Singapore 2016 || Haji Lane, Bugis, Sun City & Fountain of Wealth

My last Singapore 2016 travel post is finally here! Let us all rejoice! 🙂

The past two weeks have honestly been trying for me career-wise, and I have had a hard time trying to be grateful for my job. Feeling thankful for life does not come easily, and I always try to look for something I could say I can be thankful for. The current situation I’m in is making it difficult to do so especially when it comes to my job and has gotten me looking hard into my aspirations and life decisions to be made. However, I’m fortunate that there are still so many things outside of the dreadful 8-6 that has made life a little bit more bearable. C, family bonding, good food, and vacations. While we were in Singapore, I had all of that minus C. 😛

On our third to the last day in Singapore, I was supposed to meet up with my best friend who was staying in Bugis. She would be flying back to Manila at noon and was heading to the airport early. I set my alarm early that morning.. and totally missed it. Since I’m already late, we slept in some more and only got up when we started to get hungry.

We always passed by Xin Wang on our way to the train station as it was located near the bus terminal. We were hungry and had brunch here instead of looking for another place to eat in. Everything seemed yummy at the onset, but halfway through the meal, all the oil in it became off-putting and it was a bit hard to finish.

I scheduled this trip to Bugis area for the day as I planned to meet up with the best friend. Even though we didn’t get to see each other, we still went to do a little bit of shopping and to drop by the famous Haji Lane. Can you imagine that I’ve been visiting Singapore ever since I was six years old, and I still haven’t been here?

I never imagined that the common theme for Haji Lane is the abundance of this big green trash cans. Haha! There was a trash can in front of every store. It’s quite fun to look around at the stores in Haji Lane as they sell all kinds of quirky stuff I’d totally blow my budget for. My brother got a [partially] leather backpack that has survived his daily use since then (he’s notorious for accidentally breaking his things, no matter how expensive they are). I also got to buy most of my souvenirs for friend and C’s family right here. Some of the boutiques though can be quite expensive, but I’m patient and looked through all the stores first before buying anything.

Some people think that I only do my hair in braids to look fancy or more put together. But I literally wear my hair in braided updos when I either can not be bothered to style my hair loose (it gets frizzy on bad hair days) or when I don’t want to wash my hair. Haha!

It started drizzling, and luckily, we were already done with our shopping. We quickened our pace as we walked back to Bugis Junction. The humid weather has had me upping my liquid intake, and juice bars are a blessing from the heavens for us that are almost always thirsty. Since the stall is open, you would see how the juices are made from fresh fruits and are put into cups with handwritten names in it.

My sister didn’t buy any juice for herself (as usual) but bought a cup of ice cream instead. There are a lot of cafes here as well, the one much more hipster than the one before. These are well placed, though, given the volume of tourists that goes here, and that Haji Lane is one of the most Instagrammed streets in Singapore (no statistics, just assumptions).

If I’m going to pick a place to go shopping in Singapore, it would be the Bugis area. It’s very accessible via train and unless you can’t read a train map, you won’t miss Bugis Station. Aside from the fact that Haji Lane is nearby for the people who like to buy unique goods (I found this cute crochet bunny in a wedding dress that I bought for C’s engaged sister who loves bunnies), there are other options depending on your budget. There are cheap finds (and even sex shops for the kinky adults reading this blog lol) available and a plethora of street food on Bugis Street. It’s covered too so you won’t get wet while shopping when it rains, and you can haggle for lower prices on items. There are also a lot of souvenir shops within where you can buy all the magnets/shirts/mugs/etc. for your friends and family at home.

There’s also the mall where you can buy from popular Singaporean brands like Charles & Keith, or other western brands such as Topshop, MAC, etc. There’s also an open-air area in the mall, as well as parts where it imitates old colonial architecture and stalls that look like food carts. This is perfect for people with bigger budgets when shopping.

We took another Uber back to the apartment because we were all carrying a lot of heavy bags that we didn’t want to walk with. In plain words, we’re lazy. We roamed around for dinner and found this little hole in the wall which served a variety of modified Malay food that tasted nothing like it. Typical nasi goreng dishes are composed of an explosion of flavors, but this one just tasted bland. It’s like eating a spicy paper. It was such a disappointing dinner.

On our last full day in Singapore, we went out to Suntec City to meet up with one of our cousins. While we were waiting for him to arrive, I spotted this store selling *dun dun dun* more quirky things and went inside. Look at that nice bag! I snapped a photo to send C because we both have developed dangerously expensive shopping habits.

Dad initially wanted to look for a buffet to eat in, which I vetoed immediately. I was wearing a body-hugging cropped top, and I don’t plan on subjecting myself to tummy tucking aka not breathing for the entirety of the day we were out. We headed to Tony Roma’s instead for lunch and ordered a spread that we didn’t even finish!

It is in Suntec City where you can find the Fountain of Wealth. You can actually head inside the fountain on specific times and there are instructions posted outside on how to wish for wealth in the fountain. You’ll have to touch the water while circling the fountain three times. I’ve done this every single time I went, but I’m not yet wealthy.. don’t let me down, fountain. Haha!

For dinner, I wanted to try out the sushi restaurant near the apartment that had plates of sushi in a conveyor machine and the family was convinced to go. It was something I wished to do in Japan but didn’t get the chance to. For the most part, the sushi tasted okay. The hard part about it is that you don’t realize how much you’ve been eating, only to find a pile of plates at the end of your meal. Overall, it was a satisfying last dinner in Singapore. ❀

A few floors up the same building where the sushi place is located is an ice cream place that serves coconut ice cream. Dad swears by it and buys us ice cream served in a coconut bowl. Definitely not something you can eat while walking.

We went back to the apartment, with our tummies full of sushi and ice cream, to pack for our flight. We were flying out the next morning so we needed to leave by 6 AM to make sure we make our flight. The best thing about traveling in a group is that I had other people with me with suitcases where I can stash some of my other things that wouldn’t fit. Haha! As much as I’ve gotten better at making sure everything fits in my luggage, I bought some bulky items during this trip like books and bags for C, and I had a few wayward items left that my brother had room for in his luggage. Thank you travel gods!

