September 22, 2016. I had mixed emotions as the date of the travel came. It’s my first time to travel outside the country, and the feeling was both excitement and nervous. I am excited to experience how it is to be in a foreign land, and nervous because we will be doing a DIY travel. With me are my two (2) office mates and my office mates’ niece. But all of us are first time international travelers.
When we arrived at the airport, we look for the Travel Tax Payment counter and paid P1,620.00. Filipino travelers need to pay the travel tax everytime they travel abroad. I didn’t encounter any problem checking in at Cebu Pacific counter. When I go through the immigration counter, I just greet the Immigration Officer and presented my passport, booking confirmation, boarding pass, approved authority to travel from the office where I work and office ID. They only asked me when will I come back and I answered “On the 26th of September.” And that’s it! I got the stamp plus the “Enjoy your trip!” wish.
We arrived at Changi International Airport at 6:00 PM, look for a forex stall and changed 100 USD. We filled up a form and pass SG Immigration without a hassle. We were given instruction to ride the MRT from the airport to Esplanade to meet Vivien, a good friend of my travel mates. Because it is our first time in Singapore and we don’t have any idea of how to go to that place. We checked the Singapore Tourist maps we got at the airport for free and also asked the lady guard on the MRT station on how to go to Esplanade. Good thing is, Singaporeans speaks English well. She gave a few instructions and even helps us to get the ticket to our destination. The signs showing directions to take are all over the place, so we didn’t get lost. After almost an hour, we arrived at Esplanade and we were able to meet Vivien, our host for several days.
September 23, 2016. We traveled to Malaysia to see Batu Cave and Petronas Tower. We rode
Bus 912 from Woodlands Station to Johor Bahru, had 2 stops for immigration checkpoint, because we are leaving Singapore and entering Malaysia, which are two different countries. Forex stalls are available at the Immigration building, we bought 200 Ringgit for 50 USD. After the Malaysian immigration check, we cannot find the bus where we rode, so we look for another bus. Asked some Malaysian for the fastest mean to go to Kula Lumpur and they instructed us to ride on a bus from JB Sentral to Larkin, and from Larkin to Kuala Lumpur. It took about 7 hours before we arrived at Terminal Berdepadu Selatan (TBS) in Kuala Lumpur.
From the terminal, we took the KTM Komuter Train to Batu Cave. The cave is under maintenance when we arrived, but tourists are still allowed to go inside the cave. We sweat as we took the 272 steps stairs going to the cathedral cave, as we enjoyed the overlooking view of the city and the playful monkeys around. From Batu Cave, we traveled to see the famous towers in Malaysia, the Petronas Twin Tower. There is the surreal feeling when you see it very near. Malaysia flag is hanged on each tower, which made me say, “I’d been here. I’d been to Malaysia!!!” We can’t stop taking selfies and groupies, finding the best spot, lol! We weren’t able to go to the top because we’d been there in the evening. From Kuala Lumpur, we took the 11:30 PM bus to Woodlands, Singapore.
September 24, 2016. We spent the day in Singapore. We went to ChinaTown, and enjoyed the souvenir items and Chinese food. We also observed how the Buddhists’ pray, had a glimpse of their religion by visiting their museum where the tooth relic can be found.
After Chinatown, we went to Sentosa Island. We are supposed to ride in the cable car but it’s under maintenance when we get there, so we just took the train. Like a small kid, we ran and enjoyed the chocolate shop, snapped a few pictures with the Kinder Mascot and Hersheys’ display, posed infront of the rotating Universal Studio logo, took a selfie in the Lake of Dreams, enjoyed the Sentosa Merlion Park. My friends enjoyed the Cable car and Segway ride; I choose not to go with them because I’m a bit afraid. We walked to Palawan beach, as we are curious on how it look because Palawan is a place in the Philippines where beautiful beaches can be found.
At night we, tour around Gardens by the Bay and watched the musical show in the flower dome. I am mesmerized as I was looking at Marina Bay Sands, and went inside the Shoppes. We also had a glimpse of the Singapore Flyer and the Fullerton Bay Hotel as we waited for the Watershow infront of the Marina Bay Sands to start. We passed by the Arts and Science Museum; walk through The Helix going to Makasuntra Gluttons Bay, where we had our sumptuous dinner. And because, we’re very tired of the whole day walk, we just look at the Merlion, snapped a few zoomed shots as we go to the Esplanade.
September 25, 2016. It’s shopping day and the last day of our trip. We went to IMM to buy
shoes, and had a bite of the well-known food in SG, the Kaya Toast, which I don’t want to try because the egg is not well cooked. Then we went to the Church of the Risen Christ to attend the Sunday mass. It feels like home seeing hundreds of Filipinos gathered in a foreign land. They had a small gathering because they were celebrating the Feast of Penafrancia. After that, we went to a store in Toa Payoh where we bought chocolates. And because we know that we will be tempted to shop more souvenir items in Bugis Street, I looked for a forex stall and changed 50 USD.The trip ended in Bugis Street where we bought pasalubongs like ref magnets, key chains, t-shirts and bags.
As first time international travelers, we can say that we had so much fun. Although the time is not enough to see all of the tourist spots in both countries, we really enjoyed it. The experience is unforgettable, from the delays in Singapore Immigration, losing the bus where we are supposed to ride, asking for directions and talking with the local people. Those are the experiences that we will treasure and will be kept in our minds as we plan to another destination in Asia.