A Filipino's first trip to Singapore

February 10, 2007 9:43am CST
Last October 2006, a couple of my colleagues and I went to Singapore with the dual purpose of searching for job opportunities and of course, fun! The first thing we did was book our round-trip flights at Tiger Airways online, and then we scoured the net for online booking sites for the most affordable place to stay, as we did not have any family of acquaintances over there. There is a link to such a site in the Tiger Airways and ended up booking at Bugis Backpackers Hostel, where we stayed in a 3 bedroom room for around SGD29.00 a head. A little bit of advice, book as soon as you can, because we almost ran out of rooms, each time I refreshed the website, the other hostels/hotels had become fully booked by then. Aside from the obvious affordability of the place, the reason we selected BBH was because of its location, right smack in the middle of Bugis Village. It has the bazaar in its backyard, which is excellent for shopping, and cheap dining, as well as a selection of affordable eateries and shops right below it, including a McDonald's. Also, it is a mere walk away from Queensway, the electronics mecca of the city. The flight to Singapore from the Angeles Airport was 3 and a half hours long. The Budget Terminal of the Changi International Airport puts its Philippine counterparts to shame, it was so clean, and processing was easy. Conversion of dollars/pesos to SGD was easily done at the terminal itself. A bus will take you to the famous metrorail for free, and from then, it was a mere 3 or four terminals before Bugis Village. From the MRT, simply cross the street to find the hostel. I suggest buying a handy EZ-Link card at the terminal, which you can use in place of tickets at the MRT, and even in the buses. I must say, Singapore was as hot as Manila, although not as humid. After reading all the testimonials about how clean it was, I was a bit disappointed to see the usual litter, albeit in smaller amounts, on the streets, with bystanders smoking in the sidewalk. The hostel itself comprised the third levels of 3 or 4 adjoining buildings. We were pleasantly surprised to see that the receptionist/clerk was a Filipina. The place itself was cozy, with a tiny living area where one could watch tv, or use the computer in the corner. They also provided free breakfast consisting of bread, jams and coffee/tea in their kitchen. There were clean communal shower rooms and toilets for each section, and the room we got was very roomy. As soon as we settled in, we ventured to the bazaar/night market where we were able to sample dishes for around SGD 3-6 each, and shop for souvenirs afterwards. We exhausted ourselves exploring Singapore and visiting the various establishments we submitted applications to. The other parts of Singapore were comparatively cleaner. During the night, we visited the famed Orchard Rd which were populated with a huge selection of posh and more pocket-friendly malls and establishments. Be sure to sample their scrumptiously thick ice cream sandwiches being sold by friendly street vendors. And for Filipinos, you won't find any problems finding kababayans, OFWs and tourists abound. It was a delight to find some establishments catering to Pinoys, and selling Philippine-made products. We visit the amazing Jurong Bird Park, with the largest aviary that has monorail that passes near a large manmade waterfall. We had plans to visit Sentosa as well as the Night Safari, but we missed the shows since it actually took several hours to reach the place. Instead we visited the famous Merlion, which was a lot bigger then expected, as well as China Town and Little India. Leaving was a drag, but as first time country hoppers had specified only a certain number of days of stay in the Immigration Card. My advice, leave room for possible extension of stay, which could be approved at the Embassy. All in all, Singapore was a great experience, a FINE, lovely and very tourist friendly country. It's definitely a rising star, as its appreciating currency attests to. One visit is surely not enough :D
1 person likes this
2 responses
@Munira (484)
• United States
10 Feb 07
I, personally, have never been to Singapore. It sounds like someplace I would like to visit. Besides, I prefer the heat over the cold on any given day. But, I do not care for much humidity. I would love to see a picture of you at a tourist site.
@makaira (1159)
• Philippines
10 Feb 07
singapore is indeed a nice country. you'll find lots of beautiful palces there. there are many Filipinos is Singapore also. yeah, its hot as manila but not as humid. we also stayed in a backpackers and it's cheaper as compared to the one where you stayed but it's located in little india (quite far from the center). and there chinatown was like divisoria but it was more organized as compared to divisoria. and agree that one visit is surely not enough!