It’s always been a tradition for me to plan a vacation every year for Thanksgiving. Since I deal with American clients and work US hours, the third week of November usually would end up to be a long weekend for me. So when Airphil announced a seat sale for this schedule, I had to book it. Me and my friends paid around P6,000 each for a roundtrip ticket from Manila to Singapore. But this vacation was not free from any flaws. A week before our flight, Airphil, which for me has officially become a horror airline, told us that our return flight was moved one more day from our original return date. And they did not even inform us about it, not even via email or thru text at all! I only found out about it when I actually called in their support center confirming our flights for the next week. So if I hadn’t done that, we would’ve been stuck in Singapore during our return flight, not knowing that these freaks rescheduled our flights one more day instead! I seriously hate, hate, hate that airline. My advice to everyone: NEVER fly Airphil Express and book with Cebu Pacific instead, especially for international flights. Airphil is notorious for flight delays, cancellations, and all types of flight screwups. But enough about that, let’s talk about our Singapore vacation last November 2011.
Our flight for Singapore arrived at around 8pm. We have booked our hotel at the YWCA Fort Canning Lodge (YWCA stands for Young Women’s Christian Association). Every time I visit Singapura, I always book at this hotel. Mainly because of the location, since it’s about a 30-second walk from the MTR station and about a minute walk from the popular Orchard Road (my favorite shopping place in Singapore). This is already my 5th time in this country and this will always remain to be my favorite place in Asia. I always told myself that if I had to live my life again, I’d wish to be born in Singapore. The place is very modern, beautiful, safe, and the people are very friendly and accommodating. When we arrived at our hotel, we decided to go grab a bite and walked our way to the nearest Kopi Tiam, my favorite food center, that serves a variety of dishes from Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai to Indian menus. We just walked around the area before we decided to return to the hotel to get some much needed rest before the next day.
We never really had any itinerary during this trip. Like what I’ve said, I’ve been here 4 times already, and I felt like I know the place by heart. It was Joyjoy and Kimchi’s first time there so I was their little tour guide there somehow. Riding the MTR is one of my favorite things to do in Singapore. We each bought ourselves an EZ-Link Card for the MTR and our first stop was Bugis. Joyjoy is such a fan of knick-knacks or as we call them, “borloloys”, so I thought Bugis was the perfect place for that. We shopped a little, crossed Bugis Junction for more stuff and souvenirs, then decided that we return back to the hotel to go shop around Orchard Road. Singapore is for me, the shopping capital of Asia. Seriously, my credit cards exploded from all the bills I got from this trip!
I always love walking around Orchard Road. Christmas is in the air already and the entire Orchard Road was covered and lit up with lights, lights and lights! It was such a grandiose scene for me, even though I have been here so many times already, to take all the sights in. We really didn’t shop that much there since our main goal was to walk around Orchard Road (which was really, really long) and walk back to our hotel once we’re done.
The day after, we decided to visit Suntec Mall and do a little shopping there. Nothing that exciting, except we went to the Fountain Of Wealth, located at the top of the mall. Hey, I’m part Chinese and any form of good feng shui for me when it comes to money, I needed that! Haha! At around 6pm, we returned back to our hotel to meet up with our friend Katherene, who was based there in Singapore. She was our tour guide for that night and we wanted to experience Singapore night life, so she brought us to the Esplanade, took some pics with the Merlion, and walked our way to Clarke Quay. The views were awesome, so I was clicking my camera away the whole time there.
The next day, we decided to go to Chinatown. It was also my first time there, so using the map, we just rode the MTR and went there. We didn’t end up at the heart of Chinatown first, so it took us some time to find the little stores for us to buy some more souvenirs and the usual knick-knacks. We decided to have lunch at this Hawker Center, which got some good reviews from the other blogs I have visited and took some pictures inside the Chinese and Indian temples in the area.
The following day was theme park day as we planned to spend the entire day at the Universal Studios Singapore. It’s the counterpart of Hong Kong Disneyland, which is actually much more better than the latter. The main attractions there were the rides. We tried Revenge Of The Mummy first, and it was exactly similar to the Space Mountain ride we had back in HK Disneyland. It’s also an indoor rollercoaster, but was a little bit scarier because of one thing: we had to fall backwards one time, when we all thought the rollercoaster was moving forward! Since we were already there, we challenged each other to try out the scariest ride of them all: The Battlestar Galactica! And it was not just one, but two separate rollercoaster rides! We tried the first one, which was called Human and the other one was Cyclon. Human features a seated roller coaster and travels on the red track. This one has some footing while you sit down but your upper body is only secured by just one seatbelt and nothing else! Typical roller coasters would usually have some protection against your chest, but this has none! It was absolutely one of the scariest rides I’ve been in. I had to hold hands with Kimchi all this time since I do not know where to place my hands anymore all the time it was spinning. Joyjoy literally cried once this ride was over. Haha! The other one called Cylon is a suspended roller coaster and travels on an inverted blue track, which means this will turn you 360 degrees and with no footing! Literally, we had our feet dangling all this time while we were being thrown from one side to the other. But at least we have something to hold on to against our chest, unlike the Human one. Once it was over, I felt so relieved that I wanted to celebrate with the feeling that we were so brave to conquer those crazy rides. LOL.
After that, we rode the best ride there is on Universal Studios: The Transformers! It’s a 4D ride and it’s the newest attraction there. I am telling you, it was the coolest thing ever. I actually felt like I was inside a Transformer! We had to repeat it again because yes, it was that goooooood! It was actually just a soft opening and they were advertising it that it will open on December. Lucky us, we were able to try it before any one actually knew about it. At around 6pm, we decided to go back to our hotel and to get ready for some city strolling and visit the Marina Bay Sands. Funny coz we arrived there at around 11pm and most of the shops were already closed, but we were still able to take some snapshots of the beautiful Marina Bay Sands and the amazing views from on top of it.
Our flight was scheduled in the afternoon the next day, so we just did a little strolling and some shopping down Orchard Road again before we left to the airport. Singapore will always be my favorite place in Asia. It’s the perfect place to just relax and destress. Part of me always thinks that I was born and raised there and I am actually just assigned here in the Philippines to work! Haha!Follow @iamthegarysia