Singapore: Universal Studios and Kallang Road (Days4&5)

Singapore: Universal Studios and Kallang Road (Days4&5)

September 6

Ever since I was a child I have always been fascinated with the ancient civilization of Egypt. I’ve often imagined myself exploring the pyramids and experiencing the scorching heat of the desert. I have also watched The Mummy 1 and 2 movies, it has always been my dream to see its set. This is why I was really excited to explore Singapore’s Universal Studios because one of its attractions is the set of the said movies.

Upon entry, first we visited the set of Madagascar, Shrek’s swamp cottage and the Castle of the Kingdom of Far Far Away.

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We also watched Water World, Shrek 4D where we experienced the eerie sense of spiders crawling on our feet, Donkey’s Knight Club, and watched Lights, Camera, Action by Steven Spielberg where we have seen the simulation of a Category 5 hurricane which hit the New York City harbor. It was a thrilling experience.

Then, my niece and her dad went inside Jurassic Park to experience its rides.

But, I decided that I’ll be enjoying Egypt and the sights in the Mummy movies :). There, we boarded an indoor high-speed roller coaster. It’s like passing through one of the pyramids and encountering the Mummy from the movie. I kept closing my eyes every time the roller coaster approaches the mummy coffins. I had goosebumps when a virtual mummy appeared in front of us and tried to swallow us. It was indeed a scary and thrilling ride. We were screaming from start to end.

Then, we visited Sci-Fi City, Galactica,  New York and the Hollywood Walk of Fame where I saw the star of Julie Andrews 🙂

We enjoyed taking a lot of photos and buying souvenirs from the shops. Then, we had our picture taken at the Lake of Dreams before leaving Sentosa and heading to our hotel.

It was really nice to unleash the “child in me” and just enjoy the activities and sights in the Universal Studios Theme Park. I was carefree and I felt like I just want to live in the moment. Seeing those movie sets made me experience stuffs which  make up our dreams – for me it was the highlight of our tour.

September 7

Due to some unexpected events, our flight was re-scheduled and we have to stay in Singapore for another day. So we decided to pack our things and then take a stroll in the park at Kallang Road near our hotel in the afternoon.

The air was hot and humid, but strolling outdoors was able to lift our spirits. And whenever there are trees, there’s also a light refreshing breeze that blows.

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Another thing, I was able to appreciate in Singapore is their sense of discipline. People are diligently following street signs. They go to bus stops and strictly follow traffic rules. You don’t have to worry about pick pockets and thieves stealing your phone, purse or other belongings. I felt secure while I was there.

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Lastly, everywhere you look, they are able to maintain order.

All in all, it was a fun and enjoyable trip. I was with the best persons I can be with during my first international flight and overseas tour. It changed the way I view life and what I’m capable of doing and achieving. I became a different person after the trip. Experiencing a different culture and seeing a different way of living made me realize that I still want to visit more places and know more cultures and broaden my horizon. So I promised myself that in the years to come – I’ll make it a goal to visit other places within the Philippines and other countries in Asia.

Photos (c) Te Leah and KuJo

Singapore: The Merlion, Sentosa and Songs of the Sea (Day 3)

Singapore: The Merlion, Sentosa and Songs of the Sea (Day 3)

September 5

Because we were really tired the previous day, we woke up late the following day. We started our tour at 10am. Our schedule is to explore the vicinity near the Merlion adjacent to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.

While exploring the vicinity, I was able to appreciate the architecture of buildings and bridges. We have seen a lot of tourists in the area, and we also took a lot of photos with the Cavenagh bridge, Fullerton Hotel, Sands Sky Park, Singapore Flyer and Esplanade as our backdrop.

We had late lunch at 2pm – and it was may first time to eat broiled duck. I had a hard time eating since I’m not used to the texture of the meat as well at the sauce poured over, but my cousins really enjoyed the meal.

At past 5pm, we went to Vivo City and met my niece so we can watch the Songs of the Sea at Sentosa Resorts World.

Songs of the Sea

I really enjoyed watching this tale. It was a combination of lights and image projection on water, with a very good set of background music and talented actors and actresses. I had fun watching the show and taking pictures of the amazing effects.

Afterwards, we also had our pictures taken with the scale model of the Taj Mahal.

