Going Home was a toughie

Unlike all the flights I’ve been in, the trip to Singapore has the most unforgettable firsts…

SG was my first overseas trip.
Staying in The Inn-Crowd Hostel was my first non-private accommodation.
The trip to SG graced my new passport with the first ever immigration stamp.
I missed my flight.

Missing my flight was the highlight of the entire trip. It gave me a lot of learnings where the lessons were tough and there were no short cuts.

The Go Lite ticket only allowed 7kgs of hand-carry baggage.  My backpack weighed ~11++kg…Just because I couldn’t afford paying a whole lot more than an arm for the excess baggage, I went to the rest room to figure my game plan…

The Weight Obstacle–I changed my shirt.  Instead of wearing the adidas tech shirt, I wore a 100% cotton shirt and put on my jacket even when the temp’s at 30 degrees (C).

I took out iPpie (the iPad) and Nikkie (the camera for me to hand carry including the tripod. I went back to the weighing scale and it tipped at 5.++ kg. That was fantastic! I told myself. hehehe. I breezed through the check in…and there I was at the waiting lounge…

And because there was a whole lot of things that just happened, I felt robbed for some reason.  It stressed me that I decided to eat and be merry!

Chicken and soya

With a lot of food stalls in the holding area, I ordered pork lechon kawali with soy glaze! The presentation was less appealing but the taste was good! Then  came the boarding call…

Tiger, Kelan ka mase-sale?

It was sunny, it was late in the afternoon and I was stressed and sleepy. The aircraft started to taxi and there goes Singapore!

ang takip-silim sa himpapawid

I bade goodbye to the Lion City with high hopes of coming back.  I vowed to have more preparation and fund! and to NEVER MISS THE FLIGHT!…

I arrived in Manila early evening at around 7 or 8 PM.

My passport got it’s 4th stamp!

It was raining and I was tired…I slept on the cold marble floor of NAIA Terminal 3 because I don’t want to spend the night in the middle of traffic due to flooded streets. It will just make me miss Singapore more! I waited for the rain to stop until early morning! …It didn’t stop.  It just went on and on! I came home very wet…

My soaking wet Sergio

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meetings and missing

After a very long day exploring Singapore (SG), I went home (The Inn-Crowd) to crash. I have new roomies! She just came out of the shower and was wearing only her undies! (the perks of being a backpacker’s hostel guest)… 😀 Her partner came and…(I’mma leave the rest of the details out…)

The next morning I was up very early to meet Des before leaving. Des used to be a co-analyst before she moved to SG in search of greener pasture.There was a bag of local goodies from a friend back home that I needed to deliver. Delivery boy lang ang peg LOL!

Si Des, ang QA analyst turned OFW sa SG

Hitting the road early in the morning, I hopped on the train to Tampines Station from Bugis. Des was waiting for me in front of Guardian convenience store at the train station. We exchanged pleasantries and walked towards the mall adjacent to the train station. It was nice seeing a friend where you are the foreigner. We talked about life as an OFW and our plans…


Before I left Manila for SG, I sort of joked about her giving me a treat.  When we met, she introduced me to Toast Box! I didn’t think it would make me love laksa soup more than I already have!

Spicy seafood laksa from Toast Box

The soup was ultra flavorful! the noodles were perfectly cooked and the seafood was to die for! While I savor the best laksa I’ve ever tasted, she had her sweet treat of a chocolate cake. I couldn’t recall what it’s called but here it is!

An unnamed cake from Toast Box

I think the red “thingie” is cherry…It looked decadent!

It was a lovely and super like na treat! Thanks again Des! Hope to see you soon when I get back!

Des and the Geek!

We really couldn’t stay long.  She has work and I have a plane to catch. So we parted ways after wishing good luck to each other.

I took the train back to Bugis to collect my stuff and buy some souvenirs before heading to Changi Budget Terminal. I bought some I [heart] SG shirts, ang walang kamatayang “key chain” and “ref magnets”. It was already 12PM and I needed to be at the airport to catch a 2:40 PM flight back to Manila! And so the Amazing Race began!

