Tag Archives: Singapore

Missing the sights and the sounds of SG

I love Manila. Believe me, I really do. But getting to travel and seeing things that are completely different from the grime and chaos I grew up in has a way of leaving indelible marks on you.

A week after my Singapore sojourn with the family, I am again raring to leave Manila and return to the City-State. I don’t know why–maybe it’s the allure of the clean metropolis, the safe neighborhood where you are not in danger of being mugged every 10 minutes. In the four days that I was there, I barely saw any police officers roaming the street. There were no dirt, no candy bar wrappers, no funky smell on the side streets and all that. Most of all, there were no muggers or morons hocking phlegm on the same street where you stand.

I wish it was like that in Manila. I know, I know…each country has its own problems and personalities. There are things in Manila that I wont get to experience in Singapore or in any country for that matter: like the warmth of its people and ready smile available no matter who you turn to. But after experiencing 30 years of chaos and grime, you kinda start wishing people will stop hocking their phlegm or taking a piss just about everywhere.

Leaving you some of the images that stayed with me during my four day vacation:

me, asking Buddha to bless me -- Bugis Junction, SG, July 16, 2011
South East Asia Hotel, 2011
merlion dreams

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Universal Studios Singapore: Where the sissies come to die

My three loyal readers might have noticed the absence of the usual drawl of your spoiled rotten KamikazeeGirl. I think I might have mentioned that I had a short vacay at the land of the Hainanese Chicken Rice and clean pavements, lah. As usual, I don’t wanna leave for good old dirty, exciting Manila after the sojourn. I wanna stay there and prolly look for a job, after all: there was a Filipino in every nook and cranny of the Little Red Dot. If only I knew people who’d be willing to adopt me until my visa expires — but no, apparently I don’t have any close friends who are working now in SG and the people I know who are currently there are not really people who I grew up with so it will be quite embarrassing to inconvenience them.

Anyway, day 2 was reserved to the usual tourist mecca of Sentosa Island, in exact: The Universal Studios Singapore. There were tons of people and well, truth be told: I was in awe as soon as I saw that giant globe with the omni-present Universal Studios logo attached to it. I was amazed on how pretty that thing is, and was really excited to see what is inside.

Take note, of all the days we were there: good old weather decided not to cooperate the day we were going to USS. It was raining like hell and people were touting rain coats and umbrella. The hubby, the two sibs and I were winging it cos we were tough like that 🙂

WHOA.

The place was simply too magical for words! (no offense meant, Disney) — it is small by usual park standards but packs a punch when it comes to the different attractions. The park talents are always in character (and yes, I am talking about you Ihmotep, you scared the shit out of me) and the park staff are welcoming and helpful in every way.

That is why when the time comes for us to try the rides, the hubby and I had to beg off from trying all the scary shit: in exact, the Human Cyclone Battlestar Galactica and the Mummy Returns. We left the adrenaline shot to the adrenaline junkies and toughies in our little group, i.e. the baby bro and the Queen of all Cats. We had no delusions of dying an early death due to extreme fright from riding all the scary rides out there.

Battlestar Galactica, my personal Mt. Doom

So, you ask, what did you effing do while inside one of the most amazing places in the planet? Well, the Hubby and I did try the really dorky rides–the kind that is good for kids with their helpless parents in tow. Then, we sampled the food, balked on how freaking exoensive they are yet continued sampling them anyway. Then we took pictures, tons of them, and thoroughly had an amazing time.

the perfect ride for sissies like you and me

I didn’t know when I started having an aversion to death-defying, adrenaline-pumping parks attractions. When I was still barely out of university, young and in-like with this bad ass who was also a mommy’s boy, I rode in this ferris-wheel like thing that hurtles you in space in neck breaking speed, and survived to tell the tale. Am I getting old and being too safe?

If you’re in Singapore: support the freedom to love on June 18

This is one of the best spots on gender equality that I’ve seen in a very long time. This short film is meant to promote Singapore’s Pink Dot Rally on June 18 to be held at Hong Lim Park at 5PM.

Since it is illegal to hold political assemblies and rallies in Singapore, the organizers is touting the gathering as a “color-coordinated picnic”. 🙂 The ad was directed by award winning film maker Boo Junfeng (Sandcastle, Cannes 2010).