At the risk of sounding too much like I’m bragging, I would have to say that this is the trip has been the most gratifying so far. I’ve done a bit of traveling but being able to save up and afford to bring my siblings along made me so happy. I have zero regrets about saving up all the overtime pay and night shift money on these two. I can’t help but wish that I was able to do the same for mom. However, I try to live every day as my mom’s legacy, and I hope that wherever she is, she’s proud. ❀

As this is my last post with content from 2016, I wanted to share that at 25, that “oh shit I’m falling behind my peers” feeling is a constant, nagging one. I’m lucky I have a great support system, and, a ’30-before-30′ bucket list I made when I was 21 (after graduating), to remind me that I’m actually doing great – not in comparison with other people, but with the goals I’ve set for myself. Last year I ticked off ‘Travel to 10 different countries’ and a couple other things from the list. My 21-year old self would be quite proud. ❀

Singapore 2016 || Science Centre Singapore & IMM

I’m finally on to the second to the last post of this travel series! Once I’m done with the final installment of Singapore 2016, I’ll be going through my old posts that were migrated to this blog from my old Tumblr and update some of the content (most of the links still link back to old Tumblr posts). I’m still unsure what kind of blog (and Youtube) content I will start producing once I’m done with the series but I already wrote down some ideas on my planner to work on during weekends. I plan on making more baking posts this year because I did not name this blog ‘Adventures of Cupcake Girl’ for nothing. Ha! If you have any suggestions for me on what else you want to see, let me know in the comments! 🙂

I’ve been quite busy the past week and I have spent my limited free time catching up on blogs I follow and working on my remaining backlog. The daily commute is already taking a toll on my patience now that I’m back on the day shift which starts at 8 AM and ends 10 hours after. I live in Cavite and work at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, and the public transportation is such a pain to figure out daily (especially during rush hours). UGH. I wish I could have more Mondays like the last one we had in Singapore.

As per usual, our day started off late. We needed to make a decision on whether to use our remaining Park Hopper tickets for River Safari. The rides were suspended the previous day due to the rain so we didn’t get to use it. However, the sky was dull and gray, so we decided against it lest the rides were suspended again. With that decided, we headed to the nearest mall once more for brunch. I had the ‘healthy’ rice meal in a clay pot (I only assumed that it was because there was a calorie count in the menu), while the siblings ordered from another stall. It may sound weird, but it was a proud moment for me to have grown up siblings who can make up their own minds and decide on their own (even if it was on small decisions like what to eat or on clothes to buy). All throughout our lives, we were all dependent on mom to make those small yet tedious decisions for us. She did raise us to be functioning adults who can take charge of our lives, but on chances that we have a hard time making up our minds or when we don’t even know what we want, mom was always there to help us. We miss her presence the most whenever we’re faced with moments when our first instinct is to ask what mom would do. Sorry, I’m rambling. Let’s blame it on my crazy hormones that get triggered once a month (if you get what I mean).

Someone got tired from the weekend!

As mentioned in a previous post, I already booked tickets for the Science Center for a previous date. It did say on the ticket that it’s valid for a certain amount of time after the date you bought it for, but I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t be. It, fortunately, was still valid and we didn’t have to endure the long ticketing queue. I’m quite an impatient person so I avoid queues like the plague. Claiming our tickets at the Visitor Service Centre (right at the entrance) had me sighing out in relief.

Our ticket also includes an admission for one of the movies showing at the Omnitheater. The Omnitheater is a dome theater, the biggest one of its kind in Asia. Due to its shape and the 3D glasses (that were super awesome because it also accommodates people wearing glasses since it wraps around your head), the entire screen seemed to come to life the moment it started screening. I’ve had to dodge 3D fishes swimming towards me! You know how relaxing watching fishes are? So relaxing that we all ended up falling asleep around 15 minutes into the movie. Hahaha! Even my sister who is a pro at watching movies (she stays awake no matter how dragging the storyline is) did not manage to fight off the lull of sleep.

I enjoy interactive museums, and you’d find me and C putting this kind of activities into our itinerary. Luckily, both the sibs like it as well (although maybe not as much as I do :p ) and we had so much fun exploring the museum. We’ve been to the Science Centre before, and have been to a couple other ones since, but science is an interesting subject in itself. Learning about it in a fun way like this is a great way to entice children (and everyone, really) to know more!

Since we were already on our last few days in Singapore, I decided to start hunting for a Christmas gift for C. He was bummed out that we didn’t get to spend Christmas together, so I wanted to get him something nice. Since we were already in the area, I knew we had to drop by IMM which is a big outlet mall. We took an Uber (remember that pro tip a few posts back about uber rides being cheaper than Comfort del Gro cab rides) to the outlet mall which was more convenient since it was quite a walk from the Science Centre. The mall had a lot of expensive brands that were selling things for a fraction of the price that it was packed with tourists and practical shoppers alike. Some brands even had a queue outside their store like COACH. Everyone knows I’m not a fan of queues that we never went inside, but I did find a lot of great deals in the mall. However, I was determined not to buy anything for myself. I can compare my shopping-without-an-item-in-mind habit with going down a rabbit hole where I come out the other side broke and laden with more paper bags than I can carry. Yup, nothing for me today! The mission to find C a gift was a success, and even the siblings found a gift for C as well. Everyone in our household is fond of C, even our house help since he never forgets to also bring her a souvenir whenever he goes on a trip. I am sometimes in awe of how I landed this guy. ❀

We got tired from all the shopping that we sat down for snacks at STREATS Hong Kong Cafe. As we’ve observed during our stay, the ordering system in the cafe caters to tourists (and staff that may or may not speak English) as you only need to put a check mark on your orders on a piece of paper. I’m not the biggest fan of what we ordered though as I found everything.. well, average.

On our way back to the apartment, we found directions to walk back to the train station via the J-Walk. We followed it and in true me fashion, we got lost. We may have taken a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in a completely opposite direction that the train station. What to do? I booked another uber back to the apartment. Bye money!

Singapore 2016 || Christmas at Singapore Zoo & Night Safari

It’s my first day back to working in an office during the daytime, and *drum roll* I’m sick. I’m writing this with my laptop surrounded by discarded tissue filled with, uh, the contents of my runny nose. Since I was a kid, every single time mom brings me to Manila (or just about anywhere), I show symptoms of the flu even before we get home. It was the same when I studied in a university that was a few cities away – whenever I head back to school after term break, I catch the flu and suffer for a week. When I started working, I always had to file for sick leave post vacation (admittedly, it would seem dodgy to any manager) until I flew to Denmark on a business trip with a colleague and she witnessed ‘the worst case of flu’ that lasted for two weeks (it did not hinder me running outside in my pajamas to experience my first snow storm, though). It comes as no surprise that I still got sick even though I’ve tried combatting the cold with insane amounts of vitamin C by digesting at least five mangoes per day. Is that not enough vitamin C for anyone?!

Okay. I took a break from writing to get some actual vitamin C (in tablet form) into my system. Let’s get on with this!

What was unexpected when we vacationed in Singapore is the fact that I did not get sick, even after all the rain showers we experienced. The weather was clearly not on our side during our last week as the rain ruined our short Malaysia trip. It even rained on Christmas Day!

We spent Christmas at the zoo. I was the one who suggested it, and dad went along with it. I wonder if parents feel weird bringing their grown up kids to the zoo, but I guess it’s also nice to spend days where we can be amazed and feel like children all over again.