Then we had our dinner at Vivo City where I have seen senior citizens still working as restaurant crews. How I wish we also have that in the Philippines since older people who are used to working find worth and fulfillment even in simple jobs especially if they think that they still want to work and they still have the strength to be productive. I think Singaporeans have a really high regard for work and productivity.

Then, we went back to our hotel and another dreamless sleep followed.

Photos (c) Te Leah

Singapore: My First Overseas Trip (Days1&2)

Singapore: My First Overseas Trip (Days1&2)

Right now, I’m feeling somewhat blue so I decided to read my previous journals. One of them was about my first overseas trip way back 2010. Maybe it’s time to share my first overseas adventure.

During that time, I was teaching in the university for 10 years already and I know that my life will continue just the way it is. My life have fallen into a rut – I’ll go to class, deliver my lessons, go home and during the weekends enjoy my ministry. There were times when I’m always looking forward to those two-week semestral breaks so I can change my environment and visit places in the Philippines with my cousins – these trips are those enjoyable times when I can break free from my routine.

It was the month of September, three months before I turned thirty – a life-changing event happened. One of my cousins invited me to accompany him to Singapore to fetch his daughter after she finishes her on-the-job training. I was really excited. Maybe because, I already told myself that I will have no chance of going outside the Philippines. That’s why I’m really grateful for this opportunity.

Here’s a detailed record of my first international trip:

September 3

5:00AM Boarded a Victory Liner bus bound to Caloocan.

10:00AM Arrived at Dau Station, where we ate brunch at Jollibee and rented a van going to Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA), checked-in our luggage and paid the following fees: Terminal and Security fee =600php and the Travel Tax=1,620php. Went to the immigration for verification of identity docs and stayed at the Departure lounge.

12:50PM Boarded our flight – we used Tiger Airways.

5:00PM Arrived at the Changi Budget Terminal, Singapore, boarded a taxi and checked-in at Regin Hotel, unpacked our things and explored the vicinity. At the back of our hotel is the Geylang district. I have seen a lot of shops and roadside eateries or hawker food stalls.

We decided to try 3  big bowls of spicy noodles as our dinner which amounted to 8SGD. Then we went back to our hotel to rest.

September 4

Boarded a bus and used the EZ link card for the first time, we have to fetch my niece and her things at 95 Student Hostels where she stayed during the months of her training at Coffee Club. Then in the afternoon we went to Mustafa to change our Php bills to SGD and bought some souvenirs.

Then we roamed the streets of Singapore. Explored Plaza Singapura and had our lunch at Just Acia. Our luch was served with unlimited ice cream, coffee and soda.

Next, we visited Orchard Plaza and Orchard Central. There I experienced going up a very high escalator. Somehow, I got really nervous and my palms started perspiring – that’s when I realized that I also have fear of heights.

At past 4:00 in the afternoon, we boarded the tourist bus to see Marina Bay Sands Hotel where we bought tickets so we can go up the Sands Sky Park – a view deck shaped like a luxury ship where you can see the view overlooking the city.

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The lobby of Marina Bay Sands Hotel
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At the Sky Park
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The city looked somewhat dull in the afternoon
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Then …  it became a city of lights.

We had fun looking at the view, had a lot of photos taken. As the sky becomes dark, the city transformed into a city of lights. It was an amazing sight to behold. As we explored the sky park, we also saw the infinity pool.

Upon leaving Marina Bay Sands, we passed through the Double helix bridge and visited the Youth Olympic park.

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“I was up there a while ago.” ^0^
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The lights are really mesmerizing …

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Afterwards, we boarded the train, then bus #64 and bought fruits at the wet market near our hotel. We were really exhausted since we were walking most of the time to see and appreciate different sights so we took a much needed rest.

Photos (c) of Te Leah.

Hong Kong Escapade: Day 3

Hong Kong Escapade: Day 3

October 15, 2012 – A childhood dream came true 🙂

Te Veck was asked to do an errand for a work colleague so we went to Mong Kok and visited Capital Computer Center. Afterwards, we had our brunch at Mc Donalds and travelled to Sunny Bay.

” A dream is a wish your heart makes, when you’re fast asleep

In dreams you will lose your heartache, whatever you wish for you’ll keep ..”

The moment I was waiting for since I first saw a Disney movie 🙂 – it’s now time to live the dream at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.

The Mickey Mouse Train

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inside the mickey mouse train

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The Welcome Arc and the Theme Park Ground

First thing I did was to look around and appreciate things around me – then came the photo opportunity with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Since it’s only 2 in the afternoon the queue is short.

