April 22, 2010

50 Reasons Why I am (still) in Singapore

Last August 2007, I decided to fly to Singapore to try the life of an overseas worker. Before that, I never imagined myself working abroad moreso in this country. I never even heard about this place until that Flor Contemplacion case. Nevertheless, I made that major decision. Final.

For almost 3 years now, I realized I survived this long. I know the country is not that far from Philippines but living and working away from home is never easy, i tell you! It takes more than one's brave soul to really adjust and get the hang of everything.

Culture shock I was when I first stepped in. I was never used to such a systematic country, kinda "rude" locals, straight-forward colleagues and fast-paced work life. I could say, I adapted well.

Apparently, Singapore is more than all these. CNNGo listed 50 reasons why the country is considered as the World's Greatest City. Among the few are the following:

1. Food capital of the world
Singapore = Food. The city-state dominates the 'net with food blogs where hungry netizens compare, dissect, argue and swap foodie fodder, scouring the island for new tastes. And nearly every conceivable victual from every earthly corner has a home here. Fancy authentic Egyptian Baba Ghanoush? Arab Street's got you covered. Crave something Nigerian besides a scam e-mail? Find it on Verdun Road in Little India. If it's edible and fits on a plate, bowl, banana leaf or sheet of paper, we'll wolf it with zeal. But if you truly want to sample Singapore’s food culture, head to any of the hawker centers in the heartlands -- there’s a huge variety of stalls there at dirt-cheap prices.

2. Green thrives in the big gray city
Singapore's a Garden City, literally. Amid the concrete jungle we call home, there's the Botanical Gardens, HortPark, MacRitchie Reservoir, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve -- each claiming myriad varieties of flora and fauna. But the most common impression left visitors to Singapore concerns the rows of trees that line roads everywhere, from expressways to suburban streets. It's not just a green facade -- Singapore's a champion of environmental initiatives, from the world's largest CNG refueling station to its first Solar Greenlots for electric vehicles.

3. Greatest living politician
No one in Singapore, regardless of political stripe, has anything but a healthy respect -- perhaps even awe -- for Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. He led Singapore to independence in 1965 and served as its first Prime Minister for 31 years, setting the record as the world's longest-serving Prime Minister. He's the architect of Singapore's present prosperity, laying a foundation of nation-building which has taken Singapore from a sleepy little island to one of Asia's most developed states, despite its small population, limited space and lack of natural resources.

To continue, click here.

While reading this article, I felt at ease to know that I am safe here. Yes, the place is small but how the country transformed to what it has become now is indeed inspiring. I wish my own country and it's leaders could somehow follow their lead.

April 13, 2010

Family's trip to three Asian cities

It's almost Friday! - the day my family's flying to Singapore for their one week vacation. I am excited for them, especially for the father, who will be traveling overseas first time after his work in Saudi. I can't wait!

Since the mother insisted on visiting Kuala Lumpur, I have no choice but to include it in our itinerary and make sure everyday is a day well-spent, both in time and money :D I found a very affordable guesthouse which offers a decent accommodation good enough for an overnight stay. The place is called Anjung KL guesthouse, which is situated in the city and near famous tourist spots. Good thing, they still have available rooms for us inspite of my quite late inquiry. Yahoo!

Honestly, I don't find KL that exciting compared to other Asian cities. Maybe because it's just a cartwheel away from Singapore. But I guess, anyone not staying near the place will be as excited as my mother. I don't want their KL trip to be an all-city tour because I'm sure the brother and father will complain, so for these two hypers, I am booking us an all-day ride in Genting Highland theme park. This is to avoid too much shopping but still enjoy our trip :D

Their next stop is Batam, Indonesia. Yeah, I know, nothing much to see there. But what to do when you have a ninong who works there and offers to pay the whole trip? As the saying goes, "it's an insult to reject an offer". So still, it's part of their hectic schedule. I can only imagine how my father will complain :)

Of course, how can I forget to tour them around Singapore? This is the most exciting part of all because I will be with them for their remaining two days. Their tour will only include Universal Studios, Sentosa and the city. I wish i could bring them to the Singapore zoo or Night safari. I hope we still have the time.

Nevertheless, I am excited as ever!