Friday, May 29, 2009

What Else Is There to Do in Sentosa?

If you're tired of the usual tourist-y activities in Singapore (i.e. night safari) and the usual shopping extravagazas that Filipinos are so fond of, consider spending your hard-earned money on the following:

Take a cable car from Vivo City to Sentosa instead of taking the MRT. You'll see the Singapore at a different angle - from the top. The harbor and the gazillion trees are absolutely stunning! This will cost you around $20 (SD) for a two-way trip. Not bad at all.

After walking under the sweltering heat (hotter than Manila I swear), cool down with a scoop or two of ice cream at Movenpick. A scoop costs $4.50. Stop converting to pesos and just enjoy the day!
Double scoops for me :-)

Try biking along the beach from Siloso to Palawan which is on the other end. Bel, Sittie and I rented bikes for $5 for ordinary bikes and $7 for mountain bikes. The rates are on a per hour basis. To our surprise the person manning the bike shop was a kababayan. Although he didn't give us a discount, he didn't charge additional for the extra time. We weren't expecting any discount whatsoever but he was being kind.

Purchase tickets for the Songs of the Sea show then at around 6:30 pm buy the tickets for the Luge to get a discount.

Then take the cable car back to Vivo City and enjoy Singapore's city lights.

It's always helpful to have some lemon oil when in crowded places. Thanks, Sittie.

QIJI's Nasi Lemak and Popiah

Having arrived so late in the evening, we (Bel, Sittie and I) were looking forward to a hefty breakfast. Sittie recommended that we try Qiji which was quite near our hotel (Southeast Asian Hotel - sounds sosyal but it's not) along Rochor Road.

I had a nasi lemak which consisted of rice cooked in coconut, dilis, fried chicken wing. egg omelet and something similar to our local bagoong all for $3.99.*

I have tried better nasi lemak's or something similar in Jakarta so I wasn't too impressed.

What I enjoyed was the popiah. It's similar to our fresh lumpia. It has vegetables, peanuts, chili and a sweet sauce all rolled in a wrapper for something like $2 only. This is what Qiji is known for according to it's website.

It's just too bad that I didn't get to bring some home. I'm sure my folks would have loved this.

Check their website for a list of Qiji outlets in Singapore.

* 30 pesos to a SNG dollar at the time of writing

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What Do You Get on PAL's EconoLite Flights?

Despite the A(H1N1) virus that is currently sweeping the entire world, Bel, Sittie and I had decided to push through with our trip to Singapore last May 28, 2009. Bel purchased PAL's Econolite tickets which cost each of us P7000 roundtrip. Not bad right -considering Singapore Airlines charges around US $700. Well we didn't know what to expect but were happy to save a lot of money from the discounted airfare.

Here's what we got in a nutshell:
1. Allowable baggage of 15 kilos.

2. We were given "choice" seats-- the very last seats in the plane which were 28A, 28B and 28C. Note that you cannot transfer seats even if the plane is not full.

3. Unlimited drinks but no food for the 3 hour flight. The FA's just whizzed by and won't ask if you'd like the chicken or the fish. However, you do get 3 small bags of peanuts and unlimited water.

4. Because we were seated at the very end just beside the toilets, we knew when everyone was "done" with every swishing sound of the toilet flush. Way to go passengers!

Here's a pic of my travel buddies (Sittie and Bel)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Departures - A Must See Movie

Picture from here

I visited Singapore sometime in March 2009 and my highschool buddy, Mitchie highly recommended that we watch a Japanese movie entitled, Departures. Since I was only staying there for a night, we had to squeeze this in. My friend studied film so I surmised she must know what she's talking about. Never mind if we had to catch the movie around midnight.

The film features Daigo, a cellist, who lost his job when the Tokyo symphony orchestra disbanded. Not having the confidence to pursue his dream of becoming an A-class musician, he decided to relocate back to his hometown with his wife in tow in search for a job there.

He took interest in an ad which mentioned "departures", thinking that this job was related to the travel industry. He was hired on the spot with a huge pay check. Little did he know that this job had nothing to do with the travel industry and everything to do with preparing the dead before cremation.

Having been "forced" into accepting a job that is not respectable in society plus dealing with internal struggles from the past, makes Daigo's character vulnerable and human. And yet in the end respectable.

The movie makes the viewer feel a myriad of emotions. It will make you laugh, wonder in amazement, and cry. The music beautifully highlights scenes in the movie which tug at the heart.

It's no wonder it won the best foreign language film in the recent Academy Awards.

Based on the film's official website, Departures has been awarded the following:

Winner 10 Japan Academy Prize Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor
Winner - Grand Prix de Ameriques: 32nd Montreal World Film Festival
- Mercedes Benz Audience Award: Best Feature, Palm Springs International FF
Winner - Golden Rooster Award: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Masahiro Motoki)
- Hawaii International Film festival: Audience Award
Winner - Hochi Film Awards: Best Film
- Nikkan Sports Film Award: Best Film, Best Director
Winner - Kinema Junpo Awards: Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor (Masahiro Motoki)

I am not sure how you can get a copy but check the link below for more details about the film.