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Then, we looked at the paintings, drawings and caricatures at the Animation Academy at Main St. U.S.A.  

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then watched the street parade where I really got teary-eyed since the realization hit me – my dream really came true – A childhood dream came true 🙂

Next, we went to Tomorrow Land where we boarded the space mountain high speed roller coaster. Then to Fantasy Land where we saw Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, the Royal Banquet Hall, Cinderella Carousel, Snow White’s wishing well but wasn’t able to see the Golden Mickeys and experience the train with the “It’s a small world” song background.

In the Adventureland, we boarded the Jungle River Cruise where we have seen animatronix.

Next is the Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars – an outdoor roller coaster at the Grizzly Gulch.

And then we decided to go separately so the couple with me can see the attractions at the Toy Story land and board the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop.

 

while I scan souvenir shops and then later on watch the Festival of the Lion King musical show. The actors and actresses really have very good singing voices – I enjoyed every bit of the musical.

After the show, I found Te Veck and Ya Rex waiting for me outside the theater. Again, we had our pictures taken and then redeemed the gift.

To end the Disneyland experience, we waited for the fireworks display. It was a play of lights, firecrackers, projected images and videos as well as famous Disney music and theme songs.

We also took pictures at the Mickey Mouse Train Station before leaving Disneyland Resort.

“Have faith in your dreams and someday, the rainbow will come smile at you,

No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing,

The DREAM that YOU WISH – Will Come True!”

Before going back to our hotel, we ate Chinese food at a local restaurant in Mong Kok – and they really have large servings.

Then, we bought preserved delicacies and boarded the bus back to our hotel.

The next day is our flight back to the Philippines and I can say that I really enjoyed my vacation in Hong Kong.

Photos (c): Te Veck

Hong Kong Escapade: Day 2

Hong Kong Escapade: Day 2

October 15, 2012

After resting for long hours it’s time to travel and explore tourist spots again.

We ate Thai food at a small restaurant near the hotel. Then, we took the way going to the underpass to reach the bus stop and travel to the Prince Edward MTR Station .

Through Te Veck’s navigation, we reached the Tung Chung  station where we found the City Gate Outlets mall.

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Ngong Ping 360 degrees cable cars on the horizon

There we boarded a Ngong Ping 360 degrees cable car (another milestone) and reached Lantau island. On our way to the island, there were Lord of the Rings-like views and scenery :), also saw the airport and at the distance I also saw other cities.

We also  had the opportunity to taste their native delicacies: soya soup, fish ball, dumplings and the sweet and spicy rice noodle rolls.

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enjoyed our snacks

Tourist spots in the island

Sunset in the island

Before the day ends, our next goal was to visit Victoria Harbor and see the Avenue of Stars.We had fun taking pictures, saw The Peak at the horizon, and of course the lights of the buildings along the harbor. There were floating restaurants and we’ve seen a lot of tourists just enjoying the view and the cool breeze.

Then came the Symphony of lights – I was really happy to experience the play of lights and the music from the orchestra. It was relaxing for me and its the perfect way of ending a day of walking and exploring different places.

Hours of walking and queuing left us tired for the day but instead of directly gong back to our hotel, we decided to visit their night market and buy “pasalubong” for our loved ones. We also found a small Pinoy restaurant and which served “tocilog”, “tapsilog” and “chicksilog” at the Jordan station in Kowloon.

Since somehow we got used to looking at maps, we were able to find our bus stop and reached the hotel to rest.

Tomorrow I’ll be living a childhood dream :).

Photos (c): Te Veck 🙂

Hong Kong Escapade: Day 1

Hong Kong Escapade: Day 1

Since it’s already October, I was reminded of another tour I’ve had in the past. It was my second time to travel outside the Philippines and was really excited since I’ll be fulfilling a childhood dream 🙂

October 13, 2012

It was 15 minutes before 7am so we need to Hurry! We really have to hurry! It took us a long while to reach Clark International airport and our flight is at 7am. I was with Te Veck and Ya Rex and after settling fees at the airport, we were able to board the plane. 1 and a half hours passed and we arrived at the Hong Kong International Airport. We gathered our checked-in bags and bought entrance tickets to the tourist spots we’ll be visiting plus the octopus card which was able to bring us to a lot of places.

