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By Rene Lizada
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
THERE shall I begin? Perhaps the best way to do this would be at the beginning. That is the way to start this.
We woke up early that morning. Raphael, Chona and I took the first PAL (Philippine Airlines) flight out of Davao. The 7:10 a.m. flight to Manila was smooth and we arrived early. We took a taxi and transferred to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) One.
We texted Miguel and Gabriel that we were, according to the plan, meet them up there. Miguel was early and Gabriel was, well Gabriel and he took his sweet time. We waited over an hour for him. We entered NAIA One for an early check in at the Singapore Airlines counter. Well, early would be too weak a word because the flight that we were taking was still at 4:50 a.m.
But we did not like to take chances. The counter would open at 1 p.m. So we all decided to have lunch at the Mall of Asia. We took two cabs and proceeded. As per suggestion of Gabriel we had a Pepper lunch. A few minutes after we settled, the girlfriend of Eps joined us. We ate and talked and after that went around.
In what seemed to be a sign of things to come we ended up in a certain clothing store. We were just looking around really, just wasting time.
Finally, at about one past, we headed back to NAIA One. This time, the counters were open and we checked in. We went through Immigration and headed for our gate. It was around two something so we had time.
We sat and we dozed. The lounge was cold and also quiet. Every few minutes, planes took off and landed. Slowly but surely, the lounge was getting filled. Most of the passengers were Filipinos with a smattering of foreigners.
The minutes went by and went by and went by. Finally, the plane arrived, a rather large one at that. It was if I am not mistaken a Boeing 777. And because this was Singapore Airlines the boarding was on time, quick and efficient. Since Migoy had pre seated us, we were all together in one row. Chona and Miguel had the aisle seats; Gabriel had the window seat per his request. Raphael, who does not care where he sits, got a middle seat. And I having no choice got sandwiched between Gabo and Chona.
We taxied. And right on cue, the rain came down. Great, I said, rain! As we took takeoff position, I looked at the looming runway. Actually, the only things I could see were the rain and mist. Are we really going to take off in this weather? The roar of engines answered me. We gunned down the runway and lifted. We were on our way in the midst of gray clouds and rain.
The ride was somewhat bumpy due to the clouds. I was thinking and hoping that the weather would clear up somewhat because after all, this was going to be a 3-hour flight. My hopes were somewhat answered. Somewhat because occasionally, we would encounter turbulence.
I envy my children and wife because they can sleep in a plane. Me? You would have to knock me unconscious. The amenities were passed around. Juice, nuts, headsets and the menu. Then dinner. Then the four of them went back to sleep and I stared at the ceiling or peered through the window, which showed me gray clouds still. And there was of course the occasional bump. After three hours or so we finally landed at Changi.
We were brought to this security checkpoint. And I really felt bad for some of our fellow Pinoys. They were actually segregated and given a more thorough search through body search and metal detectors. Naawatalagaako. They looked so helpless and so sheepish.
After the security, we took a ride to Terminal 2 for Immigration. We went through and picked our luggage. Maybe because Changi is so big, the airport was actually quiet. Now it was tour guide, Miguel, who went into action. We were taking the train to our hotel and we had to look for the platform. Noproblemo for Miguel who spent two years in Singapore. We found the train and off we went.
Twenty minutes later we arrived at our hotel. A four-star establishment that had a really good location. We checked in and did what our family likes to do. Eat! Luckily for us right beside our hotel was a place for hawkers.
And since we were famished we just ate. We really did not care about the taste of the food, we were that hungry. After the dinner, we all went straight to our rooms. We were all tired. We needed the rest not only from today but also for tomorrow. Singapore awaited.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 08, 2012.