Fearless quote from an acquaintance who is now based in Singapore: ” Manila is just for visiting my folks, Singapore is my home now. ”
Knowing the sheer number of Filipino workers in this island-state, many people can probably relate. My first impressions: it’s almost a perfect place, one where you can feel very safe in, but somewhat lacking in character. I know this is an an unfair assessment given the fact that I wasn’t even able to go to Sentosa or the Night Safari.
Was it just me missing Manila’s chaos and maddening frenzy? The busy tourist in me could never tell. In Singapore, there was no such thing as ‘organized chaos’ even. Everything just seemed to be in its proper place. Here are bits and pieces from the short trip:
Staying at the Mandarin Oriental Singapore was fab. Unlike the Mandarin Oriental in Makati which is small, the two Mandarins in Singapore are much bigger. The hotel we stayed in connected to a mall (the Marina Square) and was just a short walk to tourist landmarks like the Esplanade and the Merlion Park
Flying via SQ, and trying out the Singapore Sling. Thanks to a sponsor, this budget traveller flew via SQ 😀 So what they say about the food being good is true. But I also had a kick trying out the Singapore Sling, since I wasn’t able to go to the Raffles Hotel Long Bar anyway.
The Singapore Flyer experience. Standing at 165 m from the ground, the Singapore Flyer is the world’s biggest observation wheel and is one of the Lion City’s newest landmarks.Even though I was scared of heights, I was glad to learn this one didn’t daunt me as it moved at very slow speed. The Flyer offers one a great vista of Singapore’s skyline and the waterfront, as well as the outline of neighboring countries like Malaysia. Cocktails are served onboard and after getting down the Flyer, one can enjoy the array of shops and restaurants in the retail terminal.
Great Singapore Sale? Except for the picture above which was at Benetton, the independent retail shops didn’t seem to put up a lot of the big Sale signs, at least not where I looked in Gap, Mango, Zara or some of the other stores. It’s better to look at the big department stores though because that seemed to be where the big discounts were.
Outlet shopping was better! On my last night, my buddy James brought me to the Anchorpoint Mall on Alexandra Road where the outlet shops of Giordano et al. were. I literally went crazy and closed Charles & Keith for the night 😛 Who needs the Great Singapore Sale when there are the outlets with their drop-dead prices too? That’s just the bargain-hunter in me speaking. 😀
Long live IKEA! Since I am in a ‘home furnishing’ mode, I was pretty excited over my first IKEA stateside visit. IKEA fans would be glad to know there are two big IKEA stores in Singapore. I raved over their contemporary designs and how cheap the prices were. I mourned over the fact that I couldn’t possibly bring home the bookshelves or even the canvas frame on my modest economy class baggage allowance.
Kinokuniya Bookstore Singapore. One word: big! But our local Fully-Booked would give them a run for their money in terms of size too.
Royce Chocolates. Can be found at the Suntec City Mall (opposite Carrefour) and the basement food hall of Takashimaya Department Store. Grab some if you don’t know yet the heavenly Nama chocs are not yet in Manila, or want better selections 😉
A first look at the Nokia E71. Lusting over this phone, which is set to come out this July. Presently has the smallest QWERTY keyboard but also has desirable features like easily switched work/personal modes, one-touch keys, 3.2 megapixel cam and most of all, Wi-Fi.