Singapore: A Traveler’s Notebook

Posted: December 31, 2014 in Journals, Running, Travels
Tags: , , , , , ,

SG take me away
It has been weeks since we visited Singapore and it’s a strange feeling to get out of the door and accidentally picks up the MRT card instead of the motorcycle key. After the trip Life practically caught up with me that I never really have had enough time to write about it, and even to run again. And now that the year is coming to a close I must force myself to write about that magical trip in the Lion City. So please bare with me..

How to Get There

As fantastic as the trip was, it’s even more special to think that my sister and I almost didn’t make the trip because of the Typhoon Hagupit on the first week of December. Boat trips to Cebu from Leyte were cancelled ‘days’ before the storm’s landfall, we were lucky one last fast craft were allowed. Had we not made it we would not make the flight to Singapore and curse the Coast Guard for such misfortune. Thank you Ocean Jet in Ormoc, to the Coast Guard please smarten up next time. Getting to Singapore is just a direct flight from Cebu International Airport to Changi Airport. Airfares are relatively low if you book months in advance, at only around P7,000.00 may round-trip ticket kana. Make sure to spare some P2,000.00 for the travel taxes and, for government employees, bring you Authority to Travel unless you bring another non-government work ID. The flight is only around 3-4 hours.

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Behold Lion City! ahm where’s the taxi Ate?

 

Transportation

What I didn’t expect landing in Singapore is its incredible beauty. Changi Airport in particular is a tourist attraction making worth every praises as the world’s best airport for years now. There are various modes of transportation from the airport to your hotel. For passengers from Cebu, you’re likely going to take the 7:00 pm Cebu Pacific flight that will arrive in Changi Airport at around 11:00pm. So here are the options at the arrival area:

  1. Take the Shuttle Bus service from the airport. The fare is SG $9 (P300) per head. The shuttle will take you door to door from anywhere in Singapore. However getting into this bus could take time to board (we waited 2 hours and gave up) and much likely to take some time to get to the destination. The faster option is:
  2. Take the Taxi. This service is more expensive but simply the fastest to the hotel. Flag down rate is around SG $3  plus  the distance traveled. There will be midnight charges at this time but don’t worry there’s really no traffic problems at night and the taxi drivers will give you your money’s worth. It could cost some dollars but the benefit of landing on your hotel bed ASAP is simply priceless. Duguan mo na pre.

Take note that if you travel by day you’d have another option: the amazing Singaporean MRT. Subway trains baby! It’s the make it or break it factor in enjoying your Singapore adventure. If you suck at it you’ll get stuck to taxis (which will bleed your wallet to death) and their other-worldly Bus system (only rode once). But if you master the basics of it to heart, you’re in for a cost-friendly crazy-fast  Viaje de Singapura! The trick is to have MRT Network Map of Singapore ALL THE TIME.  For tourists, you can go around SG w/o cash or wallet, but never without the Map and your hi-tec EZ-Link Card. BOTH are available in every MRT Station scattered around Singapore’s massive MRT network. Again take note, every place you’ve been browsing in the internet for your itinerary is just an MRT ride away.

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The First Impressions

One foreign chick told me that the first 12 hours of travel is crucial (between visiting paradise or landing on hell) because first impressions matters. So within 12 hours here’s my observation:

  • I fell in love with Singapore in under an hour upon arrival
  • English is The language. Singaporeans are fluent with English, although they have a Chinese-ish accent which I found really cute. They are good listeners.
  • There’s no official Singaporean ethnicity. Singapore was established 49 years ago with and their citizens belonging to various ethnicities/races like Chinese, Indians, Europeans, Malays and etc.
  • There’s lots of Filipino working in Singapore. You’ll be hearing lots of Tagalog and Bisaya out there
  • There’s no such thing as traffic (or at least a Manila-ish traffic) in Singapore. You’ll be illuminated by the accuracy of Dan Brown’s comment: “Manila: The gates of hell”
  • MRT is gorgeous, fast and cheap. You can tour the whole country in a few days with minimum travel time.
  • It’s a very modern and advance country
  • It’s a city-state, go see the map it’s only an island but with the biggest of ambitions.
  • Singaporeans are law-abiding citizens and they are masters in creating systems and execute them to heart
  • For easier conversion purposes SG $1 is P35. The bigger the value the bigger their paper bills.
  • If you’re not into gastronomic adventures better stay in KFC. It’s cheap, delicious, eatable and they have free Wifi. And lastly,
  • I have a crush on the front desk lady on Bunc Hostel ( and I never got her name😛 )

Destinations

You should know up front that I went to Singapore for the sole purpose running the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (#SCMS2014), an event that “I Came, I Saw, I Conquered”… and blogged in this link here. However that did not stop me from touring the major attraction the city can offer after all I have my sister to plan out our Epic adventure. Imagine life without Ate, I’m so dead. Read closely if you ever want to follow our awesomeness and footsteps. MRT cards out, Ready, Set, Go:

Singapore Expo – It’s the first destination on the itinerary since I have to get my race kit there. Man the Expo was so big with multiple Halls to cater various big venue events.  What I found amazing is not the place but the race kit collection system the SCMS implemented. With a few thousand runners from all over the world gathers in one place the getting your kit could have taken at least an hour, but I got mine in less than 15 minutes. It could have easily been a chaotic scene but they pull it off. And please do try the food court’s roasted duck meals. Best lunch.

