Our last day came on a rather somber tone, what with the events of last night hanging over our heads. Plans of heading to the Philippine embassy was scrapped due to the lateness of the day, so it was decided that Nez and Everlo would go to the Singapore Tourism Board while everyone can do some sightseeing.
I didn’t really have plans for the day, as I was quite hesitant to go about on my own. I still haven’t done some things on my list, namely: eat Hainanese chicken, go to Funan, find some Pinky St. toys and explore Kinokuniya. We headed off to Orchard Road.
Orchard reminded me of Ayala and Buendia Avenue. Only instead of offices, the street is lined with malls and shopping centers. Our first stop was the Louie Vuitton shop near ION, where we bought a bag for someone back home.
It’s my first time to enter an LV store. I’m not a fan of such designer labels, and I’m quite intimidated by them. A friend related a story of how her mother went to one LV store and the attendants looked down on her like she couldn’t afford to even buy the cheapest item (she can, and more). I was worried that we’d have the same treatment, especially since the attendants looked like they were earning more than I am.
However, we were warmly greeted as we entered the store, and someone immediately came up to us to ask what we wanted. She immediately showed us the bag, answered our questions and even helped facilitate a certain request. In less than thirty minutes we were done.
It was nearly noon. We just walked along the street looking at shops, stopping at a $1 ice cream stall. I spotted a Kinokuniya sign and told everyone that I needed to go there for a few minutes. Since there was a line for the ice cream, they let me go.
My kind of store
The building happened to be Takashimaya, a branch of a well-known Japanese department store. I made a beeline for the bookstore on the 3rd floor, and immediately went to look for Dianne Jacob’s “Will Write For Food”. As luck would have it, there was one copy left. I grabbed it, browsed a little more a wished desperately I had more than $50 left to spend. Kinokuniya is massive. While it’s not as big as the Fully Booked flagship in Bonifacio High Street, the selection here is massive. I found several books that I’ve been wanting to get but could never find in any of the bookstores here. However, due to budget constraints, I had to make do with this one book.
I decided to do a bit of exploring, so I headed up another floor. Here there were toy stores that had a lot of Japanese character products (no figures though, it was mostly plushies and cartoon characters). The best place on this floor was the massive art supply store called Art Friend. 10,000 square meters of art supplies. I wanted to genuflect and weep. Deovir had nothing on this place. The section near the entrance alone had me gaping in awe for a few minutes. Fabric paints of various sizes and brands had me imagining the projects I could do. Sadly, as I was pressed for both time and funds, I had to leave empty handed. I did promise to myself that I’ll come back and splurge heavily here.
Note: I wasn’t able to take any pictures because I didn’t know if it was allowed.
Lunch was at the Food Republic at Wisma Atria. I like how it looks like it’s all hawkers but it isn’t. The prices don’t seem very far from the ones you see in hawker places, so we settled on having lunch there. I ordered some roasted Hainanese chicken, and discovered that drinks really seem to be sold separately here.
Verdict on the chicken hasn’t changed. I still prefer tinola.
It was back to the hostel for us so we could help those who had a flight to catch prepare for their trip. So it was down to three from the original 17 who went on the cruise. Since our flights weren’t until the next day, Manuel and I decided to explore Singapore a little more. However, since we had different agendas, we went our own ways.
I had a list of personal goals while in Singapore. Toy enthusiasts Nina and Rochelle gave me clues (via their blogs) where to get Pinky:St figures in Singapore. Armed with these directions and a map, I headed out with much prayers that I won’t get lost. I had two stops to visit: Bugis and Tiong Bahru.
However, I passed by the City Hall station first to exchange the train passes. Once there, I took a look at what I may see in the area. Outside, I saw St. Andrew’s Cathedral and some museums (which I didn’t get to visit anyway). Funan electronics mall was also in the vicinity and deserved to be explored. Still, with my limited time, I could only give the place a cursory glance then head off to Bugis.
I consider myself fairly good with directions. Armed with a map and detailed instructions, I felt that I had little room for errors. However, when I got off at Bugis, I wasn’t sure if I I was supposed to go left or right. Twice I walked two blocks the wrong direction, and had to walk back. The weather was humid and somewhat warmer than the Philippines, so I was sweating by the time I got to where I wanted to be.
