Posts Tagged ‘Tour

23
Sep
10

Committing Suislide! (EAT Danao)

All good things eventually comes to an end, and before finally concluding my Bohol trip a visit to the island’s new adventure playground was in place.  Where else but in EAT Danao?

One of the views you’d see before committing Suislide 🙂

(Continue reading…)

24
Dec
09

Singapore Special: Sentosa (Day 03, Post-Race)

Everyone’s races are over, most got a new “personal best” (as how they refer to a “personal record” in Singapore), it’s time to celebrate!  We haven’t gone all out to save our strengths for our respective races and now, we can!  And where do adventure-seekers in Singapore go?  Sentosa!

The ladies…

…and the Gents…

…off to Sentosa! (Me behind the camera)

Sentosa is the southernmost territory of Singapore and as such has the southernmost coast of continental Asia (since Singapore is connected by land to the Asian mainland via bridges to Malaysia).  You may think of Sentosa as Singapore’s playground as it centralizes a lot of attractions here like Underwater World, Tiger Sky Tower, Palawan beach, and Southeast Asia’s first Universal Studios theme park (opening first quarter 2010) among others.

Sentosa

From the mainland you may get to Sentosa via a cable car (under repair) or the monorail.  The obvious choice for us was the monorail and interestingly its station was inside a mall (like many MRT stations in Singapore), Vivo City.  Getting to Sentosa (Imbiah Station) takes only a few minutes from Vivo City Station as it really wasn’t that far away—from a Filipino’s perspective you may compare it to crossing a slightly wider (and much deeper) Pasig River.

Here comes the monorail to Sentosa

As much as we want to explore this entire island and enjoy everything it had to offer time was not on our side as we only had less than half a day!  Some of our friends would also return to Manila later that night so all we had was the entire afternoon.  Without spending much time thinking we started with the obvious: the Luge and Skyride.

The gang at Sentosa with Singapore’s biggest Merlion at the background

Tiger Sky Tower

Luge

Skyride

Travel Tip: As many who have tried the Luge would tell you, “once is not enough.”  Take our word for it, get the combo!

At first the Skyride doesn’t look intimidating; I mean it’s just an open cable car, right?  But later on it proved to be a “screamer” for the ladies—it gets really high so it isn’t exactly for those who are afraid of heights.  It was quite enjoyable though as you get to see the island from a high spot but it’s a little too short (get the combo!).

View from the above

An even higher view!

Weee!

…what do we do next?

After the rides we settled to touring the area on foot as it was also getting too late for us to visit other attractions.  But before we left we were visited by the free-roaming peacock that just walks about the place.  Interesting.

The roaming peacock

Nice gate

Imbiah Station

A monorail stopping at the station

Upon returning to Vivo City I was quite tired to roam around the mall’s rooftop garden (I just did a marathon earlier so it was reasonable) so I just settled with lying on the grass.  I realized that our Singapore trip was coming to its conclusion so we had to maximize the time we had remaining.  All three of my “housemates” would be leaving that night and for our last activity together we decided to have a somewhat fancy dinner, back near our hostel in Bugis.

Getting some rest at Vivo City’s garden

Vivo City’s garden Christmas tree

Finally that night I had to say goodbye to my friends.  I was so tired that I didn’t even had the chance to think that I was alone in my room and just fell to sleep without trouble.  Tomorrow I’ll be checking out and be returning home, alone.  I wasn’t even able to think about that before I got to sleep…

Hotel InterContinental’s Christmas tree, just across our hostel

Meatball Spaghetti, always a favorite

Spicy Pasta, although it didn’t say so in the menu

Travel Tip: Watch out for the word “spicy” if you’re not used to it.

Last dinner in Singapore for this trip

Our hostel

Special thanks to Carina for some of the pictures that appeared here.

Singapore Special Index:

22
Dec
09

Singapore Special: Pre-Race Tour (Day 02)

As a tourist in the 21st century it is probably a mortal sin not to have a camera of sorts especially on foreign land, so for my second day in Singapore finding one comes on top of my itinerary.  Being a gadget hub I sure didn’t have any difficulty finding one for me in Singapore.  What’s good about being a tourist buying gadgets in Singapore is that you are entitled to a 7% GST (Goods and Services Tax) refund of up to S$300 for purchases above S$100 (in a single receipt).  For many gadgets Singapore prices are among the most competitive in the region and the additional incentive sure makes shopping more gratifying.  Here are the first sets of pictures taken from my new digital camera:

Raffles City

Raffles City fountain

Shopping sure makes you hungry

Travel Tip: Most modern gadgets won’t have any problem with Singapore’s voltage but if your gadget’s charger or power cord is Philippine-standard make sure to bring an adapter as Singapore’s outlets are different.