 

Universal Studios Singapore – Do I even have to mention this? People came to Singapore because of USS, and they came all talking about this place and their Facebook profile pic is likely taken there. Oh man, that sound like me… You know why? Because I spent the HAPPIEST afternoon of my life in Universal. The place is super fun packed with different theme parks, wild rides and scenic selfie-friendly places everywhere. Recommended places are… everything!  Just bring extra cash for the souvenir merchandises. Duguan mo na pre.

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Sentosa Island – Actually USS is located in Sentosa Island, it’s a small island resort near the mainland and is accessible by bus and monotrains. The island boosts the Resorts World Singapore, The Tiger Sky Tower, Butterfly Park,  Sentosa Merlion (you can go up to the mouth), Underwater World (lots of fish!), Wave House Sentosa, iFly Singapore (skydiving tunnerl) and Madamme Tussauds house of wak just to name a few but most especially this next one:

Singapore Cable Car  – my sister practically dragged me to this place because I was very tired and  fun overdosed from USS. I only agreed to take this sky high transport not to look at the bright lights at night (which is by the way breathtakingly beautiful) but because it’s also our exit point to the mainland. Really worth the price. Graceful and epic exit.

 

Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore – happening annually every first Sunday of December, it’s one of the marquee running events in Asia and the biggest takbohan event in Singapore with 14,000 marathon-hopefuls alone. If you’re a runner take on this challenging and hot flat race.

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Orchard Road – The SCMS 42k category happened to start at Orchard Road and what a place to start our suffering! It’s such a lovely 2 kilometers of bonggacious Christmas lights and ornaments making the atmosphere so festive and shining shimmering haha. It’s also a shopping district and you can buy your pasalubong for the family back home here. (you may also buy pasalubong in Buguis district)

 

 

Marina Bay – This is perhaps the most iconic place in Singapore. By the way alone you’ll get to see the famous landmarks of Singapore such as the Marina Bay Sands, the Promenade, The SG Museum, Singapore Flyer and the Merlion. Since Singapore is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary in 2015 there’s a giant SG50 (viewable in the sky) made out of Red and White ballons floating on the bay. Expect it to light up this midnight.

 

Marina Bay Sands – This is Asias latest mega-structure that look like three identical skyscrapers holding up a giant surfboard on top. There’s nothing like it in the world. How they made it is a thing of wonders. Simply amazing. And we were lucky to go there on top, the view out there is something to kill for: Singapore 360!

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Gardens By the Bay – This one of the new attraction in Singapore, a 101 hectare garden by the bay. There are towering supertrees which looks like ‘Groot’ from outside at dawn during the marathon but looks gorgeous upfront. The garden is packed with thousand of different plants, there’s also a conservatory domes called Flower Dome and Cloud Forest. The place also lights up pretty at night!

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The Merlion – of course, it’s the most recognizable figure in Singapore. The Merlion, according to Wikipedia, “is a traditional creature in western heraldry that depicts a monster with a lion head and a body of a fish. In Singapore, it has become a marketing icon used as a mascot and national personification of Singapore.” Now I know.

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That’s it! My epic Singapore trip rolled into one epic blog. I would have love to make a three-part series but I’m afraid time is not on my side. It’s an amazing and unforgettable journey out there to finally visit a foreign country to hear their languages, see their ways of life, be amazed by their achievements and even just to breathe the same air they breathe. Singapore is an amazing city, of gentle no-nonsense people who takes great pride of who they are and what they can do for their country. If there’s a place you can call utopia, perhaps Singapore is that place; a place of beauty, of peace and order, of modernization, of lights and of love… everything that Philippines should strive to be.

Hope you enjoyed this post and I look forward to hear from your Singapore visit soon. I shall return.

Comments
  1. therfpscribe says:

    Brilliant review! Have a great 2015 with more travels and runs! Please visit http://www.ministryofrun.com if you get a chance. =)

  2. shantiepc says:

    What a lovely post. Makes me feel lucky to live here. Thank you🙂

    • Lapiskamay says:

      YOu’re so lucky to be in Singapore Shantiepc! hope you can tour me around when I come back.🙂 there’s so many places I havent visited there. Congratz on the 50th anniversary of ur great city!

  3. jackieB says:

    I like Singapore too! Another reason the crowd in Singapore is diverse. There are many kinds of Asians, expats in Singapore ….. it’s a melting pot of many races.

    Happy new year Les! It has been a long time I drop by in your blog. Cheers to a new blogging year🙂

    • Lapiskamay says:

      hello Jackie! same here! oo nga eh pareho tayo di narin maxado nakakagala sa blogosphere huhu. but I’m always here naman if u need me. hehe

      wow naka SG na pala to oh! congratz!! yeah iba.iba mga tao dun nakakatuwa magmasid. hehe. usually mga tao dun no non-sense talaga. always thinking forward parati.🙂

      Happy New Year to you too Jackie! hope to see you in person!

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