singapore – day three and departure

Read about Day One here.

Read about Day Two here.

Our feet were killing us!

But we grinned and bore it as we proceeded with our last day in Singapore.

We had breakfast at the local branch of Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf inside Bugis+. I love that they gave us a huge mug.

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We checked out early so we could travel to Little India. We took the bus from St. Joseph’s Chapel to get to the Little India station.

Lunch at Apollo Banana Leaf. J remarked that the Indian food here tasted as good as the Indian food we get back home.

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Haji Lane. To get to Haji Lane from Little India, hop on a bus that will stop at Parkview Square and walk. Every bus stop has a map, so finding the right bus won’t be that hard. You can also use this link to plot your way around.

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It’s a narrow street with some cute shops.

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Hmm.

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Back to Changi Airport and then home.
We’ll be back Singapore. (Well, we’d better; thanks to my paranoia and over-budgeting I still have some Singaporean dollars left!)

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While clearing Immigration, an airport personnel read the message on my shirt, “Everything has beauty.”

“It’s true,” she said. “Here you go, beautiful.”

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singapore – day two

Read about Day One here.

I woke up early the next morning and was surprised to find that most of the shops were still closed.

Huh.

We ended up having breakfast at a fast food restaurant. (We didn’t know the hawker stalls in Albert Center were nearby and were already open.)

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We checked out the National Library.

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Here’s the entrance to the Children’s Section.

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After that, the Bras Basah Complex.

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It’s like a nostalgia trip. As in “oh my god remember Childcraft?”

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Next, the Singapore Art Museum. Entrance is S$10 each.

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This is my favorite installation: “Raising Spirits and Restoring Souls” by Zulkifle Mahmod, Singapore’s national anthem “distilled to its percussive beat” through speakers placed around the room. I love the use of pipes in this installation. The sound produced by pipes in an old house is the kind of sound you can deny (“don’t worry, it’s just the pipes”).

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A note on Progress.

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Another great installation, “Every Point of View” by Matthew Ngui.

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Stand at a certain point and the message will reveal itself.

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Orchard Road.

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Laksa once again once more for lunch.

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This is a shot of the National Library at night. It’s huge! And pretty. #butipasila

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After shopping for pasalubong, we stopped at a Doner Kebab stall at Bugis Village for dinner, S$10 for three kebabs. Yum.

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Day Three!

singapore – day one

Our trip to Singapore became less an exploration of a new place than a meditation of what we’re missing in our own city. We spent a lot of time talking about home and how tired we were that we couldn’t have this. Every conversation must have ended with a sigh and a sad “Buti pa sila”. (Lucky them.) Emerging on Bugis Street from the train, we became very much aware of the nearly deserted streets, the lack of security personnel at the entrance of malls. The humidity and the sun reminded us of Manila but without the chaos of Manila. Singapore is like Manila that turned out right. (But then right is relative; as a tourist — a first-time visitor — I can only comment on Singapore’s skin but not it’s heart.) As a friend mentioned over dinner, it is the little things that will make you stay in Singapore: the fact that you can time the arrival of the bus on your way to work, the fact that you can get on the MRT wearing your backpack and not worry that a fellow passenger will grab your wallet and phone. The little things can make you stay, and it’s also the little things, like splinters, that burrow under your skin and will make you want to leave.

But first:

Ah. Speaking of things that make you want to leave.

NCR Aviation Security Unit chief sacked amid NAIA ‘laglag-bala’ scam

And so we had to do this.

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It made me feel pretty stupid but what can you do.

We flew Cebu Pacific at 5:45 AM on Friday (the plane taxied for sooo long I had to remark, “Are we going to drive all the way to Singapore?”) and arrived at Changi Airport Terminal 2 at 9:20 AM. It was an unremarkable flight, which was great. (I’m not a fan of flying. It was the longest flight I’ve ever been on — I haven’t traveled to the US or Europe — and I was bored.out.of.my.mind. But when flying, boring is good.)

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Relevant source: Changi Airport Guide

One Singapore dollar is equivalent to around 33 Philippine pesos. We had our money changed at Sanry’s Money Changer before our trip. You can check out this link about the cost of living in Singapore to help you with your budget.

This is mine. I must tell you now that I over-budgeted on nearly every line item. You’ll be comfortable with less than S$200 pocket money.

Sample Budget $15 per meal 9 meals 135
$2 per water bottle 10 water bottles? 20
tourist pass 30
$10 per meal (snacks and coffee) 3 meals 30
Shopping 50
Pasalubong 50
Wiggle room money 50
 TOTAL 365

Our kaya toast meal (kaya toast, soft-boiled eggs, coffee with condensed milk) cost S$4.30 each, to give you an idea.

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From Terminal 2, we headed to the Changi Airport MRT station to buy a 3-day Tourist Pass. The pass, which gives you unlimited access to the buses, MRT and LRT, costs S$30 with a S$10 deposit. Go crazy! Get on and off every station if you feel like it! Just surrender the card and you’ll get your 10 bucks back. Unless you’d like to keep the card as a souvenir.

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There’s no shortage of maps and brochures at the airport. It’s a pretty Type A city. I love it.

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Relevant source: MRT Map

Getting around is pretty easy. (That’s coming from a girl who gets lost all the time.) To head to the city from Changi Airport, hop on the train heading to Tanah Merah. At Tanah Merah, switch to the East West line (green on the map) on Platform B.

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We got off at Bugis station and checked out Sim Lim Square.

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Sim Lim Square has a guide. Type A, like I said.

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It reminds me of Greenhills.

The store J wanted to check out was still closed, so we had a snack. Sim Lim Square has a food court in the basement.

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After that stopover, we walked to get to Victoria Hotel, which was on Victoria Street. I’d like to pretend I own the hotel. (And the street.)

We stopped for lunch in Bugis Village.

Laksaaaa.

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Victoria Hotel has a pretty great location. I recommend it.

We rested for a bit before heading to Gardens by the Bay to meet with Victor and Patricia, who have been working and living in Singapore for 15 years.

Remember when I said just a few paragraphs ago that I get lost all the time? So yeah, I got lost here. We have been waiting at the wrong ticket counter for 30 minutes until J realized, Maaaaybe there’s another ticket counter?

Sorry for the wait, Victor.

While lost, I snapped these shots:

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Victor took us on a tour of the two domes in the Gardens — the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest (S$28 for both domes, but Victor generously paid for our entrance fees: “Ken Liu [who attended the Singapore Writers Festival] wanted to go to the hawker stalls. I spent five dollars on Ken Liu.” So now I can say I’m more expensive than Ken Liu. Hooray?).

Victor said most of his friends from Asia prefer the Flower Dome, while Europeans more often than not prefer the Cloud Forest.

He was right. We loved the Flower Dome more.

(And to think we nearly skipped this!)

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I love the color of these deep purple flowers.

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Weird cactus.

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Hello, Little Prince.

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I love the shape of this cactus.

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I forgot the name of this flower, but it smells like rot.

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Another strange flower.

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Not a very good shot of a very tall cactus.

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I wish I knew more about plants! Victor knew a great deal about flowers and vegetables, which was a pleasant surprise.

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We had dinner and fun conversation at Supertree Dining. (J is still dreaming of that plum juice.)

Thank you Victor and Patricia!

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Day Two!