is a temporary phenomenon or by cosmetic dark eye circle treatment procedures if it is caused by aging.

Available Options

Dark eye circle treatment obviously depends on its cause. However, for those who seek a remedy for dark circles caused by age, fillers are considered by a majority of dermatologists to be the best solution. It requires the skill of an experienced dermatologist for its effective application. Laser technology can been used but requires more than one session and is found to be less effective than fillers. There are many fillers available like Restylane or the more recent Redensity II, which is, in Canada, certified for the treatment of dark circles.

It is important to find an expert in the field whom you can trust and then seek his or her expert opinion on what would be best for you.

Top 5 Myths About Facial Fillers

Facial fillers constitute a popular cost-effective treatment that seeks to restore the volume and/or elasticity of parts of the face by means of injections. Fillers are usually made up of hylauronic acid, a gel-like liquid carbohydrate naturally found within the connective tissue of bodies. Like most advanced medical treatments, facial fillers have aroused its fair share of doubts, myths and rumours.

Let’s have a look at some of the myths surrounding facial fillers:

1. It looks artificial

Fillers need to be applied in specific target locations by certified specialists possessing an aesthetic sense, in order to give the skin a youthful and hydrated look. It goes without saying that the wrong quantity of filler or incorrect location can lead to an undesirable appearance.

2. Facial fillers are irreversible

Most available fillers are hyaluronic acid products (Juvederm(r), Voluma(r), Restylane(r), Belotero(r)). Their effects can be reversed within several days by injecting a product called “hyaluronidase”.

3. A painful process

Majority of the fillers come with numbing solution mixed into them. Doctors recommend using local anaesthesia, and applying ice or topical ointment for additional relief. The injection needles are also blunt-tipped and minimally invasive.

4. Fillers require frequent maintenance

Usually, hyaluronic acid fillers can last anywhere between 6 to 12 months, and calcium hydroxylapatite can last as long as 18 months. On the other hand, collagen injections and temporary cosmetic fillers last a shorter period of time. The frequency of repeat treatments depends on the type of filler chosen by the individual. It also depends on factors like the filler’s target area and the activity level of the person receiving it.

5. Facial fillers can substitute surgical facelift

Facial fillers can only add volume and give a sculpted appearance. Surgical facelifts in Singapore work on a broader space than facial fillers. The former removes and lifts sagging skin, while removing the excess. It also boosts deeper tissue. However, a combination of both procedures can give optimal results.

In conclusion, it could be said that facial fillers constitute a breakthrough in field of cosmetic dermatology. A little awareness – choosing the right products, getting professional help and carefully focusing on the target area – can go a long way in restoring the quality and health of a person’s face, not to mention, boost confidence and improve his or her lifestyle.

Ukraine Memories

At about the same time last year, I was in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, giving free English lessons to Russian-speaking locals using new edition coursebooks bought at a bookstore in Bern. I was in strange territories, far from everything familiar.

But however different things looked, sounded, felt, and tasted at first — I sampled my first-ever pizza topped with mayonnaise in Kremenchuk — eventually, it was fairly easy for me to feel at home in the former Soviet republic.

The Ukrainians, I found out, are just like Filipinos: warm, hospitable, and generous. It was a breeze for me to befriend people. Had it not been for the language barrier, I could have made more friends there. My students were exceptionally bright and easy to handle. They were sweet as well, showering me with thank-you gifts and cards at the end of the course. My personal favorite present was a bottle of home-made honey given to me by Nikolai, a Ukrainian pensioner whom I miss so much to this day.

Of course, just like in any other situation, there are exceptions to the rule. How can I forget the cranky Ukrainian shopkeeper who thought I was stealing her ice cream when I took them out of her freezer? But I later “made peace” with her when I returned to her shop four weeks later, bought some fruit juice, and smiled after paying her. She surprisingly smiled back. You see, right after the unpleasant ice cream incident, my American flatmate, an experienced missionary who had been in Ukraine for a long time already, told me that one should let the Ukrainian shopkeepers, many stricken with paranoia, do their job. No customer was supposed to do any ‘product touching.’ “That’s their responsibility,” she said. Well, at least in small stores.

After my English teaching stint and other church volunteer work in Kremenchuk, I hied off to Donetsk, chaperoned by my flatmate, by bus on a seven-hour journey to visit a Filipino missionary who had been doing ministry work there since December 2002. It was a blessing to see Sarita at work, persevering to meet the needs of a local church there and serving the community’s poor and needy whenever she could. And boy, her Russian was impressive!

My last stop was in Kyiv where I welcomed my husband at the Borispol international airport in mid-August, after almost six weeks of separation. We were supposed to do research work together — meeting ministry workers and taking some documentary photos and video shots — for the Manila-based missions school I was accountable to.

We first visited a Swiss-American missionary who has been spearheading a street children ministry with another missionary, an American, for a few years now. Both spoke Russian amazingly well (it served as an inspiration for me…yes, I can be fluent in German if I want to). The children there at the center were surprisingly friendly, and one particular 11-year-old girl warmed up to me completely that she even appointed herself as “the photographer’s assistant,” operating my Nikon SLR camera with so much ease.

