Archive for March, 2011

I know it’s a bit late for NY resolutions but nothings too late if you want to change for the better. For the past few days, I’ve been thinking about what my life will be this year and how I will achieve it. I’ve thought of big and not-so-big things. But hey, if you want something, you have to do steps (even small ones) to achieve your goal right? So here goes.

This year, I am planning to do the following:

•Get a tattoo. Planning to have one but haven’t decided where. I’m keloid-prone so I’m still thinking twice. Tatts mean no blood donations for the next two years. I can live with that. Here are my options, however, these are not the exact tattoos I am getting:

o Tattoo on my back

o Mercury tattoo on my ankles

o Stars behind my left ear

o Tribal tats on my left arm

•Enroll on my planned Graduate Degree. I was planning to save for a Master’s degree. I really wanna teach soon so I think I better start planning ahead. So why not start this year right? Here are the options I’m looking at:
o MASTER OF ARTS IN COMMUNICATION (Ateneo)

o MASTER OF ARTS IN COMMUNICATION (La Salle)

o MASTER IN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNICATION (UP Open University)

o MASTER OF MASS COMMUNICATION (NTU Singapore)

•Go to at least two countries. Planning (again) to visit the following countries (at least two of them):
o Taiwan. Visit my mom. After sixteen years of living in Taipei, I think it’s about time for me to visit her.

o Indonesia. Go to Batam and/or Bali. Beach. Beach Beach Beach.

o USA. Go there to visit my mom’s best friend in New York.

o Thailand. Bangkok Bangkok Bangkok.

•Plan the personal business carefully before jumping to projects. This statement says it all.

•Reach my work’s requirements with at least 150% ROI. So far, pitches are going well so hopefully, things go according to plan.

Well, these are just small plans and as much as possible, will reach them all one by one. It’s a good thing that you have goals so that you have a guide on what you want to achieve. I can do this! :))

Advertisements

For the past six months, I’ve had friends visiting Singapore for fun and travel. I’ve become their unofficial chauffeur and have toured all o’them around. In short, I’ve also become their UNOFFICIAL TOUR GUIDE. You know who you guys are. If you’re reading this, give this post a hollah!

So what is this post all about? SIMPLE. A travel tip for soon-to- be-tourists of Singapore. Have fun reading-lah! And don’t forget to take down notes, can? 🙂

WHERE WILL I STAY?

If you’re on a tight budget, hostels and backpackers are almost everywhere. You can check HOSTEL WORLD.com for the list of available places in Singapore. Most of this low-cost accommodation, just like most hotels offers free breakfast, wi-fi and several amenities. What’s even better is that the cost of staying in these low-cost accommodations is 80% cheaper than normal hotel room rates.

I have two specific places to recommend.

THE MITRAA BACKPACKERS HOSTEL
427 Race Course Road Singapore 218673
http://www.mitraa.com.sg

and

THE HIVE BACKPACKERS HOSTEL
624 Serangoon Road Singapore 218223
http://www.thehivebackpackers.com

Hotel rooms, however are also available everywhere. Rates start from at least S$80/room/night to the most expensive hotel for at least S$520/room/night. Choosing the location of where you’re staying is important for tourists. This way you will know which bus will go to and from your place, which MRT is nearest your place and the location is also an additional factor you must consider for the room prices.

HOW DO I GO AROUND?

YES. You’re thinking right. Singapore ain’t that big and you can tour the entire island using three major ways of public transportation:

THE TRAIN (MRT and LRT)

THE BUS

THE CAB

Trains and buses usually start operating from as early as 5:30am to as late as 2am during public holidays. But during normal weekdays, trains are until 11:30pm and buses run until 12:30am.

Cabs (or taxi) however, are available round the clock. Flag down starts from S$2.80 to S$3.10 depending on what type of taxi you are riding. The tricky part is there are certain time schedule that you should take note of because there are additional payments when you take a cab during those times. Rush hour (7:00 to 9:30am and 5:00-8:00pm) will cost you an additional 35% on top of your fare. Midnight (12:01 am -5:59am) surcharge, an additional 50%. There are also other additional payments (CBD, ERP etc). But do not worry, taxi drivers are honest. They wont axe you with the fare.