A perk of having the Your Singapore Tourist Pass is the unlimited train ride.  No more queue at the top up counters. I tapped my card as I enter Bugis Train station to Changi International Airport. It was a very long ride. I was restless while watching some Pinoy’s chi-chatting in the train.  At the Tanah Merah Interchange where I need to transfer to a train going to the airport, there was a relatively long stop. I couldn’t help myself from being worried…

As soon as I got off the train, I went to the ticket counter to refund the SG$10 rental deposit for the Tourist Pass. I raced towards Terminal 2 bus bay to catch the free bus to the Budget Terminal.

There were a lot of buses coming and going and yet they’re all going to the city! When finally, the free ride arrived, I hopped on and looked at my watch silently praying that I wouldn’t miss my flight! I arrived at the terminal hoping against all odds that I have not missed it! it was 1:30PM.  I searched the departure area for my check-in counter…Nothing seemed to mark as MNL…and my heart began to sink…I slowly approached the Cebu Pacific counter and asked when the counter will open.  I was told that it will open at 3:15M for flights bound for CLARK! Then I saw the departure chart…Flight 5J 899 was BOARDING! My heart finally failed and stopped beating! I missed my flight! I totally missed my flight…What am I supposed to do? –REBOOK! like I have any choice!

The ticket counters were open for Cebu Pacific and Tiger. If I am to rebook my ticket, it’s going to cost me ~SG$ 300! The re-booking fee was more expensive than the original ticket price! The ticketing agent offered an advise…buy a new ticket! Sounds logical at SG$ 189 (no baggage allowance except for the free 7kg hand carry). It was fine…I was buying a new ticket but they don’t accept credit cards!…I fished for my wallet only to find out that I only have a few dollars left. But I don’t wanna stay. I’m already frustrated and scared at the same time that I just wanted to go home and sleep!

The Emergency Fund! With a heavy heart I opened the brown envelope and walked a long way to the arrival area to buy some more dollars! I ended up with SG$259 in hand.  I came back and asked how much it will cost if I decide to purchase a baggage allowance. The answer wasn’t too favorable that I just have to swallow and attempt for a Go Lite ticket hoping that my baggage wouldn’t go over 7kg. After I bought the ticket, I went straight to the weighing scale where I discovered that my total baggage weighs ~11.09kg! And there goes the panic mode!

I had to find a seat while waiting for the check in counter to open before I collapse for running out of options as the hours passed…

The experience was extensive and such an eye opener…I met people and seen a lot.  There’s also those things that I will miss…like the disciplined citizens, the posh places, the efficient MRT and a whole lot of the island. This was the first time I missed my flight… The greatest lesson I’ve learned the hard way…

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The hurried trip to Sentosa Island

The original itinerary was to head to Sentosa Island as early as seven in the morning. And since I had a birthday hang over, I woke up late and was out of the hostel at around nine! To top the very late out of schedule gala, I got off the wrong train and stop! I spent more than half of the day getting lost along the Marina Bay…(no regrets though).

The rain kept me from moving on from the Marina Bay.  I didn’t have much time to ride the Flyer. 🙁 I took the train at the Bayfront Station and went on a 1-hour journey(end to end) to Vivo City.

Sentosa Island as seen from the viewing deck of the Vivo City

Vivo City was nice. I love their viewing deck,. It’s overlooking the Sentosa Island which can be reached via a bridge/boardwalk, monorail and cable cars!

Since it was quite late and the trip was sort of a hurried one, I bought myself a monorail ticket for SG $3.50 (if I remember it right).  The ticket was good for the round trip transportation to and from the island. I disembarked at the first station because of all the things I want to see in the Island was the Universal Studios.

The famed Universal Studios Globe!

I was willing to spend SG $69 to explore the theme park. USS was in my bucket list for this SG trip.  However, given that I came here when the day’s almost over, I decided to scratch it out because it’s not worth it. I wish came a lot earlier for me to maximize the time. I vowed to go back next year!

With USS out of the list, I explored the island…

The Merlion–candy look
Hershey’s choco store!

I love Hershey’s! Unfortunately, I am on a diet to control my sugar intake.  So I just enjoyed the scent and the sight of this rich chocoley-tee outlet.

The Universal Studios Singapore-I will be back.

I will pass through this gate…That I promise!

