Sunday, 15 March 2015

Freedom fighting* in Singapore

Most posts would point out how expensive Singapore is.  While I prepared for my short stay in Singapore, I wanted to test my budget/backpacking traveling skills in this aspect.  How far can you truly stretch your pocket for a two night and one day trip?

1.  Couch-surf.  Though I was traveling with two other friends, we managed to ask a friend to welcome us to his house for free.  This included free breakfasts and a welcome dinner at a fastfood chain. Cost: token from the Philippines with much of  news and listening...

Our first lunch was in this heritage place 

2.  Borrowed transport card.  It was very convenient to be handed out a transport card by our host. The card brought us to the sights that we wanted to see.  We used it for the bus and the train. We just topped it up.  I thought of buying a Tourist Pass but since we didn't make up our mind of where to go, we just settled for the transport card. Cost: 10 SgD

You can't surely miss the skyline...

The background may all look modern but they took a pose at 

 Finally meeting the Merlion!

Lost in the arts...

Goofing around at the Flower Garden

Reunion with friends to cap the day...

Singapore by night...

These tourists need some downtime too!

3.  Sightseeing.  Since we only had a day to go around the city, it was very difficult to point out places that we want to go.  We settled for getting a feel of the city in the most inexpensive way.  We stopped at Orchard station and walked through the buildings and the sights.    We went around the marina for 4 hours!  We went to some of the museums and gardens.  At the Bay Garden, we were lucky enough to get free tickets from a friend.  That was very impressive and would surely give you an idea on how much the country invested on tourism.  Cost: Free + some tokens from the Philippines

4.  Meals.  We were hosted by different sets of friends from different 'lifetimes' and circumstances in Singapore.  They re-introduced me to different Singaporean vegetarian dishes and fare.   Spicing it up with cryptic updates and stories, the meals shared were superb.  And oh, please don't skip the local ice cream sold just by the streets.  This ensures that you help the local economy. Cost: 15 SgD (Tip: Take a water bottle with you from home if you truly want to keep it low)

5.   Freedom fighting.  Simple, you simply enjoy what is shared for free!

6.  Airfare. We took the Cebu-Singapore flight of Cebu Pacific.  It costed us 1,800 (exclusive of taxes).  It was a stopover trip on my way to Indonesia.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Travel Light

Traveling light is traveling in style.  You breeze through check ins and head straight to your destination upon arrival. You are one happy person squeezing through the public transport system, saving a lot of money.

Some tips:

1.  Plan very well, analyze the nature of your trip.
2.  It pays to wash clothes.  What is a 10 minute washing compared to an eternal lugging in of oversized luggage?
3.  Traveling for a week, a month or even months sounds the same to me:
         A.  2 pairs of pants (the first pair is worn on day 1)
         B.  2 lightweight clothes 
         c.  4 tops (shirts or blouses)
         d.  2 leggings
         e.  underwears 
         f.  microfiber towel
         g.  sarong
         h.  toiletries. & laundry soap
         g. camera
         h.  traveling adopter.
4.  wear the bulkiest clothes and footwear at the airport or in long journeys.
5.  Maintain a good disposition.  Be happy!

The pilgrimage continues

I first worked with the Taize Community in the early 90s.  I have the privilege of working with them in the Manila Pilgrimage of Trust.  Thanks to the Brothers, I got to know Manila broadly and had the glimpse of the iron city.

Years after, another pilgrimage was held in Don Bosco, Makati. I came as a pilgrim and a volunteer in the actual meeting.

It was a reunion of sorts and a way to reconnect with the inner voice.  Indeed, the way to peace is through trust and reconciliation.