Monday, March 5, 2012

’On A Singapore Tour’ for Pinoys


Here we go for those going to visit the city-state, for in fact you should!

Being a single main island that is even smaller than Marinduque (with many smaller islands and islets of course), it is generally easy to go around hopping from one attraction to the next as Singapore has a very efficient transport system. You do not even have to buy a guided tour package. You can do everything DIY – in your own time and pace. Just a heads-up though, a DIY might end you up spending more. Why? Because you are on your own free grand time and free will, that you have more time to do this and do that, ride this and ride that, plus, buy this and buy that!

Always do the MRT/bus combination – even from arrival at the airport. It does not matter if you are carrying a big suitcase (a.k.a maleta) and/or a baby with a stroller and/or if the whole clan is traveling with you! Remember, their transport system is not like how it is in this country. Example? Their MRTs and buses go directly to the very building of the airport – unlike here where our authorities seem to be following a rule that the last station or stop, must be AWAY from the airport. Ah, don’t get me to start talking about that topic for you might see the upcoming @senMiriam in me! There is no hell! Mga gago hehehe!

Anyway, the EZLink card is practical. It’s a card thicker than that of our MRT or LRT and you don’t insert it on anything but just tap it. You don’t even have to remove it from your wallet or purse, the sensor will detect it and in or out you go. For both bus and MRT, take note! Saan yan ikakaskas sa bus? Ah, you’ll see it either near the driver or sa gilid ng pinto! Hey mother, one card per tao ha? Di pwede ikaw me bitbit ng lahat ng card ng buong angkan as many do it at our LRT hehe! Mabagal pag ganyan. You can re-load that card. But for the tourists like us, the cheaper way is to buy the Singapore Tourist Pass. It’s the same thing but in a fancier color with choices of either for a 1, 2 or 3-day use! Its like an MRT/Bus all you can for the duration of your stay. SmorgasRide kumbaga!

if youre not into doing a DIY, you can try the hop-on hop-off bus tours. Its one of the most convenient means to tour around!

Singapore’s MRT and buses have a set schedule that are strictly FOLLOWED by drivers. Its unlike our MRT and LRT where when you ask, the answer is “maya-maya lang” and our buses where the answer you get is “abangan mo na lang”. They even have electronic boards at waiting sheds where you can see how many seconds the next bus will come. And they do come, then immediately depart after a few seconds! Walang nagsisisigaw ng “ahh Alabang ibabaw ilalim Sucat Bicutan Tulay Crossing“ whatever, at hindi maghihintay yan nang forever like our buses along EDSA! Jusko, bakit ba umiinit ang ulo ko… nagsusulat lang ako a!

By the way hi-way, you can also pay cash at buses and buy single ride cards at their MRT. But you will notice it is such a hassle – especially at buses where you are expected to pay (drop coin/s in the slot) the exact amount. Take note, the EZLink Card or the Singapore Tourist Pass has a refund of SGD5 once you return it. That’s the cost of the plastic. But it’s okay to bring it home and keep in your albums as souvenir hehe! Note too that buses and trains generally run from 6AM til midnight. At ang taxi nila ’pre, pwedeng credit card! Kaso unlike in Cebu, if you call to have yourself picked up, me bayad na agad yun. Just like Metro Manila, actually! But in Singapore, you only call one number for any taxi company! Remember, if you went yugyugan to da max at Zouk or elsewhere, chances are magtataxi ka pauwi.

Nauhaw ka during the tour?! Bottled water is also everywhere in Singapore. However, where there is a gripo, nganga! Yeah, this country boasts that water from the tap, as they call it, is potable. They’re proud of it and they better be! Imagine an island-country without its own water source. Nag-aangkat pa yan sila from Malaysia! But once water passes through their pipes, they, you and I can drink it. Its not just a sabi-sabi, it has been certified by no less than the World Health Organization! Eto tsismis… sometime ago, rumors circulated that even the commercially sold bottled water was to be banned in Singapore because plastic bottles just add to pollution. Am not sure if anything happened to that! That only shows malinis talaga tubig nila!

The chewing gum thing is true. So heed the advise. Actually, as a tourist, you can ’accidentally’ bring some for your own consumption. But not too many, lest you be suspected of carrying commercial quantities. Sayang lang since it will be confiscated anyway. Besides. you are more prone to getting into trouble with that bubble-gum in your mouth than if there was none! Smoking? Ah you can smoke in Singapore. Just make sure you do it only at designated places. As anywhere, the rule to follow is… where there’s an ashtray hit it! I mean hithit! But where there is none… maghanap ka hehehe! Don’t worry, there are still a lot, like at bars, roof decks, sidewalks, even parks and gardens. There are designated places. It’s just like in our country really. The thing is, they’re more serious at implementing the law. As in, me magsusumbong talaga, kaya mag-ingat ka!

Shopping? I will not pretend to know a lot about this, for this is one of my hatest activities. Walking around floors and floors of buildings that seem to have the same things on show everywhere, is what I consider capital punishment. But my friends who are either shopaholics, gadget gurus or tech addicts love it in Singapore! Some of them even go there just to shop or window shop! One time I went with them to Sim Lim Square and they told me the first two floors are generally maraming manloloko, so we went up to the upper floors for them to choose MY netbook that is also a tablet! Oh ha, hehe! Actually, anywhere you look there is a shopping center, a mall and the likes!

Ay teka, take note of the two logos and learn more about GST and eTRS. Its mentioned many times over at yoursingapore. Not many Pinoys are conscious about it. But you will realize that this city/country is one big duty free shop – so you must know how to do the refund thing! Ah, this one I enjoy! Especially for those who are holding supplementary cards (shh, don't tell your parents), hehe, you might even earn extra cash because of that refund thing! When refunding, tell the officer you want cash! This TRS thing means almost everything you buy in Singapore as a tourist becomes duty free! Yung worth SGD100 or more lang, that is! Easier than going to dedicated duty free shops that could be far from where you are like in our kawawang inang bayan hahaha!

Hey, no need to bring your SmartBro or Globe Tattoo, just read wireless@sg. Almost anywhere, you can connect to the net for free!

Nagutom ka naman ngayon? Ah, not a problem in Singapore! You can have the cheapest to the most expensive culinary fare you can imagine! This place is a melting pot of cultures, remember? Everywhere, there is food to suit your palate or pocket. Not to mention the Pinoy food is also available in many places! They’re at Harbour Front, China Town, Marina Square, even Toa Payoh, Lau Pa Sat or Velocity! Aside of course, from those that are even made turo-turo style at the upper floors of Lucky Plaza!

Then again, the Singaporean food is not something uncommon to the Pinoy tongue. They’re just like a big Chinatown plus more. So there is always rice – even kanin all you can too! And there are a lot of barbecues that many of us like, especially the chicken bbq! Note, the hawker stalls are clean. And here’s some tsimis to ponder about.., bakit nga ba hindi malangaw sa Singapore? Ha?!

Eh, this is getting too long, awat na muna, lets cover more tsismis and more interesting things Singapore! Coming up next. Promise!

*some images are thanks to yoursingaporeand other .gov sites


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