Even with the abundance of flora at the zoo, the temperature really spiked on Christmas morning. It was sweltering, and the sun felt like a punishment for an unknown grave sin each one of us committed (so.. global warming then). We spent the earlier part of the day sweating buckets and trying to hide from the sun by visiting enclosed exhibits and utilizing the tram to get to different parts of the zoo. At one point, my sister had the brilliant idea of going to the penguin exhibit or the polar bear enclosure (aptly named ‘Frozen Tundra’) since she was under the assumption that the animals that are used to the cold would be kept in lower temperature environment. And they were! Unfortunately, it’s no Antarctica outside of the enclosure and we’re still stuck with Singapore’s stifling heat.

After failing the conquest of an air-conditioned area, we decided to find a cafe or restaurant to have lunch in. It’s as if we never learn from our previous assumptions and hoped for a cold shelter. When we checked out the zoo restaurants, they all offered al fresco dining. A lot of families apparently had the similar idea of having a late lunch so available tables were scarce. Hunger and heat do something to people, and we were all grumpy as we try to find another place to eat in. We checked the map, found that there was a KFC nearby. KFCs are usually air-conditioned, right? Ding ding ding. We were correct!

Once our tummies are full, we took the tram back to the zoo entrance to walk over to the River Safari. While we were on board, the drizzle didn’t really worry us since it wasn’t too strong. I can’t believe we were such naive optimists. By the time we got to the River Safari, their signs at the entrance all display the message that all rides (that was included in our Park Hopper package) were suspended. The downpour was strong enough to make us reconsider entering and essentially wasting our tickets, so we simply roamed around the gift shop to check out the souvenirs.

Our tickets for the Night Safari was for 7 PM, hence, we had time to burn before we could enter the park. What do we do? Eat dessert of course! Do you see a pattern here?

The rain finally stopped just before twilight, and we started walking to the Night Safari. Due to the rain, the area where people usually queued was closed off and all the visitors were to occupy the walkway. It wouldn’t even be a problem if the walkway was not lined with gift shops and food stalls, but it was. People would literally just push their way to the front of the queue. The tour groups were also given priority, so they would squeeze through the throngs of people that were lined up, and some of the people queueing decided to go with them. It was a big mess. Inside there are a couple of tram stations, but only one tram for visitors that are not of part of tour groups. Therefore, the queue to that station was insane. There was more than an hour of waiting time, and the queue was in the same sorry state as the one for entry. We opt out of the queue instead of getting crammed with dozens of sweaty line jumpers for almost two hours. At this point, all we really wanted was to grab a bite to eat, shower, and go to sleep.

We boarded a taxi back to dad’s apartment and had our Christmas dinner at the hawker center across the street. Noodles sounded like a good idea because it started raining again on our way back. After having dinner, we stopped by a bakery and a small grocery to buy more food. Good food can turn any crappy day around! Even if Murphy’s Law steamrolled all over Christmas, I still say we’re lucky. Not everyone gets to eat three meals per day or spend the holidays abroad with some of the most important people in their lives. That in itself is my version of a ‘happy holiday’. ❀

Malaysia 2016 || Legoland Malaysia

TAXES! It could not suck more. Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system. I am fond of multitasking, and while I am writing this on the side, I am also preparing my documents to file for my annual income tax return. If you have been employed by at least two different employers in a year, you are not eligible for substitute filing of annual income tax return/Form 1700 (your employer will usually file this for you if you were employed by them for the whole year). Since the company I was working for got acquired some time last year, I have two different employers on file for 2016. I am now required by law to submit my documents directly to BIR. You can submit online (as per someone I talked to last year from RDO 47 while I was filing for 2015) by downloading the offline eBIRForms package from their website. Filing for your annual income tax return isn’t the stressful part, though, it’s seeing the grand total of how much of your hard-earned money went into the government’s pocket. And to think that my money is partially funding the construction of too many decorative traffic islands that only worsen the traffic here in Cavite. Ugh.

The amount of money that was withheld for taxes could have easily gone to my travel funds. It’s been three months today since I last booked a flight. I have other goals in life that also need funding, and I am trying to minimize my travel spending to help make those come true. Imagine all I could do with that cash! I wish there’s an easy way to get out of this country, like boarding a bus and crossing the border, just so I could say I’ve gone away for a while. That was exactly what we did though, the day before Christmas. We got on a bus to Malaysia for the day.

We’ve never been to Legoland Malaysia, and we thought it would be nice to take a day trip to visit it. Dad bought us tickets to the amusement park as well as the shuttle bus from a tour agency located within the Singapore Flyer. The tickets he got were for the 9 AM bus, but there are buses that leave earlier. I suggest that you opt to get the earliest bus out, especially when traveling during the busy season or on weekends. We got to the pickup area by 8 AM and had our kaya toast (I’m not that fond of coconut but kaya is the bomb) for breakfast.

The bus left on time and the supposedly short drive to the border took hours. Traffic was slow, and the lines in the immigration were long. It was Christmas weekend so a lot of people are either vacationing or going home to their families. Traveling during the holidays could be exhausting because a lot of people had the same brilliant idea that you did. If you’re also crossing the border via a tour bus, you will also have to wait for every passenger to board the bus before you move along. I’m out of words to describe this endeavor. So. Many. Lines.

We arrived at Legoland Malaysia at around 1:30 in the afternoon. Can you imagine how arduous our journey was? We were all hungry by that time, only to realize that none of us exchanged our currencies from SGD (Singaporean Dollar) to MYR (Malaysian Ringgit). We were hopeful that the KFC located outside of the park would accept credit cards, but they didn’t and we wasted about 30 minutes of our limited time in Malaysia waiting to find out.

Unlike in Singapore where the printed out ticket (or ticket saved on your mobile phone) is sufficient enough to gain entry, we had to queue up in one counter to exchange our print outs to tickets. Only one counter was available for this, which predictably created a lot of bottleneck especially since most of the tourists from tour buses (like us), had already bought our tickets online.

When we got inside, our first order of business is to find somewhere to eat. Luckily, as with all theme parks, there was a cafe near the entrance that serves sandwiches and accepts credit cards. I had a salmon sandwich with chips, and as with most amusement parks, the food is average. Nothing remarkable, really.

Once you get inside, one of the first attractions that you will see is the miniature attractions made of Legos, Miniland. It is probably my favorite feature of the park as it is fascinating to think about how everything was created. Some of the attractions also have moving parts!

This one was supposedly the Lego version of Pangasinan. I can’t remember which part but I distinctly recall mentioning how I’ve been there but cannot imagine this scenario. Maybe a lot of things has changed since they made this, and when I visited.

It did not come as a surprise that queues for every ride had a waiting time. Hence, we passed on most of it since our bus leaves at 6 PM. It was also unfortunate that a lot of people (mostly parents with young kids) think that they have the right to cut the line. It was a park that was mostly filled with children, and the rides are all kid-friendly. But these shenanigans from park visitors give out a bad example for kids to grow up into entitled adults with no respect for other people. Ugh. The worst part about it was that it also started to rain really hard at around 4 PM. We were next in line (after spending more than thirty minutes in the queue and blocking annoying line jumpers) for an outdoor ride (Project-X) but the ride had to stop their operations to maintain safety standards. When we got out of the queue, everyone (including us) were running for shelter. We took this photo when the rain turned to drizzle. A few snapshots in, and the drizzle changed its mind and started getting stronger again. We had no choice but to run for the bus stop by 5:30 PM.

