One of my friends is now working in Singapore. Three months after her transfer, another friend and I decided to visit her and spend a few days for vacation. The four-day trip was exhausting, but it was really worth my aching muscles and numbing feet.
We’re flying Tiger Airways so we had to travel from Manila to Clark airport. Our original plan was to go to Clark the night before our flight and rent a hotel nearby, so we could be in time for our 6:00am flight. But one of my projects got approved and I had to fly to Cebu and Davao for a week-long fieldwork. The night we were supposed to leave for Clark was also the night I arrived from Cebu. I arrived in Manila at 10:00pm, headed straight to our house to pack AND unpack, and next thing I knew I was on a bus to Clark at 1:00am. We arrived at Dau station after almost three hours of travel. Since it was too early to find a regular FX or jeepney that will bring us to Clark airport gate, we hired our own jeepney for Php250. We waited for another hour before we were allowed to check-in. The airport was small and not as busy as NAIA. Going through the immigration was also hassle-free. It was my friend’s first time to travel abroad so, I let her have my window seat. While she was enjoyed all sights from her window, I comfortably and deeply slept from exhaustion.
Day 1: Chinatown, Mustafa, Clarke Quay
We spent our first day in Singapore buying “pasalubong” at Chinatown and Mustafa. There were different stalls of “pasalubong” of every kind in Chinatown – key chains, ref magnets, chopsticks, shirts, etc. The place is similar to Divisoria and Binondo. In Mustafa, we found cheap watches, perfume, goodies and chocolates, gold accessories, etc. It was raining that day, so we couldn’t take as many pictures as we want. After our “pasalubong” hunt, we went to Clarke Quay to stroll around and get a few drinks. The place was bursting with booze, food, and music. It was also a Friday night, so most were out there to party. We also saw a group of Filipino photographers taking pictures around the area.
I personally enjoyed our entire Clarke Quay experience. If ever I’d go back to SG, I will definitely go back there to try G-Max. But what I appreciated most during our first day was Singapore’s transport system. I just love their trains; they were very first-world. The EZ link pass system was very efficient. How I wish MRTs here in the Philippines were the same as their SMRTs.
Our second day in SG was perhaps the most tiring one. It was a whole-day walking and standing-in-line experience. We did not anticipate the massive crowd that flocked Universal Studios. Oh well, it was a Saturday and what should we expect? Anyway, all our efforts paid off when we finally got inside the theme park. It was my first time to ride in a roller coaster and I thought I’ll throw up afterwards. But I did not and in fact, I enjoyed it. If it were not for the very long line in Battlestar Galactica, I would have been up there for another round. Speaking of roller coasters, the Revenge of the Mummy ride was the most unforgettable. We seated at the front row, so imagine how hilarious we looked when we saw our faces captured by the camera – hair flying everywhere, mouths wide open and screaming “Aaaahhhh”, eyes closed.
Yummy Hershey’s chocolates
The entire day was devoted solely to Universal Studios and then, we headed straight to Marina Bay after we had dinner. We endlessly took pictures everywhere and I think I captured the Merlion in all possible angles.
Day 3: Singapore Zoo, Kinokuniya, Harvey Norman
Last day. Last hurrah. We woke up late, so we had to rush to complete the itinerary we set that day. After breakfast, my friend called a cab to fetch us at their flat. The bus ride will take almost an hour because of several stops, so we opted for a cab. I appreciated the fact that we were fetched on-time and the car itself was in very good condition with comfy soft seats and complete seat belts . We also took a cab from Merlion to home the other night and the car was new and smelled fresh. Well, I was just frustrated that cabs here in the Philippines were not always like that.
After 10 minutes, we were already at Singapore Zoo. We took a map of the zoo so we could mark the sights we’ve seen. Our feet were up for another day of walking in the very huge place. Most striking and memorable animals we saw were pygmy hippo, kangaroo, panda, baboon, bear, elephant, and the entire feline bunch. Of course, we had a few inside jokes about them but I’ll probably keep them to myself.
Find the “makopa”
My Singapore trip will not be complete without visiting Kinokuniya. I was swarmed with all those books and manga. As my friend put it, the place was heaven. We stayed there for a few minutes and then, looked out for the nearest Harvey Norman outlet. I had to buy a digital voice recorder. Good thing, we found one which was still open and I got a Sony recorder for SGD190.
If there was something I missed during the trip, it was probably the museums – Red Dot Museum, ArtScience Museum, and the National Museum of Singapore. It was part of our itinerary but we did not have enough time to go to there. And also more food. I’d like to have that authentic Singaporean chili crab.