Unfortunately (and after reading the rest of the content of the PinkDot website) foreigners and non-Singaporean residents and PR are not allowed to participate in the “formation of the pink dot itself”, but the organizers will be allotting a special place for foreign attendees. Foreigners can watch and observe on that allotted area. I hope foreigners attending this event will take note of this ruling since this was mandated by the authorities and NOT the organizers.

I hope we all do our share in promoting gender equality, as well as the rights of the LGBT community, not only in Singapore but also to the rest of the world.

The great SG get-away: my current all-around occupation

My free time is now occupied by crafting the perfect and COST EFFICIENT Singapore holiday for me, the hubby and our two “kids” (I.E: The baby bro and the baby sis). One of the few things you must realize is that we are intent of saving a few Singaporean Dollars while having the trip of a lifetime. The Queen and I have been to Singapore and basically experienced some of the really cool things (cable car ride, Underwater World, Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, Merlion and the whole enchilada). The only things we haven’t seen are the attractions built and open in mid-2010 onwards. Hence, we have yet to experience Marina Bay Sands, Resorts World Singapore and Universal Studios Singapore.

However, the baby bro and the hubby are traveling to SG for the first time, and me being the “travel expert” of the family is currently drafting an enjoyable and CHEAP itinerary for the rest of the family. Do note that we are doing this trip on a very strict budget, but we wouldn’t want to compromise the quality of the trip. I’ve arranged three family overseas trips prior to this and I am very proud of the fact that we’ve come across really cool deals that didn’t put strain our budget. I managed to find a hotel in HK which the hubby and I got from 6k for a 3 day and 2 night stay; a hotel in HK in 2008 where the sibs and I stayed for roughly 1k each for 3 days. In short, I am quite used to penny pinching while ensuring that we don’t feel short-changed of the experience.

To save money, here’s what we are doing right now:

1. We availed of a budget fare from JetStar.com – for 4k round trip, you can’t go wrong. Yeah, I know JetStar’s F.A.s are quite aloof and “masungit” but they are very efficient, the same way the airline is known for its efficiency and safety. Plus, JetStar lands on the Changi Main Terminal (Terminal 1) and not on the budget terminal like Cebu Pacific. Maybe this is also the main reason why we don’t book Ceb Pac for SG…we don’t like landing on the budget terminal.

2. I am usually very dependent on AsiaTravel.com and Octopus Travel.com for hotel booking, but right now I am also directly emailing hotels to inquire about their rates. Aside from the fact that rates given directly by hotels are way cheaper compared to travel sites (of course, these sites has to make a living right?), asking hotels directly gives me a chance to negotiate for rates. Singapore hotel rates are very expensive: the cost of staying in a 2 star hostel/budget hotels is comparable to rates for 3-star hotels in HK.

3. Our itinerary is a mixture of costly attractions (Universal Studio Singapore–which is a must, we think) and cheap activities (strolling on the Esplanade, visit to Sentosa) where we plan on spending on really important things. For example, this early we voted off riding the cable car going to Sentosa (which costs SGD 24 each) and instead use the newly opened Sentosa Boardwalk, which only charges SGD1, and offers a refreshing view of the marina from Vivo City going to Sentosa. The SG23 which we were able to save, I am transferring the expenses to viewing the Songs of the Sea (SOS) program at night (which costs only SGD12 or SGD13, I think). Also, our itinerary for the first day is composed mostly of FREE activities, except for the climb up the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark (SGD20) which we think is a must for everyone.

4. Its Hawker Fare all the way, baby! We spend time watching Singaporean culinary lifestyle shows over at Asian Food Channel (a part of our itinerary for the Orchard Road stop of the trip), so we are already salivating with the idea of eating SGD3-SGD4 fare. My hubby is obsessed right now with Hainanese Chicken rice so we will definitely visit the original Wee Nam Kee.

5. Other “diskartes”
* Buy USS tickets online so that we will be able to skip the long lines.
* Buy a 3-day Tourist Pass which we can use going around Singapore, plus it has a SGD10 refundable fee when we return it at the airport before leaving for Manila.
* Buy water and other consumables in groceries instead of 7-11.

I am really excited about this trip, and quite honestly this is the only ray of sunshine in my otherwise miserable everyday existence. Planning the trip keeps me sane and alive, and gives me something to look forward to.

Guess who’s going to SG?