And I felt the revolution in my intestine…

And more gala…

The Waterfront

I spent a lot of time just watching the rotating US icon. Trying to figure out how I can get a picture of myself with it as a background…(the disadvantage of a soloist).

And there I was! (di marunong tumayming si kuya)

A group of tourists asked me to have their picture taken.  I grabbed the opportunity to have mine taken too! Unfortunately, the guy who took my photo didn’t bother to wait for the perfect angle before shooting! Oh well!

Adam and Eve (Hotel Michael)

Hotels around the island…

The Thinker
Resorts World
The huge Merlion

The Merlion at the Sentosa Island doesn’t spit a jet of water but you can climb up and get a view of the island from its mouth…

If there’s a mini Merlion at the Marina Bay, there’s one in Sentosa too.

The mini-Merlion in Sentosa is a whole lot cuter! If I could just bring it home!

The Merlion light show at night!

Around the Merlion is a small pond and waterfalls at the back.

bells…nothing special!

At the back of the Merlion statue is a long walk…leading to the bells.
After the bells is the winding ramp down to the beach area….

Happy 40th Sentosa!

The iFly indoor skydiving…Because I am in a shoestring budget, I vowed (again) to try this one out when I get back.

Siloso Beach and the busy Singapore shoreline

Just a few steps  form iFly is the Siloso Beach.  I’ve never been to a beach with sand this fine! powdery and soft! (disclaimer: I haven’t been to Boracay. No point of comparison)

Tired but Happy

The night was still young but I was afraid to be out in a strange land late night. Besides, I don’t even know what time the MRT closes so I decided to pack my tripod and head back to Bugis

I needed to be extremely early the following day because I have to meet Des before going back to Manila. And getting back to Manila was another big story…

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Gardens by the bay [Bay South Garden]

On a shoestring budget, my birthday treat to myself was full of fun and (mis)adventures. Jumping off at the wrong stop has never been this right. After discovering that the Sky garden is a difficult climb, my wandering feet led me to a trail under the bridge where I discovered “a world of wonders”…one of Singapore’s National Gardens-The Bay South Gardens.

I discovered it by accident.  It was never in my “supposed” itinerary. I was contemplating on crossing the river to the Singapore Flyer.

The Singapore Flyer

Yep! just right across the river…Something caught my attention when I turned to the other direction. Huge tree-like contraptions and glass domes.

Flower Dome

The curious me could not resist the desire to discover. Wandering by the bay I found the answer.

Gardens by the Bay has a diverse range of vegetation from every continent except Antactica of course! (unless there’s been a newly discovered patch of vegetation underneath the ice).

There are two domes. The Flower Dome, which obviously houses the various flowers across the globe in a controlled environment. They have a thousand-year-old olive trees from Europe!

The second dome is quite interesting.  Its the Cloud Dome. No. It’s doesn’t house clouds. LOL. It’s the vegetation from the highlands and a 35 meter man-made waterfalls.

Super Trees and the ultra modern dome

The Garden has Super Trees! These are the trees of the future! LOL. Nah! They’re man-made nets of steel. Dramatic vertical plant displays. There’s a 22-meter high Skyway too that links some of the Super Trees together so you can have a bird’s eye view of the vast garden. These Super Trees are more spectacular at night when they light up!

Some BIG tutubi!

The Dragonfly Lake.It’s right across the Marina Bay Sands and ilang tumbling from the Bayfront MRT station! Cool and peaceful place.

Other things to see in this HUGE garden.

A loner bull in the midst of a grass land
Tribal masks
The Insect Colony
Spitting lion?
some sort of a Zen garden

“Whether you’re looking to get up close with exotic species in the Cooled Conservatories, marvel at towering vertical gardens or learn about the intricacies of plant life in the themed gardens, there’s plenty to see–perhaps more than you can fit in a day!” [Gardens by the Bay]

Gardens by the Bay
18 Marina Garden Drive, Singapore 018953
www.gardensbythebay.com.sg

Sentosa Island

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Lost II: Wandering Aimlessly (Day 1)

marina bay singapore

My first day was a tough day. All things in my checklist was ditched for a “hostel hunting”.  It was a very frustrating day…especially on one’s birthday! I was too tired to really roam around so I spent my time in my bunk the whole evening reading the stuff I got from the tourism station at the airport.

