A Birthday in Merlion Country

June is one of my favorite months- Father’s Day and my birthday almost always coincide on the same day or one after the other.  This year, it’s half the happiness.  My father died last year and celebrating the holiday without him just did not seem right.  So, my sister and I, together with our mom, decided to visit Singapore, where we were supposed to go with my Dad last year.  It was also a birthday gift from my travel buddy, hehehe.

The early hour of 4am on Friday saw us at the airport since we took the first flight out of Manila.  Man, the first hour was not really smooth.  There was a storm heading Manila so the flight was a little bumpy.  However, there was this really huge air pocket- I felt the plane rising longer than usual, already anticipating the descent.  Boy, did that make my insides scramble towards my throat! It was like a fast ferris wheel.  I really hated that.  Food was served after an hour, when things seemed to settle down.

We got to Singapore before 10am.  It took us awhile to get out the airport because we got a SIM card for Mom’s phone.  We then got on the MRT to the hotel… a mistake.  Ness and I are used to traveling this way, taking the train or bus instead of a taxi.  Mom said she was fine with it when we discussed it back home.  Apparently, it did not do well with her as the walk to the hotel was kind of far (got off a bit further than necessary) and the weather was really warm.  Sheesh, poor Mom was tired when we got to the hotel.  Good thing they checked us in early so Mom took a nap when we got to the room.

After fixing our stuff, we headed out a little bit past 2pm.  We had our first Singaporean lunch in one of those small restaurants near the hotel.  I got the chicken curry and it was really spicy.  Whew, great start!

We walked back to the MRT, to a station that’s nearer the hotel.  Since we already got the tourist pass card (unlimited rides on the MRT, LRT and local buses for 5 days), it was easier.  We went to Marina Bay to check out the Harry Potter exhibition at the ArtScience Museum.  Does this look familiar?

Arthur Weasley’s Flying Car

The exhibit showcased the costumes, props and other memorabilia from all 7 films.  They had the moving paintings, actual representations of the hippogriff and other animals/creatures, interacted with the crying mandrake plants in Prof. Sprout’s garden, marveled at the prom dresses and Bellatrix Lestrange’s gown (it was black and good enough for a party, hehehe) and the wands- ooh, great design and craftsmanship.  Too bad we couldn’t take any pictures while inside.  I’m just wondering if Lord of the Rings would hold an exhibit like this.  Guess theirs would be more dazzling.  We also got to dress up as…


After the exhibit we went around Marina Bay and had to take a picture of that famous “boat”:

Marina Bay Sands Hotel

We headed home after that.  Had dinner with more chili stuff.  Ah, hope I don’t get constipated from all these, hehehe. Of course, had to get some ice cream on the way back to the hotel.  It was really hot! We retired early, preparing for the next day’s schedule of playtime: Universal Studios!!!

Woke up sort of rejuvenated- too excited for today’s activities.  Had breakfast at the hotel and were on our way by 9am.  A few meters from the hotel, Mom decided to change her shoes.  To save time, she took off her shoes and sat down by an elevated portion of the sidewalk while Ness went back to get her other pair.  Mom shoeless, I was watching out for anyone who’d reprimand us- Singapore is a stickler for rules.  Once Mom put on her more comfortable shoes, we were off.

We took the MRT to Vivo City then got on the Sentosa Express train.  We got off the first stop and walked to Universal Studios.  As we entered, couldn’t help comparing it to the main one in LA.  A bit smaller but it was still good.  This was exactly the same thing I did when we went to Hong Kong Disneyland 2 years ago.

The Mummy

We went on a safari jeep ride in The Mummy, a 4D experience with Shrek and company and a river cruise with the crew of Madagascar.  The Transformers ride was the best and we saved it for last.  It was a 1 1/2 hour wait for a 4-minute ride but it was worth it.  Ness and I vowed to go back with our nieces- they are becoming favorite traveling companions, too.  In the end of the visit, a good time was had by all. 😀

Me and Mom

After Universal Studios, we walked to the Merlion statue within the island.  This is the country’s “mascot”- every time you see it, you know it’s Singapore.

We were really tired on the way home.  We got off at the MRT station and had dinner at Food Republic.  And we had Japanese cuisine- hahaha.  Could not resist the bento box meals they had.  We vowed we’d get to eat their Hainanese chicken the next day- a must before we leave.  We were able to catch Game of Thrones on HBO.  After reading a bit, it was off to la-la land.

Woke to our last day in Merlion country.  Since we’d be taking the last flight out, 7:55pm, we checked out early, had our baggages stored at the hotel and did some last minute shopping.  We did have that Hainanese chicken for lunch and some kaya and coffee for dessert.  Kaya is a sandwich made of toasted bread with some sweet jam and a slice of butter.  Bad for my cholesterol but you only have it once anyway.

We met up with a province-mate of ours, Angie Viola, who has been in the country for 15 years now, to do some catch up.  She was one of those Dad has helped through advices on career changes/direction.  I’m glad it turned out well for her.

We were back at the hotel by 3pm and did some freshening up before the trip to the airport.  This time, we took a cab. *grins*

The plane was delayed so we left Singapore past 8pm.  Up in the air, I could not help wonder how it would have been if my Dad was still alive and the four of us made the trip.  Most probably the same.  My mom did not feel melancholy, even when she was sitting by herself in the Celebrity Cafe at Universal Studios, listening to standard music she and Dad loved.

Despite missing one member, it was another birthday trip worth remembering.  By the way, Happy Father’s Day, Dad!


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