The universe is nice to me today. Even if I had to kill myself working earlier, I am finally rewarded with the best possible gift ever:

This trip has been in the offing for more than a year already, thanks to JetStar Airways Easter Sale, I am finally going back to this island nation that I have come to love so much. I am going with the Hubby, the Queen and the baby brother (who we booked without consent). It would have been a very great trip if only mom and dad can join but they don’t have their passports yet. Maybe next year? My target is to make them spend their 33rd wedding anniversary at HK Disneyland. With God’s support and kindness, this will be possible.

Hey, you might want to check it out and book a flight. Trips to SG are selling as low as USD38 one way! I was so happy seeing the really nice price that I harassed the Queen to book with us. And the Queen, being an avid traveler, is simply very happy just to do the booking. Check out JetStar’s Easter sale, I think the sale will last until the 11th of April, and good for travel until November.

I don’t have to spell out here that I have very important reasons why I want to be in SG this July. Let’s just say that I have my reasons. But right now, all I can think of is the fun that we’ll have visiting Universal Studios Singapore, the Marina Bay Sands and even Sentosa. The Hubby and the baby brother has yet to see the beauty of Singapore and they’re gonna see it right in the middle of the Great Singapore Sale (27 May – 24 July).

I am so excited that I am already doing my research, with my own travel notebook already at hand. Thank you Lord, I am alive again.

I am not here.

My mind is millions of miles away, currently eating a bowl of ice kachang while feasting on mutton and beef satay:

from TravelPluto.com

A part of me wants to blame myself for not saving enough this year to make it for our usual November get-away…The Hubby and I. We have planned to go to SG (his first time) and see Universal Studios. But no thanks to the endless bills and the lack of extra budget, the great SG adventure had to take a backseat for a while. This has been particularly disappointing for me, especially since I am struck by wanderlust. Everyday I look oh so pathetically on different airfares offered by carriers, wondering when can I finally have the money to fund my SG treat with The Hubby. The sad thing is that everyday, I sit at the desk, trawling various sites and still no vacay in sight.

The lack of funds has pushed the SG adventure to May (maybe by my birthday). For the meantime, I effing need a break, the chance to get away from my insane life and crazy schedule.

Each day, I sit at the office. Yes, my physical self was there, going through the motions like those weird Androids from Japan — yet the real me was out somewhere, having the adventure of a lifetime.

Durian Dreams

I always dreamed of migrating to Singapore to start a new life with my hubby. I don’t know, maybe it’s because of feeling like after ten years of working, I still find little improvement in my life.

I probably mentioned before that I have always considered Singapore as the best–if not, one of the best–countries to work and raise a family. The pay is enough to cater to your needs while also helping out with the family left in the Philippines. In my mind, if you are conscientious and determined enough, there is progress as an OFW, compared to being here in the Philippines where only your employers get rich, while you the slave employee either get miserable or contented, depending on the situation.


(Photo from here)

My ideal life is to raise kids in Singapore where they can have the best education and the best opportunities in life. Sometimes, I am scared to even think of what the future holds ahead for my kids should they grow up here in the Philippines. Yes, you may tell me that I have little faith in my own country, and I will not take offense. Why should I be offended when it is the truth? As much as I loved the Philippines, the lack of change and the general feeling of being stuck in a 10 foot express chute to hell scares me. I am more scared to what kind of life I can offer my kids. In my mind, I cannot let them grow up in a place where crooks get elected as government officials, and where opportunities are limited for the majority who doesn’t belong to the elite minority who possesses fancy surnames and unlimited wealth.

Sometimes, this dream scares the sh*t out of me.

I see my batch mates, former juniors and even former staffs find life and new beginnings abroad. And while, I always refused to compare what I have become to what they have achieved, I still can’t escape the pang of regret and a certain “pain” — sometimes, I ask myself what it is that they have done right, of which I continue to do wrong–to be given the chance to leave this country and find redemption elsewhere.

Yes, I continue not to give up. I continue to send resumes and applications to foreign companies abroad, particularly in Singapore–waiting for THE TIME when I am finally given the chance to change my life and that of my parents. For now, I continue to face each and every rejection with my head held high, and my spirits unbroken. Sometimes, I wish I could include in my application letter why I am taking my chances: that this is not only for me, but also for my parents, a chance to finally give back to two aging parents who worked their asses off just to give me and my siblings a good education. To give these two people their chance to a new life.

I will not give up, I always tell myself. So every night, before I go to sleep — I visit PinoySG, Work Abroad, ST701 Jobs, Monster SG and all the other career sites possible. I try and I try and I try. I will not give up. Someday, one of these companies will call me. I know it’s just around the bend…