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Hong Kong International Airport

We boarded an A22 double decker and reached Regal Oriental Hotel at Kowloon before lunch time. It was my first time to ride at the front which made it easy to take a lot of pictures and even videos 🙂

After having biscuits and noodles and some freshening up, we proceeded to the bus stop and travel to their train station and reach the Central Station where we met fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses. 🙂

The Peak

At the Central Station we had to walk going to the Peak and be part of the long queue of tourists who will board the Peak Tram.

Madame Tussaud’s Wax figures

Bubba Gump Restaurant  at the Peak

Since we’re already famished, we tried the delicacies found at the restaurant made famous by Tom Hanks’ movie.

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inside Bubba Gump restaurant
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The Sky Terrace

Sight-seeing and picture-taking followed. People from all around the world sat together and enjoyed the scenery.

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sweet couple at the sky terrace
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Victoria Harbor as seen on top of The Peak
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structures and their night lights

Had a throbbing temple afterwards, maybe because of the change in temperature since it was somewhat hot and I’m used to the weather in Baguio City where October is cool. My head was really painful, I thought I will collapse, but prayer really helped. One downside, we had a hard time talking to the locals in English regarding how we can return to our hotel. Despite the headache, we reached our hotel after walking almost 2 kilometers. What a night! I had a long and dreamless sleep afterwards.

Stay tuned for the continuation of my vacation in Hong Kong. 🙂

Photos (c) Te Veck 🙂

Tingloy: A scenic island in Batangas

Tingloy: A scenic island in Batangas

It was my first time to personally organize a preaching tour in an isolated island in the Philippines. The idea was given by a well-meaning couple – a zealous brother and sister in faith. So after months of learning and researching about the place and weeks of preparation, came the day of our tour.

We left Baguio City at 11:00 in the evening aboard a Victory Liner bus. It took us only four hours to reach Cubao terminal. After having our early breakfast at Chowking we boarded an ALPs bus bound to Batangas Grand Terminal (BGT). Then, we had to board a passenger jeepney which brought us to Talaga port where we had to board a boat so we can reach the port of Tingloy.

Since we reached Talaga port at 8am, we still had to wait for the first trip to Tingloy at 10:30am.

From this point forward, what we have seen and experienced in the island are mostly depicted in pictures.

The community is peaceful and quaint. I felt a sense of serenity while watching these scenes. It was actually 6:30 am when I took these photos and felt melancholic since I was reminded of those days when I was still going to school – just like the kids in the photos.

Our preaching experience

The people in Tingloy are very polite and hospitable. We had a relaxed, enjoyable and fruitful time in sharing the good news of Jehovah God’s kingdom with them. 🙂

The best part for me was being greeted “good morning and good afternoon” wherever we go. It was really unusual for me since I’m used to passing by several persons and not getting a smile back or a nod even if I took the initiative to shyly greet them first in the city. But in this little island, it was like going back in time when people still care about each other and treat each other as family.

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Perks of a Preaching Tour

Benefits of joining a preaching tour is being able to explore great places and captivating scenic views in the island. Local brothers and sisters invited us to visit their place and enjoy their hospitality.

Of course,  we enjoyed taking photos of the amazing views.

Scenic views at Masasa beach

Masasa Beach and swimming

 

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enjoying the cool water

Masasa Beach Rock Formations

According to Tatay  (our tour guide), these rock formations are really old and is an admired tourist spot in their part of the island.

Mini hiking expedition

It took us almost 30 minutes to reach the top and we were a lot quicker going down the steep trail.

The views on top of the mountain are worth the unexpected hike 🙂

Visiting another side of the island – Dapdap

Sunset images in the island

The best things in life are free – just like the sunset. It often reminds me that Jehovah God wraps up a day beautifully thus giving hope to mankind that tomorrow it will beam and rise again.

Last Day in the island

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With our siblings in faith in Tingloy Congregation
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farewell picture with our family in Tingloy island

Memorable persons during our preaching tour

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Additional Information:

Transportation Expenses:

  • Bus (Baguio to Cubao): 445php/head
  • ALPs Bus (Cubao to Batangas Grand Terminal): 165php/head
  • Jeep (BGT to Talaga port): 37php/head
  • Passenger boat (Talaga port to Tingloy Island): 65php/head
  • Tricycle (Tingloy port to Kingdom Hall): 10php/head

Images used are from the fb pages of the preaching tour members.