(While running, we remembered that we forgot to take a group photo with the giant sign outside. Big thanks to the stranger who saw us struggling in the rain and volunteered to quickly take a picture.)

We finally got back to Singapore around 8 PM, after another round of queueing and spending some time in the immigration. Exiting Malaysia was by far quicker than entering it! We were all knackered from the rain, the bus ride, and hanging out at the immigration that we all voted on eating at the hawker center near the apartment. We had veggies, a ginormous oyster cake, and salted egg covered prawns. I’m not sure why, but the salted egg trend has started to get massive. It’s on all kinds of chips and food now. Weird.

And that’s about it for our short Malaysia trip. I already have C onboard the plan to just fly to Malaysia the next time we visit, because I ain’t going through that again!

Singapore 2016 || JCube & Universal Studios Singapore

I’ve been working on getting the rest of this travel series out before the month ends, which include writing them in advance and automatically publish them to a schedule. The project I’m on at work is ending and it means a couple of things with regards to my schedule. After working the night shift four days a week for more than a year now, I’m back to being on day shift for five days a week. I’m also unable to work most days from home now. I honestly prefer working from home since I am more productive with my time when I don’t have to spend a total of six grueling hours trapped in the mess that is Philippine traffic. Now that I’m back to commuting daily, I foresee exhausting days in the future where I would have less time for this blog after work as I probably will pass out in bed once I get home. I’m always grateful for my job (I also like the people I work with which helps out with it a lot), but I am going to miss the convenience of missing out on this country’s horrible traffic. Another downside is I’ll make fewer savings without the night shift differential pay and shelling out money for my commute. /sigh/ Oh well, that is life! We make do with the cards we’ve been dealt with and make lemonade out of lemons. (That last one was from having BeyoncĂ© playing in the background while writing this haha!)

Let’s face it, there are days where things simply don’t go our way. Even while we’re on vacation. Especially while on vacation. Take this day in Singapore for example – I went and booked our tickets for the Science Centre Singapore via the KLOOK app that morning, put a white dress on, a gorgeous bold shade of lipstick, and went out to satisfy my burger craving. I took my first bite of the burger, only to find out that my liquid lipstick was so not smudge-proof. It spread well outside my lips and onto my cheeks, under my nose, and on my chin. I bought this shade because it was pigmented, and as it turns out, a pain to remove. After using the moist from a cup of soda and tissue to remove most of the remnants of the lipstick, I ate the burger more cautiously.. which ended up with me spilling some of the ingredients into my white dress. Cue mantra: this are just lemons, this are just lemons.

Fortunately, we had an uneventful train ride to Jurong East. It was a long ride from Yishun, and since it was well past rush hour, there were vacant seats available and I got to read a book on our way there. From the station, it’s an easy walk to the Science Centre. But wouldn’t you know it, it started drizzling the moment we got off the train. And a few minutes in, it turned into full on rain. Oh, the joys of vacationing in a tropical country. We explored JCube (the funny thing is there was also a Sephora in JCube, and it was another round of disappointment for another day), the mall beside the station, as the rain got stronger. I knew that even if we took the bus to Science Centre, we’d get soaked. So we decided to spend the day in the mall and just watch movies instead. It was my first time to encounter self-service ticketing for movies! You choose your movie, the show time, your seats, and simply tap your Mastercard on the machine for payment. They then print your tickets right out. So convenient, you guys.

We had time to burn, so off to the food hall, we go. We had a variety of shaved ice desserts even though the weather has cooled down significantly due to the weather. I couldn’t be bothered to write down the names of each of our desserts, but mine came with a calamansi on the side. It was a bit unusual for dessert, but as they say, when life gives you calamansi, you squeeze it all over your dessert.

We got back to Yishun a bit earlier than usual. I saw Dofu inside the bus station and was intrigued by vegan ice cream. As you all know by now, I’m not a fitness enthusiast nor a very healthy eater, so vegan and ice cream was a combination that was new to me. Oh, I knew they existed, but I have not tried one yet. Dofu makes ice cream from tofu/soy, hence the name. I got the ‘Absolute’ which had soy pudding, soy ice cream, and toppings of your choice. I don’t know about you or where you came from but soy pudding is common all over Asia. Locally, we have taho. They also serve it hot in the streets of Vietnam with ginger syrup (I can’t pronounce nor spell the name they call it, so I won’t even attempt). Hong Kong also has douhua.

Since eating is prohibited inside buses in Singapore, and we don’t plan on tempting fate by doing so and hoping we don’t get caught, the unanimous decision was to walk back to dad’s apartment. The rain has stopped by then, and we only had to avoid puddles in the sidewalk while we made our way back. So, overall, it was a pretty chill day.

The following day was my sister’s birthday, and she had the option to choose where we spend the day. She picked Universal Studios Singapore. I usually try to avoid amusement parks like a plague on weekends and holidays, and that day was a combination of both. December is peak season for tourists all over, and we ended up spending more time queueing up than actually on the rides.

The place was packed! I’m not the biggest fan of crowds, heck, let me correct that and say the truth. I hate crowds. I don’t like strangers invading my personal space, and we need to have a certain level of relationship for me to feel comfortable with any kind of contact. That day, I was literally rubbing elbows with strangers and it was unavoidable to bump into someone. Many someones. Add the fact that the weather was hot and humid, and everyone was sweating buckets. /shivers

For the first time ever, the Battlestar Galactica ride was open. I’ve been to Singapore a couple of times ever since the amusement park opened, and every single time, it was ‘under maintenance’. The queue for both rides (Human and Alien), were around 90 minutes each. I like the Alien track better because it was the one with the loop, but the Human track was fantastic if you don’t sit in the middle because it felt like you were hanging from the edges. Before you ask, the answer is yes, I am a little bit of an adrenaline junkie.

We had dinner at Vivo City after, in the hopes of letting the rush pass before heading back to the apartment. The sister is a big fan of chicken (she and chicken boy gets along when it comes to food), so dad made this huge order of chicken wings. We also had satay (leftmost part of the photo), carrot cake (rightmost part), and I forgot what the wrap was called. The carrot cake that did not resemble anything like the carrot cake I’m accustomed to (you know, the one covered in cream cheese), was surprisingly tasty. My brother and I emptied the plate in a jiffy. I also enjoyed the peanut sauce that came with the satay. Now I’m craving for peanut sauce to pour over my steaming white rice. Typical me.

