Joining me, in the next few series of this blog, is my former high school teacher Dorothy Loresto - Daniel. She taught Social Studies in Andres Soriano Junior Memorial School (ASJMS) from my hometown, in the boondocks of Aroroy, Masbate.
It's her first trip abroad, and she's my first visitor! We're both excited. I'm also new here, and I'm not Ms. Singapore Tourism (yet!) to be an expert. So, we will be learning new things, together, too.
Dothy, as a teacher, was known for her surprise quizzes. "Class! Bring out your 1/4 sheet of paper.." Everyone's on their toes all the time. No nonsense for her. She's strict but not mean. She's the type of teacher who treat the students as adults. She values your opinions as if they're possible contributions to legislature, when really, they're from 14-year olds who will eat ice candy later at recess.
You might not ask, but I will volunteer the information, anyway. :) I used to consistently Top her Class. :) And if there's anyone who will contest this claim, I will challenge to a Quiz Bee now. :)
Well, that was 17years ago, and lest my teacher thinks, my mind has gone atrophy (being a housewife and all).... So, aside from the guest room, I prepared my brains. I reviewed the History of Singapore. I brushed up my Currents Events, incidentally, she arrived on a Presidential Election day. Quite historic, I should say.
Dothy arrived saturday midnight, and the next day, we took her with us to our usual Sunday church service at St. Mary's in Bukit Batok.
It's a simple and elegant modern church without the ornate interiors, that usually characterize our Spanish churches back home in the Philippines.
No comparison, really. We had 300 years of Spanish Catholicism. Singapore has only 129years colonialization from the Brits, who are not even Catholics. :) Well, maybe these stats will give a clearer picture. Philippines 82% Catholics ; Singapore 4%.
Dothy was impressed of the organized seating, the more than enough hymnal for everyone, exclusive chambers for parents with kids, so they don't disrupt the service, and even during communion; she belatedly realized that she didn't need to stand up and jostle. It's done per pew. No unnecessary standing-up unless its your turn. Naku madam, just a taste of the Singaporean OCness. Everything is organized.
Incidentally, the day was also Ivan's 5th birthday! We planned to take Dothy & the kids to Sentosa Island. (Except for Rania and yaya Ling. Rania's still not used to long commute and the stares of strange people, with strange smell! She gets nightmare at night, after a long exhaustive day.)
From Vivo City (a nice mall at the end of Harbourfront MRT station), There is a small train that goes to Sentosa for a measly 2SGD.
Disclaimer: I'm not gonna do a PR for sentosa here. They're not paying me for singing their praises. If you need objective & comprehensive details, go to www.sentosa.com.sg
They do a better job at it. :)
Sentosa Island is a huge leisure park, with various attractions, stretches of beach, adventure thingamajigs, restaurants, high-end hotels...
Recently, Resorts World came in with their Casino, luxury shopping, and they built a cavernous convention hall underground. My former company, Nu Skin holds our Regional Convention here. Universal Studios is also located in Sentosa Island.
There's no entrance fee to Sentosa, one pays per attraction that you like to experience, which is great, because people sometimes just want to walk around and hang-out.... you know.... picture..picture. :)
It was also Hari Raya Puasa (end of ramadan) celebration that week, so these folks go about greeting everyone.
Images of Singapore ~ is an indoor exhibition of arts and tableaus of wax figures tracing the history of the country. But since we're bringing kids whose attention span will be sorely tested, we forego this one.
Singapore's icon, Merlion. Half-fish, half-lion, this one in Sentosa, is a Super Merlion at 37 meters tall. There's an elevator that can take you up its mouth, overlook the harbor, costs about 8 SGD per person. The Merlion's eyes shoot out green laser lights at night. The other smaller Merlion (which spews water from it's mouth) & the poster boy of Singapore Tourism is located in Marina Bay.
Souvenir shops, but I told madam to reserve her dollars, as we will shop at more reasonably-priced stores in Chinatown soon.
Now, this is one place that will definitely hold the kids' attention span. Underwater World is an underground oceanarium with more than 2,500 marine animals of 250 species (so, their brochure says). Entrance is 26 SGD for adults / 18 SGD for kids.
If you've been to any Seaworld or Ocean Park. It's somewhat a smaller version.
I absolutely love the touch and feel concepts of the aquariums. The stingrays have rough skin. They don't allow touching of the huge ones. I remember fiesty Australian biologist Steve Irwin of Discovery Channel. He died by the sting of these creatures in the wild.
They have the usual travellators, where you are ensconced by the aquariums. Looking at the fishes, and the fishes looking back at you. I so looooove this part. Yes, I'm one of those who stupidly knock on the glass, and my kids get embarrassed. "Hi Dory! Where's Nemo?"
Since Singaporeans are crazy about crabs... (the Chili Crab kind)... they devote quite a number of exhibits for this yummy creature.
Look at these two crabs, they are bigger than us! Japanese Spider Crabs.
More like, Dinosaur crabs, to me. :) Really, freaky.
They probably have "aligue" (yummy red fat of the crabs) by the gallons.
Tickets to the Underwater World includes entry to the Dolphin Lagoon.
The main attraction are, needless to say, Dolphins... the Pink kind.
It seems that this is a brand new attraction, since the tricks are not so polished yet. They don't even call it Dolphin show but rather dolphin training sessions. Even my guest, is not impressed. Madam said the one at Manila Ocean Park is better. I've never been to Manila Ocean Park, but the one in Subic Bay, Ocean Adventure is one of the best killer whales shows, I've seen in all my travels. A Must-see before the animal rights activists, drive them off!
Another thing I like about Sentosa Island, even if you don't have moolah, you can still chill-out in their 3.2Km stretch of White sand beach. For Free.
For the adventurous souls, You can fling yourself like a Circus acrobat in the Flying Trapeze (costs 20 SGD for 3 swings). Most of those trying it out are small caucasian kids. We asked Hans & Ivan if they want to try. Declined. Scaredy Cats. It seems that caucasian kids are more adventurous than asians. Comes with parentage, I guess.
Mega Zipline costs about 29 SGD per ride. A bit costly. I tried the same in Tagaytay, with nicer views, for only 150 pesos!
But those hanging lines and being tied to harnesses are sooo yesterday!!!
The latest thrill in Sentosa, in Singapore for that matter, is In-Door Sky Diving.
iFly Singapore just opened this May 2011. According to their brochure, they operate in only 32 countries and this one in Singapore, is the tallest vertical tunnel measuring 5storeys and can accommodate 20 skydivers.
Unfortunately, they don't allow videos inside, so I got this one from youtube.
The rate is about 155 SGD Adults and 145 kids. Ted was itching to try it out, but the bookings were filled until late evenings. The best is to book in advance, before your trip to Sentosa. Something to try out, soon!
To close my entry for today .... Never, ever leave Sentosa, or even Singapore, without watching Songs of the Sea.
It's a show featuring dramatic special effects using pyrotechnics, laser lights, fire, and water jets,
combined with computer generated images and a live casts of of actors.
There is a simple storyline, set against the backdrop of a fishing village, which is really on the beach with houses on stilts. It's so beautiful.. my words are weak. You have to see it for yourself and experience it. It's like The Bellagio, with fireworks, and live Drama.
It was also our first time to watch it, and we ooohhed & ahhhed & wowed until the last ray of lights, strains of the songs and mists of water... faded.
Till next adventure...