Sunday, March 4, 2012

Singapore Stay for Pinoys

Shhh, even Singaporeans might have yet to discover, validate and confirm this… but let’s leave them at that. There is nothing wrong anyway. About what? About our staying with friends and relatives in Singapore? Napansin nyo ba yan? That’s one of my lowly hypotheses why Pinoys are finding it more and more convenient to hie off to Singapore just about any weekend they can grab a budget or promo airfare! Haha, budget na, promo pa! Saan ka pa?! Not that we stay with our compatriots who work there as domestic helpers, their employers would probably not like that. But many of us stay with friends and relatives who are in SG as white-collar workers, executives or the likes, right?!

Meron? Hello! I’d be surprised if you yourself, who has the capacity and ability to read this blog does not know at least one Pinoy who works in Singaore (a.k.a. SG or SIN)! Y’know, the ex-officemate who is still an IT nerdy but now works in Singapore in the same nerdy capacity; the fellow engineer who was part of building the Marina Sands and now is on to another project; the ex-neighbor who is now an actuary working for a financial giant; the ex-boss who is now regional head of ek-ek-ek where the company even pays for her housing; the call center barkada who was plucked by the company to handle this and that account in Singapore; and just about so many others, right?! And they’re just all too happy to make us bunk-in for that 3D2N escapade, right?! And some of them even take the time to tour us around , korek?!

That makes staying in SG a bit easier than say, looking for an affordable room at Alona Beach, Uptown Cebu, near The Fort, Davao City Center, Saud or even Station 1, 2 & 3! Di ba?!

Although, if you really want to experience luxury at its best, you will not run out of choices in Singapore. A new example would be the Capella. It is said to be a 6-star facility. Whoa! A total departure from the usual high rise hotels. But if you cant afford that, there is something for everyone like Fullerton Bay which is a 5-star (this one is different from the Fullerton Hotel, which in itself is also grand)! Or there is Oasia and Hotel Forth Canning which are 4.5-star hotels. Hmm talagang me .5 ha?! There is also the artistic Wanderlust, a 4-star boutique hotel with no identical rooms! Well, the Elizabeth Hotel is 3.5-star while V Hotel is 3-star, but all are fantastic places that Pinoys will love just the same.

Teka, is it really that expensive for the Filipino to check-in at various accommodation facilities in Singapore? Hmm, I usually travel alone – and my answer is NO! How much more if there were two or three or four of you?! Really?!. Well, lets see some facts…

For the sake of this discussion, I picked a date for an overnight stay, 17 to 18 March 2012…

If you were from Metro Manila and wanted to check-in at Shangrila Mactan, the cheapest room you can get for an overnight stay is at PHP13,000. Whew! Compare that to the same overnight stay on the same date at Rasa Sentosa of the very same Hotel chain at just SGD330 or about PHP11,220. And to think, that this one in Singapore is just a walk away from the many shows and attractions of Sentosa! Lakad ka pa ng konti and you might even reach Palawan. Yeah, I mean Palawan Beach, Sentosa Island, Singapore hehe! O, san ka pa?!

Now say you want to go and stay at the city center. I pick the Concorde Hotel on Orchard Road (yep, formerly Le Meridien Hotel) and that would cost you some SGD188 or just about PHP6,392. Manila Peninsula is about as old and roughly about as luxurious, but, the cheapest of which for the same date will be PHP13,000! Ay grabe! More than double! Cheaper si Makati Shang at PHP9,300, but Concorde is still cheaper. Now the “aliw factor”… libutin mo man buong Ayala Center, it can never equal what you will see and experience in just Orchard Road! Don’t bother about that picture, its not in Orchard hehe, but the purportedly most photographed person in Singapore is right by the door! Syempre di ko pinalampas!

The rate differences go the same all the way down to your cheapest accommodations. Generally, mas sulit sa Singapore. Why? Because it is such a compact cosmopolitan city/area where everything is easily accessible. Not to mention that if you wanted to shop (which I seldom do) the choices are infinitely myriad!

Backpacker? Hmm, last year, I stayed at the Inn Crowd Backpackers’ Hostel on Dunlop St. and it cost me SGD18 per night. At today’s exchange rate of PHP34 to 1SGD that would have been PHP612. Uhm, I actually wanted Prince of Wales which was even slightly more expensive at SGD20 but they ran out of space! Compare that to say, ‘Where-2-Next’ which is a fairly comparable hostel (also with dorm-type beds) in Malate and that would be P650! Now where would you rather stay, Little India or Malate? Yep, in both places you have to walk to the nearby MRT hehe!

Not that I’m advocating we do an exodus to Singapore folks, but if you are running out of cheaper options in the country, or if you have been fairly around, ah the next best thing is fly to Singapore. Fly? Di ba mas mahal yan? Well, it depends on how good you are at snooping for the cheapest budget fares and comparing the totality of your expenses versus what you want to see or experience. Aliw factor, y’know!

But let’s do that topic, along with many others, in the next story. Hang in there la!


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