You might ask, “how am I going to pay my fare?” The most common way to pay taxi cabs is by cash. But the most convenient way of paying bus and MRT is by using an EZ-Link Card.

This can be used for the train, for the bus, some cabs and would you believe even 7-11 stores and some food shops? That’s how convenient it’ll be for you to go around Singapore if you have your own EZ-Link Card. It will cost you S$12.00 to buy your own card (S$5.00 nonrefundable fee + S$7.00 worth of credits). If you opt not to buy your own card, you have other options. For the MRT, you can buy a one time MRT card which has an additional S$1.00 fee for card deposit that is refundable. However, using the temporary card takes time. You need to buy one every time you ride the train and then refund the deposit fee every time you get out of the station (unless of course you want to make it a souvenir, but this is not recommended). You have to do the same process every time you opt for a train ride. For buses though, again, you can use the EZ link card or you can pay by cash. However, unlike paying by EZ link, the minimum amount for cash bus payment is S$1.00. Though your fare is just, say S$0.75, you still need to pay the minimum. And oh, they don’t give any change. So make sure if you’re paying by cash, you have at least S$3.00 coins with you.

So now you have an idea on how to go around this awesome place. You’ll ask next, WHERE WILL I GO? I wont be listing everything but here are some must-visit places here in Singapore.

WHERE WILL I GO TO SHOP?

Cheap buys of souvenir items can be found on both

BUGIS STREET and

CHINATOWN

However, after multiple visits on these two places, I can say that stuffs are cheaper in Chinatown. You can buy Singapore shirts, keychain, magnets and other Singapore items.

Bugis (Bugis Street- cheap buys / Bugis Village- the mall), however, gives you good value for your money if you’re looking for fashionable items. They sell everything here. From shoes, to hats, accessories, and clothes, name it, they have it.

However, if you opt for high end shopping, malls are scattered around. Most MRT Stations has malls. On the city, or areas near the city, there is a mall after every 3-5 blocks. Or if these malls are still not enough, go to the famous ORCHARD ROAD. It’s a long boulevard of giant malls that sell mostly high-end stuffs.

Another high-end-must-visit-mall is the SHOPS at MARINA BAY SANDS. This high end retail mall houses duplex shops like Chanel, Fendi, Armani to name a few. Talk about luxury.

WHERE DO I GO TO EAT?

As you may have already known, HAWKER CENTERS (or just HAWKER) are the most common dining place for tourists and locals as well. It is a large establishment that caters different cuisines: Chinese, Thai, Indian, Western, Sea Food, etc.

What I like about Hawker Centers is that there is no direct competition because Hawkers cater to one restaurant per cuisine so if you like dim sum, there’s a specific store selling it. You’re craving for chicken wings? It’s on another stall.

HAWKER NOTES:

1. They don’t use the terms DINE-IN and TAKE-OUT, instead, use EAT HERE and TAKE AWAY respectively.
2. Hawker Slang: Coffee=Kopi / Tea- Teh / Iced tea is different from Iced LEMON tea
3. Most hawkers have people serving drinks on your table. Raise your hand, order and then CASH ON DELIVERY 🙂

If you have the money to spare, here are some of my recommended restaurants:

Breakfast/Brunch:
WILD HONEY
Mandarin Gallery
333A Orchard Rd Singapore 238897
$$$

Dinner/ Supper
INFUSION
16A Dempsey Road Singapore 247695
$$$

Thai Cuisine
THAI-TANIC
279 Jalan Besar Singapore 208943
$$

Fast Food
LONG JOHN SILVER
http://www.longjohnsilvers.com.sg
$

Street Food
UNCLE’S ICE CREAM
this can be found almost anywhere
$1.00

WHAT PLACES SHOULD I VISIT?

There are many places you can check out in Singapore. As small as it may seem, the country has a very interesting geography and architectural marvels are everywhere.

If you’re into nature, there are three main attractions you can visit here in Singapore.