Lunch time with friends at Raffles City

What do tourists normally do? Tour!  That’s exactly what we did, and yes it’s the day before the marathon!

Jedi caught by the empire! Storm Troopers help gather funds for The Salvation Army (courtesy Carina)

Inside Swissotel The Stamford

War Memorial Park with the famous Singapore skyline in the background

One side of the baggage counter for SCSM at the Memorial

Travel Tip: You may consider bringing along a small bottle of water when touring Singapore.

A typical double decker bus

Travel Tip: Civic District is best toured by foot, but don’t forget to bring your map!

Marina Square

Lookey what we found

Esplanade

…from another angle

Fullerton Hotel with the Singapore skyline

The Merlion

…and the Merlion cub

For dinner since it’s the night before race day it can only mean one thing—carbo loading time!

Glitzy Christmas by the bay

Raffles City Christmas tree

Time to carbo-load!

Hmmm… Spaghetti!

Pizza, courtesy of Rico V. (By Sheer Will)

Seafood Carbonara Pasta

Before calling it a day we stopped over a supermarket to do some shopping.

Fruits

Cavendish Bananas from the Philippines!

Finally just before having some shuteyes I thought of writing some inspirational message on the extra bib provided, but being tired of touring my mind wasn’t generating creative juices so I just prepared my things for my marathon the following day.

My K-Ona ready for its Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon debut

The moment I have been waiting for, the reason I am in Singapore, has finally arrived.  What will happen on race day remains unknown so far…

Singapore Special Index:

21
Dec
09

Singapore Special: Southward Bound (Day 01)

After nine months finally I get to travel outside the Philippines and for my first ASEAN destination, Singapore!  It would be my first time to be a “sports tourist” and was very excited to have my first marathon outside the country.  Of course I am not alone with this “addiction” as I have my close friends with me doing the same.  Yeah, I guess you may call it that if you decide to go to Singapore for four days just to run a marathon.  You may also call it “crazy!”

Just before 4AM at the Centennial Terminal (Terminal 2), Manila, Philippines

Singapore is about a three-hour flight from Manila which isn’t that particularly long, but isn’t exactly short either.  There’s not much things you can do in a plane so after eating there’s still time to catch up on some sleep.

In-flight meal

Before 10AM we landed at Singapore’s Changi Terminal 2, a terminal that is more like a shopping mall and since computer terminals with internet access were offered for free at the terminal itself we were able to briefly check our e-mails and of course post updates to our social networking sites.

Free internet access at Changi Airport

What I love about this airport was its extremely tourist-friendly atmosphere.  As a first timer in Singapore I had no idea what to expect or do and for that the terminal offers a lot of free brochures and maps with special focus by interests like shopping, electronics and gadgets, night outs, night safari, and Sentosa.  Even the airport in itself had so much to offer that it needs to have its own brochure!

We have arrived!

Travel Tip: Philippine Peso (Php) along with other major currencies are readily exchangeable for Singapore Dollars (Sgd) at the terminal itself so you need not hassle yourself to buy US Dollar from home.  In fact it is much better to directly exchange your Php to Sgd that you incur the least amount of conversion value loss.

As an epitome of a city with an efficient public transportation system, their MRT is an excellent way to get around Singapore.  The organizers of Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) utilized this fact and placed their distribution center for race packet distribution at the Expo—just a station away from the airport station of the MRT.

Still at Changi Airport bound for the MRT station

Travel Tip: bus and MRT bus fares are more expensive via cash than ez-link card, but regular MRT tickets can be returned at the General Ticketing Machine (GTM) for a S$1 refund.  You may also keep it as a cheapo souvenir!