Singapore 2016 || Holland Road, Singapore Botanic Garden & Orchard Road

Writing about our most recent trip to Singapore has led me to a path of reminiscing the past. Singapore was the destination of the first international flight I got on to. And since then, I have flown to the Lion City in a variety of circumstances. While most of the trips were to spend time with family, it was also the land of many of my firsts. My first international trip without my parents was to Singapore as a college student. When I started earning my own money, I spent my first birthday away from home, and our first international couple trip, by flying there. Even though I have set foot in Singaporean soil more times than I could remember, I find that there still is somewhere I haven’t gone to. Can you believe that from all the summers we spent lounging around in my dad’s apartment, we have actually never been to Holland Village?

The initial plan for the day was to have breakfast in Holland Village. I don’t know why, but places that have the word ‘village’ in it always feel like a good place for a cafe that serves great breakfast. However, as usual, we woke up late and we took (at ‘we’, it’s mostly me) ages to prepare for the day that we ended up having brunch over at Gelare near Yishun station. When I placed my order, the serving seemed small and light. Summary: I was wrong in thinking that.

Since we were all full even after the short walk to the train station, we decided against having another meal at Holland Village and have desserts instead. It was pretty helpful to have the place with their own station, as we only needed to consult the map to make sure we end up in the right place. This is a common theme all throughout Singapore that using public transportation is super convenient.

To be completely honest, I did not do any research on Holland Village to check whether it has quirky stores we could visit, or cafes we must eat in. When we got there, we found out that it’s filled with mostly dining establishments. We roamed around to find a place that seemed to have desserts. It was a little past noon so there was not a lot of diners on the street. We came during an off-peak hour and tourists were a bit scarce.

We found Project Acai and was immediately interested by their ‘superfood bowls’. I am no fitness enthusiast but that sounded like something healthy. The photo they had on their stand outside though did not seem like your usual salad (yes, I stereotype healthy food) and that convinced us to go in.

Their interior would be best described as cozy minimalist. I wouldn’t really know, I have little knowledge of interior design. I did like the look of their high ceiling, hanging light bulbs, and wooden furniture. Although I’m still confused about their tables – it was attached to the wall but you can slightly move it but it will instantly go back to its original position. The counter was manned by a three-women team, and they were friendly enough to explain what goes on to each bowl even though you can also read it from their menu.

My brother and I both had their original flavor acai bowl, while my sister had their chocolate smoothie. Everything had acai in it, and frankly, I didn’t even know what an acai was before this. Apparently, acai is a berry and the acai bowl’s base is a thick smoothie (with icecream-like texture) made from it. It is then topped with fruits and oatmeal. Eating something healthy for dessert is a new experience for me, but it was a good one that I’m already craving for it while writing about it. Ugh! Where to find acai bowls in Manila?

After having dessert in Holland Village (I seriously recommend Project Acai, you guys), our next stop was Singapore Botanic Gardens. When we came here for my birthday a few years back, we had a fantastic time dining al fresco over at Casa Verde. The original plan was to head to their Singapore Botanic Garden branch so we could roam around the expansive gardens and burn our breakfast before having lunch. Unfortunately, since we ended up too late, we arrived there in the middle of the noon when the sun was at its peak. Walking under the scorching sun was not a fun endeavor that we simply took a couple of photos and headed back to the station to catch the train to Orchard Road.

As you would know from the countless travel blogs touting Orchard Road as Singapore’s shopping street, I was not planning to buy anything there aside from the list I made from Sephora Singapore’s website. It is a shopping road – filled with malls, and mostly luxury brands, so I wasn’t keen on blowing my life savings in one day. However, since the biggest branch of Sephora was in Ion Orchard, I knew I had to go. It was why it was a facepalm moment when I found out that all the items I wanted to buy were either sold out (due to the holiday rush) or only sold online. Mission not accomplished!

PSA: There has been a markup on the ice cream sandwich that Orchard Road is famous for. It used to be $1 and now it’s $1.20!

I did a quick search on my phone to find out if there were other branches of Sephora over at Orchard Road, and there was a smaller one over at Ngee Ann City. Getting inside the mall, you would already get the feeling that it’s a luxury mall. I’m not sure what the biggest giveaway is, the massive Chanel store near the entrance, the obnoxiously tall and sparkling Christmas tree, or LadurĂ©e’s macaron display. LadurĂ©e also has a branch in Manila (LadurĂ©e Manille), but I made a promise to myself that I would only try their macarons once I set foot in Paris.

Alas, it was not in my destiny to buy the items I wanted to buy from Sephora. As a consolation, we checked out Kinokuniya. It’s a bookstore so vast, one could get lost in it. Literally. My sister got separated from us when she got too entranced with books and was near tears when we found her. The bright side is I got books, and the right books can do to your mind what makeup does to your face.

Since we were already in Orchard Road, we went to Wisma Atria for dinner. I remembered that there were a lot of dining options inside, so we aimlessly looked around until we found Picnic Singapore. It’s a whimsical garden themed food hall where they hand you an electronic buzzer that you will use to place orders. There were food trucks in one spot where you use the touchscreen menu to order, place your buzzer in the machine, and it will alert you when it’s time to get your order. You will see the total amount you have to pay using the machine near the exit, and you either use your card or place your money in the machine’s cash slot. Such a unique experience.

Unfortunately, my taste buds wildly disagree. Everything we ordered was just meh, and the novelty immediately wore off upon eating. Essentially, you’re paying the $$ for the well-decorated food hall, the ambiance, and the automation. I’ve had better in a hawker center. In hindsight, I should have dragged the sibs to the Din Tai Fung within the same building.

On another note: I made an oopsie by publishing my previous post/Day 5 first instead of this one/Day 4. I try to get posts out chronologically because this blog is my online journal of sorts. But I’m human who makes mistakes. Oh well, better luck next time!

Singapore 2016 || Jurong Bird Park & Clarke Quay

I still can’t believe I’m actually composing this post with my own laptop! I have written on and on about buying a new one, and frankly, I’m surprised no one has pointed out how redundant it was. It took me a while to be convinced that I needed one, but rendering videos via Windows Movie Maker (which is user-friendly but unfortunately limiting) and editing via Paint for months now has sealed the deal. I was using C’s old netbook and I wasn’t planning on purchasing any software until I had my own. I also seem to have an affinity for things that are hard to find, because when I finally set aside a budget and found something that fit my minimal ‘technological’ needs and aesthetic, it was a challenge to find. The search for the elusive laptop ended after five months of hunting. No, it did not end because I got my hands on it, as the easiest way to get it in Manila is to preorder (I was never the biggest fan of handing people my hard-earned money and sitting patiently while I wait a minimum of one week for it to arrive). Another alternative was to fly to Taiwan where it was surely available (if you’ve been following this travel series and watching the accompanying vlogs, even Singapore did not have it), but worry about warranty/getting it serviced/different keyboard. C went and looked for an alternative with the same specs within my price range and found me one that is also pleasing to my eyes. Yay for supportive life partners! ❀

Now the goal (here I go again) is to fix up my blog (I’ve already updated my blog’s theme, but still encountering minor issues when using Internet Explorer and mobile phone browser) and get all the posts out of my drafts before getting on and creating new ones. It seems such a feat to accomplish, given that I’ve been home for a month now and I haven’t even finished this Christmas’ travel series. On brighter news, I do think I’m back on track especially now that I’m pumped up without the itches (but still covered in patchy, discolored skin – call me Spots from now on lol). So, there’s quite a mouthful of life updates for you! 🙂

Oh, and I forgot to mention earlier that I am back to working the day shift. It’s nice to see the sun again but do you know how hard it is to wake up early? Take this day in Singapore as an example – we left the apartment by 9:30 in the morning and I actually thought that it was early! Since we were nearing noon, we decided to have brunch and eat rice for our first meal of the day. We had Japanese food this time and weird-sounding drinks that are different versions of sago’t gulaman.