SINGAPORE ZOO
(World’s Largest Rainforest Zoo)
http://www.zoo.com.sg

NIGHT SAFARI
(First hand adventure at night)
http://www.nightsafari.com.sg

JURONG BIRD PARK
(Bird Sanctuary)
http://www.birdpark.com.sg

If you’re looking for adventure, these are the places I would recommend:

SENTOSA ISLAND

Some activities you can do here:
– LUGE and SKY RIDE

– ZIP LINE

– SEGWAY RIDE

– VISIT PALAWAN AND SILOSO BEACH


– SONGS OF THE SEA

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS SINGAPORE (USS)

This is not just a theme park. Though relatively small compared to other theme parks, USS is separated by different themes and adventure activities. Here are some of my recommended activities:

– Roller Coasters

– Water World

– Shrek 4D

– Meet and Greet with Characters

Here are also some must-visit spots:

MERLION PARK
(Visit Mama and Baby Merlion at the park)

FOUNTAIN OF WEALTH @ SUNTEC CITY
(World’s biggest Fountain)

SINGAPORE FLYER
(Asia’s biggest observation wheel)

YOU MUST REMEMBER:

*Do not be afraid to roam around. Free maps are given on tourist areas. MRT Maps are also given for free on the Customer Service areas on MRT stations. If you’re lost, YOU CAN ALWAYS ASK FOR DIRECTIONS.

*Do not convert. Do not convert. Do not convert.

SEE YOU SOON!

(I DO NOT OWN ANY PHOTOS. EVERYTHING IS BORROWED. THANKS)

The public knows about the current situation of some countries in the Middle East. Egypt, Sudan and now, Libya. I loathe people who worship power so much that they do not care what the consequences are as long as they remain in power. And yes, I am talking about Mubarak and Gaddafi.

However, my concern is not about what is happening back there, but it’s about the people who are affected by this crisis, my Filipino countrymen in particular.

Dear Department of Foreign Affairs,

I don’t have the full story but what I’ve heard from the news today is that you’re giving every OFW that was sent back to the Philippines from Libya Php 10,000.00 (est. US $230). WOW. That’s way too much, dont you think? After the months/ years of hardwork? After sending millions in dollars of remittances, after paying monthly dues and taxes to the Philippine government? Php 10,000.00? You must be kidding. Government offices are spending millions in luxury cars, luxury meals and other luxuries while the only luxury my fellow countrymen have are their lives. They are working their butts off 24/7 away from their family because the government can’t give the people enough jobs.

I think you’re being unfair. My fellow OFWs signed a contract with the hope of getting hard-earned cash by the time they finish their terms. Is this another lapse that you overlooked that it’s not their fault that the country where they’re working at is at the brink of war? And how true is it that while the aids from other countries meet their fellowmen with food, clothes and things to soothe themselves, my countrymen weren’t even given water? Is this how you treat them? Us? Last year, 53.7% of the Philippine income came from the service sector which includes us, OFWs. If you think they deserved how you treated them, well think again. I pity my repatriated countrymen, not because they don’t have food to eat or money to bring back home but because they were under-appreciated by the government. Don’t you think they deserve more?

Reality check: Php 10,000.00 isn’t enough. Instead of continuing the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the investigation on the AFP corruption, why don’t you just give the budget to the repatriates and just put behind bars those obviously caught red-handed? You’ll say that is not fair right? Exactly. Now we’re thinking the same. Don’t you think it’s only fair for these OFWs to be given the amount they’re supposed to get on their contract? Don’t tell me you don’t have any allocated budget for that because you can always ask Garcia how he did what he did. If he can find a way, I think you can too. And mind you, you can do it LEGALLY. But if you think the whole amount of the contract is still too big, well, how about 50%? or 25%? Whichever amount you think is deserved by them. Because I’m pretty sure that the work they do for the country is more than the Php 10,000 you are giving them.

Hey, this is just something to think about. But if you say that that’s the only amount you can give them, well, I’m just gonna go back to the Philippines, will not pay my taxes and will just kidnap people and do pick-pocketing on the side.

Love,
B