A typical Singapore MRT General Ticketing Machine (GTM) to buy and return MRT tickets

First stop: The Expo.  If race kit distribution in Manila spells trouble for runners, for SCSM it’s the other way around as the entire process of claiming your kit won’t take you five minutes!  Aside from claiming your kit you also have a chance to see and buy a lot of running-related products a lot of which are not available in the local market.  A lot of items were also on sale including shoes and apparel from this year’s SCSM shirt provider, New Balance.  For me I settled with window shopping and a can of liniment spray.

Expo Station

Meeting fellow Pinoy runners at the Expo

At the expo

Huge banners mark where runners should queue for their kit

Kit claiming area at the Expo

Race bibs are packed in clear zip-lock bags. Race kits also include an SCSM event shirt and product samples and flyers from sponsors and are distributed inside bags

Travel Tip: Shoulder bags (regardless of the weight) are not the best choice when travelling.

At the expo we were joined by more of our friends, some Singapore-based, who would be running the SCSM, and by time everyone was done with their shopping it was time for lunch.  Conveniently there was also a food court at the expo but unfortunately it rained!  Most of the seats were located semi-al fresco so we had some issues with rain.  I thought that we left the rains back in Manila but it’s not exactly Sunny Singapore that greeted us.  Apparently it had been raining the past few days in the afternoon, and consistently for the last several years, days before SCSM, but according to our Singapore-based friends it had always been rainless at the day of the SCSM itself.  Will it rain during SCSM?

Strong rains aren’t enough to dampen our spirits!

After lunch it’s time for most of us to settle down on our hotels and of course it’s back to the MRT station.  It was like the pre-mobile phone era for us when we agreed to meet again for dinner as even the cost of sending an SMS was restrictive (most of us were carrying our Philippine SIM on roaming).  We had to do things the “old-school” way by agreeing to meet at a certain place at a certain time—makes you appreciate more the convenience of being at home.

Tourists finding their way “home”

Singapore’s MRT

For me and three of my friends our destination was Bugis—a popular tourist destination in itself.  We picked our hostel in this area because of its proximity to the Starting line of the SCSM near Fullerton Hotel which was only about a kilometer away.

How to spot a tourist in Singapore

Later that afternoon despite having less than ample rest Carina and I were off for some walking tours of the area.  With that tour we found out how close everything was—being from the Philippines where the scale of a typical map is in kilometers we were used to walking long before reaching a spot in the map.  In Singapore maps normally have scales of about a hundred meters making locations appear farther than they actually are—making the lives of some gutsy Pinoy tourists with hardly any orienteering skills roaming the streets of Singapore to have a very difficult time.

Expressways in Singapore uses non-disruptive RFID to collect tolls

Are pedestrians allowed here?

We were originally heading towards the Merlion that afternoon but we ended up in front of the Singapore Flyer and eventually in Suntek City.  With sunlight gradually fading we had no choice but to return to our hostel via a bus, which proved to be a not-so-easy task, but picking one was very “educational.”

The Singapore Flyer

We had another bonding moment with friends through dinner at Funan Digitalife Mall, a small building much like Gilmore IT Center in Quezon City.  Here we had our first taste of a mall-style food court.

Having fun with my selection of dinner

Excited tourists as we were, we refused to end the night with dinner and instead headed off to Clarke Quay, which was more like Riverbanks in Marikina meet Eastwood City.  Here I found my favorite “Ice cream slab sandwiched in wafer” which was only S$1.  The famous G-Max reverse bungy ride is also found here.  And from here most of us are just an MRT away, but for me and my “housemates” it was still walking distance away from home.  Some quick tour to cap our first day in Singapore.

Christmas tree in front of Central Promenade at Clarke Quay

G-Max

Special thanks to Carina for some of the pictures that appeared here.

Singapore Special Index:

28
Nov
09

Laoag Tour: The Preview

It was another long weekend here in the Philippines, another chance for a great adventure.  For me and three other guys from the takbo.ph camp it would head us north—way up north—to the city of Laoag, Ilocos Norte, primarily for Run Ahead Raising a Roof race tomorrow morning.  Of course this city had much more to offer, and here are some previews:

About six hours into the bus ride: sunrise

Our Laoag-bound bus on a stop-over

We arrived at the city proper after about nine hours of travel. Arriving at our hotel we were treated to a breakfast buffet.

Breakfast

Buffet

Takbo.ph in Laoag

These are just previews of our first few hours, watch out for my complete story soon…




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The MIRACLE isn’t that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the COURAGE to START
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