Thursday, November 29

Meeting Mt. Pinatubo


Seeing the magnificent crater lake which was born from a catastrophic event was just beyond awesome.  The 1 hour 4 x 4 ride and 2-hour trek was worth it upon seeing the breath-taking view of Mt. Pinatubo.  For those too young to remember, Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991 killing many lives and destroying many properties.  However, it seems that one unlikely event would lead to another opportunity for locals to earn a living.


Friday, November 23

New Friends On The Road, Universal Studios And A Little Bit Of Sentosa

What I found nice in our stay in Singapore were the new friends we met during our first morning.  Guests come from different nations but the friendliest are from neighboring Malaysia and Japan.


Koji, me, Chie and Azian
Koji is also a traveler from Japan.  He arrived midnight just hours after us.  Like us, he was also bound for Malaysia after visiting Singapore but unfortunately due to personal commitments in Kuala Lumpur, we were unable to invite him to come along with us.  Nevertheless, we exchanged contact information and we kept in touch even after the trip.

Chie and I was supposed to cover at least four areas on our second day but staying up late the previous night pushed us to just visit two: Universal Studios and Sentosa.


From Bugis MRT Station we hopped off at Harbourfront Station.  Following the signs, we reached the Sentosa boardwalk.  I can see the buidlings from afar and I said to Chie, oh my, we're gonna walk a bit!  Turns out 'walkalators' were installed in the covered pathway.   We took some shots of ourselves and started our tour to Universal Studios.



photo session at Sentosa boardwalk :-)

Universal Studios is situated within Sentosa itself. A theme park within one!  The revolving planet greeted us!  It was kind of hard taking a good shot since tourists constantly walk here and there.  Not mentioning the fact that you have to wait for the word 'Universal' to appear just right before your camera so as not to have a laughing fit later on when you check your shots.  I was sure we didn't want looking at our photos with just the 'Sal' in the left or 'Un' in the right of the screen! #haha.



UNIVERSAL STUDIOS





pathway from the park entrance
We arrived around lunch time at Universal Studios.  Guided with our map, we checked out which attractions we will visit first.  When I saw the turrets of the castle (I love castles!) I immediately asked Chie to put this on top of our list.  A 4d movie ride for about 15 minutes is shown with Shrek film cast as the starrers.  This park attraction is fun, relaxing and enjoyable for adults and more so for the young.  It reminded me of the PhilHarMagic presentation of Disneyland.

Far Far Away Castle (Shrek)

Lunch at Universal Studios.  This set meal is at 13 SGD








Universal Studios is visually pleasing.  Though the weather was hot and humid during our stay, this was compensated by the non-stop sights and sounds which awakened all our senses.  While walking, we watched the Sesame Street cast perform a song and dance number at the steps of the National Library.  A thick crowd gathered so I squeezed in until I was right at the front.  They were so adorable that I noticed some were actually dancing and singing with them.  After their theater-like presentation, we experienced more of the rides and attractions: The Mummy Returns, Universal Studios Special Effects  Presentation and our most favorite, the Transformers Ride.

Sesame Street ensemble








I know this guy's name! :-)




One of those stomach-churning rides





Transformers Ride. One of the more exhilirating 4d presentations. A must try!

A whole day spent here is worth the 74 SGD fee per person.  It was nearing six in the evening when we were having second thoughts of proceeding to other parts of Sentosa.  Our feet were already complaining for a longer rest but since the day is still young, we decided to head on to Palawan Beach to witness what the sunset there was like.

SENTOSA




Palawan Beach
I was unable to get a better shot of Palawan Beach.  Maybe because I was already tired and was no longer in the mood for a photo session.  The above photo was taken at almost seven PM.  From Harbourfront MRT station, you may proceed to level 3 of Vivo City mall and take the monorail.  You can also reach Sentosa park through the boardwalk which is accessible through the first level.  Entrance fee is at 1 SGD per person.  Do not forget to secure the park map to guide you in your tour.







Covered pathway




This reminds me of a camera toy

After our second day, we realized that spending one day for Universal Studios and another one for Sentosa is a must. Sentosa is a big park and dividing your time with Universal Studios will hinder you from visiting the other interesting parts of Sentosa.


Day 2 Itinerary and Expenses


Free        - Breakfast at hostel
SGD 1.60 - Bugis MRT Station to Harbourfront Station

Sentosa | Universal Studios
SGD 1     - Sentosa entrance fee
SGD 74  - Universal Studios entrance fee
SGD 13   - Lunch
SGD 1.60 - Harbourfront Station to Bugis MRT Station
SGD 4.60 - Dinner


Grand Total: SGD 95.80 or Php 3,239.21



conversions done via oanda.com




Other parts in this series
Part 1 - At The Airport
Part 2 - Singapore Skyline, Merlion, Marina Sands and the Cute Couple
Part 3 - You are on it
Part 4 - Gardens By The Bay, Little India, Chinatown and Cross-border Trip to Malaysia
Part 5 - My Love Affair With Melaka and Petronas Towers
Part 6 - Batu Caves, Merdaka Square and the Sleepy Train Ride to Padang Besar
Part 7 - Padang Besar to Bangkok, New Joe Guesthouse and Khao San Road
Part 8 - Floating Market and the Almost First-time Elephant Ride
Part 9 - Ayutthaya
Part 10 - Going Home

Wednesday, November 14

Singapore Skyline, Merlion, Marina Sands and the Cute Couple

After going through several mishaps on our way to Singapore, finally we arrived safe and sound at exactly 1.35 PM as promised by our confirmation e-mail.  We were actually bracing ourselves for a set of strict interviews once we come face to face with SG's immigration officers.  However, no questions were asked at all.  Just a few flip of our papers, several clicks on the computer and we were now smiling as we breezed through the process.




Saturday, November 10

Hello Stranger No More

I have started travelling for several years now, but it's only been a year that I have started officially documenting my experiences through this travel blog.  A year of many firsts I'd say.  And looking back I have come to know better the stranger residing with me for several decades now.

She was with me when my fascination in riding in a big white ship came to reality. That was back in 2007 when my first travel down to the city of smiles was etched permanently in my mind and more so in my heart.  I remember wearing my goofiest smile upon stepping on the ladder towards my window-seat assignment.  Forgetting the number one thing on my bucket list back then: pee in the plane rest room!



Before boarding Superferry 19

Monday, November 5

At The Airport

The day has finally arrived.  Me and my friend Chie met at exactly 6 AM at our agreed meeting place.  We still could not believe it was actually happening! All was going well until we approached Pasay City area.  Our taxi driver thought we asked to be dropped off to NAIA 2 instead of NAIA 3.  I was so worried that we might miss our flight since there were only two hours left before our departure time when we arrived. I glanced at Chie and we strongly agreed we both clearly said NAIA 3. 

After a few minutes, we hopped off the cab and did not mind not getting the change.  Taking a few deep breaths, the officer-in-charge at the departure area told us to relax since there was still ample time before boarding.  We did as we were told and we patiently waited for our turn at the check-in counter. Surprisingly, my friend Chie's ticket which she purchased online but was paid through LBC (cash - with receipt, e-mail confirmation and all) was said to be 'on-hold' and not confirmed.  She was instructed to proceed to the express counter and was offered to settle a whopping 350 USD at first!  Thankfully, she asked the breakdown of those charges.  Turns out they would automatically include meals, insurance, checked-in baggage fee etc in this rate. 

After some negotiations, she was able to just pay 150 USD for a ticket with checked-in luggage.  My friend does not want our initial plans not to go as is so even if her pocket would be crying later on, she went ahead and purchased the ticket (#ouch!)