Friday, April 8, 2011

Kwentong Kaladkarin #11: Summer Sojourn in Singapura – Day 1

Da Where: Singapore City, Singapore
Da When: March 26-28, 2011
Da Who: Larry and me! :)
Da Trivia: This is my second international travel and Larry's first! I had to renew my passport for this trip and luckily got the new one only 2 days before our scheduled flight. Whew, close call! :D
Da Words for the Day: "Walking distance lang, neng." ;D

Larry and I have been giddily waiting forever for 26-Mar to come around. Ever since we purchased our 50%-off plane tickets from Cebu Pacific back in Christmas Eve of last year, we counted off the days like 2 kids waiting for, well, Christmas Eve. :D

All my bags are packed, am soooo ready to go! :)
Straight off work, we took a cab to NAIA Terminal 3 with Ice, who would also be checking in for her flight to Gen. Santos City on the same day. We were a little early which was in our favor so we'd still have time to upgrade our tickets from GoLite to seats with 15kg FBA. Although we had to shell out almost double than what we were supposed to save for booking the GoLite seats, I guess it was worth having the roomy baggage allowance. We also paid for our Philippine Travel Tax (PhP1, 620.00). We're not even off Philippine soil yet and we already had to shell out a lot. Geez...

Starving, we went straight to the food court area of Terminal 3 to get some tummy-fill. We then separated ways, us to get to our boarding area and Ice to wait for her GenSan travelmate, then pay for our terminal fee (PhP750.00), fill out the departure card and wait for our 0625 flight in Gate 113.

We boarded at around 0600 and promptly took off 25 minutes later. I still am not over my aviatophobia and I don't think I ever will so when the plane started to taxi down the runway, my hands started to get clammy. I'd have to give props to the pilot though, it was a smooth take off, I hardly felt the plane leave ground. Save for a couple turbulence pockets, our 3.5-hour flight was pretty uneventful, thank God. :)

Giddy for take-off! :)

First glimpse of Singapore, baby!

Mel and Larry, in Singapura finally! :D

After seeing first a glimpse of Indonesia, our eyes were next greeted by several ships off the coast of Singapore. The skyline dotted with tall buildings from the plane window confirmed we were a few minutes away from landing, which was also a smooth one, by the way. Our ETA for Singapore is 0940 and we arrived 5 minutes earlier.

Since we rode Cebu Pacific, which is a low cost carrier, we had to land in the Budget Terminal of Changi Airport. And boy, was everything branded as 'budget', down to the shuttles and luggage carts. :) Larry and I found it a little hilarious, actually. :D After going through immigration and getting our arrival cards and passports stamped, we stepped out into the hot 27'C Singapore weather.

First thing I noticed was the clean air and all the green I rested my eyes on. We went looking for McDonald's where we'd meet Luigi, our hostess on our short stay in the city. She was our former supervisor back when Larry and I were CSRs in Sutherland and she and her family have moved to Singapore. It was actually her who invited us to come over and offered ever graciously their home for the next 3 days.

We took a taxi to their condo which is about 5 minutes away from the airport. I almost opened the car from the right-hand side only to realize that automobiles in Singapore are driven from the right-hand side! Blooper! :D

We arrived at Luigi's place and was a greeted with beautiful poolside view from their 6th floor terrace. We also met her hubby and daughter, her mom and younger brother, already permanent residents (PR) in Singapore. They served me and Larry delicious dinuguan and pan-fried chicken for lunch. It was like I never left 'Pinas! :D

Nasa abroad na nga ako, may GMA Pinoy TV na eh. :D

Look at that terrace view, inviting blue waters!

Our generous hosts in S'pore: Kuya Richie and Mommy Luigi. :)

After a quick shower and a little unpacking, we left the house with Luigi and Richie. They loaned us EZ cards which we will use for bus and train rides; which works like the Stored Value Tickets in our MRTs here but there, these cards can be used in all SMRT lines, buses and even stores! Talk about convenience. :)

The EZ cards loaned to us for our stay.

Our first stop was Lucky Plaza Mall in Orchard Road, Luigi had to run an errand. Larry and I had a few minutes to roam around and saw shop after shop of Filipino merchandise, everything from magazine to chips. I did my first shopping by buying cheap watches, 3 for SG$10! :D

We then strolled along Orchard Road and drank in the sights and sounds. I particularly enjoyed the SG$1 ice cream wafer sandwiches, which are sold in carts scattered aplenty along Orchard. Malaysian ice cream brand Wall's  have block ice creams which would be thickly sliced and sandwiched between 2 thin wafers. Best ice cream idea ever! ;)

Our first bus ride. They have buses equipped for the differently-abled. Galing!

Checking out their SMRT lines - very tourist-friendly.

One of the underground passages, Larry trying one of the touchscreen marketing pads by Citibank.

Adult shops dot Orchard Road, anyone over 21 y/o can come in and browse. No photo-taking inside though. :(

Singapore is a shopper's dream. Shopper with lots of dough, that is. ;D

Colorful art line the sidewalks of Orchard Road

Larry and I got addicted to the SG$1 ice cream wafer sandwiches. So yummy!

Donation drives for Japan relief also abound along Orchard Rd. One group played instruments in exchange for cash.

Our next stop was Funan DigitaLife Mall in North Bridge Road to buy a gadget requested by a friend back home. This mall is known as the gadget hub in Singapore where the best deals on electronic stuff can be found. My feet hurt from just walking through floors of all the best gadgets one can salivate for. Too bad my cash was only enough for pocket money. *sigh*

Floors and floors of the best electronics, all in one place!

And when you get hungry, their food court offers meals. Here's an Ayam Penyet meal, a Malaysian chicken dish.

Walking back to the bus stop, our eyes were caught by a stately all-white building. We came closer and found out that its the Armenian Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator. We snapped some photos and took a ride on a double-deck bus (my first!). Luigi and Richie dropped us at at Bugis Street Market. It's the Singapore version of Divisoria or Baclaran but much cleaner and safer. :D Larry and I walked and roamed and took photos and bought stuff and ate ice cream sandwiches (again!) until it turned dark and my red thong sandals broke that I had to buy flipflops to wear home. Hahaha!

It was fun riding the double-decker bus. :)

Street shopping at its finest - Bugis Market

Beautiful buildings and cheap items - great match!

Oh I wish I could take these home - Wall's ice cream, a Malaysian brand

Tired feet of L&M. Said goodbye to my red thong sandals, it gave up early. :D

We took the SMRT back to Bedok then got on a Bus #5 to Upper Changi. I was proud to say we made through our first commute home without getting lost. :D Though the funny thing was, once getting to Changi Green, Larry and I couldn't, for the love of God, figure out how to get to the elevator lobby from the basement parking lot. Alex had to come down and fetch us.

Geez, we did not get lost in the city but we got lost in the condo carpark. Hahaha! :D I guess we badly need the sleep, after all. :)

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