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