MY SINGAPORE Ultimate Summer Vacation: Day One

Singapore will always have a special place in my heart. Apart from having family there (my mom’s brother married a Singaporean, and they have three kids who I grew up with but never get to see anymore), it was the first and only country I visited with my grandparents. This is a big deal because they both aren’t around anymore, and I really miss them, especially my lola. I had a very close bond with my grandmother (she continues to be my idol and hero), and I will always cherish the times we spent together.

Rewind to the early 90’s to my first trip to Singapore. I was around 10 or 11 years old when my grandparents took my brother and me. I had such a fun time. I discovered chili crabs and oatmeal prawns, and my favorite chicken rice. My first shopping experience there was also very memorable, because I was able to make pabili so many things, thanks to lola (boy, how I miss that). It was a different kind of shopping experience back then though, because I was obsessed with comic books (and not clothes, bags or shoes) so we would go from bookstore to bookstore to find the missing issues in my DC/Marvel collection. I also got to go to Sentosa Island, which I loved because of its beaches and rides. There was just so much to do—I biked, swam and played with my brother and cousins the entire time. Oh to be a kid again!

I went back many times since, but it was always for work, and never more than 2 days. So I never got to visit my family like before. I got to eat Singaporean dishes but not enough of it. And the kind of shopping I experienced was speed shopping, where I had to pick and purchase in a matter of minutes. You can say I missed the Singapore I got to know back then, and I was longing to rediscover the country I had grown to love as a tween.

So when the lovely people of the Singapore Tourism Board, Cebu Pacific and Ogilvy & Mather Ad Agency invited my husband and I to experience Singapore as a couple, you can imagine what my answer was. A big yes! I was beyond excited. Carlos had never been to Singapore, and I wanted to go back badly. And so we spent an incredible four days touring the “garden city” (you must’ve seen my Instagram posts—we went to A LOT of places). This trip was one for the books!

On our first day, we went to GARDENS BY THE BAY. This place is new. It was my first time to see the place, and WOW, it is pretty spectacular. This place is every plant/flower/nature-lover’s dream come true. It features an exotic diversity of plants from all over the world. Its a garden paradise filled with new discoveries and exciting adventures.

I especially loved the FLOWER DOME, which is basically a giant greenhouse, only it is very cool inside (air is cooled at the lower occupied zones through chilled water pipes in ground slabs, while warm air is vented out at the top.). It is unbelievable inside, because they were able to gather hundreds of rare plants and flowers and allow them to thrive in one big space. The Flower Dome replicates the cool-dry climate of Mediterranean regions like South Africa, California and parts of Spain and Italy, and is the largest columnless greenhouse in the world.

DSC_2737We arrived a week too early! The tulips are not yet in bloom.

DSC_2759My husband loves plants (we’ve already started growing our own herbs on our balcony) so this was such a treat for him to see.

DSC_2765-001We’re in “Holland”.

DSC_2775Haha love this! The little windmill is a great touch.

DSC_2778Rows and rows of pretty tulips behind us.

DSC_2781Sayang talaga! One week more and we could’ve seen them in bloom.

DSC_2790Yes, this is how they’re supposed to look like.

DSC_2796 So happy. My best bud Mayi was able to tag along on our tour.

SONY DSCSo many gorgeous flowers! My mom would’ve liked to see this.

SONY DSCTulips.

SONY DSCEven more of them.

SONY DSCImagining just how much more beautiful these will look when they’re in bloom.

SONY DSCTrying these on for size.

SONY DSCHaha! Sweet lang.

SONY DSCAnd here we are at the CLOUD FOREST!  A 35-metre “mountain” covered in lush vegetation shrouding the world’s tallest indoor waterfall that showcases plant life from tropical highlands up to 2,000-metres above sea level.

SONY DSCAng lamig! Hahaha. We were actually getting wet while taking this photo.

SONY DSCAnd up we go to climb the mountain. Of course, there’s also the lift, which is more convenient.

DSC_2813Finally we are on top of the mountain, on the CLOUD WALK. It is pretty high, just to warn those who are afraid of heights.

DSC_2819Mayi and I.

DSC_2833Reading about the man-made mountain.

SONY DSCOn our way out.

DSC_2850Sharing a laugh while admiring the SUPER TREES.

SONY DSCHere they are: the SUPERTREES! These are 16 storeys high and are made of of four parts: reinforcement concrete core, trunk, planting panels of the living skin, and canopy. Supertrees are embedded with environmentally sustainable functions like photovoltaic cells to harvest solar energy.

DSC_2875Just an elevator ride away and we’re atop these trees.

DSC_2879Admiring the view.

SONY DSCA long way down. Love this picnic grove btw!

DSC_2882Having fun, so far.

DSC_2886I can imagine these trees lit up at night. They must look gorgeous!

DSC_2891Back down, about to take a merienda break.

SONY DSCOur journey begins here–we’re are about to go on the SINGAPORE FLYER–the world’s largest giant observation wheel!!!

DSC_2897Long way up.

DSC_2898Art made of recycled materials.

DSC_2899And we’re inside! The decks are pretty roomy, some even had tables set for dinner!

DSC_2901The ride was slow and steady. Its view was amazing!

DSC_2910

20130427_195742_LLS

20130427_200315The Singapore skyline.

SONY DSCFinally! DINNER!!! You can say we worked up an appetite, after all that sightseeing. Chicken rice, for the win!!!

*

All photos by DARREN CHIN (thank you Darren!!).

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