First day in cosmopolitan Singapore-A A +A
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
SINGAPORE is the complete anti-thesis of the Philippines. It’s a clear example of what the Philippines could be if the system worked, if people obeyed the law and if officials really worked for genuine public service.
Singapore has been long known for its cleanliness and since our arrival, from Changi Airport to our hotel along Fort Canning Road, not the smallest litter was in sight. The roadsides sport of majestic foliage and almost everywhere there are green parks that give an impression that the whole country is a large landscaped garden.
Visiting Singapore anytime of the year is a breeze. One can in fact get out of the hotel and start walking its safe neighborhoods.
I started my four-day stay in Singapore with early morning think-jogging along the central district. There is virtually no air and noise pollution even along its most busy streets. Even in the morning, Singapore is a majestic place and walking for long hours is indeed a worthwhile and hassle-free experience. All the time, while walking, I could not help but compare every aspect of Singapore’s excellent system with that of the Philippines.
I ended up in Singapore’s China Town for some early morning shopping. It is a bit expensive to buy things here, which is why most tourists would go to China Town or Little India for the best but cheap goods. Singapore boasts of string Chinese, Malay and Indian populations that call Singapore their home and have established for themselves districts were they have concentrated most of their shops.
In China Town, one can get the best Chinese and Singaporean food at almost half the price if you order the same meals in the busy tourist areas. Travel buddy Jessica and I had our fill with oriental cuisine before making our rampage along the flee shops that lined the many streets of the district.
Tourists on a shoe-string budget can avail of gift items from $1 up. Food stuffs like Chinese crackers and nuts can also be bought along the streets for less than $4. It is best to visit China Town in the evening when it is more vibrant, to get a vibe of the locals and tourists who flock by the hundreds each night.
We met with fellow travel buddies Monina Laus and Trina Dizon just about noon to meet with the other Laus kids that joined us for the trip. We had a merry time visiting Universal Studios for the rest of the day. I am not a big fan of theme parks but Universal Studios and its breathtaking rides made a believer out of me.
The night was spent with riding the Singapore Flyer, the World's largest Giant Observation Wheel where we did a little meditating on the 17-minute ride. Even on the top of the Singapore Flyer, the whole place screams of near perfection. My first day in Singapore made me realize that I can live in this cosmopolitan wonderland, then suddenly it came to me, I miss the chaos of the Philippines.
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Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on November 09, 2011.