Singapore Trip – Day 1

Let it begin…

I will start with my trip to Singapore last December 2009.

Travelling almost 7 hours on board Singapore Airlines, I finally arrived to this cultural Mecca and food haven in Southeast Asia – Singapore – the Lion City. At last, it is a dream come true.

After meeting all the airport requirements, I went straight ahead to currency exchange counter located right at the exit at the arrival area to get some Singapore dollars. Then I took a cab to get to my destination at G4 Station at Mckenzie Road. Without wasting little time I have, I left my bags at the hotel and headed to a nearby restaurant to satisfy my craving for a sumptuous complete meal. I found this Irrawady Restaurant inside a mall and ordered the first in my list- a pork menu (sweet and sour). I would just reserve the lechon when I set foot back to Manila. Why pork?  ‘coz I was deprived of it for a year.

My feet then brought me to the busy streets of Singapore. I strolled into one of the places frequented by Pinoy workers, the Lucky Plaza. It is indeed full of our kababayans who usually gather every Sunday taking their weekly work-break. Moving around, I found stalls selling Pinoy products, Pinoy food, Pinoy sim cards, almost everything pinoy for Pinoys. Ari na di tanan, others even call this place, Quiapao in Singapore.  Daw sa Pinas ka lang, kung ari ka di. Pinoy banks like PNB are also within reach but flooded by our kababayans who were in long queue to send money at home (expected as it’s Christmas time).  And since it was holiday season, shops were on sale bringing down half of their prices or even offering up to 70% off. After meeting my Aunt, I asked her to join me for a shopping craze with other Pinoys. And so we were hopping from one store to another looking for a buy worth our penny.  We eventually ended up getting a good deal for 3 shirts at Crocodile.

Since it was already past 3 pm, we headed to Singapore Botanics Garden – home to thousands of botanical plants of various species and whose beautiful gardens with wide collections are stunning especially the Orchid Garden. Amazing as it is, we were delighted when we saw right in our front magnificent orchids with colors pleasant to the eyes. Some of these are even the rarest (sorry I forgot what those were). Enough of feasting beautiful orchids, we transferred to the adjacent Cool House. As its name suggests, it’s like a ref where collections of plants thriving only in cold places can be seen here like the epiphytes- group of plants that includes ferns and bromeliads? usually growing in mountain forests.

As it was getting dark, we opted to go back to the hotel to recharge and prepare for another walkabout around the city. This time, I would now truly experience Singapore’s night life. Before I would only see those in pictures, but now I would be taking the photos myself. Together with Mysh-  my kasimanwa who’s now base in this country, we wandered in Singapore’s most photographed landmarks: the Esplanade and Merlion. Esplanade is famous for its durian shape architecture, and Merlion (half mermaid-half lion) is Singapore’s symbolic icon.   Then, we walked a bit further towards the downtown area and took some snapshots of Singapore’s skyline- a vivid picture of the country’s economic development.

Next in our list was Clarke Quay (pronounced as Key) in the downtown central area, a walking distance from Merlion. While on the way, we passed by the astonishing Fullerton Hotel, a former post office building refurbished into a 5 star hotel, probably one of the best in town. The hotel is a head turner since its stunning architecture illuminated by those brights lights captures every passerby.  I even saw our Philippine flag along with four others hoisted in its facade.

The location of Clarke Quay opposite the hotel along the mouth of Singapore River makes it fascinating with the lights from its kaleidoscope of chic bars and restaurants reflecting in the serene river (we missed the river cruise).  The place is a melting pot for food and music lovers and for those party owls who want to enjoy a night dose of fun with friends and families. While looking for a place to hang out, we passed by some unique bars like the Clinic – yes a bar that resembles a medical clinic with wheel chairs around, syringes, and perhaps other medical stuffs in place. Mysh as seems used to this place dragged me to her favorite bar, the Pump- a trendy place with brewery (brewing their own array of beers) and bistro that would excite your senses and make partying really enjoyable. Sitting in one of its comfort corners, we ordered some food and got a mug of beer to pump out the thirst. The music from the live band was inviting that even while sitting it would sway you to stomp your feet.

Feeling a bit tired (perhaps due to jetlag), I called it a night thinking that tomorrow will be a long day. And so we slowly walked going out to the outskirt, passed by the bungee jumping station, took some photos of the streets, and got a cab to our way home. The next day would surely be fun, and in our list was Sentosa. //end