14 July, 09:30 – 10:30
What was supposedly a 6:00 am call time got pushed back three and a half hours. Given that I couldn’t function without coffee, I had an initial breakfast consisting of 3-in-1 coffee and a Portuguese egg tart from the nearby Madeleine’s Portuguese Egg Tart.
Today’s first stop was at Sentosa, located off the southern end of the island. But before going there, we had the national breakfast of Singapore—kaya toast. Mention kaya toast, and Ya Kun Kaya Toast is one must-try. We ordered their signature kaya toast, but with different drinks: kopi for me, Horlicks for her.
14 July, 11:00 – 12:30
We reached VivoCity, one of the major malls in the island (and the largest). Shoppers should not miss this place with its abundance of retail outlets. (I wasn’t able to buy stuff here, however.) Just right outside the mall is the Sentosa boardwalk, which was the cheapest way to get to the island: FREE! One can also take either the bus or monorail, but these are more expensive and the Singapore tourist pass is not accepted at those two.
We found out later that Sentosa will be charging an entrance fee of S$1 for visitors arriving via the boardwalk. Good thing the turnstiles weren’t operational yet during our visit. In addition, we also took shelter inside a small museum dedicated to Singapore’s maritime history. No regrets doing so, as we learned a lot from the curator-slash-museum guide.
14 July, 13:30 – 14:30
Spent most of the time taking pictures in and around Resorts World Sentosa, and passed by the entrance of Universal Studios Singapore. However, we didn’t enter the park itself since CJ just bought a small bag of popcorn from Garrett Popcorn Shops. Even before our Singapore trip, she had already mentioned Garrett Popcorn Shops and how she wanted to go back to Singapore just for it.
We had lunch at the Toast Box branch here, and apparently it is an ubiquitous restaurant in Singapore (just like Jollibee in the Philippines.) I ordered their nasi lemak while CJ ordered the curry rice. For some reason, the Singapore franchise prefers using chicken wings for their fare. (Toast Box Philippines has started to offer curry rice, by the way.) A caveat, however: Toast Box branches outside Resorts World Sentosa are cheaper by around S$3 to S$4.
14 July, 14:45 – 16:00
One last walk around Sentosa to reach the Merlion replica, and then some char kway teow (sauteed rice noodles with shrimp) and teh tarik at the Malaysian Food Street. We then returned to the mainland via the boardwalk to VivoCity, before riding the train to our next itinerary. I checked out VivoCity’s Uniqlo and H&M branches and ended up disappointed—they almost had the same stock as their Philippine counterparts!
14 July, 17:00 – 19:30
Orchard Road was our next stop for the late afternoon. With a train station located at ION Orchard and malls located right beside each other, we started browsing the outlets for any merchandise we can bring home. Both of us left empty-handed however, so we explored the immediate area.
One does not complete a visit to Orchard Road without snacking on the S$1.20 ice cream sandwiches sold by the street hawkers. These ah kongs (uncles) sell ice cream in block form, sandwiching them with either a slice of pandan loaf or two wafers. We then visited Lucky Plaza, apparently a hub of Filipinos in Singapore. There is a significant Filipino presence in the country, dating back from the domestic helpers of the early 1990s (think Flor Contemplacion.)
14 July, 19:40 – 21:00
We had dinner at Minang House, located at the second level of Lucky Plaza. This restaurant specializes in nasi padang – an Indonesian specialty of cooked meats, fish, and vegetables on white rice and served with spicy sambal. This is similar to the turo-turo style eatery in the Philippines. Nasi padang may not look Instagram-worthy but don’t let that fool you. Some of the choices we picked for the nasi padang viand include gulai cubadak (unripe jackfruit in coconut milk), ikan (fried fish), and ayam (fried chicken).
A sudden detour to Suntec City Mall followed this filling meal. Just like at Orchard Road, we failed to find anything of value. However, discovering Gudetama Cafe and a whole bunch of menswear stores more than made up for that failure.
14 July, 22:00 – 23:30
From Suntec City, it was a train ride to Bugis station. I tell you, the place is lively at night! The neon signs and billboard lights drown out the darkness, much like the Shibuya intersection in Japan. There was even a Uniqlo branch but it was already closed by the time we arrived.
Located a few blocks away was Haji Lane, our final stop for our second day. To be honest, Haji Lane’s pretentiousness and reputation as a overly hipster area turned me off immediately. Instead of lingering here for too long, we ended up dining at Nasrin at the nearby Arab Street for dessert. It was my first time to enjoy Turkish specialties like kanafeh and Turkish tea alongside familiar favorites like the baklava. Two days down and we’re flying home on the next day. Time does fly fast here in Singapore.