1st Out of the Country Experience: Bday Dinner

<this part 2 of my 1st out of the country experience. feel free to read the first one: 1st Out of the Country Experience Part 1: Travelling on your Birthday and It’s Perks >


the bus trip from the airport to the train station was a short one. Mahal and Ate Mitch took their seats and caught up with each other. Their relationship is definitely a special one. Kreng sat by me and as normal tourist, took pictures of ourselves and the people within the bus. We’ll there’s no point in hiding that we are tourist as it is both a first for us. We reached the train station and after walking through its hallways and reached the turnstiles. 
Both Mahal and Kreng have their tap cards already. I didn’t. I didn’t even know what a tap card was (can you blame me? first out of the country experience remember??). Let’s just say that here in the Philippines, we refer to them as train cards but no tapping movement involved. Well, yet. Ate Mitch was kind enough to get me a one time tap card to get me to access the trains. After getting the card through the posh vendo machine, tapping it on the turnstile, we were now waiting for the train.

The main difference from the Philippines’ train systems and Singapore’s is its numbers. Singapore has 4 or 5 if I’m not mistaken while we just have three. Not only the number of lines, but also the number of trains. They have more than enough to ensure that the trains is not full to brim plus they arrive on time! 

With our trolleys(yes. we are light travelers yet) and backpacks, we waited for the train, minded the gap, took our seats and we were off. After taking a few snaps of pictures, I started observing the people on the train. They were quiet. Too quiet actually that you don’t hear anyone speaking at all except for us (again, tourists!). Most of the probably tired from the plane or just wanted to keep to themselves. Most people are busy tinkering with their gadgets (tablets and smart phones).  We were headed to Ate Mitch’s place which is a few train stations and a bus ride away from the airport. We alighted from the train, headed out of the station, crossed the street then went to a bus stop. 

The difference again (sorry i can’t help but compare. again, first time out of the country) is that when they say bus stop, it’s a designated area for riding and alighting the bus. Period. Also, the bus arrives on time! Again, you have to use tap cards so you don’t need to fumble with money thereby making the travel faster. 

In the bus, people were the same as with the trains, keeping to themselves and their gadgets or staring towards the beyond. But the seating is quite different. It only has by my estimation, around 15 to 20 seats with space where you can stand. I guess it’s that small since the routes are also short. 

It was already around 7:00pm after we got off the bus and was walking to Ate Mitch’s place to ditch the trolleys when I noticed that the sun was just about to fall. In the Philippines, it is normally dark outside by that time. I guess it has something to with Singapore being south west from the Philippines. Any how, we walked to this condo style subdivision which is the normal abode for Singaporeans and its immigrants as the country’s land area is small. You would have to be uber rich to afford a house and lot. We got to Ate Mitch’s flat which she shares with other Pinoys. Josette and I were crashing to Maja’s (my 2nd mom and former adviser from my student council days) so we had to transfer our stuff from our trolleys to a big back pack which Ate Mitch graciously let us borrow. After fixing out stuff, we got a cab through an iPhone app (which is uh-wait for it-mazing) and were on our way to Makan Sutra for dinner as it was almost 8:00pm.

Normally at 8:00pm, Manila’s roads are congested with God know how many cars causing traffic and pollution. In SG, it was rather fast and they say that it was also their rush hour. I was like “are you sure about that (in British accent with imaginary braces)?”. We got to Makan Sutra to be greated by Maja on a table for all of us.

It was really nice to be the one visiting Maja this time around. She’s been in SG for around 5 years already if I’m not mistaken and comes home at least twice a year where we get together with all my good peeps from my college days (best days of my life so far!) to restaurants, videoke bars, coffee joints which we used to plan during those days and are now fulfilling as we are all young professionals now. That was a mouthful but indeed, we are all living our own lives but never decided to part ways. 

Makan Sutra is a place where you can get a mix of cuisines. The is Pinoy lechon here as well as, stir fried noodles, seafood, and others. There are a lot of tables where you can eat but there are also a lot of people eating here so better be patient and always on the look out for diners who are about to finish then hastily call a cleaner to clean out before ordering. If you can get tables at the far end of Makan Sutra to have a great view of Marina Bay Sans. Since it was by birthday and wanted to catch up with Maja, I shelled out money and caught up with Maja. Like I said it was nice for me to visit her this time around. She intended to pick us up from the airport but she had a client to attend to. We talked each others future plans and a bunch of other stuff. It was really nice to talk with my second mom again. 

Mahal, Ate Mitch and Kreng went to get our food and came back with Chinese rice, chicken wings, buttered kangkong, sates and cereal prawns with sodas and buko juice (i won’t name who ordered in order to protect the identity). I was extatic about the food but found the taste to be familiar except that of the cereal prawn! It was a delight really! It’s life having breakfast and dinner at the same time within out the milk but with lime juice and soy sauce. Chicken wings and sate was also good with its sauce with a taste of ground peanuts. So we were animatedly chatting while trying to chomp down as much as we could as we were starving, and as i spun around to look at the surrounding, I saw the Marina Bay Sans hotel with its iconing three pillars with a shiplike design on top plus the floating LV store in a distance. This was the best birthday dinner by far (i think i’m having a habit of saying this whenever it is my birthday, oh well)

After devouring the meal plus a lot more laughs, we were decided it was time to get pictures of Marina Bay Sans as well as the famous Singaporean landmark, the Merlion at its parks. The Marina Bay Sans is visible already from Makan Sutra as well as the floating LV store. The plan was to walk around the entire block to end in Makan Sutra again passing thru the durian inspires building, a view of the Singapore Flyer, Merlion Park, the Marina Bay Sans then back to Makan Sutra. Walking, in my opinion, is the best way for sight seeing as you can move at your own pace. Good thing that our location was accessible for a lot of structural eye candies and landmarks. We walked over to this water side park where the are a notable number of lovers, climbed a set of stairs to reach a bridge where you can get three landmarks in one picture if you know how to catch that angle. I borrowed my sister’s digital camera but for some reason all the pictures taken were a bit blurred. So much for picture taking you might ask? Well I still have BB with me.
Walking around in Singapore at night is definitely a different experience from that our the Philippines. The streets are well lighted as well as there is a ample amount of side walk for people to walk on! As well as there is a sense of security as well which I think I don’t have to explain further. We took a several pictures on the bridge then made our way to the Merlion Park. When we reached the park, I was honestly surprised to know that there was a baby merlion park right next to the big merlion park. Yes there is! Now what the baby merlion looks like, I would not know. Because it was closed off for renovations. The big merlion on the other hand, was just majestic in my opion. I know it’s just a structure but it is the symbol of this country. We took a lot of pictures here but unfortunately, the water pouring from the mouth of the merlion was cut off but it didnt stop us from enjoying the pictures. But then upon looking at the pictures while still in the park, but one thing one evident, Kreng was holding on to her stomach but was till able to put up a smile for the picture. And upon her request, as she needed to unload so it was time to call it a night. Ate Mitch and Mahal hailed their cab while we waited for ours. When we got ours, we were headed to Pasir Ris drive to Maja’s place. We were headed for the last car park to the right (I think I got that right).

We got to Maja’s place where she shares with 4 others but around past 12 midnight. We got settled and readied to bed. While lying, I went back to what happened within the day and said to myself “I spent my birthday (exactly 8:10pm) with my best beks outside of the Philppines. Thank you Jesus”.

<to be continued>

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