Our first stop for the day is Jurong Bird Park. We’ve been to all the animal parks before, but Singapore is a small country and we wanted to have something to do. We bought the Parkhopper Plus tickets online since there’s an additional 10% discount if you do so. You can buy it in advance and visit the parks on different days as long as you visit it within 7 days of your first park visit. It’s also easier to buy tickets online since you just need to save a copy on your phone and have them scan it upon entry, instead of queueing for the tickets. Great system!

Jurong Bird Park is filled with – you guessed it – birds, and I am constantly amazed at how much Singapore values the environment. They try to contain their animals in spaces that are closest to their natural habitat. For such a small country, they put a lot of land and money to promote parks and conservation in general. I wish we could do the same here in Manila. We have Manila Zoo, but it’s unkempt and frankly, just needs to be revamped. I remember there was even a controversy with how they were taking care of the animals a few years back. 😩

(The two photos below are of my brother taking a picture of me, and the picture he took, respectively)

The park is huge! If you plan to walk the whole way, it would probably take you at least half the day to see everything. What we did was to get a copy of the park’s map, mark all the exhibits we wanted to see and board the tram to the different park stations. Once we got off a station, we explore the surrounding exhibits that we wanted to see before heading back for another tram ride. Yes, we were that lazy. 😛

The waterfall aviary houses what is allegedly the tallest manmade waterfall in the world. It was mentioned in the guided tram ride, but while I was cross checking facts in writing this post, numerous other manmade waterfalls appear when I try to search it. It’s still up there though. 🙂

If you have children along with you, the Birds of Play is perfect for them. There’s a playground and I think there are some animals that the children could interact with? I’m not entirely sure though because we only did a swift look around of the area and didn’t inspect every nook and cranny.

See what I mean about their conservation efforts? The research center has been open since 1988 and it’s where they make sure that all the birds get a chance at life.

They also have shows scheduled for the day in both the Hawk Arena and the Pools Amphitheatre. We watched both shows, which is unfortunately not on video because I usually get entranced by these kinds of display and I totally forget I have a camera with me. I distinctly remember attending one of the shows a few years back where the birds race their bicycles on the table and sing the birthday song. I wonder what happened, though, because I was looking forward to reminiscing my childhood with it but it was not included in their performance.

After the bird park, we headed to Clarke Quay. The real reason behind this outing is to try out the G-Max reverse bungee ride that was situated here. We were supposed to meet up with our cousin and dad for dinner, but we arrived early. We decided to burn our time in the food court since we weren’t sure whether there were coffee shops we could hang out in. Pro tip: always check before settling! After spending more than an hour sipping on milk tea, and munching on noodle soup, we headed up to the mall the train station was attached to.. and found out just how many cafes there were right above the food court. Haha!

To burn off all that noodles (it was yummy, though, so no regrets), we roamed around the entire mall. Let me tell you – of all the malls I have set foot on in Singapore, this was my favorite. There were so many stores that sell quirky little knick knacks that you absolutely know you wouldn’t use but is tempted to purchase anyway. There were also great finds at boutiques that sell mod clothing which I’m a big fan of. There were too many cute items for sale I was worried for my wallet!

Their wall decors do not help in trying to fight off the urge to buy everything in sight, too!

And as they say, time flies by when you’re having fun. Even I was amazed by my self-discipline when I ended up buying nothing during our entire foray into window shopping. It isn’t a surprise that I couldn’t decide on anything as there were just too many to choose from.

Dad offered to pay for our tickets for both the swing and the bungee ride, so when he got there, we went across the river to meet up with him. While walking, a couple of people availed the ride and we got to see it in action. Alas, both siblings paled and promptly backed out. They got lucky and took it as a sign from the universe that they were not meant to go on the ride when the card reader failed while dad was trying to buy the tickets.

We decided against taking the boat ride that goes all the way to Marina Bay Sands. As it turns out, the queue for the boat ride was longer at night, and we just weren’t willing to wait that long.

Dad enjoys eating in places where there’s a live band, while my sister hates it. But it’s Clarke Quay and people come here to get wasted (hopefully, not fall into the river while they’re at it) while listening to music. We walked around and ended up at a Mexican restaurant.

Aside from my sister who is also rallying an anti-drinking campaign, we all had alcoholic drinks. Not enough to even get tipsy because who I couldn’t get over at how expensive their cocktail drinks were. Ahh, we have it good here in the Philippines with our cheap booze. #priorities

We had their best-selling fajitas that I’m not a fan of. I am mostly not a fan of food that I need to assemble/cook myself (yes, that includes hotpots). I’m eating out for a reason! We also had their baby back ribs (I’ve had better, to be honest) and cheesy quesadillas (cheese + quesadillas are great anywhere, it’s not an easy dish to screw up).

We headed home after dinner and I promptly passed out on the bed. Traveling is fun, but it could get exhausting too. I find that I enjoy trips better when I don’t spend my days waking too early and having a jam-packed day to see everything there is to see. To each their own. 🙂

Singapore 2016 || Artscience Museum, Gardens by the Bay, Merlion Park & Makansutra

I write this down, with hives all over my body and the urge to scratch every inch of my skin. If you follow me on Instagram (@teeshue, because shameless plugging) and has watched my stories, you would know how I am now on Day 6 of my breakout. It was strange, really. I have no known food allergies (safe to say the imaginary allergies I’ve invented to get out of eating things I don’t like will never be used again), and I was shocked to find red dots peppering my face one morning. I had seafood ramen the night before (I’m looking at you Yushoken), and didn’t experience any adverse effects until I woke up the next morning. What started off as small red spots, turned into lumpy hives and an immediate trip to the emergency room. I spent a few hours with a heplock on my left hand where they proceeded to flush in the medication. One of the medications stung even if it was diluted, the other had me so dizzy I felt nauseous just having my eyes open, and the other one was to prevent a stomach ache that was threatening to happen. I got wheeled around for tests, and all of them came back with positive, albeit, useless news. They could see no infections, nothing wrong with my blood work, and even my lungs are fine (they took a chest x-ray). I was prescribed meds, told to go on a hypoallergenic diet (summary: nothing tastes good), and was discharged. Every day, the hives keep looking more prominent, the spots have spread, merged, and you can’t even distinguish one from the other. It feels like I have a world map of hives all over my body, and maybe if I look hard enough, I’d find Russia by my shoulders. Ugh. I try to avoid expletives, but everything is so fucking itchy. So. Fucking. Itchy.

