SG Last Hurrah!: Universal Studios Singapore

SG Last Hoorah: Universal Studios Singapore

My family and myself have lived in Singapore for two years. During this time we have always skipped visiting the Universal Studios Singapore theme park located within the Resorts World Integrated Resort in Sentosa island.

But our time to leave Singapore has arrived. Well that is about 6 months ago. And so upon learning that we are to heading back to the Philippines, we decided that it was time for us to visit Universal Studios Singapore. We bought our tickets from a travel agency in Chinatown which is way cheaper than buying online or in their ticket booths.

Well actually it is also very timely as my aunt and 3 cousins where flying over to Singapore for a vacation during that time.

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A Stroll into the Gardens By The Bay

Last Saturday, my family and I finally got the opportunity to check out one of the latest tourist attractions here in Singapore, the Gardens By The Bay.  Well it has actually been open since October of 2011 but still it is a fairly new attraction.   Gardens By The Bay is located just behind the Marina Bay Sands and it is somehow a flagship attraction highlighting Singapore as a garden city.

Well, technically we have been to the Gardens By The Bay for a couple or more times but we never ventured inside it but only by its entrance.  Anyway, this time we did go in and we have free tickets to go inside its two conservatories.   Again just like in our trips to the Singapore Flyer and the Jurong Bird Park, our tickets provided by my wife’s employer, OCBC.  She once more won the ticket lottery in their office.

And so, last Saturday we all set off to go to the Gardens but we took a short stop in Orchard to have our lunch in Jollibee Singapore.

Going there, we took the MRT and exited at Bayfront MRT station located below the Marina Bay Sands.  And from there we passed through the underpass leading to the Gardens.  Too bad that underpass exit did not have any escalator, but at least there was an elevator available.

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McDonalds Singapore’s Hello Kitty Plushie Craze

McDonald's Hello Kitty Fairy Tales Plushies

For the past month of June, McDonald’s Singapore has set out to sell 6 limited edition Hello Kitty plushie dolls.  This is for the Hello Kitty Fairy Tales collection.

Each week, a plushie doll comes out on sale that may be purchased together with a McDonald’s Value Meal.  Each doll costs S$4.60 on top of the cost of a Value Meal, or simply S$10 if only the doll is to be bought.

The Hello Kitties featured 6 characters from 6 fairy tales, namely: The Lion from the Wizard of Oz on sale between May 30 to June 5;  The Little Red Riding Hood on sale between June 6-12; The Frog Prince on sale between June 13-19;  The Ugly Duckling on sale between June 20-26;  The Singing Bone on sale between June 27 to July 3; and the Hello Kitty McDelivery Witch which is on sale through out the period but available only through delivery.

All dolls were only available until stocks are available and their stocks sell fast and faster as each week passed.  On the week of the Wizard of Oz Kitty, their stores are able to sell the dolls for about the whole stretch of its week.   The week after for the Little Red Riding Hood, their stocks got sold out after like 3 days.   The McDelivery Witch got sold out after a week in sale.

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Singapore in Haze


For the past few days, Singapore has been enveloped with haze caused by smoke coming from forest fires in the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. This thick smoke has travelled north and have reached Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia as well.

According to Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA), Singapore’s air quality has reached to 155 PSI level last night, the highest since 2006.  This haze has now breached the unhealthy level.  Level 101-200 PSI is considered unhealthy.

A number of hotspots in Sumatra was detected where fire results to the haze being blown to the Malacca Strait by the annual westerly monsoon winds.

Due to this, I’ve been having itchy throat.  We’ve asked our helper not to let our kids out of the house and keep our windows shut.

Riding the Singapore Flyer

Near the mouth of the Marina Bay, Singapore has erected one of the many landmarks of the city. Just like the London Eye of the United Kingdom, the Singapore Flyer is an architectural wonder that is not easy to miss. Since it’s opening in 2008, the Singapore Flyer has taken the title of being the tallest Ferris Wheel in the world.  It is 30 meters taller than the London Eye.

From a number of times that I have visited Singapore as a tourist in the past and up to the time I have decided to move to Singapore to live and work, I have never planned to riding the flyer.   Well, not because I’m scared of riding one giant Ferris wheel but simply because I find it too expensive to ride.  Plus there are other places around Marina Bay where you can see the city from above.

For a price of S$33 for adults and S$21 for children, you can take a flight on board the flyer.  And it takes about 30 minutes to finish one revolution of the flyer.  Well fortunately, my wife Jen’s company raffles out free tickets for the flyer to its employees and for 2 times, she was able to be picked for the free tickets.   She got free tickets for four people.

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Jollibee’s Langhap Sarap in Singapore

Me and my Family in Jollibee Singapore

On March 12 of 2013, the Philippines‘ biggest and most known fastfood brand has finally opened up its store here in the island nation of Singapore.  Filipinos on the island have longed for the arrival of our dear old friend, Jollibee.  And it has been very successful since they have opened.

Jollibee has beaten McDonalds by a mile in the Philippines along with the other big US fastfood chains like KFC.  You’d find Jollibee in almost every city in the Philippine archipelago.   And, Jollibee already have stores in different countries around the world where there is a good number of Filipino community.   They’ve got stores in California, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, and Washington in the USA.  They have stores in the middle eastern countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar.  And they also have stores in Brunei, Hong Kong, and Vietnam.

As the company expands to other neighboring countries in South East Asia, they have finally opened their store here in Singapore.  They partnered with a local hotelier to make their visibility here.

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Visita Iglesia 2013: In Singapore

Collage of the seven churches in Singapore that we visited for Visita Iglesia

Visita Iglesia (Church Visits) has been a tradition among Filipino Catholics.  Every year on Maundy Thursday during the Lenten Week, Catholics visits seven churches and perform the Stations of the Cross prayers.  Some would visit only one church and pray the Stations of the Cross.

I remember back when I was younger that we used to join processions where we do the Stations of the Cross in our village.  And in my teens, we used to do a 2 hour walk to the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes Basilica (better known as the Grotto Church) in San Jose Del Monte City in Bulacan province.  We would walk starting midnight going there and we would pray the stations there together with hundreds of Catholics visiting the shrine too.  Some Filipino Catholics in Manila would hike up to the National Shrine of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (a.k.a. Antipolo Cathedral) in hills of Antipolo in Rizal province.

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Bird Watching in Jurong Bird Park

Janine at the Jurong Bird Park

After more than a year of living in Singapore, my family finally had the opportunity to visit the Jurong Bird Park, Asia’s largest bird park.  The best thing with it was we were able to go to the park for free.  Well the admission tickets to the park costs S$20 for adults and S$13 for kids, but we got free passes for four.

My wife Jen currently works with OCBC bank, one of the largest banks on the island and they have corporate tickets to a number of parks and attractions in Singapore.   Monthly they raffle in these passes to employees who register and fortunately Jen was picked during the raffle.  Well this was the second time that she was drawn, wherein the last time she was drawn for free passes to the Singapore Flyer.  I’ll see if I can post a separate blog about it next time.