Top Bunk, Bed C, Room 2

I woke up late because I was not used to sleeping in a sort of “public” place. I always have the room for myself when I travel. It’s just that I am in a shoestring budget when I decided to wander out of the “Philippine Area of Responsibility” (parang bagyo lang!:))). Hence, backpacker’s hostel became the most apparent option!

First stop: Marina Bay

I did not intend to have my first stop at the Marina Bay.  It was my natural tendency to be lost that brought me there!

The Marina Bay Sands Hotel Resort – Casino

I hopped on the MRT hoping to go to Vivo City and get to Sentosa Island. I guess I took the wrong turn so my wandering feet followed the flow of people out of the Marina Bay Station. I walked as if I am a local and blended with the crowd.  Confident in the outside, uber worried and lost in the inside (parang M&Ms; lang!) And There I go! I walked past the mighty Marina Bay Corporate Center and Residence towards the lagoon where the Marina Bay Sands Hotel-Casino stands mighty and proud.

A closer look…

The park around the bay area looks great and refreshing!

The Fullerton Hotels

The Fullerton Bay Hotel

The wrong stop was the right stop after all.  My walking tour started by going around the bay in search for a better angle to shoot the enormous piece of art…err hotel. The walk introduced me to The Fullerton Bay Hotel and the more historic One Fullerton where I first saw and touched (may ganun!) a Lamborghini! It’s just sad that I didn’t get to have a photo (natakot ako baka bawal…hehehe)

The Fullerton Hotel

Did I forget to mention that the weather was bipolar?! One minute it was freakin’ hot and it gets wet a second after!

It’s like a scene in a movie where the darkness is slowly eating the light!

I took shelter under the shades of those posh cafes along the bay while continuously marveling at the sights.

The Merlion

The Merlion is Singapore’s Symbol, part lion-part fish mythical creature.  No tourist leaves this small state without having a photo with this famed creature! Not me! Well, not that I don’t want to.  It’s just that he’s having his beauty rest for his birthday celebration.

no tourist-y souvenir photo with the Merlion! T_T

Since I can’t unwrap the mythical beast, I settled for the baby merlion!

It may not be as fierce as the original, but it’s definitely more cute!

I got tired of walking! Yeah! The weather’s not really helping by being oh! so! humid plus I wanted to relax a bit. Because I was recently diagnosed with hepatomegaly, I haven’t been to Starbucks for quite some time and I felt I deserved to have a break. After all, this trip was a birthday celebration!

Cookie Crumble Frappe if I’m not mistaken
I want to buy one of those…but stopped…ANG MAHAL!

Starbucks at home is a bit pricey for me…much more here! A venti Cookie Crumble Frappe costs SG $8.00++!!! Oh well! It’s Singapore, where everything is supposed to be pricey (except maybe for gadgets).  I left my alco-gel here! and I couldn’t find a store that’s selling one, even at 7-Eleven!

Having my coffee fix, I wandered a bit more by the bay…

Esplanade…The durian theatre!
LV! Their shoppe is one of the two floating pavilions at the Marina Bay Shoppes
Underneath the bridge where you’ll find Starbucks.

I loved the al fresco ambiance of Starbucks…under the bridge. Sa ilalim ng tulay ay sosyal!

Singapore Flyer from afar
The Duck Tour…

The Duck Tour goes around the city like your usual tour bus and dives into the water like a duck to go around the bay…cool trick huh!

I wanted to see the world up at the Sky park so I headed towards the Helix Bridge where the heavy rain finally caught me right in the middle!

Trapped underneath a piece of fiber glass fixture…
putting emphasis on the complexity of this functional work of art

The Skypark, apparently has a fee…SG $20. The shoestring budget says no! So there I go…a bit disappointed but was determined to be back (whenever that may be). So I lounged along the ArtScience Museum.  That odd, lotus-like structure just outside the hotel.

The lotus pond outside

Again, since I am on a tight budget, I wanted to enjoy the sights without spending much! hahaha mahirap lang talaga! :)) The fee was SG $15-25, if I remember it right.  So I didn’t bother to take refuge inside the marvelous structure…

My wandering feet took me somewhere free…Gardens by the Bay!

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