I can’t help but wish I was back on vacation where most of our daily problems revolve around where to eat in. Since we woke up quite late on our third day in Singapore, we headed to the nearest mall’s food court to have brunch. we decided on chicken rice. When in Singapore, do as Singaporeans do. And I bet it’s safe to assume that it’s chicken rice. 😉 (Now I’m sad because I can’t eat poultry!!!)

Our itinerary for the day was actually Singapore Flyer, Artscience Museum, Gardens by the Bay, and Merlion Park. However, my brother who was celebrating his birthday vetoed the Singapore Flyer idea. I couldn’t really argue with that because it’s not his cup of tea, so we headed to Artscience Museum as well. We initially were headed to the Gardens by the Bay, until I remembered that we were supposed to go there late in the afternoon so it wouldn’t be too hot to roam around.

The train station is connected to The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, and oh boy, the place just reeks of opulence. How opulent, you ask? Well they have mini gondolas and an indoor version of a canal. Visitors could pay for a ride but I have long made a promise that I will not subject myself to gondola rides unless it’s on Venetian waters.

There was a fair amount of walking that needed to be done from the station to the museum. We basically just walked the entire length of the mall, and although it was a little intimidating to be surrounded by things I probably would never buy in this lifetime, it was fun to see how the other side lives. Haha! But in all honesty, there was a point in time in my youth where I probably would not even step inside the place, or rush if I really needed to go through. Now that I’m making my own money, I found a tiny bit of confidence to go to fancy places. 🙂

The museum is pretty hard to miss once you are in the vicinity of it. It’s this huge weird shaped structure that is supposed to resemble an open lotus flower, hence, it was surrounded by actual lotus flowers. I personally do not see the resemblance as it looks more like a futuristic spaceship to me. And since we’re already on the topic of spaceships, one of the ongoing exhibits when we visited was on NASA – A Human Adventure.

Inside the exhibit was a plethora of novelty items and space-themed memorabilia. When they first launched satellites and sent astronauts to space, a lot of children’s items was released for the public too.

There were also non-working prototypes of machinery, satellite parts, and even the ship they boarded to go to the moon. Museum visitors can also pay for a ride where they mimic the sensations of being aboard a ship that takes off from Earth. We paid to get into it, and it was quite an educational experience. Outside, you see the contraption rotate at a high speed. But while onboard, there was a perception of one moment where gravity had a grip on you, and suddenly you are released. It is quite difficult to put into writing.

Another exhibition on the same floor (which was the basement), is Future World. It’s an interactive exhibit which is great if you are visiting with children. Hell, I’m not even a kid and we spent a good chunk of our time here. You have options to draw a variety of things and species which you are able to virtually add on to a town or the sea, and these boards even respond to external forces (I didn’t know how to phrase it appropriately haha). One can disturb drawn on marine animals and they will scatter! How adorable is that? There was also an installation of how land and sea has changed over the years, and it was so easy to get lost in it especially because there were bean bags in the middle.

The last exhibit we went to is Journey to Infinity: Escher’s World of Wonder. It’s at the highest level of the museum, and among the three exhibits, it had the most ‘museum’ vibe to it. Walls are lined with the work of M.C. Escher. Like me, you may not be that familiar with his name. But if you see those illusions of seemingly endless puzzles – well, it is his life’s work. His interest in it was both born from nature and math, and how the two is intertwined. Fascinating stuff. There was also a gift shop full of puzzles somewhere inside the exhibit.

Heading back to the station, we passed by TWG, and I wanted to try it out. It’s a Singaporean brand which has already expanded in Manila, and I was torn whether to try their Singapore branch as well. The sibs left the decision up to me, and I ended up suggesting having cakes in Bakerzin instead. So we walked all the way back to the station and had to go the other way from where we came through to get to Gardens by the Bay. It was high noon at the time, and the sun unforgiving, that we paid for all-day shuttle rides to get to the domes (and essentially, Bakerzin). Instead of cakes, though, we ended up ordering snacks that were.. frankly, just disappointing. Head to Bakerzin for their cakes and nothing else – is a tip I would give to anyone willing to listen.

My sister ordered the carbonara (bland!), and, the birthday boy and I, both had unappetizing fish and chips.

I bought tickets to both conservatories via KLOOK, which is a ticketing app for tourist attractions in Asia. There was a minimal discount if you buy from the app, and I double-checked with the actual prices to make sure that I was buying them for less than they cost. What? I may not look like it, but I’m also frugal in so many ways.

Entering the Flower Dome was magical. Aside from the temperature drop (vacationing in a tropical country when you come from one isn’t the most fun thing to do), the entire dome was oozing with Christmas spirit. I admittedly had been the Grinch this past holiday, but even I could feel myself becoming festive inside the dome. There were nutcrackers and ballerinas spinning inside enormous snow globes, winter-themed Christmas trees, and fake snow. I would really like real snow now, please.

The temperature is centrally maintained for the upkeep of the plants that are used to this climate. I’m not sure if most of the flora and fauna in the place can survive the high heat outside, but most of them were imported from places of cooler climate.

I wasn’t able to guess by looking at it outside (maybe because I was too near), but this place is huge! Given that, you’d find there were a lot of couples who decided that it was the perfect place to get their prenuptial photos taken. The couple below weren’t the only couple having their photos taken that day.

The other conservatory, Cloud Forest might even be the bigger of the two, with its own manmade waterfall! How crazy is that! Seeing all this, it’s pretty hard to imagine how small of a country Singapore really is. The balance between nature and the high rise buildings over at Singapore does not tip excessively either way.

Visitors can take the lift to get to the walkway up top. I did not expect it to be that high, but it was.

Below the waterfall is the secret garden, filled with tropical rainforest shrubbery.

If we’re going to be honest, we hanged out around the Supertree Grove to wait for it to light up before taking photos. But we got bored and being bitten by mosquitoes while waiting turned us off the idea.

Our last stop for the day is The Merlion Park. On our way there, we passed by The Fullerton Hotel. It looks so majestic from the outside.

It was a hot and humid evening that we grabbed the opportunity to buy smoothies from the nearby stall. Bleh! I had the mango flavored one and it was the embodiment of artificial in a cup.

A nice moment though was while we were trying to take selfies with the big Merlion in the background, a fellow tourist offered a hand. She even took them in different angles! (I’m not sharing it here though because it was too dark and I would need to edit it first which I’m real lazy to do)

Since it was my brother’s birthday, dad was meeting up with us at Esplanade so we could all walk over to Makansutra. Unfortunately, it rained when we got there and it made it harder to find a table we could occupy. The diners of the tables outside of the covered area (they had tents erected) immediately rushed to find another table and we were left to wait for other people to finish their dinner. We did get to eat so much food later that the wait was worth it!