There were a few stores that had Japanese toys and figures, but none of them caught my attention. The Pinky:St dolls I saw didn’t appeal to me, but I did think of buying them. In the end, I decided to see what I can get in Tiong Bahru.
On my way back to the MRT, I saw the Lasalle College of the Arts, and some old-fashioned buildings which stood out against the more modern buildings around it. I also saw some Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 posters, which made me really excited. There were even some posters with just the faces of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint as Harry, Hermione and Ron respectively.
I also came across this red building called “Little Red Dot” at Bugis St., and stalls of clothes and various items (what we would call tiangge). There was also a colorful backstreet where the houses were of different pastel colors. I wanted to take a picture but again, I didn’t know if they had a policy or something. Boo. Now I wish I did take photos.
Finally got back on the train and went to Tiong Bahru. I didn’t have to go very far because as soon as I got off the station, the mall was there. I headed directly to the toy store and was thankful that I didn’t buy the toys in Bugis. Hobby Point had their Pinky:St on sale at 40% off for a minimum of two pieces! The first ones I saw were the Monster Hunter ones. I considered them mostly for the number of pieces and accessories they have. But towards the back of the dolls I saw the Sakura Taisen doll. I grabbed it and looked for something else I could get so I can avail of the discount.
The lady at the counter was quite nice and invited me to look around. I found a lot of cool toys but had to pass on buying them. We chatted for a bit as I paid for my purchases. Instead of heading back to the hostel, I decided to browse around the mall for a bit. I found Popular bookstore and realized that I haven’t gotten anything for my lolo. Nick Vujicic’s “Life Without Limits” looked good, so I grabbed that (and it was on 20% off too). I found the Cluedo Joiz wanted, but I couldn’t purchase it.
It was sometime around 8 PM so I decided to head back. I did some final re-packing of my things (I still can’t believe I managed to get it all organized) and waited for 9 PM. I bid Everlo goodbye (Manuel was still outside) and took the train to Changi.
It was a quick train ride. I sat next to some Filipinas who were chatting loudly. I guess no matter where we go, so long as with our friends we are loud (and this applies to all nationalities, ayt?). Compared to me, they do look like they were heading off to a trip. All I had was my regular carry-all and a bayong-like bag similar to the ones you can buy from Divisoria (I got this one from Chinatown). I didn’t have any check-in luggage so I had Nez take my stuff home, and whatever I had left was stuffed into my remaining bags.
Farrah was already at the airport, and checked in earlier than I did. I ate a quick dinner at McDonald’s (how’s that for a last meal in Singapore?) and got Mama’s last pasalubong: A Coke-in-can tumbler.
A little past 10 PM, my flight’s check-in counter opened. Some of the Filipinas in the line asked me if I had any check-in luggage and asked if I could take on some of their stuff. Apparently, they had gone a little over the limit and was worried with the amount they were going to pay. I had to turn them down, as I was worried that my own stuff may be questioned. Luckily, I was cleared by the security.
The departure lounge for the budget airport is pretty good, considering. There were a lot of seats where you can park yourself while waiting for your flight, some eateries including Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and numerous duty free shops for your last minute shopping. I had a few dollars left, and rather than changing them back to pesos, I decided to look around for other things to buy. I got Papa a Parker ballpen, some simple trinkets for the folks at work and The Artist’s Guide to Photoshop magazine.
Farrah and I had the same flight, except it was with different airlines. We spent the remaning time talking, until our flights were called. When I got on the plane, I was happy to see that I got a window seat, but utterly surprised that I had the entire row to myself. The flight back wasn’t full, which was all right for me too.
As the plane took off, I took a last look at the bright lights of Singapore and wondered when I’ll be back. When I couldn’t see it anymore, I closed my eyes to sleep until the plane reached Manila.
Home at last
I arrived in Manila at 5:30 AM, and I had no idea how to get out of the airport. Fristine suggested I go to the departure area and wait for a cab, which would be cheaper than getting an airport cab. However, I saw a sign for a free shuttle to Resorts World Manila. I took that and grabbed a taxi there. Since it was early, and since I took C5, I got home in less than an hour and for less than P200. However if I waited, I could’ve used the Citylink shuttle to Eastwood. It’s nice to have these options.
Where to next?
I was ready to settle down for a quiet weekend. Little did I know I was off for another adventure, thanks to Nez as well. For now, I close the Singapore Adventure chapter. Many thanks to my cohorts!
Challenge met and conquered.