We also met some Messianic Jews who would later take us to a rather ill-equipped men’s drug rehabilitation center where former drug addicts, now Christians, shared their life-changing testimonies with us. We saw during the visit that they lacked basic food supplies. And so, we headed off to the nearest supermaket after our talk with them, and bought a whole cake and a bottle of Coca-Cola for their afternoon snack. It was already a big deal for these men who kept saying spaseeba (Russian for “thank you”) to us. That humbled me.

There was also this visit to the Hillsongs Church where a nice lady in the guest relations team gave us the contact information of the CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) Headquarters there in Kyiv. Both were pleasant experiences — the worship service at the Hillsongs Kyiv and the impromptu ocular inspection of offices and TV studio at CBN Ukraine, courtesy of an accommodating translator named Vitaly. The CBN visit was especially relevant to me since I used to work at CBN Asia based in Manila.

In between these major appointments, we encountered drunk men and hungry streetchildren in malls (they wanted my lunch on two separate occasions), desperate men in costumes who posed with tourists for a small fee, talented buskers, pathetic-looking beggars, and wily con artists. It was…interesting.

Accommodation-wise, our apartment in Kyiv was nothing fancy at all, although it had the basics (kitchen, toilet, and living room with a double bed and a single sofa). I remember sleeping on the bed which could have well been the habitat of a zillion dust mites. Talk about sleeping with enemies! In contrast, Sarita’s apartment in Donetsk was clean and cozy. The one in Kremenchuk, meanwhile, was described as “communistic” by my flatmate. It was there where I had to drag my 28-kilogram luggage all the way up the five flights of stairs reeking with the smell of cat pee (it was pure torture).

Ah, Ukraine. I miss this country, despite the linguistic and logistical challenges a visit entails. I’d like to: 1) hold English lessons in Kremenchuk once again; 2) bring some winter clothing for some of the cash-strapped people in Donetsk who don’t have a heating system in their shanties; 3) cook decent meals at the drug rehab center in Kyiv. Countless possibilities.

Suddenly, I’m reminded of the many things people take for granted here in good ol’ Switzerland. (Note: Also published in Oikos Online.)

RANDOM TIP: Take a peek at my Flickr photo album on Kyiv here. My other Ukraine-related blog posts are the Mashrutka Challenge, Outdoor Market, and Toilet Talk. If you have time to kill, do read them.

Picason Concert

Watch this video before anything else. If a picture can paint a thousand words, a video can paint a million. For this reason, I present to you a video footage of the recent concert of the Salsa Cubana band Picason in my town. Excuse the poor quality of the video; I simply used my digital camera to document the event.

Picason dished out a superb performance during the Biel Braderie (summer festival) in Biel-Bienne. Too bad we missed the first 30 minutes of their concert which started at 8:30 p.m. But the moment we heard their upbeat Latino music and saw the engaging dance number of the vocalists on stage, we were hooked till 10 p.m.

Never mind the fact that I’m not really the type who goes to concerts. But between the Picason concert and the yodeling fest held also in our town two weeks before that, I’d choose the former anytime for obvious reasons. Swiss folk music is not for me — not in the long-term, at least. It’s a bit, um, geriatric for my taste.

Going back to the Picason concert, some of the spectators, Swiss and Latinos alike, let their hair down and swayed to the rhythm of the music. I would have loved to dance the cha cha, but didn’t for two reasons: 1) my husband has two left feet; 2) I don’t normally dance in public (not that I dance a lot in private).

The great thing about this concert was, it was free. We thought we had to buy the Braderie pin to be able to watch the concerts lined up for the three-day summer fest. But that was not the case. We saw lots of visitors, who were not wearing official pins, watching Picason perform live in concert. So we enjoyed it as well, without a pin and without any guilt feelings.

Picason has a number of Swiss musicians on board, most of them instrumentalists. The band really makes good music, and I wouldn’t be surprised if their CDs are almost sold out. Most of the lyrics are in Spanish, if not all.

This group has really piqued my musical interest. I’ll be surfing the Net in the coming days to know more about their brand of music. (Note: You will find another YouTube video on the Picason concert in Biel-Bienne here.)

‘Tiangge’ Challenge

The big box from the Swiss supplier arrived last Wednesday morning. I guess it’s all systems go from hereon.

For the first time in our lives, my husband and I will try our hands at something we’ve never done before: rent a market stall and sell Filipino products at the monthly tiangge (market) in our town next month. After lengthy discussions on the pros and cons, we’ve finally decided to take the leap of faith in the world of fair trade — all for a good cause.

On sale will be bags, toiletries kits, pencil cases, and wallets made from recycled fruit juice and tomato sauce sachets. Proceeds of the sale will benefit the Filipino women who made these wonderful products basically from trash. They don’t ask for doleouts. All they wish is for people to patronize their handmade creations and put them into good use.

I do hope the Swiss will like the unique Pinoy products as much as I like them. Fingers crossed.

RANDOM TIP: Besuchen Sie unseren Marktstand am Bieler Monatsmarkt: 10. August, von 8 Uhr bis 18 Uhr.(Visit our market stall at the Biel monthly market: on August 10, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.)