Saturday, November 5, 2011

Singapore Challenge Won

(Editor's Note: Post is in response to a challenge posed a few weeks back: The Singapore Challenge.)

We were sitting at the table inside this small kitchen with dirty white tiles, semi-new furniture, and a variety of food right in front of us. Our hosts, in true Filipino fashion, bent over backwards preparing and cooking just so they would have a nice meal to serve the new arrivals. It was our first time in Singapore and we were looking to make the most out of our four-day stay under a very limited budget. Almost inevitably, the conversation got to costs and how expensive things are in this city. So we asked, "What we can see in Singapore?" One of them, a Filipino-born Singapore-bred, replied, "This (pointing to our small kitchen) is Singapore. You want to see the rest, you pay."

At the back of my head, I knew he was right. But I was there to prove him wrong. And I did.

The total money I spent to get my *ss from Manila to Singapore and stay there for 4 nights and 3 days is:

7,626.38 PHP

Believe it. Three reasons:

1.I practically couchsurfed the entire time I was there. No hotel or hostel costs! Big savings considering how expensive accommodation is in this city.
2.Most of my meals were paid for by generous friends in Singapore.
3.I went for tourist attractions that had little to no costs involved: strolling around the Botanic Garden, sightseeing around Little India and Chinatown, free lights show at the Marina Bay Sands, etc.

Some may say I cheated. But really, who’s checking? Here’s the breakdown of costs per item, per day.

Date Item SGD PHP
15-Oct NAIA Terminal Fee   750.00
Philippine Travel Tax   1,620.00
Manila to SG via Airphil Express   3,265.00
Top-up EZ Link Card 10.00 334.69
16-Oct Apple Iced Tea at Botanic Garden 3.00 100.41
Snacks at 7-11 (Cheese Bread, Coffee, Chocolates) 7.50 251.01
Wet Wipes 2.00 66.94
17-Oct Milk Tea for Breakfast at 7-11 3.00 100.41
Chicken Biryani Lunch in Little India with Coke 9.00 301.22
Pepsi in Little India 2.00 66.94
Wintermelon Drink in Chinatown 1.00 33.47
Milk Tea in Chinatown 2.00 66.94
Top Up EZ Link Card 10.00 334.69
Early Dinner at Vivo City Food Court (Pork Asado & Buns) 6.00 200.81
18-Oct Drinks over lunch 2.00 66.94
Drinks while walking 2.00 66.94

So really, Singapore is not that bad. Like I said, once you get past that sterile exterior and peel off its artificial layers, Singapore will show you that its people and their food could offer you a travel experience greater than any of its tourist traps attractions. It will certainly help if you’ve got connections in this tiny island. Like I did.

In conclusion, I posed myself a challenge, uncreatively entitled The Singapore Challenge. And win it I did.

Singaporean Dollars

* The total figure above does not include costs getting my *ss out of Singapore. Those will be included in my budget for the next leg of my journey (which by now you know is India).

How much did you spend in Singapore? Care to up the ante and win over my challenge?

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