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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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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Lost: Singapura Edition

the inn crowd backpackers hostel

I guess getting lost on the first day became a tradition whenever I travel solo. I spent almost four hours circling Iloilo City proper before landing on my bed at Ong Bun Pension last February.  And just the same, I spent hours finding my way to The Inn-Crowd Backpacker’s Hostel in Singapore recently…

#73 Dunlop Street, Singapore. The email said I can walk towards the hostel from Bugis MRT station.  I didn’t consider flagging a cab because I know that I am on a tight budget. I got myself a Singapore Tourist pass good for 3 days.  Yup! You can get the Singapore Tourist Pass from Changi International Terminal 2 MRT  station.

The Singapore Tourist Pass

You do not exactly purchase the pass but rather you rent it for SG$ 10.  I got mine good for 3 days of unlimited MRT and Bus ride! I guess at that point I was blessed to get lost in the city.  There’s nothing to worry about getting lost. I can ride the buses and trains without the fear of running out of dough! Anyway, the pass I got for 3 days is worth SG$ 20 plus the SG$ 10 rental deposit. The rental fee will be refunded if your return your pass within five days from the date it was issued.

I met some fellow first timers in the Lion City while we were in transit from Changi Budget Terminal to Terminal 2. We all hopped in and marveled at how cool the MRT system is!

Tanah Merah Interchange

We alighted at Tanah Merah Interchange and hopped on to another train (green line) heading towards the city.  I got off at the Bugis Station and was on my own!

BUGIS STATION

I was confident that  I can find my hostel in a jiff…I took the my turn to Exit B and found my way out. I was wondering aimlessly and I couldn’t find the hostel.  I found G4 Backpacker’s hostel instead.  I consulted the email confirmation and checked the instructions.  There was supposed to be a map when you click the link.
Unfortunately, the ever prepared me printed the email confirmation and forgot about the map.  I was under the impression that it’s an easy find!

Luckily, I brought Ippie, the iPad. I can open the email and open the link to the map! ERRRR!!! I have no data coverage in Singapore! Epic fail #2! I was wandering aimlessly around Bugis street.  I passed by Sim Lim Square, Albert Mall, Bugis Village, The Raffles Hospital, The Parkway, and Little India.  I looked at my watch and it’s already 5:30 PM!

I sat on a park where a nearby church stands where it was less crowded.  I took a deep breath and was resigned to check in the nearest hotel I will come across with.  I opened the free map I took from the airport and started scanning. I searched each and every corner and I still couldn’t find Dunlop Street! I felt the sky falling hard on me! “Am I gonna sleep in the park?” “What if it rains or it’s prohibited to sleep in the park?”

Then I closed the map. Closed my eyes and asked God for guidance.  I asked Him to guide me.  Finding my hostel was the Birthday gift I asked the Lord…

When I opened my eyes, the sun was beginning to retreat.  I took a deep breath and headed down Albert Street Mall.  I decided to start from where I am supposed to – The Bugis MRT Station!..

The Re-Quest!

Originally, I took Exit B in Bugis Station and did not find the Hostel.  This time I decided to try getting out at Exit A, Victoria Street.

I just stepped in the escalator when I noticed the relatively big Local Map. The instant I stepped out of the “going up”escalator, like a kid, I hopped in the “going down” one!..I looked at the map and in less than a minute I found where Dunlop Street is! I took a good look at the map and the landmarks like taking a good picture. Dunlop street is next to Mayo and right across Sim Lim Tower! (I’ve passed by Sim Lim Tower a couple of times and did not notice it!)

Tracing the path I’ve taken a couple times was just too easy…I breezed through the streets and to my surprise I’ve found The Inn-Crowd Backpacker’s Hostel along other backpacker’s hostel.  It’s like a district full of it!

The Inn-Crowd Backpacker's Hostel
The Inn-Crowd Backpacker’s Hostel

I stepped in and informed the receptionist about my reservation…I hopped in my bed..I slept…

The Inn-Crowd Hostel Photo: from http://www.singapore-tourist-info.com

Marina Bay Gala

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