We’ve been to Singapore countless times, but this was the first time I tried chili crab. I enjoyed dipping the bread in the sauce. (Now I’m craving again!!!)

Singapore 2016 || S.E.A. Aquarium & Adventure Cove

I like to think that I am finally at the point where I am conquering my backlog, albeit rather slowly. But this is better than nothing. For some time, and for reasons I have revealed scattered in a number of posts, I have not felt any motivation to do anything. Fortunately, it hasn’t affected my job at all, but it seems that I have lost interest in working on my passion projects. I have a couple of them too – this blog, baking (@thecupcakeengineer on Instagram), and traveling. So far, it is with this blog where I find the most difficult to move forward with. There are days where I sit in front of the laptop, and.. nothing. Na-da. Back when I had more deadlines to work on, and rarely had some free time, words flowed seamlessly and I never even realize how much time I spend on writing. Creativity, where art thou? I’d lamented to the same tune repeatedly until C went “well, why don’t you just do it? When you want to do something, just do it. That’s what you usually do anyway.”. Aaaaaand here I am!

Thank goodness for sales. I have never flown with Singapore Airlines before (and wouldn’t have been able to justify buying tickets for three people with their normal rates) but luckily, their month-wide anniversary sale sold round trip tickets that were significantly cheaper than if I went with Philippine Airlines (usual airline of choice when flying within Asia). I even cross checked with Jetstar and the price was almost the same! Yay for seat sales, nay for Philippine traffic and flying out during the holiday season. We encountered moderate traffic (meaning our 1-hour trip to the airport turned to 2.5 hours), and the queues to both travel tax and immigration only left us enough time to be there before boarding started. We didn’t even get the brunt of traveling during the holidays because we left early December!

Of course, I utilized the hot towels, in-flight entertainment system, and drank up all the liquids I could take in without needing to pee in that three-hour flight. It’s the most I’ve spent on tickets in my life (due to the fact that I was paying for three people haha!), and I was determined to make the best out of it.

I have never been fond of airplane food. It’s not an affront to any of the airlines I’ve tried, but my taste buds are used to over seasoned food. Hence, everything tastes bland to me. The thing I usually enjoy the most is the bread and butter because it tastes the same everywhere.

Dad picked us up from the airport and we took the cab back to his apartment. It was kinda crazy to be sharing the room with two other people (my sibs) because we all had our own rooms back home. We also shared one bathroom and I got dibs on being the first to use it every morning and before going to bed. 😛

Our agenda for the first day is to visit the S.E.A. Aquarium and Adventure Cove over at Sentosa. I think both parks may belong to Resorts World as it’s in the same stop on the Sentosa line. Since it was a Sunday, the train and the park was packed!

It does not look very much like it was crowded in the photos, but it was. Or maybe it’s just the crowd hater in me that’s talking? 😛

The aquarium was further than Universal Studios from the station and is a short walk nearer to the harbor. By the time you get close, you’ll realize just how near the sea really is from the park.

The building is quite big, and the upper floors are converted into galleries of some sort, displaying items from all over South East Asia. Nothing you haven’t seen before if you’ve lived in any of these countries – straw hats and baskets, embroidered linen, and the usual produce.


It’s as if I never learn anything! Once again, I bought a pair of gartered sandals before our trip and decided not to break it in simply because it’s white. White footwear tends to get dirtier after every use and I was trying to avoid that and put it straight into my luggage. The result was having to sit down every while and then due to new blisters forming on top of blister scars. It’s a vicious cycle, you guys!

Singapore, in general, promotes waste reduction. Although they haven’t steered clear of using plastics and what not, they have a strict garbage disposal and littering violations. Here’s a Christmas tree made entirely of used plastic bottles!

Down we go to the aquarium itself, and the first thing you see is the tunnel walkway which will make you feel like you’re swimming with the sharks. There was also a couple of people in scuba diving gear that were swimming with the sharks. I bet this is an activity one could do for a hefty price.

There’s a touch pool that is perfect, especially for curious children. Me, included!

After spending the morning in the aquarium, we headed out to look for lunch. With so many multicultural restaurants in the area, we ended up in the Malaysian Food Street. It’s basically an air-conditioned hawker center filled with food stalls.

I’m not the biggest fan of spicy food.. and ended up with whatever this spicy dish is. I made the mistake of asking my dad if this was spicy and unfortunately believed his taste buds when he said that is is not. Rookie mistake asking for my dad’s advice on which meal to choose knowing that he enjoys spicy food.

Our last stop is at Adventure Cove Waterpark. I don’t have any photos nor videos of the fun waterslides they have, nor the part where you can actually swim with the fishes since none of our cameras are waterproof. It still is a must try if you’re traveling with your family (or your friends). Pro tip: get a fast pass! We only found out about this when we were getting our things from our lockers. The queue to some of the rides took about an hour which gets pretty tiring too.

When we’ve had enough swimming done, we headed back to Yishun for dinner and to buy the laptop I wanted. The model was available but unfortunately, the color I was looking for was not. It’s already available here in the Philippines, but you would have to coordinate with the store of your choice to have it delivered from either another branch or their warehouse. And I didn’t want to wait. As it turns out, I would have to. Oh well.

(I made a series of daily travel vlogs while I was in Singapore. Let me know if it’s something I should keep doing, or I should just stick with a short travel highlight!)

Singapore 2016 || Travel Highlights

Last year, I bought me and my siblings’ tickets to Cebu and ‘sponsored’ an out of town trip instead of buying them birthday and Christmas gifts. We were there for four days, and it was there where I promised that trips will be my presents from then on. This year, I decided that I must up my game and treat the siblings to an out of the country trip. Not trying to be sentimental, but having mom die so near the holiday season have unfortunately drained us out of yuletide feels (although I am hoping this is temporary). It’s the second year where it was noticeable how much our house lacked any hint it was nearing Christmas (aside from our festive red and green curtains).We decided on Singapore being our destination since our dad was based there and we would save a great deal of money by staying with him in his flat. Sure, we can go anywhere else as it really is a ridiculously expensive country, but I managed by spending half my year saving up for this trip. All my night shift premium and salary bonuses went to flying us three to The Lion City. And as I’ve said over at Instagram (@teeshue), it is the trip I am most proud of for that past four years where I’ve been paying for my own trips.

We decided on Singapore being our destination since our dad was based there and we would save a great deal of money by staying with him in his flat. Our trip was supposed to cover both Christmas and New Year’s, extending the trip to longer than two weeks. However, my sister needs to go back to school early. Sure, we can go anywhere else as it really is a ridiculously expensive country, but I managed by spending half my year saving up for this trip. All my night shift premium and salary bonuses went to flying us three to The Lion City. And as I’ve said over at Instagram (@teeshue), it is the trip I am most proud of for that past four years where I’ve been paying for my own trips. The sibs may annoy me so much that I’ve literally thought about strangling them, but I have no regrets over spending my money on them. Heh. 😛